2016 has been an odd one for a lot of reasons, but I have to say, for the most part, my year was pretty awesome. I was lucky enough to travel to four new countries and to revisit two more. Despite paying extortionate rent for my London flat and having a full time job, I’ve been able to make time for lots of travel, something which I’m really grateful for.
So, in the spirit of reflecting on the past year as we embark on a new one, here are my top five travel moments of 2016:
5. Exploring the beautiful Irish coast with great friends
Back in a March, I went on a weekend break to Belfast with seven of my friends from work. Although the trip was to celebrate someone’s birthday, we managed to fit in some sightseeing along the coast to the Carrick- A- Rede rope bridge. Whilst there, one of my friends insisted that we stop taking photos and just enjoyed the moment and surroundings for a little while. I did just that and was blown away by how beautiful the coastline was. We often think we have to head off to far away exotic places to experience beauty, but this part of Northern Ireland is proof that we have it (almost) on our doorstep.
The beautiful Northern Ireland coastline
Beautiful views in every direction
4. Hiking in Austria
I’m lucky enough to get taken on holiday for a weekend by my company every summer; this time we headed to Wolfgangsee Lake in Austria. During the weekend, we hiked up a hill/small mountain and were rewarded with the most magnificent view. A pinch-me moment.
Looking out over Wolfgangsee lake
3. Sunset and aperitif in Rome
This summer, I took my first trip to Italy and boy it did not disappoint. Rome was everything I imagined and more. My favourite moment of the trip was sitting with my other half, drinks and aperitif in hand and watching the sun set from a rooftop bar. After the bustle of the city and the tourist attractions, it was great to get away from it and relax with stunning views (and an Aperol Spritz, obviously).
The sunset over Rome
The sunset over Rome
2. Sunrise at Angkor Wat
In November, I finally visited Angkor Wat, something that has been on my bucket list for quite a while. And oh my, it was amazing. I joined a small cycle tour and before setting off we watched the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Even with the crowds of people, it was a surreal and memorable experience.
Sunrise @ Angkor Wat
1. Wandering the streets of Hanoi
My trip to Cambodia and Vietnam was the first solo trip I’ve ever been and oh man did I love it. Although I adore travelling with friends/family/my boyfriend, there was something very satisfying about navigating around Asia on my own. My top travel moment for 2016 has to be the day I spent wandering through the streets of Hanoi solo. Taking in the sights, getting lost, drinking coffee by the lake with a good book.. It sounds cheesy and very cliche but I felt at one with myself and it was a very empowering feeling. Hanoi is also a beautiful and buzzing city, definitely my favourite in Asia.
Ngoc Son temple, Hanoi
Relaxing by Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
I’m really looking forward to many more great travel moments in 2017, with trips planned to Copenhagen, Poland and Cuba so far. Happy new year and here’s to an awesome year of making memories..
What were your travel highlights of 2016? Where do you hope to visit in 2017?