As we come to the end of the year, you can’t help but reflect on the year that has gone by. For D* and I, the adventures are almost over for the rest of the year, since we’re going to Guatemala again on December 27th. So as I sit here at the Westin in Edmonton at 5am, I’ve had some time to reflect on what an amazing and wonderful 2012 it’s been. In honour of it being 12/12/12 today, here’s my top 12 travel moments of 2012.
1. Winter in Banff, then Napa Valley
To start the year, we ended up staying at the Chateau Lake Louise and photographing Morant’s Curve in winter, eating on the best steaks I’ve had outside of Argentina at Saltlik in Calgary and then heading to over to Napa Valley to tour the vineyards. Spending all that time on the West Coast should give you the desire to travel to Hawaii … I’ve never actually been to Hawaii and for some reason I’ve never had the inkling to head over there for luau’s. So instead, we just headed over to tour some windy roads and eat super garlicky food in San Francisco.
2. Partying in Trinidad for Carnival
Going to Trinidad for Carnival is on many, many people’s bucket list. Thankfully, I have the home field advantage, since I can just go home – Carnival just happens to be going on while I’m there. I was quite lucky to take along a couple friends with me to experience their first Carnival. For most of the year, Trinidad is actually rather average as an exotic travel destination aside from the spectacular food, but if you go to Trinidad in the 2 months before Carnival, then you’ll be treated to some phenomenal parties. All those “All Inclusive” parties … Ultimate Lime, Tribe Ignite, and so much more. In fact, I would tell people to go for the parties and not the beaches. For now, here is a video of Machel Montano performing at a Tribe Ignite for Carnival 2012
3. “Sulphur Springs” dipping in Dominica
In March, we took our first cruise and I wasn’t excited. In the end, I can’t lie, I was impressed by Celebrity Cruises. In Aqua Class only. The fact that Aqua Class passengers have their own restaurant really let me enjoy the cruise, with menus that I could customize given my non dairy preference. One of the stops was Dominica, where we had a great time exploring.
4. Swimming in Magens Bay, St. Thomas
There are some places in the world, that don’t need much of a description. Magens Bay is one of them.
5. Wandering through Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic has a lot of cute shops. Down the street, you can grab a “slice of heaven” at the infamous Mystic Pizza. Although it’s been around since 1972, the movie put it on the map, so they graciously sell the movie, play it on the flat screen television in the dining area and display framed pictures from the shooting of the movie all over the wall.
6. Spending Midsummer in Helsinki
Helsinki is an awesome town. I’ve heard that some people might have different thoughts about the Finns. I’ve heard that all you need to know about Finns is limited to the following three words : Knives, Sauna, Vodka. I would beg to differ, they have a phenomenal nightlife, very good seafood (definitely the best smoked salmon I’ve had). Midsummer (juhannus in Finnish) for Finns means celebration and the long, white night which is said to be the “nightless” one (yötön yö). In the Helsinki region the sun sets at about 22:50 and rises again already around 4:00 o’clock in the morning. In the Northern Finland the sun does not set at all! The nightless night of Finnish midsummer gives a great contrast to the darkness of the winter time.
7. Drinking and roaming Barcelona
I love Barcelona. It’s like Montreal, except it comes with a lisp. However, listening to Catalans makes me think everyone there is a some what “special”. If you’re a photography buff, you could spend a couple weeks roaming the city and taking pictures of graffiti in the barrios. In my older years, I’ll even admit that once you walk inside La Sagrada Familia – you’ll be impressed … it’s only the outside that looks like 10,032 artist on acid designed it. If you’re looking to head out to any city in Europe, Barcelona would definitely be in my top 5, for a 48 hour tour.
8. Ballooning over Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is easily one of the more stunning places on the planet. Whether you’re there for the cave hotels, the rock formations or the underground city or any other attraction, I would definitely put the balloon ride over Cappodocia on your bucket list.
9. Eating Fish and Chips in Marsaxlokk, Malta
Roaming Malta for a day or so will lead to many walled cities, tons of history, lots of limestone hourse and then Marsaxlokk. It’s pronounced Mar – sa – shlock”, which took me about 30 mins to figure out how to pronounce, is a small picturesque village in the south eastern coast of Malta. It’s known as the ‘fishing village’ of Malta. If you have a chance to pass by Marsaxlokk, let the
10. Munching on Rover or Fido or Sparky in Seoul, South Korea
I’ve eaten a lot of strange things, this was really not a strange meat to me. The most difficult thing about eating Rover/Fido/Lassie is getting over the mental block that will invariably stop most people in the western world.
12. Proposing in Detroit, USA
In the end, the travel highlight of my year, wasn’t really anything above, but rather getting on stage and pulling this stunt off. Definitely the best travel memory of 2012 for me.