2016 was a pretty big year for us in a lot of ways. Aaron finished his program at Cambridge, we successfully kept a little human being alive for a whole year, and we traveled to 15 countries together. I wouldn’t trade any of our adventures this last year, but here are the ten that easily come to mind as our favorite travel experiences.
Here’s to looking forward to another great year of discovery.
1 Jumping into Lake Como
We’ve always dreamed of a beach house, but Lake Como might have converted us to lake house living. There’s really no better backdrop for a cool, fresh water plunge than the soaring mountains and stately Italian villas lining Lake Como.
2 Hiking in the Cinque Terre
Hiking between the five seaside villages in the Cinque Terre was beyond picturesque. And cooling off afterwards with a dip in the ocean and indulging in focaccia, gelato and seafood made me want to go hiking in the Cinque Terre, especially the Sentiero Azzurro every day.
3 Swimming in Krka National Park
If I had to imagine one of the most magical swimming spots in the world, Krka would still be better. The water is a bright blue-green from the limestone deposits, and it seems like there are layers and layers of waterfalls, crashing down in the background. Getting there early and having it all to ourselves made it pretty special too.
4 Eating Pizza Three Times a Day in Naples
Seriously, how could we not. There’s no better pizza than real Neapolitan margherita pizza, so we figured when in Rome.
5 Hiking in Romania
One of the most epic hiking experiences ever. If I was Julie Andrews, I would’ve most definitely broken into song to proclaim that the hills are alive. The views of the heavily wooded Carpathians, the lodge at the top serving hot and hearty Romanian soup, and the herd of sheep and cows roaming the open hills made for a surreal experience.
6 Riding a Donkey & Watching the Sunset in Santorini
If there’s two things that simply are Santorini, it’s a jostling up the steps of Amoudi Bay to Oia on a donkey, and watching the soft pastel sky go dark over a backdrop of white cave houses and endless sea.
7 Seeing the David in Florence
This is more mine than Aaron’s, but since I’m putting this list together, I couldn’t leave it out. The David is truly a transcendent masterpiece; it’s blows my mind that Michelangelo could take a slab of marble and make that. Walking into the main hall of the Accademia was one of those rare moments where I stood in awe, even in the busy crowd.
8 Riding Bikes to Guincho Beach
The coastline between Cascais and Guincho beach has rugged edges and sweeping sand dunes, but this experience was made all the more fun as we pedaled on single speed Bicas that are free to borrow.
9 Eating Gelato in Capri
We must be thinking with our taste buds. We never turn down an opportunity for good gelato, so we had plenty to compare to when we got the freshly made cones and scoops of hazelnut and chocolate gelato from Buonocore Gelateria. Hands down, best gelato we’ve ever had, so we had to go back for seconds. And views of the bluer than blue waters off the coast of Capri make this a moment I could relive again and again.
10 Snorkeling in Aruba
We’re suckers for white sand, warm water, and cute colorful fishes. This was our only snorkeling of the year, and it was good snorkeling at that! This next year, we’re making it a goal to get scuba certified so we can make some deeper dives.