Lifestyle

My 13 Best Travel Experiences of 2016

December 30, 2016

2016 has been my most traveled one yet, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. This was the year I quit my full-time job to go after something much bigger than me. I fell in love with long-term travel and gained a new appreciation for weekend getaways. I also realized how much I enjoy laying on my own couch sometimes! Gotta have balance, right? Every single trip brought amazing experiences, and some pretty bad ones too (read more on that here). It was difficult to narrow down, but below are 13 moments that impacted me the most… 

1. Seeing the Geothermal Fields in Iceland 

geothermal fields iceland 2016

There is a lot to love about Iceland, so much so that I couldn’t narrow it down to one top moment here. I can go on and on, but the short version is that this stop was one of my favorites and it wasn’t even planned (aren’t those always the best?) Námafjall Hverir fields is a place filled with steam fumaroles and mud pots, and it basically looks like you’ve landed on Mars. You’ll find this spot in Northern Iceland. 

Read more here: 20 Magical Stops in Iceland

2. Catching the Sunset Behind the Waterfall 

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall iceland

We were lucky to catch a lot of impressive sunsets (and sunrises) in Iceland, but this was one to remember. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is a gem of a place, and being able to stand right behind it as the sun went down was a breathtaking experience. I highly recommend this stop along the southern part of the ring road. 

Read more here: 20 Magical Stops in Iceland

3. Relaxing at the Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon was so peaceful that we stayed until the sun went down. We were bummed that our boat tour for the lagoon was canceled, but so glad that we visited it anyway because WOW what a place! We’ll definitely be back to do the boat tour one day. 

Read more here: 20 Magical Stops in Iceland

4. Living like a Local in Amsterdam

Amsterdam view over the canals

Funny thing about this Airbnb, it was one of our worst/best experiences. Worst because the heater and pillows sucked along with the customer service. Best because THE VIEW and location could not be topped.

I loved waking up every day to the view of the canals, and locals setting up the cafe tables below our window. I loved visiting the market and buying tulips to spruce up the apartment. And just loved stepping outside and being in one of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam.

I loved everything about that week.

Read more here: 26 Photos of Amsterdam

5. Experiencing Prague from all the Rooftops

Prague from the tower 2106

I haven’t blogged about this beautiful city yet, but let me just tell you that the Towers of Prague pass is worth it! You’ll be able to climb (literally hundreds of steps) to the top of several towers to see the city from many angles. Makes for the best pictures! 

6. Eating at Restaurant Catacombs in Cesky Krumlov

restaurant catacomb cesky krumlov

Cesky Krumlov was one of my favorite cities to explore this year! One of the most unique things we were able to do there was to eat at a restaurant located in underground catacombs. You’ll see the kitchen in the back there, and our table was the one right by it. We were able to see the chef prepare our meals on wooden charcoal just like the middle ages. 

7. Visiting the Bone Church in Kutna Hora

Sedlec Ossuary kutna hora

Whoa, how is this place real? Sedlec Ossuary is a chapel decorated with the bones of 40,000 human bodies. Oh, it was quite a sight. I’ll be writing more on that adventure soon!  

8. Eating our way Through Milan 

Dinnertime in Milan

Our taste buds were dancing all through Milan! We had such a great time lol! But there was one particular place that really stood out: Pizza AM. When we got there it was overflowing with people waiting to get a table. Locals, lots of locals. Good sign.

One of the employees/managers? came out to hand everyone samples and wine as we waited. He chatted us up for a while, and when it was our turn to almost get a table he had us come around the side to see how they make the pizza!

He introduced us to the owner, the pizza makers, and the servers around. We stood there and watched the real Italian process! Everyone was so friendly, and the pizza was soooo delicious. When we left he came to say goodbye like we were family! Such a memorable experience. 

Pizza AM Milansource: yelp.com

9. Arriving in Bellagio, Italy 

Bellagio Italy

We almost didn’t go to Bellagio. It was pouring rain the day we planned to visit, so Jorge called to cancel our bed & breakfast. We decided to just stay and explore Milan an extra day. Of course, I ended up changing my mind, so Jorge called to rebook our room hahaha!! He loves me!!

I’m so glad we went. It stopped raining when we arrived, and it turned out to be one of the prettiest corners of Italy we’ve ever seen. We bought some gelato as we wandered the streets taking pictures. It was one of those moments where you stop and realize, “this right here … this makes me so happy.”

10. Falling in love with Charleston

Rainbow Row Charleston SC

I knew Charleston was cute, but I never realized I would love it as much as I did. A friend just said that Charleston is a bloggers dream, and she is spot on. I can’t wait to go back there. 

Read more here: Why You’ll Fall in Love With Charleston

11. Watching the Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains

Sunrise over the Smoky Mountains Newfound Gap

The entire Smoky Mountains/Blue Ridge Parkway fall drive was stunning! Hands down one of the best places to explore in the fall. And, seeing the sunrise at an elevation of 5,046 feet over the Smokies is an experience to be had. 

Read more here: Fall Drive Through the Smokies

12. Getting my Color fix in New Orleans

New Orleans Colorful

Yesss New Orleans! I am so glad I finally made it out to this vibrant city. My heart and camera were so happy exploring all the boldly painted neighborhoods. It’s another place I can’t wait to revisit. 

Read more here: New Orleans, A Color Lovers Guide

13. Caving in Puerto Rico 

Cueva Ventana Puerto Rico

Cueva Ventana was one of the coolest cave tours I’ve ever done. I had to walk past bats, cockroaches, and God knows what other critters to get to this view. As squirmy as I am, it was totally worth it. I had so many awesome experiences in Puerto Rico, but I’ll save that for a later post…

So that’s that, 2016 ends tomorrow. Thinking back through these moments reminds me of how good God is, and how excited I am to see what’s in store for 2017. Till next year lovely readers. Thank you for following along!😘 

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kristen Kellogg - Border Free Travels January 5, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    You had some seriously incredible adventures! I think my fave was seeing the Geothermal Fields in Iceland and the waterfall sunset. That’s a new bucket list item for me. Thanks so much for sharing!

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