Wow 2016, what a year you’ve been! At the start of every year, I can’t imagine how the new year can possibly top the previous year…and yet, it always manages to do so. 2016, you’ve been the best year yet. I finished business school, graduated, started dating an amazing guy, moved to Hamburg, began a new job, and got a 3-year visa for Germany! Here are some of the (travel) highlights of 2016!
Here is a look at my 2016 by numbers:
+ 40 flights taken including 8 transatlantic flights
+ 16 countries visited including 6 new countries
+ Too many buses and trains to count!
I rang in my 25th birthday by visiting a bucketlist location – Malta! January was the perfect time to visit as it was low tourist season and the weather barely pushed back 70 F/21 C (I can’t stand hot weather!). I got to explore this wonderful island with my sister and a great friend.
Halfway through each semester in Edinburgh, I got a one-week break. For my break in February, my sister and I headed to Budapest and Bratislava. I had been to both cities before but was so excited to share them with my sister! Unfortunately, we had rainy, cold, and grey weather the entire time but still managed to enjoy ourselves!
After our time in Bratislava, we took the one-hour train over to Vienna to meet the Prince who flew down from Hamburg. Unfortunately, I stayed in bed the entire time with strep throat and a horrible fever! My sister and the Prince had a fabulous time though :)
Post to Read: Vienna in 6 Photos
To make up for the failed trip to Vienna, the Prince and I decided to meet up in London. As the biggest fan of British Politics (he watches Prime Minister’s Questions every week), he was so excited to finally tour the Palace of Westminster!
Post to read: A Day at British Parliament
I took a brief weekend trip to Kiel, Germany, the hometown of the Prince. While still quite a bit chilly, we were able to explore the sailing venue of the 1972 Olympics. Kiel is one of the premier sailing locations in the entire world due to its location on the Baltic Sea! It was also nice to explore the Prince’s hometown with him.
May was one of my craziest travel months ever! I started out the month by visiting my favorite city in the entire world – Heidelberg, Germany! After arriving back to Edinburgh, I flew almost immediately to the USA to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. One of the best surprises ever!
Post to read: A Fairytale Town
After flying back from my whirlwind trip in the USA, I briefly stopped in Hamburg for a fraternity ball in Kiel before heading on a romantic trip to Alicante, Spain with the Prince. While I had some unfortunate luck there (a broken camera as well as a lost ATM card!), I took an amazing kayaking excursion along the coast.
Post to read: Kayaking Costa Blanca
The month ended with a solo trip around Poland, another country on my bucketlist. I was able to visit Gdansk, Warsaw, and Krakow along with a day trip to the Salt Mines of Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps.
Posts to read: Reflections on Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps and
Gallivanting in Gdansk
After doing a solo trip through Poland, I met up with my sister in Lithuania. Although we stayed in the capital city of Vilnius, we took a day trip out to the adorable lakeside resort of Trakai.
We then took a bus ride and headed up north to Riga, Latvia. An extremely vibrant and lively city, I actually ran into a university friend from the United States! My sister and I spent a day hiking through the gorgeous hills and castles of Sigulda.
My sister and I made a short stop in Tallinn, Estonia before continuing onwards to Finland. Although we only had 24 hours in Tallinn, we managed to take advantage of all the delicious food that I had had during my first visit to Estonia in 2014.
We ended our amazing trip through the Baltics in Finland! The weather was absolutely perfect and we enjoyed the delicious coffee culture there. One of the days, we took a ferry out to the island of Suomenlinna and sampled their craft brewery. I can’t wait to eventually get back to Finland and explore more of the islands.
The month of June ended in the Prince’s hometown of Kiel, Germany! We went to Kieler Woche (Kiel Week), the largest sailing event in the world. While in Germany, we also attended the wedding of a dear friend. Surprisingly, the weather managed to hold and there was no rain!
Post to Read: Kieler Woche
July brought one of my biggest and most exciting trips of 2016…the Prince’s first visit to the USA! We spent two weeks in the USA and managed to visit Chicago; my hometown of Washington, D.C.; Virginia Beach; and my adopted hometown of Traverse City, Michigan.
I made one of the most exciting and terrifying decisions of my life in August and moved to Hamburg, Germany full-time. After accepting a job offer in June, I was finally able to be in the same city (and live together) with the Prince!
Post to read: Life Lately in Hamburg, Germany
After a crazy spring and summer, the Prince and I had a low-key September and spent the time exploring the areas around Hamburg. We managed to catch fantastic, sunny weather when we went apple picking in the Altes Land of Germany!
Post to read: Apple Picking in Altes Land
Towards the end of the month, we headed up to Kiel for a weekend to see the christening of the Prince’s mom’s sailboat! I’m such a sucker for anything nautical ;)
I started out October with a wonderful, and much-needed, girls’ weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark. Less than a 5-hour train ride away from Hamburg, it is the perfect weekend destination!
VIVA LA CUBA! For my mom’s 60th birthday, my entire family headed to Cuba to experience the island recently off-limits to Americans. What a fantastic experience it was for all of us :)
A short train ride from Hamburg, the city of Lübeck is a charming weekend escape. The Prince and I headed there one weekend to explore the city and take in all the autumn colors!
To celebrate our one-year anniversary, the Prince and I headed to Bruges, Belgium to take in all the delicious beer, cheese, and chocolate! While the weather was a bit rainy, it didn’t deter our eating abilities!
Post to read: A Romantic Weekend in Bruges
Before our flight back to Germany from Belgium, we stopped over for an afternoon in Ghent. We indulged in some delicious pizza and walked around the old canals of the city.
The final month of 2016 was spent at Christmas markets, Christmas markets, Christmas markets! I took a solo trip to southern Germany one weekend to visit the adorable city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and experience the Christmas market!
Post to Read: Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Christmas Market
My final adventure before heading home to the USA for Christmas was a stop by Nuremberg’s world-famous Christmas market! The photo only shows about half the Christmas market on Nuremberg’s Market Square!
My Plans for 2017!
2016 was a great year and I can’t wait for all my adventures in 2017! Current plans include:
+ Disney World Paris
+ Karneval in Cologne
+ Ski vacation to Serfaus, Austria (finally, the Alps!)
+ London over Easter
+ Faroe Islands in May
+ Aspen, Colorado in September
I would also love to go to Cyprus and Romania as they are the only two EU countries I have yet to visit! Can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!