Friday, January 27, 2017

Oh, the places we will go in 2017!

Good grief, how the years fly by!  It's no lie that the older you get the faster they go.  Can you believe it's that time again already?  A quick recap of the previous year and making travel plans for the new. This blog of mine is now five years old and when I look back, I just can't believe the wonderful places that we've managed to visit.  I'm so thankful for the beautiful people we get to go through life with.  If I'm ever feeling blue, I just have to read a few old posts to cheer me up and get me excited for the future (in spite of recent political events that have set my head spinning).  What a fabulous world we live in. 

We've had another great year of travel.  We started off 2016 with an Anniversary/Birthday trip to Malta.  It was just what we needed to break up the cold dark winter months.  Because we still needed a bit more winter sun, we followed that up with a trip to Gibraltar.  I highly recommend both of these destinations.  They were both perfect winter getaways.  After a few months recovering from my surgery early in the year we then spent a week in the Cyprus sun.  As usual the theme to our early travel in the year is seeking warmth and sunshine.  We even managed to have sunny weather during our weekend trip to Budapest, Hungary.

Early summer, I took a trip to Mykonos, Greece with my sweet friend Gina.  All i can say is WOW!  It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  The colors and the food, the sun and the sand.  We had the most incredible few days and it was just what we both needed.  We still talk about it every time we see each other.  Obviously, I love traveling with Matt, but Girl's Trips are something completely different and I highly recommend them!  I'm hoping that it's something that I can do yearly.  

In September, my mom and Bob came to visit.  We took them to Spain for a week to celebrate my 50th birthday and her 70th.  Our stops were Madrid, Ronda, Granada and Seville.  Spain never ceases to thrill me.  I can't wait to post all about our trip. (Yes, I'm behind.  I know.)  It was an incredible week!

As we have a car again, Matt and I decided to take it over to France.  This time by ferry.  We visited Bayeux, Villedieu-les-Poeles, Omaha Beach and Mont St. Michel. I've been dreaming of seeing Mont St. Michel for years and it did not disappoint.

We also spent some time in the Middle East.  This is an area of the world that I'v been so eager to explore.  We spent some time in Dubiai, UAE which was beautiful.  I also got to explore old Dubai which I can't wait to write about. I'll be posting about that next week.

We also spent a weekend in Doha, Qatar which was fascinating. We didn't spend nearly enough time exploring.  I'm hoping that we can get back to the Middle East someday soon. 

2016 was the year that we moved out of London.  I have to tell you, I really miss the city.  I try to get back in as often as I can.  There is so much left to explore, I think it would take a lifetime.  This year there was afternoon tea and museum time with Gina.  We also spent a day exploring Hyde Park Cemetery and visiting the Sky Garden for breakfast.  I loved the New Year's Day Parade.  If you're ever in London on NYD don't miss it.  I know I complained about bit about the crowds living in Sloane Square, but I do miss it.  There was always something to see and do.  I'll never forget our time living there.  London always has something to offer, restaurants, theater, cooking classes, shopping and parks. 

Our new home is a little village in Surrey.  We've been able to explore rural London in a new way.  We've also ventured a little further afield to see more of England.  We've visited the races at Ascot, spent a weekend in Gloucester, had a picnic at Downton Abbey/Highclere Castle, explored the Puzzlewood, watched the animals at the Surrey County Fair and sipped gin at Laverstoke Mill.

On a personal note 2016 was another busy year.  I turned 50 and had a surgery that's improved my well-being immensely.  Our gorgeous grandson Michael turned one!  I spent most of November and all of December home in Texas.  Our new grandson Alex was born and we are madly in love with them both, in case you couldn't tell.   Spending time with my daughter Jessica and her sweet family is always a highlight.  As much as I love to travel, being home with my family is always a much-needed opportunity.

Looking back it's been a pretty good year.  Obviously there have been challenges and discouragements, but who wants to commemorate those.  Oh, and I hit my 50 by 50 goal! Kinda.  I was actually a few weeks late, but the UAE was country number 50 and Qatar was 51.  I'm pretty happy with that.  

The title of this post is "the places we will go in 2017" so what does the new year have in store for us?  That's a good question.  A weekend getaway to Florence is on the table.  I'm dying to take Matt back to Mykonos for some fun in the sun.  We've been wanting to do that Explore tour to the Balkans for the past three years, maybe we can make that happen this year.  And obviously it's been entirely too long since we've been on a cruise ship.  Things are all a bit up in the air right now, but I'm excited to see where the new year takes us.

As I was gathering photos for this post, I noticed a ridiculous number of pub meal photos on my phone.  Not only is it crazy that we eat at the pub this often, but the fact that I feel the need to photograph and share those meals is really a bit embarrassing.  Not embarrassing enough to make me stop.  So be prepared to see more pub grub in the upcoming year.  

Cheers to another new year!!

Oh, the places we will go in...

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