I am finally back to writing after a few stressful months of getting settled into a new city and a new grad school. Like last year, I’d like to revisit my travels and the memories I have collected during the year of 2016.
New Years in Portugal
In short, we went to a small town close to Porto to visit some old friends for New Years and of course we all explored Porto together. I really fell in love with this city and could totally imagine living and studying there. I kind of wish I had found out about Porto before my undergrad was over so I could have considered a study abroad period in Portugal. After a few days in the northern region of Portugal, plenty of delicious homecooked food, and some port wine tastings, my travel buddy and I took the train down South to Lisbon to explore the capital for a few days. Lisbon reminded me of San Francisco in so many ways and even though the weather in January was rather mediocre I had a great time and many adventures in this city.
My next trip of the year led me to Prague. I haven’t traveled in Eastern Europe a lot and really wanted to take advantage of the proximity and the cheap busses from Berlin. I wrote a couple of in-depth blog posts about what to do in Prague and a travelogue kind of post. Check them out!
In summer, right before my graduation and *spoiler* my move to the US, I took a couple of weeks to go back to my hometown to get my stuff all sorted out and to say goodbye to friends and family and explore the area around my hometown for the last time in a while.
Santa Cruz, California
Mid-September, I moved to Santa Cruz for my new grad school. I arrived only two days before my program started. Thankfully, I had already found a room via some of my friends and could move in immediately but it was definitely a stressful experience. When I arrived the weather was beautiful and school started somewhat slow so I had some time to explore this town. Now, it’s safe to say that I found my own favorite spots away from the touristy beaches and cafes. I will definitely write a blog post about my favorite spots soon! I know that Santa Cruz is also perfect for surfing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities but I have yet to do those. The storm has made these kinds of activities pretty impossible in the last few months.
I had a few opportunities to get a ride to San Francisco for a day or two. The first time I came back, I took some time to myself and just wandered around and rediscovered my old favorite spots. Head over to my Sunset neighborhood guide or my “100 things to do in SF” post for more information. I definitely went through a whole rollercoaster of emotions. From being super happy, remembering lots of fun things, and being sad about some things that changed while I was gone. I also had the chance to reunite and reconnect with some of my old friends from my study abroad time. And finally, I even spent New Years in the city with them. Oh, and I got plenty of in- and out and super duper burgers …
New York during Christmas time
One of my personal travel highlights this year was my short trip to New York. At the end of the first quarter, I rewarded myself with a four-day trip to the Big Apple. I got to see a good friend of mine and experienced New York in the Christmas spirit. As an added bonus, another friend of mine managed to fly out and hang out with us for the weekend. I have been to New York before (in the summer) and had seen most of the famous sights. So this time, we focussed on visiting my friend’s favorite spots, admiring the Christmas decorations, and strolling around Central Park. A post about this trip will definitely be coming in the near future. I actually managed to take some shots with my DSLR and not just with my phone like I did on my last trip.
What I have planned for 2017
My parents are coming to visit me for full four weeks in early summer! I won’t be able to take off four weeks. However, I am planning to take off at least two weeks to explore the West Coast with my parents. We’re aiming to visit Vancouver, BC (my first trip to Canada!) and Seattle, Oregon. After that, we’ll take two shorter trips to Wine Country and Yosemite National Park. I am also hoping to add more parks to this list throughout the year. I finally want to make use of my annual national park pass. Further, I am toying with the idea to take a trip to Disneyland, Anaheim during spring break. At the end of the year, I will go back to Germany to see my family for a couple of weeks.
How was your 2016 travel wise? I’d love to read some other round-ups for some inspiration 😃 What are your plans for 2017?