Some days have passed already since the beginning of 2017. Nevertheless I feel a strong desire to write a summary about this beautiful travel year 2016. Which were the highlights?
2016: A litte bit of statistics
Initially some figures regarding the passed year, because it’s fun.
Countries I’ve visited: 14
New counries: 7 (Laos, Südkorea, Zypern, Malta, Portugal, Kuba und Kanada)
This means I’m counting 57 countries and 35 together with my husband Chris.
On New Year’s Eve these figures just made me happy. But this doesnt’ mean anything in terms of travel quality. That’s why I will now tell you some stories about my highlights and experiences last year. I also will give you some travel tips.
Traveltip of January: Sri Lanka
We started the year attending a wonderful rooftop party at Sri Lanka’s Indian Ocean. There I saw a pelican flewing by! The party was a nice experience and the travel year 2016 couldn’t have started better. Sri Lanka is a great country with gorgeous beaches and fascinating wildlife. We travelled Sri Lanka partly by train and partly with a driver. Nevertheless the Sri Lanka trip had its Ups and Downs. To some extent we felt ripped off.. Otherwise there were many awesome experiences, dass ich immer wieder schnell mit which made me reconcile with this country easily. Very special moment: Seeing a leopard from a near close perspective in the wild. Sri Lanka is terrific in general. I would love to return. Learn about what can you experience in Sri Lanka!
This was my first trip to Central America. The more exciting it was. We did a road trip through large parts of the country. Unfortunately, also here we faced the problem of being ripped off. Nevertheless, the country is a beauty: The color of the sea e.g. is incredible. Moreover the is an outstanding architecture and friendly homestays (Casas Particulares). And there is the Salsa beat…. Cuba reawakened my interest in dancing. I want to follow up on this in 2017. Return to Cuba? Any time with pleasure. Read more about how it was like to travel in Cuba!
On the same trip we had a stop over day in Toronto. We liked the first glimpse into the Canadian city with its great skyline and multiethnic inhabitants preserving their cultural heritage (one of the most tolerant cities in the world).
Mai: Lisbon and Venice
In May I visited the beautiful city at the River Tejo for the first time. In Lisbon I liked the architectural details like the many different tiles. I also enjoyed searching a Fado restaurant in the old cobbled lanes of the Alfama district. As a photographer of course I also loved the old tram. The cream tarts were so delicious at Pastéis de Belém that Chris wrote an article about it and I was busy taking photos. I hope we will return to Lisbon. A real highlight was also a visit to the coastal fisherman village Ericeira with its white blue architecture.
In this month Chris and also travelled to Venice for the first time together and visited my dear aunt. On this trip we explored the islands of the lagoon. We loved the Byzantine architecture on Torcello island and the colorful Burano houses. On Burano I felt a strong desire to go on a photo walk. Learn more about this in my blog post!
The summer was a great pleasure because we did some trips to South Europe. It’s a brilliant region to be during summer for me. We spent one week on the beautiful island of Cyprus in the southern Mediterranean. Almost every day we went on a tour by car. I loved the crystal clear sea as well as narrow lanes in the mountain villages. I also was impressed by the capital Nicosia with its buzzing street life. It was very hot on Cyprus in June but we liked it this way. You can learn here, why Cyprus is much more than just a beach.
Two travel tips in July: Lake Garda and Slovenia
Lake Garda is so close to us (we live in Munich) that we can easily do a weekend trip. Last time I was there as a child. Actually the Lake didn’t attract me that much as it’s crowded. But Chris motivated me, to check outv the part located in Lombardy in the north west. And I was really amazed. I highly recommend to explore the winding streets with many cyprus on a road trip. Very very beautiful. In this region the small town Limone sul Garda is especiall picturesque. Therefore I dedicated an own article to it. This was the most popular article of last year. I was very happy about this,.
We spent another weekend in Slovenia. Also here I was the last time when I was not grown up yet and I didn’t see much then. The place I liked most on our weekend trip was the Slovenian shore of the Mediterranean. There I appreciated Venetian architecture and a wonderful sea. My camera especially loved the small town Piran at the sea. Do you like to learn more about Piran?
August: Malta and Gozo
An extended weekend was enough time to see some amazing parts of Malta and its smaller and wilder neighbouring island Gozo. On Gozo we did a breathtaking roadtrip. My highlight: Bathing in a deep blue grotto. I was also impressed by the capital Valletta with ist very colorful architecture. There are also sea bathing opportunities. Chris loved to explore the different locations of Game of Thrones film sets. I want to go back to Malta so badly… You find more about my experiences on the contrasting mediterranean islands here.
October: South Korea
South Korea might be a country whis is generally travelled, after having seen large parts of Asia. We backpacked two weeks there. But also with a backpack you can be a flashpacker: We did some domestic flights and also went to SPAs or skybars after days with many people and packed with sights. After this we went hiking again in a national park or on a former volcano. You see we had a contrastful and beautiful time there.
On the other hand in South Korea we also had our worst travel experience in 2016 We ordered hotpot with seafood and had to see how animals were thrown into the boiling water alive. We lost our appetite. I had stopped eating meat before and had lived predominantly vegan. But since this I don’t eat any animals anymore.
The megacity Busan with its skyline and many beaches was a nice discovery. Ich want to go back just because of Spaland, which is Asia’s largest Spa. I found paradise there.
In Seoul we stayed a whole week in Gangnam. (I so much wanted to find out what Gangnam Style is about…) Close to our AirBnB and in general in Korea there are great cafes. I always love beautiful cafes. You can read in my blog post what makes cafes so special over there.
November: Venice and Veneto
Again we visited my aunt in Venice (she lives in nearby Treviso). My little sister travelled with us and we spend a nice day in the city, which is much less crowded in this season. As a cafe fan I needed to visit world-famous Cafe Florian at Piazza San Marco again. Of course I also needed to do a lot og photography. After delightful Italian grocery shopping we spent the next day in Asolo verbracht, an amazing hilltop town at the edge oft he Alps. I didn’t know Asolo before. It’s a real hidden gem and feels a bit like Tuscany.
Dezember: Dubai, Laos und Bangkok
On New Year’s Eve we wanted to have a great party in a sky bar like the year before. At some place, where it’s really warm. As I felt the desire to visit a new country again and Bangkok is always a good idea, we decided to combine it with Laos. Our flight with Emirates included a stopover with a stay overnight in Dubai. We spent Christmas Eve there.
It was already my fourth stay in Dubai and the third time together with Chris. Having lunch outside at Dubai Marina we were introduced to sunshine and holiday feeling. Later at the airport we handed over Christmas presents, which I found a funny experience.
Laos was a fantastic discovery. My first impression was true: Green, peaceful and authentically Asian. In Luang Prabang and surroundings we had a pleasant time. We visited many sights on this trip, but also spent much time relaxing. Here I will show you that Luang Prabang is a travel tip.
In Bangkok we didn’t visit sights this time (my third visit). Instead we just enjoyed the modern part of the city, shopped, relaxed and celebrated the new year appropriately. I would have loved to stay a bit longer, as the city with both its many traditional markets and also its modern face is among my favorites.
Apart from this we spent some beautiful weekends in Austria, e.g. to research for our article on Austrian coffee house culture or on 2.000 meter high mountains. Just a fantastic year. I hope that 2017 will have the same spirit and bring new travel tips.
This post is also available in de_DE.