“I miss travelling. We don’t travel as much as before anymore,” I complained to the husband while suffering cabin fever.
“Are you kidding? Most Dutch go on one long vacation a year, usually camping in France or Spain. We’re going to three Southeast Asian countries,” he answered looking at me like I am some kind of spoiled-brat millennial.
If you put things in perspective in a way my husband does, I do sound like a spoiled-brat millennial. But I did travel a lot more before, going on weekend trips once a month and business trips several times a year. That was two years ago. I don’t know when but at some point travel got too tiring.
Packing for another trip while your luggage from the last one is still lying in the corner of your living room still unpacked is not fun.
It somehow diminished the experience. After all, I’m not the kind of traveller who jumps from one city to the other, takes photos of one landmark to the next or gets crazy with must-see and to-do lists. I am slow traveller. So slow that I can just spend the whole morning eating breakfast, drinking wine and looking at a river flow under a bridge.
2016 had been a great year in terms of travel. Robin and I were together in all of the trips we took this year. It bonded us again, like it did nine years ago when we went to Palawan for a 3-week assignment. We discovered new places, re-visited old favourites and got reminded of how we were before we fell inlove.
So here’s a recap of my 2016 in travel, a year I’d looked back with some tears but mostly smiles.
To escape the noise and the fireworks, we spent the New Year weekend at Postillion Hotel in Putten, enjoyed a long walk in Hardewijk, had a short photo shoot at the misty lake outside our hotel, ran 12 kilometers along Strand Nulde, drank beer at the local brewery Drie Ringen in Amersfoort and visited Kunsthal Kade before we went home.
Two weeks later, we spent a night at Lloyd Hotel, perhaps my favourite hotel in Amsterdam. We’ve got upgraded to a room with a bathtub in the middle, which we had to leave early to catch the last day of Edvard Munch exhibit at the Van Gogh Museum.
We flew to the Philippines at the end of January for our yearly family visit. Instead of just staying in Marinduque, we visited my father’s little farm in Mindoro, distributed supplies to kids affected by the typhoon and went for a quick visit to the majestic Infinity Resort.
Before returning to cold Holland, we spent three days in Singapore, where you either find us in food hawker’s centre closed to a food coma or napping on our huge bed at an executive room at Furama RiverFront Hotel.
This month saw us in Surrey, England for a weekendje weg with Robin’s bestfriend. Like a proper British trip, we ate at Jamie Oliver’s, went for a long walk, visited a graveyard, had English breakfast, got drunk on cocktails at a speak-easy cocktail, drank champagne at Albury vineyard then crossed to the other side of the lake to taste a new brand of gin from the Silent Pool distillery.
We regretted not bringing a check-in luggage. We went home without a single bottle of alcohol.
After months of training, it was finally time for this trip to the Faroe Islands, a small independent cluster of islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. I remember Robin telling he how crazy I was choosing this place for a marathon. We stayed on the Faroese for only 5 days but it felt like a two-week vacation. This is one of the highlights of our 2016 travel, which I have yet to blog extensively about.
I guess as a writer, when you visit a place so beautiful and so overwhelming, you’d be afraid that words will fail you and you might not do any justice to such destination.
Two months of staying at home and working my ass off was too long for me. So as a birthday gift, the husband took me to a weekend trip to some cities in Nord-Pas-de-Calais or the French Lowlands. We stayed at Hostellerie Saint Louis in Bollezeele, where we ran a half marathon around hay and corn fields, spent a whole afternoon lunching at La Taverne Flamande in Cassel and an awful dinner of fish and cheese at La Table Du Meunier, slept on the beach in Dunkirk exposed to the stormy elements, getting buried in the sun while Robin patiently looks from a distance and went home a lot happier.
An overnight in Antwerp and a weekend in Zeeland, swimming, for the first time, in the cold Dutch North Sea, eating foie gras and drinking champagne at home and binging on oysters, sole, Yerseke mussels, kibbeling and Zeeuwse lobster, marked my September.
As one last hurrah to a year of travel we went to a weekend trip to Dusseldorf, Germany to get our Japanese fix and binge eat (again) on all the fatty, overly sweet and alcoholic German food at a Christmas market.
I don’t think we would be doing much travelling in 2017, two to three trips at the most. But with a new adventure on the way, the coming year promises to be another unforgettable one.
Happy travels in 2017 folks!