I can’t believe that in a couple of weeks the year will be half over. Where did 2017 go? From castles to tortoises to giant marionettes, here are my favourite travel stories from 2017 so far …
Here in Canada it has felt that winter’s woes have been long forgotten. The flowers are in bloom, the leaves on the trees are out, and the heat is still tolerable. But not long ago, I was wearing a parka and wading through knee-deep snow.
Luckily I didn’t have that problem when I was visiting Central Europe. It may have been Christmas time, but snow wasn’t in the forecast for my whirlwind road trip through Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
“Question: Can you see four countries in Central Europe in four days? Why yes, yes you can. I recently came back from my Central Europe road trip that covered Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.
My travel buddy and I hit three major cities and three smaller towns/cities, as well as ate delicious food and saw many amazing sights. Going in winter also gave me an appreciation of how busy these places are on an off-peak day.”
Read more from a Central Europe road trip – the highlights here.
February is the month of love for many people, but for those of us who travel, instead of celebrating who we love, we celebrate what place we love.
At first, I wasn’t in love with Quito, Ecuador. The capital city was a huge culture shock for me, and I don’t think I had enough time to fully appreciate what it had to offer. However, as I look back on my experience there, I have a certain fondness for the massive mountain city, a fondness that will eventually lead me back there.
“This Gothic style church is the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas. The views from the top of this church are incredible. You get a sense of the size of Quito while standing in the tower.
To get up there climb about 10+ flights of stairs to the third floor. There you can walk over a wooden plank bridge that crosses the top of the church. Climb three steel ladders into the tower and you can see everything.”
Read more from Everything you need to know about Quito here.
Sometimes you expect to love a certain city or country but don’t, other times cities surprise you. I didn’t expect to love Salzburg, Austria as much as I did. In fact, it turned out to be my favourite stop of my whirlwind tour of central Europe. The buildings, the culture, the softness, everything about Salzburg was perfect in my eyes. Austria will be a place I travel again to soon.
“Mozart was born on this street – ON THE STREET GUYS – okay maybe not on the street, but you can visit his bright yellow birthplace while perusing the shops and restaurants. The street is 350 metres long full of shops that you might recognize – like H&M and Swarovski – and some you might not.
Above all the neatly decorated windows, rod iron guild signs mark each shop. These signs are works of art.
BONUS: Enjoy the best Hot Chocolate you’ve ever had at Café Mozart on Getreidegasse!”
Read more from Five free things to do in Salzburg, Austria here.
The Galapagos Islands have been on my bucket list since I first heard of them in my second year of university. Not only did the wildlife seem exotic and rich, but the land itself was barely habitable. The entire archipelago is a remarkable feat of biology. One island in particular, Floreana, was exactly how I pictured the Galapagos, remote, untouched, and full of wildlife. It wasn’t easy to travel to, but the entire stay on the island was perfect. Surprisingly, it had the best wifi.
“Standing in the middle of the main intersection of Puerto Velazco Ibarra on Floreana Island, in the Galapagos archipelago, I turned in a full circle, taking in the remoteness of the island.
The large roads spanning the entire town are a mix of gravel and volcanic rock; you can see from end to end as well as the small bungalows and solar streetlights. In the distance stands the volcano Cerro Pajas, the highest point on the island. It was the dry season when I visited the small island, and you could see the stark white of the Palo Santo Trees in contrast to the black gravel.”
Read more from Visit Galapagos: Floreana Island here.
I delved into photography in May. My day job requires professionalism in photography and I wanted to bring what I learned into relatable terms for those who want to step up their photo-taking skills. Knowing how your camera works in different situations is a good start, but knowing what makes a good photo is where it’s at.
“Whether you are taking pictures to show off to your friends or family, or if your blogging like me, taking your travel photography to the next level is sure to impress. Here are some tips to take better travel photographs.
Travel photography leaves an impression. Years after you return from a trip, don’t you want to be able to recall those precious memories with great photos? Of course. But why not make them memorable and stellar?!”
Read more from How to take better travel photographs here.
For me, 2017 is all about Canada. Because we are turning a remarkable 150 years old this year, I have decided to dive in an invest in my own country. That includes weekend getaways to places I’ve always wanted to go but never have, or giving second chances to places I didn’t get along with. Montreal was one of those places. My first trip there was in the middle of winter, and I lived in a mall for four days, not exactly the description of a good time. But an opportunity came up to head there with some friends and voila! a new impression of the city was formed.
While I was there, Montreal (who is celebrating 375 years) was putting on a number of events, including the Giants, an amazing art piece by Royal de Lux. It was absolutely remarkable.
“The first stop for any visitor to Montreal has to be Old Montreal. This part of the city melds old and new in a way that in reminiscent of European cities. Place Jacques-Cartier, a large cobblestone street square, is the energetic spot in Old Montreal. Shops and restaurants line the square where street performers are scattered; it’s easily a place to spend your afternoon.
While you’re there check out Mlle. Catherine, an ice cream shop and café right beside Ben and Jerry’s. It has the BEST soft serve ice cream I have ever had in my life.”
Read more from 14 essential experiences for a weekend in Montreal here.
Travel in second half of 2017
The second half of 2017, from July to December has a lot in store for this eager beaver (me). For July 1 – aka Canada Day – aka the time when all Canadian get almost as patriotic as the US – I’ll be heading to our nation’s capital, Ottawa, to take in the sights and enjoy some celebratory Canada 150 fireworks.
Later in July and into August, I’ll be hitting the road to see more of Canada. My friend and I are taking car camping to a new level for an East Coast road trip. We’ll be hitting Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. We’ll be moving quick, but Canada is a big place and it only turns 150 once.
Then in October, I’ll be renting a camper-van and exploring Iceland. Yes, everyone and their mother has been there, but I haven’t and I want to. Deal with it. Iceland is popular for a reason, and I can’t wait to take in all the natural beauty of the Arctic island.
So those are my travel plans for the next six month.
What are your travel plans for 2017?
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