Where did this year take you? What were your 2016 travel highlights?
As the year draws to a close I like to reflect on the moments that made each one special for me and our family. We covered a lot of ground in 2016 and created many long-lasting memories. Hope you enjoy our 2016 travel highlights and that they give you some inspiration to book that trip you have always dreamed of.
Most beautiful view – summer in Switzerland
Vineyards overlooking Lake Geneva. On a way to a friend’s wedding in the Swiss Alps we visited my cousin and family who live in Lausanne. They took us on a beautiful drive through the Vaud region and we stopped to take in this beautiful view of the alps. I’m looking forward to returning one day to explore this wine region a little further.
Most memorable meal – fine dining in Copenhagen
When in Copenhagen you must seek out some of the city’s incredible food experiences. I visited the Danish capital with a friend in May and we celebrated her significant birthday in style at Mielcke and Hurtigkarl. Brilliantly executed dishes in a perfect indoor garden setting.
Favourite tour – exploring food culture in Italy
Exploring the culinary history and food culture of Venice on our tour of the Rialto Market, bacari and osterie was a highlight of the year. Over local wines, cicchetti and the tastes of the lagoon we learnt about the history and culture of Venice and made some new friends.
Favourite beach – the one I know best
We timed our trip home to Australia perfectly this year and caught some beautiful beach weather. This is Point Roadknight beach near Anglesea at the start of the iconic Great Ocean Road. We used to visit Anglesea as children and now my kids are enjoying spending time there. This beach has everything – shallow waters but also some waves, lots of sand and great rock pools and most importantly (?!) a coffee shop. Perfection.
Favourite accommodation – a houseboat
Not just any houseboat though. A special cosy houseboat in Amsterdam where we spent our Easter break. The houseboat was a unique place to stay but it was also ideally positioned to enjoy the sights and sounds of Amsterdam. It was a short walk to the Anne Frank house and the nearby Jordaan district.
Favourite London experience – tea and history
One of my last activities of the year proved to be one of the stand out experiences of the year. If you are visiting London you must take a tour and have afternoon tea at the Houses of Parliament. In half a day you will take in history, architecture, views of London and enjoy the quintessential British meal – afternoon tea.
Best road trip – seeking Jane Austen
This trip might be the literary equivalent to being a pop star groupie. My friend Julia and I spent a day touring the county of Hampshire on the trail of Jane Austen‘s life. An easy itinerary and day trip from London, we felt like we had walked in our heroine’s shoes and taken a little piece of the English countryside with us.
Favourite market – a seaside town in Normandy
French markets are always a highlight but the Saturday produce market in Honfleur in Normandy was a particular favourite. In the square outside the beautiful wooden church of Sainte Catherine and its clock tower the weekly market was a treasure trove of seafood, local cheeses and charcuterie.
Best discovery – a lesser known Italian lake
Pretty Lake Orta was a wonderful surprise. Tipped off by my cousin we detoured here on route to Lake Como from Switzerland and discovered the cobbled streets and wisteria hung medieval buildings of Orta San Giulio. There is something quite magical about the view of Isola San Giulio from the town that has my plotting a return very soon.
Favourite city break – Venice
Returning to Venice after almost 20 years was a dream come true. No longer an impoverished student rushed off my feet to see the main sights, this year we explored the details of the lagoon city at a slower pace. I loved exploring the campi, narrow and minor canals and stopping for a spritz (or two).
2016 was an amazing year of opportunities and discoveries. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to give our children this experience but also to be able to share special memories with my husband, friends and family. For me this is what the travel bug is all about. Where once I was happy to tick sights and places off a list, these days I appreciate a slower pace and a deeper experience.
Hoping you have a wonderful holiday wherever you are and however you celebrate. May 2017 bring you every success and amazing trips full of wonderful memories.
What were your 2016 travel highlights?