It’s been 5.5 years since I locked the door of my little white Denver house for the last time, carried my hiking backpack to the car, and hit the road full-time.
There have been a lot of epic moments since then. And a few really really not-epic moments.
And every time I look back here at the blog, I’m really grateful that I’ve chronicled so much of the journey along the way.
Grateful for photo essays and stories and notes and things I’ve learned. Grateful that I don’t have to try and hold everything in mind–that I always have so many words and images to go back to.
Which is why I’m back here again, chronicling the things I want to remember.
This time, a list of the 2017 travel adventures that have stuck with me throughout the year. The best moments. Most interesting learnings. Things I’d recommend in a heartbeat.
Here they are:
Trying every flavor at Gelateria del Teatro (Rome, Italy)
If you’re looking for the best gelato in Rome, you’ll find it at Gelateria del Teatro.
I know not just because I visited a few times, but because I made it my quest during our two months there to try every single flavor. (Conclusion: There’s not a bad one on the menu.)
Our Italian food tour with The Roman Food Tour (Rome)
I’ve been on a lot of food tours and loved most of them, but this one was something particularly special.
It hit the highlights (real mozzarella, real prosciutto, modern Roman pizza) and it introduced me to a neighborhood I would have never thought to explore on my own.
Learning to Make Homemade Pasta (Rome)
Learning to make real, Italian, made-from-scratch pasta has been on my to-do list for ages.
This year I finally made the time for a pasta-making class with a brilliant, bonafide Italian foodie. Absolutely one of the best things I did with my time in 2017.
Our Anniversary Weekend in Assisi (Italy)
I love Assisi.
I love its rolling hillside walks and its grand white cathedrals, the way its stones turn pink in the daylight and the food. Oh, the food.
So when our anniversary rolled around and we were still in Italy, I knew right away where I wanted to spend the weekend.
And it was one of the best weekends of my whole year.
Exploring the Abandoned Hotels of Kupari (Croatia)
I’m fascinated by abandoned places. So when we found ourselves in southern Croatia, just a 20-minute cab ride from these abandoned hotels on the coast, I knew we had to make the trip. Especially since they might be gone as early as next year, torn down to make way for shiny new hotels.
Our Meal at Bugenvila in Cavtat, Croatia
There have been a few meals this year that stand above the rest–and our lunch at Bugenvila was definitely one of them.
Our Weekend Farm Stay in the Bosnian Mountains
High up in the mountains of southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, you’ll find a charming farm stay with an even more charming hostess.
We spent two nights in the perfect quiet of this wilderness getaway and it was the best thing we did during our three months in Bosnia and quite possibly Chad’s favorite thing we did all year.
Our Weekend Getaway at Lake Bled (Slovenia)
Another long-time favorite, Lake Bled didn’t disappoint when I returned with Chad and a couple of friends in tow for an August weekend of swimming, cycling, and walking the shoreline.
Exploring the Ljubljana Farmers’ Market
I love all my European fresh market experiences, but Ljubljana’s was something particularly special with its gorgeously big grapes and homemade nutella, quail eggs and heirloom tomatoes, juicy peaches and milk vending machine.
Weekly Trips to Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen Event
We’re big fans of foodie quests.
Quests for the best pizza in Italy. Quests for the best cannoli in Sicily. Quests for the best bagels in New York.
And in August, a quest to try every cart at the Open Kitchen food festival in Ljubljana.
Two Half-Day Cycle Trips to Lago Fusine (Italy)
I walked some really beautiful hikes and took some beautiful cycle rides this September, but doing Lago Fusine twice–once when it was bright green and once when autumn colors started to pop–was a highlight.
Spending a Month in the Slovenian Alps
If you know me, you know I’m a wilderness girl through and though. So it should come as no surprise that my absolute favorite destination of 2017 was the Slovenian Alps.
Despite the fact that it rained a lot more than I was prepared for, I loved our little town and the surrounding trails. Loved the view from our living room out over the lake. Loved watching the colors slowly turn. Loved how much Luna relished every moment of our hikes and cycle rides and little walks around the lake.
Our Day Trip to Annecy, France
A long walk along the lakeshore. An accidental visit to the gorgeous fresh market. A bright, brisk Alpine day with my favorite person. This day is a major contender for my best day in France.
Dinner at La Ferme a Dede (Grenoble, France)
On our first meal out in France, we hit the jackpot. Tangy, perfectly prepared stew with melt-in-your-mouth chicken and full-shelled crawfish served up with creamy scalloped potatoes and fresh bread. I nearly cried I was so happy to be back in France. Big big thanks to the local who recommended this gem.
Lunch at Troquet des Mouettes (Grenoble, France)
Bookending our trip nicely, this was the last meal we ate out in Grenoble, France–and the best one. The three course lunch’s centerpiece was a delicately prepared steak…and its ending a rich chocolate brownie and perfectly poised scoop of homemade mint ice cream.
Giving Chad My Own Personal Food Tour of Paris
I know. So many of my favorite experiences in 2017 were meals.
If you know me, this probably won’t surprise you. Since food is one of the biggest reasons I travel.
So when I tell you that our week in Paris was basically me taking Chad on one giant food tour…and that it was incredible…that shouldn’t come as a surprise either. We bounced around from Frenchie Bar a Vins to local fresh markets, from famous tea shops to massive brunches. And none of my old favorites disappointed in the least.
Now, to you: What were your best 2017 adventures?
I love your take on places! (they match my interests, -artisanal foods that identify the culture and place… trek on!
I’ve also been looking at the year’s pictures and remembering our travels. Many great things. But one of my favorites happened recently.
After anchoring in the cold and rain near Belhaven, NC for a week, we were ready for a break from the weather. Although we had tons of things to do before setting sail the next day, we took time off to visit the local Christmas train display.
It had been set up over the past month by a team of volunteers. It was such a lovely display. And it made me remember why some of the smallest towns are the most interesting places to visit.
Nice! I too adore small towns and the quirky things found therein.
All your outings are so inspiring! so glad I met you in Malta in the British Hotel ( Spielberg used it in the film ‘ ‘Munchen’). Was last week down to Malta on Czech Airways! WOnderful service and so friendly!
Got to visit about 30 friends but 7 days wasn’t enough,
I have a graphic print of a college entitled ‘ Found Objects from the island’ I did a few years ago. PLease send your address?
And I will send it to you!
HAve a Hapy New Year!!!!
Thanks so much! I still don’t have an address (traveling full time and living out of a bag), but I appreciate the offer!
these are all great tips! I wanted to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!!