February is my birthday month. So I thought why not share my travel highlights from the past year (2017). I will turn 31 in a few days and I am excited for all the travelling that I will do this year and for years to come.
Growing up and focusing on a career, helped me to do things I love most – traveling. I have been fortunate to live and work in Canada that offers generous time-off (as long as you are smart enough with your travel plans).
In 2017, I along with my husband set foot in to the European continent and we loved it. I was also able to check off an item from my travel bucketlist
2017 Travel Highlights
We visited Vancouver (Canada) in February for 2 days. We were able to explore the city and also visit the amazing Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Tip: Always book a Hop-on and Hop-off for shorter trips and lay-over explorations. You dont have to undergo the hassle of renting a car or figuring out the city’s must visits.
Also you can help a local travel agency or guide in opting for their services.
Germany – Czech Republic – Austria – Hungary
In March 2017, we visited 4 beautiful countries in Central Europe. Packed with adventures and sights, it was one of the most memorable trips of our lives.
We explored the German cities of Munich and Nuremberg in depth covering its history, culture and amazing tourist spots.
In Germany, we also visited a concentration camp for the first time, something that we only read in History books – Dachau Concentration Memorial Site
Also, we visited the Bavarian countryside of Fussen and took a road trip to the Romantic Road of Germany.
We explored the capital city of Hungary on our maiden trip to Europe. We fell in love with its city-scape and cafes. It rained the entire time we were in Budapest, but we sure had an amazing time. Budapest Parliament is beautiful.
Our highlight of the Budapest trip was the Dinner Cruise across the River Danube. Read about it here
Prague, Czech Republic
I fell in love with Prague, even before I visited. This historical city, with its struggles and perseverance never lost its charm. The old square with the Charles Bridge and the astronomical clock is stunning.
But I love its beautiful lanes, classic old city charm, its chimney cakes and the spicy gluyash <3
Prague is gorgeous at dusk. Take a walk across the Charles Bridge in the evening, yes, it will be crowded, but you will find a strange kind of peacefulness inside you when you visit this place!
Another stunning country that I visited last year was Austria. Vienna, its capital city is beautiful and stylish in every corner.
What stole my heart was the city of Salzburg. The Hohensalzburg Fortress is beautiful and you can get breathtaking views of the city from the top. The city’s centre is the Mozart square – which is a beautiful area to shop, eat and relax.
If you like the Sound of Music movie, take a tour here to see where the movie sets/scenes were filmed. You can also visit the Red Bull museum, eat some of the amazing chocolates at the Furst! or just take a stroll in their beautiful lanes.
Note: Utilized my 2 weeks of vacation (14 days) and then added 1 statutory holiday and 1 personal day (in total 16 days trip) for the entire European trip.
Banff National Park (Summer, Canada)
So Canada celebrated its 150th year in 2017 and visit to all Parks was absolutely free. So in the summer of 2017, we revisited some unexplored areas of Banff.
That included this beautiful Vermillion Lake, Moraine Lake and also (re-visited) Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake (after our wedding in 2016). We did encounter a lot of wild animals in our visit.
4 day trip – Booked the Friday off (personal time), Saturday and Sunday (weekend), Monday – Statutory holiday
Elk National Park (Canada)
We also spent a lovely weekend at the Elk National Park, enjoying sunsets and watching wildlife (bisons mainly).
This National Park is so close to the city, I didnt know why we didnt visit this place before. This year we are signed up for a Full moon and Sun-set tour at the Elk National Park.
One of the many weekend visits
Tip: Go someplace nearby if your job doesn’t allow for a generous vacation.
One of my bucketlist item was visiting Mexico’s Chichen Itza mayan ruins. I am so glad I was able to take a tour and visit this place. It is breathtaking for sure.
In my 5 day tour of Mexico, I also covered Tulum and Coba ruins and had an amazing stay at Playa del Carmen.
Visited in September for 5 days, took a red eye flight to save on taking additional time off from work
Calgary & Banff National Park (Winter, Canada)
One of the highlights of this trip was witnessing the Northern Lights in Alberta! I have been dying to see them (I will be checking this off my bucket-list this year 2018 in Iceland)
Look how stunning, and this taken from a moving car
Banff, during winters is a different place altogether. It is a beautiful winter wonderland. This trip was special as I had my family visit me from India and we took them to visit Calgary and Banff & Lake Louise.
There are a lot of activities that you can enjoy in winters too like the Christmas parade, Christmas markets and winter sports like skiing or winter fun like sleigh-rides.
Took a week off to visit the winter wonderland in Banff & Calgary and also participated in a few activities in the city of Edmonton.
All in all I visited 5 new countries in 2017 and revisited some of my favorite places. I also planned a trip to Vancouver and Seattle for 4 days, which didn’t work out due to health issues.
I have my trips planned out for 2018 already. This month as I turn a year older, I also have some job changes coming up that I am excited about. My next trip is planned for Drumheller and Canmore (Canada) and in May 2018 I will be exploring Havana, Cuba.
Have you made your travel plans yet for 2018?