As you may have gathered in my 12 Photos for 12 Months post, 2016 was a big year for travel. I flew across the Atlantic Ocean five times; saw eleven countries; went to over 43 cities and towns; visited new and old places; and was able to make it back to the States for several important events and to visit family.
Here are some of my favorite travel moments from 2016. (See my best of travel for 2015 here).
Starting off the new year in Montana
I decided to accept my job in Budapest just before Christmas in 2015, so starting off the new year with family and friends in my home state felt extra special, since I knew I would be leaving again.
Although the move to Budapest was rockier than I anticipated, it was exciting to explore the city knowing I lived here now. Seeing Budapest through the seasons has been so fun!
Read my posts about Hungary here.
Two weekend trips to Slovakia
Slovakia might take the cake as the most unexpected destination from this year. In the spring, we visited the adorable little city of Bratislava, and I was definitely charmed. In the fall, we visited the High Tatras with friends, and I was blown away by the fall colors. You don’t hear much about Slovakia in the travel world and I realized this year what a shame that is!
Read more about Slovakia here.
Spring Break in Greece
Greece was probably the most-hyped destination I visited this year. I’ve wanted to visit Greece for years–who hasn’t?–and Greece is pretty impossible to visit without having some kind of preconceived notions. On top of this, so many things went wrong on our trip–but I loved that country so freaking much. Greece was a great lesson in how letting go can make your trip!
Read more about Greece here.
E’s birthday in Transylvania
Romania is another destination that people are just starting to visit. E and I took a two-week road trip through Transylvania last summer, and I was amazed. I still have trouble describing this country, as it is so full of contradictions around every turn. In Transylvania, you’ll see carts full of hay on the highways, next to speeding cars; ancient churches and crosses next to crumbling buildings; Communist bloc apartments with the background of glorious mountain peaks. Romania is living, breathing history!
Read more about Romania here.
Birthday in Ireland
Well, technically my birthday was spent stuck in an airport in Seattle (the joys of travel, sometimes!!!!) but it was meant to be in Ireland. I visited Ireland for the first time when I was nineteen, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. This time, we decided to rent a car, which is such a great way to travel around Ireland–tiny roads and right-side driving notwithstanding.
Read more about Ireland here.
Layover in Copenhagen
We had just 24 hours in Copenhagen between Romania and Norway. I figured I would like Copenhagen, but the overall vibe and feeling of the city is just amazing. Copenhagen gets a coveted spot on the “I could actually live here” list…and pretty near the top, if I’m being honest.
Norwegian fjord cruise
Norway gets a lot of press for being one of the most beautiful countries in the world–and I found this to be completely true. I’d never been anywhere with the midnight sun before, so it was an experience! The classic (cliché?) fjord tour was incredible.
My sister’s wedding in the U.S.A.
I flew back in May for a whirlwind week in Montana to celebrate my sister’s wedding. While it was far from a vacation (I think I may have been more stressed for her wedding than my own) and two transatlantic flights in one week is no joke, I’m so glad I made it back.
Summer in America
We flew from Norway to L.A. to visit family in California. We rented a car there and drove around southern California, visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, before driving up north to join a family reunion on the lake, and to see E’s grandparents. From there, we flew to Montana for a wedding–and from there, drove to Seattle for a week with E’s family in Washington. It felt more like a business trip than anything else–you wouldn’t believe the daily schedules!–but it was so amazing to see family, be a bridesmaid in my lifelong friend’s wedding, and soak up all that we missed from America.
Road trip in Slovenia
2016 was apparently the year of road trips–Romania, Slovakia, USA, Ireland, and finally Slovenia! Slovenia is one of those places I tried to get to again and again, but something else always came up. Well, it was worth the wait! Slovenia is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited.
Read more about Slovenia here.
E and I took a night train from Budapest to Munich to meet friends for Oktoberfest. It was–in a word–crazy. I think the first picture gives you a good idea of what our moods were that day ;).
Christmas markets in Germany
We first went to a German Christmas market in 2014 and ever since, I’ve been counting down to when we could go back. We found a really cheap flight to Nuremberg right before Christmas, so we snapped it up! My friend and her new husband ended up being in Frankfurt for part of their honeymoon, so we were lucky enough to meet them–and then they came to visit us in Nuremberg! Friends + German Christmas markets = heaven.
Read more about Germany here.
Budapest for the holidays
Originally, we had a huge trip planned for Christmas–I get almost two weeks off, after all–like we did for Christmas in 2014. However, the more I planned, the more we realized it sounded like a tiring, logistical nightmare to do another big trip. So, we decided to stay put in Budapest (other than a quick few days in Germany). I’m so glad we did. It’s been amazing and rejuvenating to wander the Christmas markets here, visit cafés we rarely have time to go to, and feel no pressure to get out and see it all.
What were your favorite travel moments (near or far) of 2016?