snapshots of my travels
With New Year's right around the corner, many people are starting to think about what they hope to accomplish in 2017. For most, these resolutions are geared to personal improvement. For me, I am resolving to travel more and blog more! I am planning at least 12 trips this year, which is what inspired this post about 12 places to go in 2017. Stay tuned as I check off places on my list! Hey, travel counts as personal improvement, right?
For most Catholics, 2017 may not be the year to go, considering that the jubilee year has ended. I beg to disagree! Without these hordes of religious tourists, Rome will be much less crowded, safer, and perhaps even cheaper. Rome has plenty of ancient monuments to see and has lots of modern art exhibits, such as the MAXXI (designed by the famous female architect Zaha Hadid), as well. Plus, you better go and see the Colosseum before another earthquake makes it crack even more!
Chefchaouen is also known as the 'Blue City' because of its beautiful blue walls. Some say these walls symbolize the sky, and thus heaven, as a reminder of a spiritual life and a part of history. Every spring villagers apply a new coat of blue paint. The local government supplies special paintbrushes to assist in efforts to keep Chefchaouen’s history alive. While I have been to Morocco once, I did not have the chance to see Chefchaouen. It makes a perfect weekend getaway from both Spain and Italy!
During the winter, Iceland sees only a few hours of sunlight per day. On the other hand, during the summer, it is light outside for the majority of the day. The people here are very friendly and the nightlife is lively. If you go in September, October, March, or April, you have a good chance of seeing the northern lights (aurora borealis). Did you know that Reykjavík is only a five hour direct flight from Boston?
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is located in the moutains of northern Thailand. The temperatures stay between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (20 - 26 degrees Celcius roughly) year-round. The coolest part of Chiang Mai is the festivals! In February, when the tropical flowers are in full bloom, the people celebrate by having a three-day flower festival. In November, they have a lunar festival called Loi Krathong. To celebrate, people make floating lanterns (krathong) with banana leaves and release them onto the water. They also makesky lanterns (khom fai), which are essentially little hot air balloons that people release into the sky. This is something you need to add to your bucket list as soon as possible!
Montreux has a giant fork in the lake! Why not visit!? Seriously, this place is photogenic, stylish, and has a wide range of activities for all tastes. It is home of the Chillon Castle, the Charlie Chaplin museum, the oldest casino in Switzerland, an annual Jazz Festival, and a Christmas market - 'Montreux Noël.'
Dallas is a pretty cool place. The summers are hot and the winters are mild. It is the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States when it includes Fort-Worth. If you are looking for hustle and bustle, but don't want to go to a place as cold as Chicago, Dallas is THE place to go. It was voted"Best Skyline in the World" by USA Today. Dallas also has a more artsy downtown area called Deep Ellum, if you are a fan of graffiti. Though I believe the main tourist attraction here is, by far, the food. Dallas boasts many authentic BBQ restaurants, tex-mex restaurants, and burger joints. While in Dallas, you must try queso, chicken fried steak, Cane Rosso pizza, and beef brisket.
I had never even heard of Kotor until I stumbled across Sonya Khegay's Instagram - cupofherbaltea. This place is gorgeous (and so are Sonya's photos)! It is a charming little bay area practically undiscovered by tourists, which means you'll be able to visit for cheap. In addition, Kotor has scenic views, challenging hikes, beaches, and tons of history. Oh, did I mention Montenegro makes some great wine? Try the local red, Vranac.
Barcelona, the Catalan capital of Spain, is the perfect place for art and architecture lovers. Visit the Museo de Nacional de Arte de Cataluña (MNAC) for a temporary Romanesque Picasso exhibit and the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona for a David Bowie exhibition in 2017. If you get tired of being indoors, stroll past the Casa Battlò on your way to Parc Guell to watch the sunset. After eating some tapas, party the night away - as most clubs stay open until 6 am. Last but not least, Norweigan Airways has flights from Boston to Barcelona for as low as $155 USD!
This Dutch village with no roads looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. During the summer, rent a boat and float down the canals. During the winter, you can ice skate. It is often called the “Venice of the North,” but it is much more charming than Venice. There isn’t much to do in Geithoorn besides relaxing, which makes it the perfect day trip from Amsterdam.
Ever wanted to stay in a real British cottage? Now is the perfect time to visit! Due to Brexit, the British Pound has lost its value, making any trip to the United Kingdom much cheaper. In March, 2015, the London Sunday Times named Bradford on Avon the best town in all of Britain! While small, Bradford-on-Avon is far from boring! There are plenty of antique shops to explore. Visit the Autumn Arts Festival for plays, concerts, and great food. Finally, talk to locals at the The Dog & Fox pub.
Despite being in the middle east, Petra is a safe and stable travel destination with a thriving tourism industry. This Jordanian city was once the capital of the ancient Nabataean civilization. It wasn’t rediscovered until 1812, which means it hasn’t been damaged much by visitors yet. Plus, the climate is mild, so it is possible to visit any time of the year, although the summer might be a little too hot. During your time here, float in the Dead Sea, hike the red cliffs, and eat like a king. Jordan’s national dish (mansaf) is a flavorful lamb cooked in herbs and spices, topped with pine nuts, and served with rice.
I have a friend from the Siberian region of Russia and she frequently tells me about how beautiful Moscow is, especially during the Christmas season. She raves about borscht, the magical Christmas market in the Red Square, theluxurious restaurants, the ballet performances, and the warm and welcoming people. In fact, she has inspired me to visit, in spite of my hatred of the cold!