2015 has proved to be an extra special year in a number of ways.

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There were a few firsts along the way for the Bowens.

You know you are getting old when the f#@!ing optometrist tells you it is time to wear glasses. “No way!” I said, but there was no denying the skewed results, so I got to pick some sexy expensive “old fogey frames” to compliment the even more expensive lenses. (yes, had to remortgage the house).

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Mr Cool.

I still can’t believe I needed glasses, as my eyesight is great (denial). To be frank I have only worn them on airplanes, because let’s face it, those crappy TV screens are tiny. Lots more after the break.

On May 1st, we spent our 14th anniversary in Dubai. We were there for only two nights, so we rented a lovely Airbnb flat in the Jumeirah Beach Residence. With access to a private beach and swimming pool, the time there was amazing (first time staying in Dubai).

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Jumeirah Beach Residence.

After Dubai we headed for Kloof, (Durban, South Africa) to visit Mom and Rob. Our first few days with them were very special as they took us to a game reserve where we saw four of the big five animals (Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino), only the elusive leopard was missing from our photographs. The time there was amazing. It is not often one can say a Hyena was within patting distance from my plate of food (scary moment), but in the Imfolozi Park they wander the gardens like they own the place.

karkloof-canopy-tour-logoWe also did a zip line adventure over the tree tops at Karkloof Canopy Tour. It was such good fun speeding along the wires, through gaps in the trees with the deep ravines below.

While in South Africa, Jo also managed to spend some time with her Mom and sister in Stutterheim.

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The three J’s (Jackie, Jennie, Jolene).

In May I watched my first live baseball game at the Houston Astros Minute Maid Park home stadium. The hosts lost the game, but it was an incredible evening with my colleague Julie and her husband Chris.

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A panorama of the Houston Astros Minute Maid Park Stadium.
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The final score.

In June the American Speedfest Nascar III was at Brandshatch race course. Jo took one for the team and headed there for all the action.

In July we flew to Budapest, Hungary, to watch the Red Bull Air Race. The air race bug bit us the year before, when we watched the Austrian air race in Spielberg.

It was super hot (in the 40’s) that weekend, but we got to see some incredible low flying with a wonderful view from the bridge. Check out the video below.

We also visited some lovely warm baths, which Budapest is famous for. Here are some random shots of the action.

In September we did a road trip from Kent to Cannes in France. Jo’s family flew in from South Africa and we stayed in a lovely apartment close to the beach. Cannes is a very expensive place, and it gave us a taste of how the other half live.

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Nice harbour and surrounding area.

Since we had our car with us, we got to drive all around the Cote D’azur. We took a ferry from Nice to Monaco and visited the museum of antique motor cars.

Such a special museum with cars dating back over a hundred years.

We also visited Eze village and the Saint Agnes’ Fort buried deep in the mountains. Verdon Gorge is a place we would recommend to anyone.

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Prince’s Palace of Monaco.

On  the way back we crossed the famous Millau Viaduct over the River Tarn near Millau in southern France. It was a special moment driving over the bridge, but the view from the other side was second to none.

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So there you have it, well almost… Jo’s company IP Solution won the Comms National Awards in their sector. An amazing year.

Next year March we have skiing in Austria, a wedding in Mexico in April, and a family holiday to South Africa in October/November, with a few other exciting things planned in between.

There were two further work trips to Singapore and Houston in December, which wrapped up one awesome year of travel.

Happy New Year to all.