We spent Christmas in London with Andy's mother, which was the perfect way to relax and recharge before making our way up to Bodø for our final trip of 2022. Bodø is a small city just past the Arctic Circle in northwestern Norway, making it an ideal place to see the aurora borealis during the winter when the sun barely rises above the horizon. The lack of sunlight combined with insane wind, absolutely frigid temperatures, and heavy snowfall nearly every day made for an incredibly unique experience — it was truly one of the most starkly beautiful places we've ever visited.
I spontaneously set a goal of visiting 10 new countries by the end of 2023 during a random team meeting in January where everyone had to share their New Year’s resolutions. This arbitrary goal combined with my love of European Christmas markets is how we ended up in Kraków during the second weekend in December.
The older I get, the more and more excited I get about Christmas decorations and the holiday season in general. I try to buy at least one ornament on each trip we take, but my absolute favorite places to find new holiday decorations are the Christmas markets that pop up across Europe each season. We had to cancel our 2021 Christmas market trips due to the Omicron variant breakout, so I was more than ready to finally head to Basel to experience its legendary Christmas market scene.
One of Andy's closest childhood friends is Turkish and so he has always been particularly interested in Turkish culture — and extremely interested in Turkish food. Istanbul has always been at the top of his list of travel destinations, so I was thrilled that we could finally check this iconic city (and our first time in Asia) off with a long weekend trip in early November.
After a busy couple of weeks in London and the U.S., we were more than ready to get out of town for a quick weekend getaway to Dubrovnik, a city that had been high on our list for years. It was our first time visiting Croatia and it couldn't have been a more relaxing and charming experience. We had such a nice weekend eating seafood, sampling Croatian wines, and exploring the stunning Old Town.
We decided to keep up our new tradition of treating Lily to a vacation over the late August bank holiday weekend (last year we went to the Lake District) by heading up to the Cotswolds for a lovely, relaxing couple of days spent in the English countryside. One of my childhood friends from Kansas City was visiting us, too, which made this weekend getaway even more special.
After having to cancel the weeklong trip we were planning to take to Ireland for New Year's 2022 due to the Omicron variant, we were so excited to finally make our way to Dublin this August for a long-overdue weekend getaway in Ireland. The trip was made even better because we went with one of Andy's friends from high school, who planned the majority of the (flawless) weekend for us—and I must say, it was really nice to just be along for the ride for once.
I had been dying to visit Lake Bled for years, even though we really knew next to nothing about Slovenia before our trip. We were pleasantly surprised by (and now are kind of obsessed with) this tiny, mountainous, and incredibly green country surrounded by Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and the Adriatic Sea. I truly don't have anything but wonderful things to say about our experience in Slovenia.
One of the downsides of living abroad is that we have inevitably had to miss lots of big moments for our friends and family back home, including several weddings that we would have normally attended. On the flip side, it is much easier for us to go to destination weddings in places like the French Riveria, which is how we ended up spending the first weekend in July in the Côte d'Azur celebrating the wedding of one of my favorite colleagues. It truly couldn't have been a more idyllic experience.
After several fun-but-exhausting weekends in a row spent hosting friends and family in London, we were excited to get back on the road (in the air?) with a quick trip to Berlin. Andy hadn't been to Germany before and I had only been to Munich, so we were both really looking forward to finally exploring such a legendary city. Everything about our weekend getaway in Berlin was honestly perfect, and I'm already looking forward to planning our next German adventure.