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2021 - A Year in Review(s)

2021 wasn’t the travel year we expected it to become, with a lot of Covid restrictions still or again in place. However, most borders opened in some form and after jumping through the right hoops (vaccine certificates, test results, QR codes) travel in large parts of the world was possible without a problem. This website thrived anyway, with visitor numbers back to normal so people at least have regained their appetite for reading about and planning travel.

Community Travel

Fortunately, the combined 2020/2021 WHC brought 34 new sites to tick off without having to leave the house. Each of these 34 has been visited by at least one community member; Dholavira proved to be the most difficult with 2 visitors so far claiming it. Zoe had the most of these 34 (25), followed by Thomas and Stanislaw with 17 each. Check the Top 50 scorers here.

Among the Top 10 travellers, Thomas has gained the most ground in the past year. Mikko has reclaimed his spot in the Top 10, due to his good score at the 2020/2021 WHC. Luis Filipe Gaspar banked over 80 and is close to the Top 10 now.

When you look at the numbers of new sites that the travellers have added to their tally in 2021, it is clear that travel right now is no level playing field. The Europeans that still had a lot to tick in Europe did well (Randi & Svein’s neverending summer holiday, Clyde, Nan, Luis Filipe). Older travellers and those in countries with severe restrictions (Australia, China, in a way the UK too) often scored a 0. Zos used his confinement within China to complete China.

Memorable Reviews

At 375, the number of new reviews still was low compared to pre-Covid times when we had over 800. Clyde managed to write 43 of them, detailing his extensive trip to Turkey.

1131 of 1154 WHS have now been reviewed, the coverage percentage-wise is the same as last year. The missing 23 can be found at the top of this page.

From the previously unreviewed WHS, we’ve managed to cover 3. Thimlich Ohinga was visited early 2021 by Michael Ayers. And he did it by bike of course. Michael is a master in visiting remote WHS and missing out on the easy ones! Ashur (Thomas) and Babylon (Wojtek) were the products of their fruitful trip to Iraq.

Also, a couple of sites that weren’t covered in years received an update: Clyde went all the way to Ani and Diyarbakir. Michael Novins did Socotra. Martina covered Putorana (I still fondly remember the video of this shared privately!), Kyle the Gulf of California. And Jarek and I tackled the Talamanca Range from both the Costa Rican and Panamian sides.

The harder-to-reach new WHS of 2021 delivered 2 reviews of Lake Onega and White Sea Rock Art (Martina, Alexander) and the Sudanese-style mosque in Kong (Thomas).

Notable reviews among the TWHS include Ostrava (Matejicek), Rijal Almaa (Zoe), Civil Rights Movement sites (Kyle, as part of an epic US road trip), Xinjiang Yardang (Zoe), the Flow Country (James), and the Ringed seal archipelagos of Lake Saimaa (Juha).

Tsunami Award for WH travel misadventure

The Romanian WHS of Roșia Montană is just the thing our yearly contenders Nan and Tsunami enjoy: visiting a remote, recently added WHS without mature tourist infrastructure by public transport (preferably taking a late bus). Their shared takeaways: don’t trust the online bus schedules, be prepared that there are no restaurants, hitchhiking works. Other difficulties encountered include: B&B host tested positive for Covid (Tsunami +1), phone out of battery (Tsunami +1), road closed due to flooding (Nan +1), 5km hiking with a sprained ankle (Nan +1), mine museum not open on weekends (Nan +1). Both, in the end, enjoyed the site and were grateful to its local people for support.

Are there any memorable reviews from 2021 that you’d like to put into the spotlight again?

Els - 26 December 2021

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Astraftis 27 December 2021

I have to say, the review that made me "dream" more was probably the one about ringed seals in Saimaa by Juha! It is now among the top of my to-visit places in Suomi :-) Also, I'd like to book a wandering tour around Žatec with Matejicek :-D

Just for fun: I like that if you go to Openstreetmap, search for "Saimaa" and try to visualize its borders, it breaks down so complicated it is (at least on my laptop)!

Nan 26 December 2021

Rain coat, overhead luggage bin, now in Istanbul.

What I definitely enjoyed were the interviews.

Zoë Sheng 26 December 2021

Lost your wallet again this year?

Nan 26 December 2021

Wondering g why I have troubles so often. I think its a mix of public transport, tight/ambitious schedules and travelling out of season. With a car hassle would be less. With more time, delays would be less of an issue. And in season the weather tends to be at its best as well as the tourist infrastructure. Anyhow, 2021 was nice for Romania. But my travel smartness went down, as i am making repeat beginners mistakes...

On the review, hard to say without a list. Enjoyed Pawel in Zatec.