Let's start to say 2016 was a good travel year. It was not only diverse in countries but also in the kind of trips I took. I traveled with my husband, my sister and her husband, my brother and his girlfriend.
New experiences 2016
I've been doing klettersteig for the first time and found out I'd loved to be on a mountain ridge. I've drunk rum in Cuba, didn't sleep in a snow igloo, passed a non existed border, walked in the snow in Yerevan and went rafting in the Dolomites.
I have traveled to 11 countries. One of those I can't actually call it a country because it's not acknowledged as a country itself. Read more about Transnistria.
I traveled for 54 holidays all together and only took 21 days off from work. How did I do that? I work 4 days a week so I can switch days really easily. It is really all about maximizing your weekends. Change shifts, take evening/night flights and make sure you use bank holidays to maximize your holidays.
I've discovered 7 new countries. It took me 13 flights to get me at the destinations. We drove 5400 kilometers by car.
With my husband I took a road trip to Italy. We drove about 3600 km in 17 days. In Romania we drove about 500 km with our rental car and we had to avoid the pot holes on the roads of Cuba. Again we rented a car and drove 1300 km to explore the country.
My first trip started in February. Together with my husband Timo, my sister Barbara and her husband Maarten we booked a long weekend to a Romania. Our goal was to sleep in a snow bungalow. Unfortunately we got a call from the hotel one day before we left, that due to high temperature the igloo was melting. We had to change our plans. Instead, we visited the nice castles in Transylvania and visited the capital Bucharest and the city of Brasov. Although I was disappointed we could'n catch dreams in our snow bungalow, we had loads of fun traveling with Barbara and Maarten. We got to meet Geanina, which was a really cool woman from Bucharest. She showed us around in her city and got to know Romania a bit better.
This country was on my list for years, finally I visited Cuba! With my husband Timo I took a 12 day trip to this colorful and diverse country. Since the embargo with the USA was ending, we found out it was busy. We booked the casa particulares accommodations ahead, together with a 6 day rental car. We drive from Havana to Vinales, to Playa Larga and Trinidad. Our return flight left from Varadero, so we spend 2 nights all inclusive.
I found Cuba very green, colorful and diverse in nature. I loved the hike in Vinales and enjoyed the white beaches.
Back home I didn't miss the food, the kitchen is blend and nothing to get exited about.
Sometimes I forget about our own country, but we do have some lovely spots in the Netherlands. I visited a friend for one day in Zaandam. We take advantage out of this case and visited the famous Zaanse schans. The temperature was warm and I loved this place!
Road trip Europe!
Every year I have to take a 2 weeks holiday because the company where I work closes for 2 weeks. After a long debate with Timo and an invitation from friends in Italy, we decided to take a road trip to Italy. We visited The small country Liechtenstein, where we did our first hike. After some short stops in Austria, we relaxed at Lake Garda. We continued the road to Cesena, where we meet our friends Dario and Federica. On the way back home we did our very first klettersteig. How awesome was that! Enjoying a hike with climbing gear to add some more challenge.
A quick stop in Mannheim and we were back home after 2 weeks.
Ukraine, Moldova and Transnistria
What to do! I had some days left, want to go backpacking but didn't want to travel too long. My brother, who lives most of the time in Ukraine with his girlfriend Daryna, asked me to come. Surprisingly the tickets to Kiev with return flight from Moldova were not expensive. I spend 5 days in Kiev with the family, took a day trip to Chernobyl. Then traveled with my brother to Odessa. From here we pass the unreal border to Transnistria. After our 24 hour permit was finished, we ended our trip in Chisinau.
The trip was something different. I loved to see the home where my brother spend a lot of time and to meet the parents of Daryna.
Georgia and Armenia
Again we had a trip to cold countries. Georgia and Armenia where on my list since long time. The temperature was cold, we had loads of snow in Yerevan, visited uncountable churches, drank chacha, drank wine and more wine. We got an invitation to a baptism which was special. On top of this great trip we got a fire work show at midgnight 31 December. A great way to start 2017 on a trip in Tbilisi!
We would definitely come back in summer, to do some hiking.