Looking Back 2016
I tend to be a forward looking person...but sometimes I like to look back. Looking back at our year in travel, I can see how things don't always go as planned, that opportunities come up and things I hadn't anticipated grabbed our attention. I think the best trips are also like this. We can plan where we want to go and when, and even schedule lots of sights and activities, but we never know exactly how things will turn out, or what will capture our attention. And that really is the beauty of travel!
Here are some highlights (and low lights!) from our year, from watching mischievous monkeys in the remote Osa Peninsula to the wonder we felt, when after a long 36 hours of flight cancellations and delays, we saw a polar bear and two tiny cubs appear out of the dark on the tundra in Churchill and to the joy I felt sharing the incredible art of Paris with my design student daughter. It was a year of many unexpected moments, but I wouldn't change one of them!
See Looking Ahead 2017 next week!
We traveled to Portland with family for a wedding, and enjoyed a chilly but welcoming weekend. Click for our trip report here.
Kathy traveled to visit family in Southwest Florida, enjoying the natural side of Florida, while she didn't report from there this year, here is a post about enjoying the "natural" parts of Florida, and yes, you CAN still find them! See our post here.
Azamara Journey Panama Canal and Costa Rica
February also sent us out on our biggest trip of the year, to the Panama Canal and Costa Rica, which we reported here. (click on each photo for a link)
Osa Peninsula Costa Rica
"Hang on to your breakfast!" That was the advice from the lodge manager at La Paloma in Drake Bay Costa Rica. If we thought it was inconvenient to keep a close eye on our breakfast, at least we were being fed, and at La Paloma...fed very well!! The poor monkeys were suffering from hunger, due to early rains which knocked the young unripe fruit to the ground and left them without a food source in the jungle. Sadly, monkeys who should have been well fed naturally were hanging around hoping for a bit human breakfast, and even more sadly, feeding them or allowing them to eat people food was even more dangerous for them, potentially causing diabetes and other illnesses in them. For more on our trip to La Paloma...click on the photo link below.
In March we got an invitation to attend an NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament...in Albany. Lots of people would pass, but not us, we decided to "go see it"! In addition to the delight of seeing spirited college students and their joyful pep bands support their local teams on the ice, we also took a photo walk around Albany NY. This demonstrates that any trip anywhere can be interesting, if you know you go with the right attitude and know where to look! (click on the photo to link to our trip report)
In April, we mixed business with the pleasure of seeing friends in Seattle, and enjoying the very best cherry pie I've ever had! Click on the photo below for our trip report.
In May, Jeff had business in Spain and contributed a photo essay of his short stay. It looks so beautiful, he's not allowed to go back for business unless he brings Kathy next time!
In June, Kathy took a special trip with our daughter to London, Paris and north of London. It was a good time to visit Europe, a little quieter and cooler than mid summer, and the American dollar was strong, adding value to our trip!
The dream trip for a 21 year old design student! As a mom, I had images of spending mornings lolly gagging through museums, strolling the Champs Elysee arm in arm, snacking on french bread and cheese in the Tuileries. Ahh, and sometimes reality meets the dream...
As we arrived on a beautiful sunny Saturday, Paris was hit with a deadly lightening storm that sent most of the population of Paris scurrying for the metro, at the EXACT same moment we were trying to negotiate the turnstile of the Metro pulling our roller bags. (Travel Tip 1: there's a handicapped/stroller entrance; if you have luggage, use this) As our bag jammed in the turnstile, traffic built up behind us, eye rolling commenced and I was glad my French was limited as already irritated, soaked Parisians tried to push past us. We tried reinsert our 3 day unlimited transit passes to free the bags, and the passes were rejected, leaving the bags hopelessly stuck in turnstile (Travel tip 2: if you have an unlimited use transit pass, you are usually prohibited from using it twice in a short period of time- usually to prevent more than one person from using it at a time, see Travel Tip 1!) Finally, an annoyed transit worker freed our bags and escorted us to the handicapped/stroller entrance with an exasperated wave of the hand. Yup, sometimes with travel, there's your imagination, then there is reality!
Click on the photo below for a link to our Paris trip report, which although soggy, turned out to be pretty great after our initial challenges using the transit system!
North of London
June was a busy month of travel, after our European trip, we concentrated on some destinations close to home! Jeff and Kathy spent a weekend in New York City. The highlights were riding our bikes around Manhattan and seeing "Waitress" on Broadway, just weeks after it enjoyed 4 Tony Award Nominations.
New York City
A convention in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore for Kathy, gave her a chance to get some photos Ft McHenry, a National Park that tells the story of Francis Scott Key's inspiration for the National Anthem.
Another business trip for Jeff, and another photo walk. This time Sweden was celebrating Gay Pride week, which created some very colorful photos!
August and September:
Maine and Acadia National Park
Our family spends time in Maine during the summers, and it's rugged coastline and interesting characters always make interesting photgraphic subjects.
In late October we embarked on another expedition trip; we started the year in the tropics with Central America, we ended it in the arctic! The two places could not be more different, but two things that struck us was that both places are filled with amazing creatures perfectly adapted for their environments, and the best way to see those creatures and these environments (and meet a few of the people who live there too!) is to have an excellent guide!! We wrote about that here in our post about Costa Rican Guides, but the same applies to our guides in the arctic too!
Polar Bears Of Churchill Manitoba Canada
On our return from Churchill, Manitoba, we spent a weekend "warming up" in Toronto, where we explored a range of culinary experiences and took in the Hockey Hall of Fame and did some early Christmas shopping in the Distiallry District.
An easy day trip from Toronto, we employed our best "Tourist Trap Buster" techniques to enjoy a full day alongside lake Ontario, with the dramatic falls and historic towns and parks. Click for some tips on how to visit a tourist attraction and see more attraction and less tourists!
2016 was an exciting year of exploring interesting and diverse destinations. We had a few ups and downs, mostly ups! We've enjoyed photographing them and sharing them with friends and followers. We'd love to hear about where you've been this year!
Be sure to check our blog next week to see where we are headed next year, and to share where you plan to go!!