Best Travel of the Year at Reflections Enroute

 

As this past year comes to a close, Jim and I cannot be happier about what we’ve done, what we’ve seen, and the lessons learned along the way. Who says, “You can’t teach a dog new tricks?” It seems no matter how long we’ve been doing this travel thing, we still need to be reminded about something every once in a while, let alone having a brand new “aha” moment.  We definitely wanted to share those with you along with our best travel of the year!

2nd Ave Deli, Kosher breakfast on 33rd between 2nd and 3rd Ave NYC.

I would say we learned a couple of things this past year. One was following our passions, and taking them traveling with us. We’ve always loved food. I’ll bet you’re not too surprised by that statement, and we’ve always made sure to try local foods and beverages, but just this year we decided to take that love and invest more time in it. We’ve added the quest for learning about the local products and cuisines as one of our goals both for traveling and in turn for blogging.

The best bread pudding of the year, and maybe the decade!

Rataskaevu 16, the best restaurant in Tallinn is in a haunted building.

In doing so, we’ve visited some amazing restaurants, taken a bunch of cooking lessons, and even started chasing down one of my favorite foods found all over the world, the dumpling. Now, when we’re going somewhere, we don’t just research some of the best restaurants to try native dishes, but also to see if we can arrange a few hours to learn about them from a chef, or even just a mom. These cooking lessons have brought us not only the joy of trying something new, but also of getting to know someone new on our travels. We’ve met some incredible people and heard their stories in countries like: Czech Republic, Georgia, France, Hungary, and even here in Germany.

The infamous Grafenwoehr Water tower.

Bastei Bridge – Catching the light, or trying to, at just the right moment, has been one of our goals this year.

This brings me to my next re-learnt lesson. We tend to travel outside of our immediate area as much as we can, but many times over the past year we have had some incredible experiences right here, almost in our backyard.  We went hiking in some of the most beautiful country, near the Bastei Bridge in Saxon, Germany, and we also took an amazing truffle cooking lesson and spent the night in a castle only 20 minutes from our house. It reminds us that you don’t have to invest in a lot of time, fuel, or miles to get to the next best thing.

Public transportation in Armenia leaves a little to be desired. We recommend renting a car.

Finally, we’ve been reminded that some planning is important, in fact vital, but it is also just as important to keep some time open in your schedule to be spontaneous. Every time we visit a new place, and sometimes a place we’ve been many times, we stumble across a site or experience that is either new or just one we didn’t know about previously.  Sometimes we find out too late, and have to mark it down for a future visit, but ideally we can take advantage where we are and do it right then.

One of the most beautiful and unexpected thing that happened to us this year was in Armenia. We were visiting a well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Geghard Monastery, and unbeknownst to us there is a group of singer that regularly performs there, in the carved out cave rooms, because the acoustics are so amazing. We couldn’t help but stay and listen to the haunting notes of these singers and it really became a treasured memory.

Traveling is not just about learning lessons, though, is it? It’s about discovery, newness, fun! We’ve had tons of that this year, and here are some of our superlatives:

Best road trip: Our Georgia and Armenia road trip was just amazing.  I’m sure it helped getting out of the dreary German weather and embracing spring, but whatever it was….we loved it!

Best hotel: Burg Wernberg. A castle, a 2-star Michelin restaurant, need I say more?

Best selfie: Jim and I reading a map in somewhere Armenia!

Best cultural event: Maypole dancing in the town that I live in here in northern Bavaria.  Gorgeous!

Best festival: The Lemon Festival in Menton, France. You have go to go!

Best art museum: ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, with its incredible rooftop, rainbow panorama. Wow!

Best play: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! Devon and Erika stayed up and online during the buying process and we were some of the first to see the play at the end of June.  So good.

Best exercise: We started biking all over Europe by renting bikes.  It gives you some freedom, some exercise, and some speed.  I love it!

Best all-around food: Yep, you guessed it. Dumplings!

Most surprising monument: The Georgian/Russian Friendship Monument.

And just some more of my absolute favorite photos!

Davis Monthan USAF Aircraft Boneyard

Paris

Early morning on the Charles Bridge, Prague

Venice!

What was your best travel of the past year?  Please share!

 

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28 Comments

  1. Congratulations on an exciting year of travel! The Bastei Bridge is a place I’d like to see, we passed it on the train from Prague to Dresden and wished we had had the time to explore it. I’ve heard good things about Armenia and it’s definitely off the beaten path…one day.

    All the best in 2017!

    Frank (bbqboy)

  2. What an inspirational year you have had! Looks like you have had an amazing time and learnt a lot. Must say I must agree with you about the travelling and food thing…I love eating my way around the world haha

  3. As I am sitting here with my lemon zest candle lit, I am imagining the lemon festival smelling really interesting haha It sounds like you had an amazing year! I recently want to try cooking lessons in other countries. I don’t cook at home but learning from locals would be fun.

    And if Bastei Bridge is in your backyard .. boy do you have an amazing view! Hahah

  4. It’s so great to look back on the year isn’t it?! That restaurant in Tallinn looks so cute. A few places for me to put on the bucket list for 2017 I think

  5. What a great photo essay and an amazing year of travel! I love all your photos – very professional and spooky (the one in Armenia with the bus) too!

    My best travel experience in 2016 was visiting Barcelona. I completely and unforgettably fell in love with this gorgeous city and I am going to revisit it soon!

    Cheers for all the food that we are about to consume in 2017 🙂 May it be the best so far!

    1. Dimitrov, Thanks. We probably need to go on a strict diet first and make some room, but we’re certainly looking forward to a great year of travel and food. Happy travels to you as well.

  6. You really did have a great year of travel! We only crossed countries in France. I too had my best year on record traversing the globe – I went to 11 countries and 10 states. This year I am slowing things down though.

  7. Wow, 2016 has been a great year for you both cause you have explored so many places. I as well love trying every local foods whenever I visit to one place and your travels just speak so much about your love for the local food. I’ll wish you both an amazing 2017 and more traveled to come.

  8. It looks like you guys have had such an amazing year of travel! That’s so wonderful and a cool quest to learn more about the foodie destinations rather than just enjoying the cuisine. Also, my grandmother once told me that it doesn’t matter where you are, every culture has dumplings and cabbage. And it is true.. everywhere I’ve been serves it up slightly different but they’ve got dumplings and cabbage. In Korea the dumplings are called mandu… you should come try some here too! ^^

  9. Sounds like you had an amazing time while traveling. The wheel looks so different and unique.
    Charles bridge looks so gorgeous in the morning. Thanks for sharing such wonderful pictures

  10. Wow you have had some amazing travels!! I’m super jealous of your off-the-beaten-path destinations and trips. Really incredible…it’s pictures like these that inspire me to keep traveling! Love your stories…keep them coming!

  11. It looks like you’ve had an awesome year of travel, I’m incredibly jealous that you got to see the Cursed Child! I think my favourite travels of the year has definitely got to be my two weeks in Japan. Have a super 2017!

  12. What a wonderful year of travel! I love trying locals foods when we travel too – it really helps you get to know a place. Happy travels for 2017 – may your adventures take you as near or far as you need to go!

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