After a while of travelling I find it helpful to take some time to reflect. I think about which places I liked best and why? How was the accomodation? Who did I spend time with? What did I eat, visit, do? All this can help you figure out important information about yourself and what you want future travels to be like. That being said, I was reminiscing about last year´s journeys and came up with my favourite destinations visited in 2015 and what made them special.
This was an overall perfect trip. First, Bruges is an incredibly beautiful and well- preserved medieval town, where you can get lost in the small streets strolling around endlessly – not because it is big, but because it is so pretty. The only advice for this city I would give is to get lost – well, and go on a Belgian chocolate and waffle diet of course.
Moreover on this trip I found hostels to be a way of accomodation that I like. It was the first time I ever stayed in a hostel and it was a blast. It´s a great – and inexpensive – way to meet people and have some social life while travelling solo. I shared the room with two girls from Canada and Australia – super exited to catch up with them in London this summer – that I call my friends now and that I had a short, but great time with.
It was quite a challenge fitting all I wanted to see and do into just one day – I walked almost everywhere to not miss out on a single view of the city of lights. There are two main reasons I enjoyed this short but intense stay so much. One, I was positively surprised to not experience any of the bad sides about Paris I was told about, like that the city was overrated, dirty and full of pickpockets. It isn´t dirtier than any other big city and stunningly beautiful. Also it´s one of those places you have to visit at least once in a lifetime – better twice or more. And two, I had a lot of interesting conversations with locals. I don´t know what it was that day, but I never had so many people walk up to me for a chat anywhere else. It´s an aspect of travelling solo that I love though, that you seem more approachable for people than while travelling in a group and so make social contacts more easily.
I don´t typically like having the itinerary of a trip exactly mapped out by someone else. So I usually book my trips individually, buying transportation, accomodation etc., so I can choose what to do and see myself. To Hawaii though I went on an organised trip. I just bought my flight and the hotel for the first night myself and the rest was planned. It was a group of AuPairs and our guide and the trip was a blast.
Most of the nights we camped either at the beach or in the Volcano National Park on the Big Island, had lots of fresh fruit from the island and cooked together every night. From snorkeling and boogie boarding on Hawaii´s beautiful beaches, over hiking a volcanic crater or a lava tube, to roasting marshmallows for smores over the bonfire, to watching a Hula show…. and and and ….. the week went by way to quickly.
4. Bryce Canyon – Utah
Of all the National Parks I visited, while roadtripping the west of the United States, Bryce Canyon has certainly been my favourite.
While I was a little disappointed by the Grand Canyon – don´t get me wrong, it´s impressive, but I didn´t find it as stunning as many say – Bryce Canyon has the most incredible stone formations. Definitely go for a hike, as it is marvellous walking between the high rock columns and wait for the evening, as the sunset views are beyond words.
5. California Road trip San Francisco – Los Angeles
It is not a coincidence that the Pacific Coast Highway is often referred to as the most scenic highway in the world.
The drive down Highway 1 is naturally incredibly beautiful, especially the stretch around Big Sur will leave you speechless at times, as the landscape constantly keeps changing from dense forrest over luscious grassland to dry and dusty plains.
Apart from that, on your drive between the lively metropolises San Francisco and Los Angeles you´ll find charming towns like Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara and get a chance to hit the wide beaches of Malibu on the way.
And now it´s your turn. What were your favourite trips and destinations you visited in 2015?