Hello all, and welcome to our last post of 2016! Despite it being a true dumpster fire of a year on the global level, we actually had a pretty excellent year on the personal one! Since most of what we did was travel, here are some of the stand out experiences of 2016, complete with lots of pictures!
Best New Food – Sweet
Hands down, this one goes to the trdelnik. A soft pastry wrapped around a stick and rotated over an open fire, then topped off with sugar and cinnamon. We tried these first in Prague, but we’ve also seen them at Christmas markets in Germany, under the name of Baumstriezel. So tasty!
Best New Food – Savory
This category is easy. The best new savory food we tried was easily cacio e pepe in Rome. We had it several times, but the best dish was at our anniversary dinner, which came with shaved truffle on top. Not for daily eating, but such a simple and wonderful dish!
Best Drink – Warm
We were in Germany for the Christmas markets last year, where we got to try a lot of new warm drink options. We’ve already written about eierpunsch and gluhwien, but this year the real standout was feurzangenbowle, a hot drink that is literally served on fire. It’s mulled wine taken up a notch, with sugar covered in rum and melted straight into the wine. It is warm, tasty, and fun! Who doesn’t love fire?
Best Drink – Cold or Room Temp
We’re a house divided on this one. Colin is a huge beer fan, so he would have to go with the Kapittel Prior that he had in Belgium. Seeing as Katarina doesn’t really like beer, her answer has to be the Thistly Cross cider she had in Scotland. Yum!
Most Beautiful City
This one was a much harder one to decide, and in the end it came down to Prague and Bruges. However, chocolate and swans won out, and Bruges is our winner! We loved the canals, the weather, the gardens, and the green spaces along the city. We only spent a day there, but it’s definitely on our list to go back to.
Once again, a close category. In the end, though, we went with the most enjoyable hiking experience, and the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye is the clear winner. This is partly because we had pretty good weather, and our runner-up (hiking from Fira to Oia in Santorini), was hot and a little dry. However, it’s mostly because we literally felt like we were in the Lord of the Rings, going on an adventure! A pretty unforgettable experience, all around.
Most Anticipated Trip
At the end of the day, we were excited for every trip, and for different reasons. However, if we had to pick one trip, it would probably be our one back to Wisconsin in October, where we celebrated Colin’s sister’s marriage, and attended the wedding of two of our very close friends. We love Madison, and going back in the fall (gorgeous colors!) and being surrounded by friends and family is the best way to do it.
Most Amazing Sight
We saw many beautiful and spectacular things, but the one that left us speechless was the Acropolis. We climbed up to see the Parthenon at the golden hour, and it took our breath away. Seriously, mind blowing. We started in the Acropolis museum, which was full of wonderful artifacts, but it was the Acropolis, with the climb, the lighting, the temple, and the views, that left us awestruck.
Maybe we’re bad travelers, but museums aren’t always the first things on our list. We tend to like experiences more, and will turn down a museum with one or two “greats” in favor of a long walk to get the feeling and flavor of a city. One huge exception, though, was the Galleria Borghese. Katarina loves Caravaggio, and we spent our full allotted two hours seeing every piece, then hurrying back to our favorites to spend more time with them. The Bernini works are particularly stunning.
Every trip that we had this year was memorable. We’ve seen more impressive sights than we ever thought we’d get to see, and we’ve spent the last few weeks realizing how lucky we are. For now, 2017 is pretty much wide open! We have one trip booked with Colin’s parents, and plans to run a half marathon with Katarina’s sister at Disney Paris again, but otherwise we’re open to seeing where the path to adventure will take us.
A very Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you! See you in 2017!
Katarina, Colin, Kaylee, and Merlin