Best of 2018 – Places I’ve stayed

The idea for this post came while staying in a Peruvian lodge in the Amazon rainforest, thinking I’ve stayed in some memorable places this year during my travels. Here are the ones that stood out.

Spectacular sunset and sunrise in the desert
Every night walking the Larapinta Trail was memorable, but none as spectacular as the second night, staying at Finke River. I had the campsite to myself and these views.

Being the only person in an abandoned gold mining town
I spent the final night walking the Motatapu Track as the only person camping in Macetown, a long abandoned former gold mining town, now home to a few historic buildings and little else.

Staying with villagers on a remote island in Papua New Guinea
Spent a memorable night at a homestay on the Duke of York Islands getting to know the owner, and doing some sketches.

Mountain views in the Albanian Alps
Spent a couple of nights in the Valbona Valley, a wonderful spot for hiking, enjoying views like this, plus the occasionally torrential downpour of rain, from the comfort of the balcony (under a large umbrella)

Climbing a mountainside to stay 2,750m above sea level next to a glacier
Not the highest place I stayed this year (slept at 4,300m in the Atacama Desert in Bolivia), but the hardest to reach, at the end of an epic eight hour day of hiking 24km, down 1,400m and up 2,600m to finally reach the amazing Refuge Robert Blanc.

Hotels with unbeatable views in northern Pakistan
Followed in the footsteps of Michael Palin and Robert De Niro (who previously stayed here), enjoying wonderful views down the Chitral valley at the appropriately named Hindu Kush Heights.

With even more spectacular views a few days later at the also appropriately named Eagles Nest hotel looking down on the stunning Hunza Valley, surrounded by six mountains over 6,000m.

Sleeping in the Amazon rainforest
Waking at dawn in the Amazon to a chorus of birdsong was quite a surreal way to start the day, as was having an ensuite bathroom at Explorer’s Inn Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon, much more upmarket than I’d expected.

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