2016 was (mostly) all sunshine and rainbows over in these parts: i can’t believe (unlike previous years) that we managed some travel in every single month of the year. it really goes to show what you can find in your own backyard if you embrace it.
last january, almost a year from now, we experienced highly frenetic weather: the earlier part with a cold burst of snow (the only of that winter!) and in the latter part, temps around 12ºC, which made day trips to places like třeboň (above) ideal. we dined on “carp fries” at supinka restaurant (the best fish restaurant probably in the country – highly recommended!) and marveled in our luck with the warm temperatures.
february brought more amazingly warm weather (much to the dismay of the locals – “winter should be cold!”) and we had a wonderful weekend getaway to two cities that have been on my list forever – telč
and slavonice. in
telč (above) we oogled the gorgeous, colorful old houses in the square (the square along is worth the trip over) and dawdled around town. in slavonice, we stayed in a beautiful design hotel and spent the days hiking the nearby “czech canada” forest (where we discovered fascinating borderlands bunkers from world war two), eating pizza, and drinking delicious local beer. this area, largely off the tourist track, is almost dead in the winter, but with the great weather and good atmosphere, i was counting my blessings having the whole forest to myself!
almost the entirety of march brought freezing wintery temperatures, but fortunately they subsided for our very springy trip to budapest for the long easter weekend. budapest. a city i had once been to, but got kind of swallowed up on a whirlwind central european backpacking trip. budapest definitely deserves it’s own trip – it is an incredible city. we wandered the city, looking for the first blossoms of spring (and found them at buda castle!), whiled away wonderful hours in cafes and funky ruin-pubs, experienced the glory of the budapest opera house, and enjoyed an easter sunday at the baths.
april brought a blast of snow (again, snow on alex’s birthday for the third year – incredible) and some cave and castle exploration with our friends (the “k” family), who persuaded these cautious americans (hey man, don’t wanna get deported) to sneak into a castle after hours. not bad for a weekend! the end of april brought glorious warm temperatures in time for our rafting trip on the malše. note: do not make plans to do something on a day that you go rafting in czech republic with a large group of people. we missed witches night this year because of it, but there is nothing better than a paddle out on the river with good company, so, not sorry.
in may we had a beautiful weekend in prague for my birthday – staying in a fancy hotel with a spa, going out to a fantastic vegetarian restaurant followed by a play and drinks in vinohrady. daisy chains and seeking out blooms in the botanical garden near karlovo
náměstí. it wasn’t exactly a big blowout for a thirtieth birthday, but it was quietly lovely.
june was fantastic, all about local explorations, great weather, and good times. we finally visited the revolving theater in český krumlov and enjoyed a fantastic performance of robin hood. what an unforgettable experience! there was also time to celebrate our first wedding anniversary a few days later with a rainy day in krumlov – nothing better than perusing one of your favorite art galleries and following that with some top-notch strudel at the new
štrúdlárna. later in the month when the school year ended and i had a bit more free time, i chose… not to go anywhere! nothing sounded better than to enjoy “my own backyard” of south bohemia at that moment in time.
before the summer camp melee in july, we celebrated america’s birthday in loket (above), one of the most beautiful czech towns, located in north bohemia near the german border. this was followed by our third time at the karlovy vary film festival, which i would characterize with equal parts intensity and enjoyment (like, we lost our minds but it never felt so good). it was fun that the euro cup was going on at the same time – i may have skipped some films just to watch a match or two! summer camp this year brought its own great local travels with a day trip to písek (home of the oldest bridge in central europe!) + a tiny south bohemian village with an enchanted forest. we also discovered the magic of old growth pine forests and the pískárna – sand quarries full of (rain?) water that make for excellent clean swimming. there’s certainly something to be said for those sobo summers.
i traveled the entire month of august! i have to tell you: i was overcome with anxiety in the lead-up to our big “nordlands” trip but then i remembered how great just being a traveler is, with everything on your back. i conquered my thirtieth country at the age of thirty (norway!) with a short stop-over in oslo before continuing on to spend the rest of the month in iceland, figuring out what makes it tick. we spent loads of time in reykjavik and the west, two weeks working on a farm in reykholsdalur, and a camping-road trip (above) along the southern coast! and would you believe it – there is still loads of places on my iceland dream-list. and still can’t believe we ran into alex’s michigan friends in a sweater shop on skólavörðustígur in reykjavik. strangest life.
man, i was so happy to be back in south bohemia in september! i did not plan one trip for… about two weeks! (hah) we had loads of ‘welcome back’ warm summer nights out at the beer gardens with friends and we had a brilliant indian summer which meant loads of evenings out on the balcony, hikes up klet’ hill, and attending the st. wenceslas festival in summery prague, drinking burčak on the lawn while people around us talked and laughed and a silly band played traditional songs. september in czech republic is always a dream!
in october, i delighted in the first of the changing leaves, bringing home our pumpkins wearing chunky sweaters and baking allll the pumpkin goods. instead of dressing up in costume on halloween weekend, we took off to southern moravia for the first time and spent a dreamy time in mikulov (above), wondering if perhaps we took the wrong train and ended up in italy by accident! wandering every inch of the city and up all of the hills, and in the evenings in a cozy vinný skelp (wine cellar) or restaurant. i’ve only skimmed the surface on southern moravia and just know i’ve got to get back there!
i tried to savor the autumn season in november but man, the wintery weather really came on cue right on st. martin’s day weekend and the snow made everything so festive! the following weekend in vienna and the christmas markets which had already opened in the middle of the month made me so excited about the holidays! we visited four different markets around vienna’s ‘innere stadt’ (above), shopped, and enjoyed loads of viennese coffee and getting to know more neighborhoods outside of the immediate center. i am still trying to figure out what makes vienna tick exactly – tell me if you’ve figured it out!
the first days of december brought us our new team member, ferdinand! getting the hang of life with him has been a bit of a trip in itself – we brought him to the forest, to christmas markets, and even on the bus to
český krumlov. apart from that, we took advantage of all the local festive happenings: advent at hluboka castle in the snow (swoon-worthy!), christmas time in krumlov (live bethlehem!), and a whirl of post christmas sales in prague.
i learned this year that even though travel isn’t everything, it’s nice to mark the year by more extraordinary events because often, that’s where all the magic happens! and what’s next for 2017? although nothing’s certain yet, i am planning to spend much of our summer break in the united states where two of our best friends will be getting married (only a week apart – what fortune for these expats!), revisiting a place we love and have been dying to get back to (???), and perhaps discovering some new ones too. anything can happen! all’s i know for sure is that “travels with dog” is going to be something we start getting used to.
this year on the blog
most exciting thing on adventurings this year: first video – one month in iceland!
the three most popular posts on adventurings in 2016 were…
1) a weekend in czech canada – beautiful hotel in woodsy borderlands near austria with excellent pizza, beer, & hiking!
2) things i wish i knew before moving to the czech republic – hey, nobody told me.
3) our little household – a nation of two. now, three.
see you in the new year, everybody. have a great one!