Happy December! I’ve been on radio silence for a while…after working so hard on the midterm elections, I needed time to rest, recharge and nest at home. But I don’t want to let December pass without a post or two, so today I thought I’d share my best (and worst) moments of travel this year! In no particular order, here they are…
Biking through the forests of South Bohemia – in September, I went on my second bike trip with two girlfriends. This time we biked through the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, with more varied terrain than we experienced on our first trip. My favorite days were spent biking through the forest…the trees, rivers, shade and the gigantic mushrooms (the biggest I’ve ever seen) combined into pure joy!
These men welcomed us, fed us, and laughed with us – thank you for sharing your hospitality!
Sharing lunch with the Duck Hunters – If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this post about meeting the group of duck hunters. We basically thought we were going to a restaurant (thanks Google maps for the adventure!) but ended up crashing a private hunting lodge and sharing food/beer/schnapps/hunting ceremonies/crazy attempts at communicating with a group of duck hunters! I have to admit…after two beers and three shots each, we were a little wobbly as we mounted up to ride the last 20 kilometers of the day!
Meeting Michael Luwoye (aka “Alexander Hamilton”) at the stage door!
Seeing Hamilton on Broadway – For my birthday in January, we met up with our kids for a quick 48 hours in New York City to see Hamilton. It was as amazing as I expected, and the fact that my kids all took the time to fly in to join us made it extra sweet!
**Tip…get on the email list here for notifications when new blocks of tickets go on sale (Scroll to bottom of page where it says “Join the revolution”, and enter your email), and listen to the soundtrack as much as possible before you go!**
The original 12th century foundations of the Louvre
Introducing my youngest to Paris – I LOVED introducing my son to one of my favorite cities in the world and and seeing it again through the eyes of a first-time visitor. We explored differently this time as well, with a more relaxed schedule, which only heightened my enjoyment of the city. When I first started traveling internationally, I felt pressure to see as many sights as possible, which led to packed schedules and stress (how many of you can relate??). This visit, I let my son dictate the schedule – he likes to sleep in, so we enjoyed relaxed mornings, fewer sights each day, and long wanderings just soaking in the city. We took a walking tour from Paris Walks (we did the French Revolution of 1789 tour) which was incredible; we learned so much not just about the Revolution, but also about how the current French political system works. My son wanted to spend an entire day at the Louvre, so I wandered the less-crowded sections and discovered an exhibit in the basement about the Louvre as a building, where you can still see the original foundations of the fortress which was built in the 1100’s (and had the entire room to myself for a few minutes)!
The John Lennon Wall in Prague at 8 am, with just ONE other person!
Running through Prague – You may have seen this post about our running tour of Prague. Although my natural inclination is to sleep in, it was worth rising early to experience Prague in the peaceful morning hours. During our run, we stopped by the John Lennon Wall at 8 am, and there was only one other tourist there; at 3 pm, we went back, and there were several hundred tourists waiting to try and get photos.
The Old Sheldon Church Ruins, one of my solo discoveries this year
Hopping in the car and exploring by myself – This year I’ve done a couple of short trips by myself (read about those here, here and here). There’s a freedom in traveling alone – I relish the ability to change plans on a whim, or sit at a cafe for hours without worrying whether my travel buddy is bored. While I would never choose to travel exclusively by myself, I do cherish my alone time and am hoping to plan a few short solo getaways in 2019.
Now for the worst; because we all have those moments where we hit the wall of exhaustion or things go wrong, right??? Two moments in particular stick out in my mind…Geared up and ready to ride – but that first day was SOOOO hard!
The first day of our bike trip – Our first day of biking through the Czech Republic was demoralizing; I had to walk my bike up ten hills that day and was in tears going up one particularly long hill. Despite the training I had done, I was questioning whether I was physically capable of completing the ride (the hills were much harder than I expected), wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into, and dreading the six days of biking still ahead. To make matters even worse, it was pouring rain. That day was both a mental and a physical challenge…I had to dig deep and find reserves to keep going. Thankfully, the remaining days were easier and the sun came out, but that first day still lingers in my mind.
**Lesson learned – for our next trip, I’m going to include more strength training, and book an electric bike to help with the hills**
The day after my bout with food poisoning…moving slowly but enjoying the beautiful town of Beynac-et-Cazenac
Getting food poisoning in the Dordogne region of France – the worst case of food poisoning I think I’ve ever had…read this post for the full story, but overall a horrible 24 hours which left my stomach uneasy and my body dehydrated for days. However, not feeling my best led me to embrace a slower pace of travel, which I LOVED, so there is that…
I’d love to hear about your bests and worsts – feel free to share in the comments!