We had some big adventures in 2015 in places near and far from home. Here are some of my favorite moments from our travels last year.
Last spring we went to visit our good friends who are currently living in Singapore. We spent two weeks in Asia and had an amazing time. We loved the time we spent in Singapore wandering through Chinatown and Little India, touring the botanical gardens, Sentosa Island, eating at the hawker stands, and spending time with our friends. For me the highlights were a fun dinner at Level 33 with this amazing view and Singapore Zoo where we had breakfast with the orangutans.
2. Jogyakarta, Indonesia-
After Singapore, we went to Indonesia and rented a villa with our friends. It was an absolutely incredible trip and I cannot possibly pick just one favorite moment. We loved the artisan town of Jogyakarta and had so much fun hunting for treasures in the town where it at times felt like we were the only tourists. Our villa was owned by a French furniture dealer with an impeccable eye for design. One day we toured the incredible temples, both Buddhist and Hindu, and another day we had the best 4th birthday party for Jonah complete with a cake that the sweet owners of the villa gave us. One of the funniest memories from this trip was when we left the kids with baby-sitters and went to dinner with our friends at a lovely little b&b down the road. They picked us up in their car and served us a fantastic meal, then proceeded to tell us that we would be driven home by motorbike! I’ve never been on a motorcycle and in the dark through the rice patties of Indonesia did not really seem like the ideal time to try it, but walking through said dirt roads between rice patties didn’t seem like a good option either so off we went! What an adventure.
3. Bali, Indonesia-
We parted ways with our friends for a few days and headed to Bali for some tropical bliss. We had so much fun swimming in the pool of our villa, visiting the beach, watching the sunset at Jimbaran Bay, and going on a day trip to Ubud. At Ubud we saw the monkey forest where they jumped on us as we fed them bananas and then stole Jonah’s ice cream outside of the park! Now I know where the term ‘cheeky little monkey’ comes from! We also saw the terraced rice patties and sampled tea and coffee at a beautiful little agro-tourism place. Highlight of Bali for us was Ubud and hanging by the beach.
4. Rome, Italy-
We spent a fun few days in Rome in May where we walked until we dropped and watched history come alive for our little guy. Of course you can’t go to Rome without enjoying some delicious food-the boys enjoyed gelato every day and we had the most delicious cacio e pepe at a restaurant recommended by Anthony Bourdain. I still dream about that meal-pure perfection!
5. Burgundy, France-
In June we kicked off the summer with a long weekend in the Burgundy region of France, just a 2.5 hour drive from Geneva. We found a hotel deal and stayed at an awesome chateau that provided little gift boxes for the boys and even one for the dog! My highlight of this trip was somehow finding ourselves at a fancy, multi-course French dinner at the chateau since nothing else was open or nearby and we had a hungry family to feed. Wonder of all wonders our boys behaved like angels and the restaurant was very welcoming (even giving the kids coloring books and crayons along with the multi-course kids meals!). We had fun sampling mustard and following the ‘owl trail’ in Dijon and sampling wines and touring the former hospital of Beaune. We also tried escargot and drove through the beautiful vineyards of the region.
6. Chamonix, France-
This one wasn’t technically a trip as we are lucky enough to be just an hour from this mountain town, so we go here quite often for day trips. However, over the summer we had lots of visitors and I took the opportunity to play tour guide and finally go up the cable car to Aguille du Midi to see the Mont Blanc views. While the views were amazing, nothing could top the Helbrunner, a cable car that goes straight across the mountains from Aguille du Midi into Italy and is 30 minutes each way. It was absolutely incredible being in between these towering mountains and staring down at the crevasses and intrepid mountaineers who were taking the long way to the peak we were heading to.
7. Brac, Croatia-
What could be better than a girls’ weekend in Croatia?! We flew into Split and took the ferry over to the tiny island of Brac. The town we stayed in was adorable with its five restaurants and hidden beach coves. We biked to the beaches, lazed around, drank wine, and went out to the clubs in the ‘party town’ nearby. Such a fun time!
I have wanted to go to Iceland for as long as I have been obsessed with travel (so a while now!) and this past summer, we finally made that dream a reality. I can honestly say that every moment was magical and I would like to engrave every moment of that trip in my memory. From hiking on a glacier, to pulling over along the side of the road to admire and say hello to the gorgeous Icelandic horses, happy hour drinks at Scandi-chic Kaldi in Rejkyavik, standing inches away from puffins enjoying their afternoon meal, and relaxing in the naturally hot river of Hveragardi-everything lived up to and exceeded my expecations of this place. But the real highlight was seeing the much photographed Glacier Lagoon, Jokulsarlon. I really had to pinch myself to believe that real life could be so beautiful. I could have stood for hours admiring the blue ice floating in the lagoon before drifting off to sea. There are so many places I want to see in the world that there are not a lot that can lure me back. Iceland is different though, I’m already talking about when we can go again!
9. Brussels and Bruges-
Lukasz went to Belgium a few times for work last year so we decided to take advantage of having his mom here to watch the kids and I went out to meet him for a weekend! This was a perfect trip to do without the kids since we are big Belgian beer fans. We took a chocolate and beer tour where we walked around town first sampling chocolates and then sampling different beers including the one that won the ‘best beer in the world’ award. It was such a fun tour and needless to say we weren’t feeling quite our best the next day (Belgian beers are STRONG!). But we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to explore, so the next day we rallied and took the train into Bruges. We loved this charming town and had so much fun wandering the cute alleyways and walking along the canals. A great little weekend getaway!
We ended the summer with a fun trip with friends to the French island of Corsica. The scenery at this place is just stunning and it seemed like every curve we drove around brought more jaw-dropping beauty. We had a blast with our friends and the kids all had a great time playing at the beach and swimming in the pool. My highlight was when Lukasz and I snuck away for a little date night and had dinner at the most romantic setting I’ve ever seen. The restaurant was tucked into a tiny little cove and the sunset was spectacular. I don’t even really remember the food-it was seafood and good-but the setting along with the Corsican wine was pretty unforgettable!
We were lucky to have some amazing adventures last year and now we are gearing up for our travels this year. On the bucket list are some trips closer to home so we can take advantage of our prime location and avoid so many flights since we now have four tickets to pay for now that Mason is 2! We are thinking Tuscany, south of France, Provence, Amsterdam, Norway, and Montenegro. But who knows exactly how the travel calendar will actually shape up. I hope your 2016 has lots of adventures-happy traveling!