With the end of each year and the beginning of a new one, I like to review what I have achieved so far in various directions. Travel and discovery of new places is no exception and with regards to this aspect of my life, I think I can consider the past year as a very satisfying for my wanderlust. Here I share with you my 2017 Travel Year in Review and I hope that this list of destinations I had the chance to visit during 2017 will somehow inspire you, maybe you will find here an idea for your next holidays!
Solo trip to Lisbon (March)
I had always been tempted by visiting Lisbon. Many of my friends seemed to be excited with the idea but nobody really showed the interest to the point of buying plane tickets. I don’t like waiting and so I just went on my own and took it as a precious time only for me and my camera. And you know what? It just turned out as one of my best travel experiences! Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel with friends and my boyfriend or even with my mum or sister. It’s just the fact that when you travel alone, everything is much more intense and you get into the local culture much quicker. I also did an awesome photo walk in the oldest part of the town with local photographer Miguel, tasted some fair great food with Carmen, spent one day in Sintra where I visited a beautiful fairytale castle and the rest of the time enjoyed the atmosphere in Lisbon and visited main points of interest (for tips about Lisbon, see the list of experiences to have in Lisbon).
Puerto Rico: Three weeks in a country of happy people (April)
For the annual holidays, we wanted to go to the South or Central America, to a Spanish-speaking place. We wanted to visit either Argentina or Cuba, but then 3 weeks for Argentina was too short and Cuba was has become more and more touristic. And I admit, I missed the sea. I missed swimming. A lot. And so the Caribbean was still an option. Then we were listening to our beloved Calle13 and the choice was immediately clear! From where they are? Ok, let’s go to Puerto Rico! When I discovered that the bookshops in Brussels sell no guide to Puerto Rico translated into French, I was happy, and I was even happier when the plane from Madrid to San Juan was half empty. Well, until I realized that the majority of tourists come to PR from the US… 😀
Isla del Encanto surprised us with beautiful beaches, amazingly kind and happy people and their typical meal called mofongo (yes, again food…). We did a road trip in the mainland visiting Ponce, the dry forest and coffee plantations in the South and the tropical forest and beaches on the East coast. After that, we enjoyed the best beaches in Culebra Island and wild horses in Vieques. An unforgettable experience was also learning something about Porto Rican food from our walking foodie tour during our stay in the colorful capital San Juan.
Long wine degustation weekend in Alsace (June)
As a wine lover, Alsace had been on my list for quite some time already. We decided to go for a wine degustation trip to France with friends during one dinner at home but until one week before departure, it was still not clear whether it would be Bourgogne or Alsace. 😀 So I am happy we chose for the second one as I fell in love with this part of France! There is such a huge concentration of beautifully decorated colorful villages, that you need to slap yourself several times whether you are dreaming or not. Hunawihr, Riquewihr, Eguisheim, and then, of course, the famous Colmar or Strasbourg… simply amazing! I have plenty of nice pictures and some tips, publishing them hopefully this spring, so again, stay tuned! 🙂
Sunny weekend in Zoutelande (June)
When it’s warm and sunny in Belgium during the summer, people tend to head to the coast. But we don’t do that anymore. The roads are flooded with cars and it takes time to get there. This is why we usually have been heading more North recently, to Zoutelande in the Netherlands. It is not the Carribean but it has its own charm even with the wind. 🙂 When cold lying on the beach, we took our bikes and rode along the dunes or in the forest, or just went for a walk in the small and cute village.
Nostalgic weekend in Madrid (June)
I first visited Madrid in 2009 with some Erasmus friends because we got plane tickets for 18 euros. 😛 By that time, we did the most important sightseeing and visited all three important museums. Seb lived there for 4 years and so we always wanted to go there again together. And so we did and enjoyed it again a little. No busy rushing to see X and Y, but just enjoying the city and its summer atmosphere, relaxing walks in the parks, tasting some good food and different tapas, talking with locals and so on. It was just the Gay Pride weekend, so the city was even more colorful.
Week at home in the CZ with the little Puppy (August)
I normally don’t include my travels home in my travel year reviews, but this one was special. My parents got a new dog, with a nickname Puppy (which sounds funny in Czech, and this nickname actually turned into her name later). In mid-August, I took a week off to enjoy a little bit of summer it in my hometown and also in the cottage in the countryside. Did a lot of walks, carrying the little one in my arms when she was tired, we played with her, lost some shoes and so on… you get the idea. She is a very hyperactive and a wild dog, so funny and cute!
Iceland Roadtrip (October)
Similar to Lisbon, Iceland was almost an obligation this year. We did a weekly road trip with my cousin and visited some of the most breath-taking places I have ever seen in nature. From the beautiful Snaefellness peninsula, we continued via the North to the South-East, amazed by the glacier lagoon, black sand beaches or stunning waterfalls, and ended the trip by touring the Golden Triangle and Reykjavík. We did also snorkeling between two continents in Silfra fissure in the cleanest but cold water – an amazing activity and highly recommended – read about our experience here.
Beautiful sunny autumn day in Durbuy (November)
First November is always holidays here in Belgium and so we made a trip to one of the most beautiful places in Belgium. The smallest town in the world, as Durbuy likes to be called, lies in the Belgian Ardennes and its historical center is well preserved. It was a beautiful sunny and quite a warm day, so we had a lovely and relaxing walk. You can read more about Durbuy here.
Christmas Markets in Dresden (December)
Every year, we like to go to Christmas Markets in Germany. This year again, we went with the female part of our family to Dresden, the closest German town for us. More pictures from Dresden can be found here.
My first visit to Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad (December)
Last year right after Christmas, I finally visited the famous Karlovy Vary town, also known as Carlsbad. We went with part of my family and spent there a lovely day just walking in the city, eating Czech food, drinking the warm salty but healing water, looking for a cake worth its price, and walking up a viewpoint. The imperial architecture in Karlovy Vary is impressive, there are plenty of luxurious hotels, boutiques, and you don’t need to speak Czech, Russian will do. 😛 In July, the Film Festival takes place there, but if you come in the winter, you can experience a calm town and don’t forget that the ski resort Klinovec is just a few km away! We were skiing for two days there afterward and enjoying some nice slopes connected together with 3-4 lifts.
Ok, so this was my 2017 travel year in review. I haven’t bought an apartment, nor I got my first (and only) Louboutin, but I can say I lived well the past year and these valuable memories will stay forever until Alzheimer takes over.
Tell me now, where have you been to during the last year and can you name one place that you liked the most? If you are interested in more information about the places I mentioned here and you don’t find it on the blog, just drop me an email or ask in the below comments and I try to reply to you asap.
I wish you a very nice and happy new year friends, may it be filled with not only good food and amazing travels but also with good health and love, quality time with family and friends, fun and laughter, good music and reads, long walks, romantic sunsets and many hugs with your beloved ones!