Feels like yesterday the internet was roaring with Holidays wishes and New Year resolution lists, and here we are today in the middle of February 2017. Honestly, I stopped writing lists of things “to do” in the new year, or better said to update the last year’s date with the upcoming new one. Instead, I prefer to gradually set goals throughout the year, and work towards their realization as it goes. This keeps me motivated all year around and doesn’t overwhelm me, nor feel I the pressure of “becoming my best version” overnight. However, a quick review of the year is always good because it shows us what we have done and how far have we gone in the past twelve months, as well as highlights our progress and the areas that need some polishing.
These past few days, I was thinking about the places I visited last year, and I thought why not share it with you? Since the first half of 2016 I was still in the US and the second half in France, this enlarged my travel spectrum. While writing this post, I realized that it was a pretty good year with some major changes (about this in another post perhaps) and a bit of travels. Now, here is the list of the places that I have explored in 2016.
Kenai is the first city I lived in once I moved to Alaska. While it has a small population, the town has all one needs to live there. The nature is astounding and the sunsets unforgettable. Plus, it is the world capital of Salmon fishing, so during the fishing season the population not only doubles or triples but it goes from some 4000 people to 75.000. Add to that the breathtaking Kenai Fjords and you have a must see travel destination.
Anchorage is a bigger city and it has a more urban feel to it. However, you are never to far from the wild which is pretty cool. A place that can offer you both, the perks of a fairly big city and the peace and freshness of the nature, is definitely a win.
Valdez is surrounded by forests, glaciers and is overflowing with waterfalls. In fact there are so many that most of them don’t even have names. We camped there and it was a pleasure to wake up to an almost surreal beauty of the mountains surrounded by endless woods.
Chena is known for Hot Springs and Northern Lights viewing. During the winter season there is no better place to watch the dancing lights while enjoying the natural pool of warm and sulfurous thermal water. We visited Chena early spring when the lights are not so strong anymore; however, we were lucky to see them straight from the hotel’s parking spot.
Seward is another small touristic town in Alaska. The city attracts fisherman and people who come there for ice climbing, hiking, kayaking. Also, Seward is the port for the big Alaskan cruise ships. Of course, since the city is on the shores of the ocean is not hard to guess that seafood there is as fresh as it can get, basically straight from the ocean in your plate. Definitely a must if you visit Alaska.
Fairbanks and North Pole, AK
Fairbanks is one of the northernmost cities of Alaska which is known for its severe winters and hot summers. The city is the second most populous metropolis area in Alaska and during winter is a great place to see the Northern Lights and practice some winter sports. North Pole is a small city where Christmas spirit resides all year round. We visited in April and the streets were displaying red and white colors both symbols of Christmas. Also, the Santa’s shop is open 12 months per year welcoming everyone who desires to have a piece of Christmas literally any time of the year.
Katmai Bay, AK
Katmai Bay National Park offers to its visitors a unique experience because you find yourself on the same side of the fence with the bears. Apart from some bear resistant fence around the camp and a handful of cabins there is nothing else to protect you from the teddy bears that live there. There you get to see the bears in their natural habitat. As soon as you land the rangers take you to a short, but informative training on how to behave in case you encounter a bear, how and where to store your food, and what you can do while on the territory of the Park. The rangers emphasize that there we are the guests and should conduct ourselves so. This trip is one of the best experiences I had in my life.
Oahu is paradise on earth. Clear waters, hidden beaches and green swinging palms. What can one need more, really?
Well, New York is New York, a never sleeping giant.
Chicago also known as the Wind city has all it needs to steal your heart: gorgeous parks, delicious food, grandiose building, the busyness of a big city and the tranquility of a residential area.
Milan is one of the most recognizable cities in the world thanks to the much-loved symbol of the city, its Cathedral on the main square – Duomo di Milan. Also, Milan is one of the international capitals of fashion and design that invites many people to visit the city all year round.
Berlin during Christmas is beautifully decorated and has several big markets where you can enjoy ice skating, music, mulled wine, traditional food, and get yourself several hand crafted souvenirs and decorative objects. The Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s wall and Berliner Dome are just few sites that i had the time to visit during my short trip to this European city. The city is better to visit in summer to enjoy all its perks, however I really enjoyed my time there during winter holidays.
Once upon a time during my student years in Moldova, I was studying about all the gorgeous places Paris has to show to its visitors. Now, I am living here and get to walk on the streets of this city that so many fathom about. While Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame de Paris, and Musee du Louvre are a must visit when in Paris, the city is hosting various exhibitions, galleries, and museums where you can spend your time. A walk along the Seine river or Champs Elysees is a must during your time in Paris. The food, oh well, when it comes to food, trust me, this city can satisfy each and everyone’s whims. The french capital has a great diversity of restaurants and cafes that can accommodate anyone’s needs and desires.
Etretat, Normandie, is another place in France that has stolen my heart. After you are done with Paris, reserve yourself time to visit this corner of dreamland. The small city on the shore of the sea it is charming and gives you some sort of inexplicable chills. The widely known cliffs of Etretat was the inspiration of many artists who immortalized the beauty of this place. The houses, the architecture, and the small Gothic cathedral on the edge of the cliff gives you the feeling that you have traveled in time.
Val de la Loire
Val de la Loire is a french region with a rich history, culture, and gastronomy. Some of the famous traditional french cuisine has its origins namely in this region. Val de la Loire was loved by the great kings of France, and as a result today the region is dotted with stunning castles. During our short trip there we visited Chateau de Chenonceau and Chateau de Chambord castles, which are two of the most famous ones. However, the valley is overflowing with dozens of gracious castles that personify the once french monarchy.
After this review about last year’s travels fees right to think about the places to visit this year, doesn’t it? So, where would you like to go this year ?
See you next time, Victoria V.