2015 was a big year for travel–my biggest year yet with 13 countries, 7 of which were new to me, not to mention the many cities and towns. It was also a year for many other big things that have nothing to do with travel–falling in love with teaching, getting engaged, getting married, loving and leaving Prague, figuring out the next steps. I always do a Best of (insert year here) post at the beginning of a new year, and I certainly will this year!
But first, I want to recap my fantastic year of travel. Here are (some of) the highlights!
NYE in Paris
Although Paris around New Year’s has to be one of the most crowded cities in the world, it’s still Paris. I’m not sure a first visit to Paris is advised at this time of year–but despite this, I enjoyed Paris. The lines were horrendously long, and the food was shockingly expensive (unless you knew where to go–which of course I rarely did), and a few interactions, including one horrifying Airbnb experience, made it a rather stressful trip to kick off the year. Yet, I had to pinch myself several times a day to remind myself that I was finally in Paris, one of the greatest cities in the world that I had dreamed of visiting for years. It lived up to its expectations–some good, and some bad!–but I know I’ll go back, someday. Just need time for my checkbook to recover ;).
Read my posts about Paris here.
While technically not “travel” since we were living there, we no longer are and I’m nostalgic for our Prague days! In effort to fully enjoy Prague, I made a Bucket List for the city and we attempted to complete it all. Of course, we didn’t get everything done–so I guess we’ll just have to go back!
Read my posts about Prague here.
Getting Engaged in Venice
Venice itself is a highlight for anyone. Getting engaged there was just the (gigantic) cherry on top of our trip to Venice. I look back fondly on almost every one of our trips, even the ones that didn’t seem so idyllic while they were happening, but I loved Venice instantly. After so much European travel, I admit it was sometimes hard for me to feel that “love at first sight” feeling. But Venice had my heart the minute I came out of the train station. We spent days exploring the famous alleyways, venturing to nearby islands, riding on the canals, eating gelato and so many other delicious Italian things, and counting bridges. I love, love, loved Venice and I am so happy that it will also have the special distinction of the place we got engaged.
Read my posts about Venice here.
Meeting Friends in Budapest
We met our first visitors in this awesome European city we will soon be calling home! Budapest reminds me a lot of my beloved Prague, but it has its own unique charms I can’t wait to experience. We got a pretty good snapshot on our short trip there, from swimming in the famous hot baths to eating much-lauded Hungarian goulash, and it was a blast to experience a new corner of Europe with old friends from home. Maybe you two can come visit us again?!
Read my posts about Budapest here.
The Causeway Coast
Northern Ireland, just for one day, gave us an alluring introduction, taking us to the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, and a rainy Belfast. Despite the weather and being trapped on a bus, it was gorgeous. I was snap-happy all day and can you blame me? The broody coast calls to me and tells me to buy a cottage and never leave.
Roadtripping in Austria & Germany (with my parents!)
Driving through the stunning scenery of Tyrol and Bavaria, with my parents along, was one of my favorite travels I’ve done, ever. We stayed in adorable little inns, saw amazing castles and fulfilled lifelong dreams (my mom had wanted to visit Salzburg after seeing the Sound of Music at age nine!). It was so nice to drive a bit in Europe–we’d previously always been at the mercy of a bus, train, flight schedule–and have the flexibility to stop whenever we felt like it. We also got to see many tiny little towns, my favorite thing, that we would have missed on public transport. Seeing Europe through my parents’ delighted eyes is something I’ll remember forever.
The Czech Countryside
Whether it be our little Easter visit to Karlovy Vary, trying all the beer with my cousin in Plzen, showing off castles to our parents, teaching English in the mountains to kids, tasting wine in Moravia, visiting former students, or being charmed by Český Krumlov, the Czech countryside has so much to offer–and we experienced quite a bit of it! I’m so happy we made such an effort to get to know our host country.
Read my posts about the Czech Republic here.
The Fjords of Montenegro
Montenegro! What an unexpected stunner. First, you have the deep blue waters of Kotor Bay lapping softly at the feet of gigantic peaks, then you add the charming little walled city of Kotor–why was I surprised?! Kotor will take you back in time if you let it–and you should.
Read my posts about Montenegro here.
The Islands of Croatia
While Croatia anywhere is charming, I in particular had a wonderful time on the islands of Korčula and Hvar. Dubrovnik is a must-see, but the islands, with their laid-back lifestyle and ridiculously friendly, helpful people, are where the heart of Croatia lies (if you ask me–although I have a lot of the country left to see!).
Read my posts about Croatia here.
My Birthday in London
My second birthday in London was a success with a visit to Harry Potter world! Plus, visiting Jessi, seeing the Borough market, having tea at the Victoria & Albert museum, and much more. London is such a fun, lively city to visit and it never fails to make me smile and fill me with awe.
Read my posts about London here.
Our Central American Honeymoon
I couldn’t pick just one highlight from this trip–so I’m cheating and just lumping it all into one, long, six-week adventure! This trip was totally different from the rest of our travels in 2015, and that’s exactly what we wanted (or needed!). It was weeks of beach time, animal spotting, hammock hanging, zip lining, Spanish-speaking fun.
Read my posts about Costa Rica here.
Home (Washington/Montana) for the Holidays
I am so happy to be home for the holidays. It was a big year in so many ways, and with another move overseas ahead of us, I didn’t realize how much I needed a good solid stretch at home until I was here!
What are some of your favorite travel moments from 2015–both near or far?