Well, friends, it’s officially 2020. The teens are in the rearview mirror. And 2019 is a year I’m going to look back on with extreme fondness.
As usual, at the end of the year, I spent some time looking back through my photos. Reminding myself just how epic the last 365 days have been. I started a food blog, got into a prestigious novel mentorship program, took Chad to some of my favorite places in the world, got a visa for Estonia, and visited four new-to-me countries.
Without further ado, then, take a journey with me through my year…
It all began in the Swiss Alps, as we greeted 2019 with snowy explorations in Lauterbrunnen and warm evenings in our cozy Interlaken apartment. We visited tumble-down castles, hiked to half-frozen waterfalls, and bought local goods from vending machines along hiking trails…
And then it was off to Bologna, Italy, for a few days of foodie exploration, and then Tbilisi, Georgia – the low point of my year – where a botched root canal and extreme pollution sent us scurrying back to somewhere familiar…
Croatia! We booked two months in Split. Our apartment was bright and warm. The sea was steps away. And the familiar landscape was easy to relax into as I recovered from that root canal and we planned our next moves.
As winter turned to spring, we headed farther south, finally making it – for the first time ever – to Montenegro, where we based on the famed Bay of Kotor and hiked our hearts out, up famous switchbacks, to little-known abandoned fortresses, and through holes in castle walls.
Kotor, I must say, is just as pretty as everyone says. Though I was glad we left when we did, as it was already crowded and in summer sometimes the teeny town gets three giant cruise ships a day.
After the requisite time away from western Europe (to keep within the schengen rules), back in we went. Our home base was a small town just outside Thun, Switzerland, but we very quickly headed to Alsace and Paris, France, for a vacation.
Of course, that didn’t keep us from doing some exploring. In addition to exploring a bit within Estonia itself, I made my way down to Latvia for a long hike up the coast and we spent a weekend in Vilnius, Lithuania – adding our third and fourth new countries to this year’s list.
The Baltics really captured my imagination, and I started planning a future novel based in the spooky landscape of Estonia’s bogs.
Before the year wrapped up, we also made it down south for a little Italian and Swiss sunshine in Torino and Lugano.
And now, to you, friends: What did your year look like?