5 Travel Highlights of 2016

posted by Sharon December 31, 2016 16 Comments
Brugge

Travel highlights: What defines these for each of us? As we all travel – in real life or by browsing blogs and Pinterest – a million places catch our attention. At least it seems like that to me. So how does one destination, experience, or magical moment become a highlight that comes to mind when we remember it?

This year for me, travel was hard won, with health challenges knocking me down for a while. (Chemotherapy is tough!) But that makes the experiences I did enjoy so much sweeter. I’m grateful for every day I feel good now. I hope you won’t let ill health discourage you ever from exploring, even if it’s nearby and for short bursts.

Here are five travel highlights of 2016 that pop to the front when I look back at this year – and why. Maybe these will inspire you to plan some fun for 2017, even if it’s a trip to your local park or museum. You don’t need to go far. You just need to be open to the joys of travel!

Hiking in Palm Desert on New Year’s. This area is just a two-hour drive from my home, so it’s a great get-away. We can easily drive there and stay a night or two and feel like we have totally changed scenery and relaxed.

This year we discovered a new hiking trail just at the entrance to the town. The weather in January was perfect for being outdoors. We did go back in August and at temps of 108, we had to put any hiking on hold. The surprise of this new trail, the views of the town, and a breathtaking sunset started the year off right. Sharon OdegaardPalm Desert Palm Desert

Driving to the Mountain Town of Julian in March. Julian is an hour drive from my home and is my place to go for a day away. When I had one day off work for any reason, I’d try to head here to recharge. The surprise of this trip in March centers on the blooms. In daffodil season, the lilacs were blooming, far too early. The unseasonably warm weather confused the flowers. I met a new friend who grows bushes of lilacs and told me about the joys of Julian while I played with her Golden Retrievers. You may travel to find something (daffodils) and it’s not there but that’s okay. Look for lilacs instead! Julian March

Riding a Bike along a Canal in Belgium. We stayed in the fairytale town of Brugge and showed up early in the morning to rent bikes. We planned to ride to the next tiny town and back. The bike store owner told us that was too short a ride. The weather was glorious and we should go the whole day and ride to the Netherlands and back. What? Just follow the canal, he advised, and when you get to the border, turn around and come back. So we did. What a delight. Once we got back we calculated how far we went, but at the time, we happily rode to the next country and back and thoroughly enjoyed the day. BelgiumBelgiumBelgium

Taking in the Sunrise on Notre Dame in Paris. It was worth getting up early, while the city was waking up, and walking to Notre Dame in the chill air to see the sunrise. Something about another day dawning on this church, as it has for centuries (!) will be one of the most moving sights in my memory. In Paris, security was vigilant, and we saw so many gendarmes and endured bag and jacket checks everywhere. You can’t help but be aware of how fragile our world is, how much France and other places have suffered in recent history, and how thankful we can be for each new day of life and light. Notre Dame ParisNotre Dame ParisNotre Dame ParisParis Seine

Hanging on San Francisco’s Cable Cars. I’m happy hanging on the pole off the edge of a cable car here, rounding corners and speeding up and down steep hills. We bought a three-day pass and rode so many times I lost track of the number. You can buy the passes at Walgreen’s and you’re good to go and explore the city. We ended our trip with a visit to the cable car barn, where you can see the giant cables that whir under the streets and whisk the cars to and fro. Our travels this year ended with this return to one of my favorite places in the world, a great end to 2016.

San FranciscoSan Francisco

How about you? What your travel highlights of 2016, whether from your hometown or around the world?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Wanderful Wednesday, Our World Tuesday, Photo Friday, Seasons at Life-n-Reflection, and Life Thru the Lens.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

You may also like

16 Comments

avatar
Tamar Strauss-Benjamin December 31, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Happy New Year!!

Reply
avatar
image-in-ing: weekly photo linky January 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/01/church-of-primacy-of-peter.html

Happy new year, BTW!

Reply
avatar
Carol January 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Beautiful photos of your fabulous travels

Reply
avatar
jesh StG January 3, 2017 at 1:57 am

Wow, you did that all in one year? But of course you could if you went to several places in one trip:) With the biking you did for fun in your vacation you had a taste of what many W-Europeans do – their groceries and appointments to the bank, etc. on the bike every week:) Appreciate your weekly presence with sharing your ALL SEASONS experiences – they’re marvelous! A happy New Year to you!

Since having read you went to San Francisco, I went twice in last 2 weeks, to pick up and bring our son – we were fortunate not to have fog at the coast, but still not enough time for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Reply
avatar
Su-sieee! Mac January 3, 2017 at 2:30 am

I rode cable cars nearly every Sunday when I first lived in SF a very long time ago. I felt so wild and adventurous. 🙂 Your sunrise photos of Notre Dame are gorgeous. Happy New Year to you!

Reply
avatar
bettyl - NZ January 3, 2017 at 6:18 am

Great post. I hope the new year brings you many great and wonderful things.

Reply
avatar
A Creative Harbor January 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Wonderful travel photos ~ what a gift for you and gift for me to see your photos ~ thanks,

Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year ~ ^_^

Reply
avatar
LovelyGishi January 3, 2017 at 11:03 pm

These are so beautiful!!
I am glad you are feeling better..

Reply
avatar
Klara S January 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Ha! Notre-Dame always looks stunning. Very nice pictures and adventures. Happy New Year.

Reply
avatar
Ruth January 5, 2017 at 1:24 am

Lots of great adventures! What is the name of the trail you hiked in Palm Desert? I am always trying to find out new things to do in the area. I went to Julian too and had apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. That is reason enough to go back. Hope this years brings even new adventures. Sending you the best vibes! #WordlessWednesday

Reply
avatar
tom the backroads traveller January 6, 2017 at 12:58 am

You sure saw some wonderful sights this year.

Reply
avatar
Kristy Life-n-reflection January 6, 2017 at 1:58 am

Wow, so many beautiful sights! Thank you for sharing in the Seasons!!

Reply
avatar
Pat January 7, 2017 at 3:39 am

I had a difficult time finding how to leave a comment on your blog, Sharon, but I’m glad I finally figured it out 😉 Your year’s review of photos was so interesting! I’d love to do that bike ride in Bruge one day and see Paris at dawn. San Francisco is one of my favoriye cities to visit and I know how much fun those cable car rides can be, especially when one hangs on the side of the car.

Happy New Year!

Reply
avatar
Molly January 7, 2017 at 9:58 pm

I love the windmill and it looks like you had a wonderful travel year

mollyxxx

Reply
avatar
ladyfi January 20, 2017 at 5:29 am

Wonderful shots and locations! I love the Paris shots especially.

Reply
avatar
Miriam Hector March 31, 2017 at 4:41 am

You traveled a lot last year! What a year, eh? I would love to bike along the canal like you did in Belgium. It doesn’t seem like much but I don’t mind cycling and enjoying those view, nope not at all! I remember that San Francisco cable car from a film, it seems like a convenient transportation(?) and I want to experience it as well. I am not a morning person but if I had to be one for a day to be able to look at that beautiful sunset that I will! You absolutely had an amazing year last year! Ready for more trip this year? Then you should visit Bali, the sunny all year long island. Check us out to have our villa provide you the privacy and amazing service while you’re staying in Bali. Come to Bali and please do visit our website, thank you!

Reply

Leave a Reply to Klara S Cancel Reply