2017 has been a whirlwind year, it only feels like yesterday we were planning our adventures for the year ahead. Now here we are a year on and all our adventures taken. 2017 hasn’t been the easiest year on a personal basis, however it has been a jolly good one when it comes to travel as we have taken at least one trip every month of the year (apart from July). This post has been a tough one to write as we have visited some awesome places this year and narrowing our experiences down to a list of just 10 took a lot of thinking about. So after much deliberation here it is…..our top 10 travel experiences of 2017.New York, USA
We started the year off in one of our most favourite cities in the world – New York. Having visited back in the summer of 2009, it was amazing to visit in January and see what the city is like in the winter months. We were extremely lucky when it came to the weather, it was dry, yet crisp for the duration of our stay apart from the day we headed home when we woke to a snow storm meaning that we could do everything that we wanted to do including spending time in Central Park, visiting museums, taking in a show and hopping on and off the Big Bus Tour buses. We were hosted by the Wellington Hotel and are already planning a return trip.
We spent Valentine’s Day back in February in Hamburg. It was a very last-minute trip and we didn’t research the city at all before our visit. However, every other time we have visited Germany we have loved it so we were sure Hamburg would not disappoint and it certainly didn’t. Again the weather gods were on our side and it was dry, bright and crisp throughout our stay meaning we could wander the streets to our heart’s content. It is a lovely little city, ideal for a European city break plus Ryanair often offer very cheap flights to Hamburg making it great value for money too.
Mr ESLT took me toStrasbourg as an early birthday present back in April and we loved it. Strasbourg is a very beautiful city and some of the buildings are beyond amazing – it really is like stepping into a fairytale. The weather was a bit hit and miss but that did not stop us visiting wine cellars, wandering along the river, taking a boat trip and heading out into the Alsace region on a wine tasting tour. It was a great choice and somewhere I would love to go back to in winter as the Christmas Markets are supposed to be awesome.
Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales
Mr ESLT’s mum and step dad actually live in Wales therefore we usually visit once a year. However, we always spend our time in Cardiff as that’s were they live. Therefore, when the opportunity to visit the Pembrokeshire Coast for a few days came around, we jumped at the chance. During our trip we headed to Twr y Felin Hotel for a delicious afternoon tea and had two fantastic overnight stays at Penrhiw Hotel and Roch Castle – all of which were stunning properties. Wales has the reputation of being a rainy place, however we were lucky and even had the chance to grab an ice-cream whilst we strolled along the beach.
California Road trip, USA
This was our biggest trip of the year – we headed to California for a month in June and roadtripped from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park, down the Pacific Coast Highway, through Los Angeles and down to San Diego where we spent our 6th wedding anniversary. Not only did we visit the big cities but a lot of little towns and villages along the way too including the cute little seaside town of Monterrey and the lovely little Dutch town of Solvang. It was such an amazing adventure and one that will stay with us forever. We ate great food, drove our cool yellow Mustang and spent a lot of time on the amazing Californian beaches – it was perfect.
We headed on a very last-minute trip to Nuremberg for Mr ESLT’s in August. It is a beautiful German city and even though we only spent a short time there we loved it. The historic centre of Nuremberg Is full of lovely buildings and we enjoyed a leisurely guided walking tour exploring them in the hot summer sun. We also ate a lot of traditional Nuremberg foodduring our stay together with one or two steins. It was another great visit to Germany and somewhere else we would love to revisit in the winter to wander around the Christmas markets.
Having visited Ghent a few years ago with Mr ESLT, September saw me head back on my own. It was my first ever solo flight which was quite nerve-wracking as I am a nervous flyer but I not only survived it, I actually quite enjoyed it. I got the opportunity to meet some lovely other bloggers and explore the beautiful city on foot, tram and boat. Yet another city full of stunning buildings including the Gravensteen castle, Saint Nicholas’ Church and St Bavo’s Cathedral together with amazing Belgian food (especially the waffles) and beer. With a lot of free time to wander on my own, I was worried I would get lonely but with so much to see and do, there was no way that could ever happen in Ghent.
Leiden, The Netherlands
Another last-minute trip, Leiden proved to be a great choice. We are massive fans of The Netherlands and have visited more times than we can count, yet this was our first time in this lovely little city. We headed across the North Sea on the daily P&O ferry that runs between our hometown of Hull in the north of England to The Netherlands and spent time wander along the canals, taking a boat ride, admiring the buildings and windmills, getting a dose of culture in the many museums and of course eating great food and drinking local beer. It was great to visit one of the smaller cities in The Netherlands rather than heading to Amsterdam or Rotterdam like we normally do.
Abu Dhabi, UAE
The last week of November saw us head to Abu Dhabi to enjoy a week of well deserved winter sun and it was just what the doctor ordered. For the first time in as long as I can remember we headed there without a plan. Instead, we did what we wanted when we wanted to do it and by gosh it felt great. We relaxed by the pool, we shopped, we visited the newly opened Louvre Museum, we took a bus tour and a dhow tour and ate fantastic food. Coming back to England and the Baltic temperatures was certainly a shock to the system. However we loved the break so much we have already put the same week aside next year for similar trip whether it be back to Abu Dhabi or Dubai or somewhere new like Doha or Muscat.
We love German Christmas markets and having visited the ones in Düsseldorf, Cologne and Berlin. So when our friend suggested heading over to Frankfurt for the Christmas market there the week before Christmas, we could not say no. I’ll be honest I have never eaten so many sausages in my life, but when they taste as good as they do off a stall in Germany I just can’t help myself. We also drank a lot beer, mulled wine and hot chocolate with Baileys – basically anything with booze in it. Again, we were only there for a couple of days but managed to cram a lot of fun stuff into a short space of time and even managed to buy a few last-minute Christmas presents.
So that’s it…our top 10 travel experiences of 2017 – what a great year it has been. We are already looking forward to 2018 and the memories we are going to make. What have your 2017 travel highlights been? We’d love to know – why not leave us a comment below.