2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap
Our second year living abroad has brought us many more adventures and filled up our travel journal that much more. It was hard for us to imagine that we could top our first year but we were able to put what we learned from those trips to make the most out of our 2016 travels. When we made the leap across the pond from Boston to London in February 2015, we had grand intentions of fulfilling our dream of living a life of adventure. For this chapter in our lives, it has been our goal to get the most out of Europe for however many years we wish to stay. This is our time to find ourselves caught in the wild whirl of exploring new cultures so that we can better understand the world as a whole and ourselves as individuals.
2016 started (almost) literally on a plane when we found ourselves off to Salzburg on January 1st. It was the perfect way to kick off the year and reiterate just why we moved. We absolutely fell in love with the alps and found ourselves back there in September with trips to places like the Amalfi Coast, Montenegro, and Berlin in between. It has been a heck of a year—one we will never forget—so we're jumping on here to recap the trips that made 2016 so magical.
Salzburg, Austria • January 1 - 3, 2016
On January 1st we couldn't help ourselves and we headed straight to Salzburg. The city has become a favorite spot for us—so much so that we returned later in the year. Salzburg's old town has quaint cobblestoned streets, a running river, and beautiful vantage points from above. We enjoyed the nice three day weekend exploring all its nooks and crannies but one of my all time favorite moments was taking the cablecar up to the top of the snow alps to hike around. It doesn't snow much or often in London so it made it extra special when on our final day the snow started falling giving the weekend the perfect ending.
Amsterdam, netherlands • March 25 - 28, 2016
For Easter weekend, we try to get out of London and take advantage of the vacation days. Last year we went off to Paris for our first trip after our move. This year we decided to head to Amsterdam. We took the train right out of Kings Cross and enjoyed a weekend strolling along the canals, enjoying the quaint shops and eateries, and visiting the Anne Frank house. My favorite part of the city was the architecture of the old buildings, though. I couldn't stop looking up at all the detailed homes and old warehouses. Since the season was just changing, we didn't have the opportunity to see Amsterdam in full bloom so we were sure to make our way back while we were visiting the Netherlands during tulip season just a few weeks later.
Lille, France • April 22, 2016
While my parents were visiting London back in the Spring, we wanted to get them across the channel—even if that meant for just a day. We chose to check out Lille, France because it was an easy short train ride from London and was doable in a day. While the small city is a bit run down, it has some typical French shopping streets and quaint parts to wander through. We enjoyed picking up some chocolate and macarons to enjoy on the ride back too!
Tulip seasons in The netherlands • April 30 - may 8, 2016
We made our way back to the Netherlands for a second time for their famous tulip season. For the week, we based ourselves out of Haarlem, driving around the small towns and stopping at every tulip field we had the chance to. While I had seen pictures of the magnificent fields, I was completely blown away seeing them in person. The scale and the vibrant colors took my breath away. It was also really fun getting to see some of the smaller city and towns throughout the Netherlands. We even found a creperie in the middle of the woods!
isle of Skye, Scotland • May 13 - 15, 2016
In May, my sister and friend were visiting us in London. Together we decided it would be fun to head up to the Isle of Skye to take in some of its beautiful scenery. We stayed in Portree and spent our time hiking and exploring all that we could in the 3 days that we had. This has to be one of the most naturally beautiful locations I have ever been to and we have been aching to return ever since. From sheep roaming around in every which way, to waterfalls and stunning sunsets, there's not much more you could want when looking to escape to nature.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg • May 28 - 30, 2016
Sometimes when we can't decide where we want to go when we have a long weekend, we search for the cheapest flights and see what comes up. That's how Luxembourg City made it's way onto our radar. It was the perfect spot to hang out for an easy low key weekend!
Trier, Germany • May 29, 2016
While we were in Luxembourg City, we took one day to hop on the train and explore Trier, Germany. This was the first time I had stepped foot in Germany and it wasn't my last for the year. Trier's old Roman ruins and German architecture gave us plenty to explore for the day!
Croatia & MOntenegro • June 4 - 12, 2016
For another one of out longer trips, we decided to head back to Croatia—we're just truly in love with that country. This time we decided to pair it up with Montenegro. After spending some time in Dubrovnik at the beach and taking the boat to Cavtat and Lokrum, we headed to the Bay of Kotor. We weren't fully sure what to expect from Montenegro but we can assure you it ended up being beautiful with plenty of small historic towns scattered around to explore. We even took our chances and went paragliding!
Berlin, Germany • June 22 - 26, 2016
Every once and awhile Rico has to travel for work. When the opportunity came up, I decided to hop on the plane with him so we could extend the stay and see the city. It also happened to be my birthday weekend so it worked out to be a great way to celebrate! We were surprised how quickly we fell in love with the city while we rowed a boat in the park and then enjoyed learning about the history on a walking tour. The deep history of the city is one of the main reasons why we decided to go to Bratislava later in the summer. After experiencing Berlin, we wanted to take a similar trip to learn more.
Italy's Amalfi Coast • July 2 - 12, 2016
For a nice summer escape we made our way to Italy's Amalfi Coast. Going to Italy feels a bit like home for us. Maybe for Rico it's because he's 100% Italy, but for me I think the familiarity and love comes from it being the first place I ever went to in Europe. The Amalfi Coast reaffirmed these feelings for us as we enjoyed many days by the water, eating pizza, strolling through the streets, hopping on ferries, and hiking through the mountains. It was the perfect mix of everything for us and keeps Italy in our hearts forever.
Bratislava, Slovakia • August 27 - 29, 2016
After going to Berlin earlier in the summer, we were on the search for something similar to experience. Bratislava offered us just that with its mix of old historic streets and communist architecture. We took a bike tour here to dig deeper and see the not so pretty parts. Putting the communist style aside, Bratislava's old town is beautiful and low key. It felt a little off the beaten track and not so busy because of that. We also spent our time hiking up to the castle nearby as well as exploring Devin Castle just a short bus ride away. It was a nice easy weekend exploring somewhere that wasn't at the top of our list but now we highly recommend!
AUstrian & German Alps • September 3 - 11, 2016
The alps had been calling our names ever since kicking off the new year in Salzburg. This time we decided to stay longer than just a weekend and really explore. Hoping between Austria and Germany, we walked high up along top of the alps, took boats through the lakes, and wandered through the beautiful towns—including the noteworthy Hallstatt. This was one of the most refreshing trips we had ever been on. Breathing in the fresh mountain air and getting to immerse ourselves in nature was the perfect way to end the summer. I can confidentially say we will return to the alps many more times in our future!
Lisbon, Portugal • October 18 - 23, 2016
For another work opportunity, Rico needed to make his way to Lisbon and I decided to come along again. Neither of us had ever been to Portugal so it seemed like a no brainer to extend the weekend and check out the rapidly growing city. Lisbon absolutely won our hearts while we were there—maybe it's the pastel de nata still talking. From the beautiful buildings covered in old painted tiles to the rich culture everywhere you turn, you can not go wrong here. Lisbon has climbed its way up to one of our all time favorite spots and one we can't stop talking about to others!
Paris, France • November 12 - 13, 2016
After about a year and a half passing since we first visited Paris, we decided it was time to finally get ourselves back to the romantic city. For just a two day weekend, we hopped on the train from London to explore Saint Germain and Latin Quarter. Through a cold and rainy weekend, we really fell in love with Paris this time around. Without the typical must sees hovering over us (since we covered those last time), we were able to wander a bit more and take in some of the quainter parts of the city. We will definitely be making a habit out of these short weekends to Paris!
Alsace, France (& Basel, Switzerland) • December 2 - 4, 2016
For our final European trip of the year, it made sense to check out some of the Christmas markets in Alsace to get us in the holiday spirit. With Rico's parents visiting from the States, we met them down there to enjoy strolling through the beautifully decorated towns with their half-timbered homes as the backdrop. While the streets were crowded with like-minded people, it was magical to see these towns come to lift to celebrate such a special time of the year!
It was a wild year—that's for sure—and sometimes life felt like it was spinning as we were setting off planes and then right back on but I wouldn't change a bit about it! Feeling very thankful for this life that we work so hard for to be able to chase these dreams of ours. 2016 was a year of understanding limits and exploring places off our radar. Now, I can't wait to see where 2017 will bring us!