This blog post, too, is late. Most bloggers had their “Year in Review” up the second the New Year chimed in. I, on the other hand, needed a full 18 days (and maybe a few bottles of wine) to figure out how I felt about 2016. Needless to say, if you need 18 days to reflect upon a year, maybe it wasn’t your best yet? I came to the conclusion, after an emotional year of adjusting in a new country, that just maybe, I hadn’t taken advantage of my full year of supposed unemployed bliss.
In reflecting upon the year, the first few months were slow. I finished up my final law exams and we bought a house. Money was not being directed towards travelling at all. Nonetheless, we were still lucky enough to take a few trips away. Here’s where we went in 2016:
Durban & Cape Town, South Africa
Our first holiday in 2016 was actually a two week visit back to South Africa in April. We spent a week in Durban (my hometown) and a week in Cape Town (Craig’s hometown). We celebrated Craig’s 30th, our engagement and a best friend’s baby shower in a matter of days. It was chaos, and I’d probably never do it again – at least not in such a rushed manner – but we learn from these mistakes. Our highlights of the trip have to be the night we spent at the Oyster Box Hotel as well as wine-tasting at Delaire Graaf in Franschhoek (one of my favourite places in the world).
A fun little weekend getaway in June for absolutely no reason at all other than just getting out of Barrhead and Edmonton. It’s only a 4-hour drive, so this wasn’t the only weekend we whipped off to Calgary in 2016. We also went for a weekend in April just before our trip to South Africa. We love the foodie culture in Calgary and we pretty much stuffed ourselves full the whole trip – see evidence here. But a fun highlight was the Shakespeare in the Park, pictured below. I have a feeling Calgary is just going to be one of those cities we see a lot of.
Vancouver, British Columbia
We had a quick 24-hours in the west coast city to get our Schengen visas before our European holiday in September (A South African’s struggle). The highlight of this trip? The food. All of it. But at the top of the list had to be the amazing dinner we had at Hawksworth.
Potsdam & Berlin, Germany
Our beautiful friends, Les & James, got married in Potsdam in September, and of course that was the main event and main reason we were heading to Europe. The wedding was the highlight, no doubt about it. We had an amazing weekend full of activities in Potsdam and this too, deserves it’s own blog post. What I loved about this trip, is had Les and James not had their wedding there, who knows whether we would have ever seen this city? Life lesson learned: The best life experiences can come from seeing places you didn’t think were on your list to see.
Berlin had not been high on our to-do-list but we were heading that way, so we decided to stay on for two days. We walked, and walked, and walked. The sun was belting, the temps were as high as 35/36 degrees celsius, we were suffering from a bit of jet lag and I had basically only packed clothes for a mild-Fall vacation. The highlight: sleeping, in a really nice hotel, with aircon. In all seriousness, we loved the i31 Boutque Hotel. Check out the blog post of our 2-day Berlin trip here.
Our favourite city so far, this was the second time we had been to the City of Love. It’s so difficult to pick a highlight! It really deserves a whole post to itself. We spent nearly a full week on our European holiday here, but one of our favourite days was a quiet Sunday morning stroll when we popped into Shakespeare & Co, grabbed a book each, grabbed a coffee next door and continued exploring the streets. Find the full 5-day Paris itinerary here.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
We only spent three-ish days in this city and it seemed way too short. Nonetheless, the highlight of this trip was the spontaneous evening activities the night before we were due to leave. We booked an evening performance at the Concertgebouw and on the way stopped in at Taiko for dinner. I still dream about the Forbidden Soup I had there.
This one-night stay was another spontaneous trip. We were itching for a day at the spa and a really good massage and we figured, heading to the spa at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge was our best bet. The highlight, was obviously the massage. It was amazing. So amazing that there are no pictures as evidence. Phones were hidden away in my locker and forgotten about while we enjoyed one of the best couple’s massages we’ve ever had.
Craig’s mom had arrived to spend Christmas with us, so we wanted to take her somewhere new. It was last minute and relatively cheap, but we had an amazing time and she loved the town! The highlight: the Juniper & Bistro Hotel. We spent so much time sitting by their fireplace having drinks, warming up from the very cold days and the staff were just incredible.
And that’s a wrap on 2016.
Did you visit any of these in 2016? Tell me about your holidays (comment below!)
Soon, I’ll be posting about what’s in store for 2017. Be sure to look out for that!
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