Sunday, January 1, 2017

Travel Link-Up: A Year In Travel


Happy New Year! This New Year's Day, I'd love to take a trip down memory lane with you and to revisit my travel diary from 2016.

In February, worn down by the slog of London life, coupled with cold and dark weather (still!), we decided to catch some winter sun in the most unexpected of places: Tenerife. Well, it actually made total sense: temperatures were in the mid to upper 20s (Celsius) and because it's in the same time zone, travelling there also meant zero jet lag.



We chose a quiet resort in the more grown-up (read: retirement age) province of Costa Adeje, Vincci Seleccion La Plantacion Del Sur. It was beautiful. Blue skies, gorgeous pools, a stunning spa, and a 10-minute walk to the beach. Perfect. 

If you're considering an escape from the English weather early next year, you can read more about our trip here.

In April, we jetted off for a city/spa break in the beautiful region of Aquitaine, France. 

We began our trip at the magical Les Sources de Caudalie, where we enjoyed Michelin-starred dining, before making a quick stop in Saint Emilion for more gastronomic delights at the Hostellerie de Plaisance.





From there, we drove to Bordeaux, where we stayed in a spectacular Airbnb, and climbed the tallest sand dune in Europe in Arcachon Bay.

Are you planning a trip to Bordeaux next year? You can read more about our trip here, including my antique-hunting tips, if you're into that kind of thing. 

In May, I'd resigned myself to not travelling for a while, but a bout of homesickness saw John book round-trip tickets for me to see my family in Seattle. 

We took a little side trip to Snoqualmie Falls while I was there, where I had an amazing stay at Salish Lodge (which you might recognize from David Lynch's TV series, Twin Peaks!).


If you've never been to Seattle or the Pacific Northwest, I'd highly suggest a visit in the spring/summer. I'm a little biased because I grew up there, but I definitely appreciate the scenery a lot more now as an adult: snow-capped mountain peaks, forests of evergreen trees jutting out to greet you as you touchdown at SeaTac airport, fresh seafood - it's all there. I wrote more about it here, if you're interested!

By June, work had started on our gardens ... and by "work", I mean serious excavations and a total transformation that ended up taking more than nearly four months to finish. But when it was done (and even while it was in progress), John and I ate every single meal outside - and took advantage of our new, beautiful space. I can't wait to share it with you this spring, when the flowers bloom. 

On a balmy, late-summer's day in August, we were chatting to my best friend, Udita, who mentioned that she'd be going to Bangalore, India for her cousin's wedding in November. "You guys should come too!" she said, like she has for the past 12 years I've known her. 

Suddenly, an idea struck us: why not? Was it crazy to go to India for five days? We wouldn't be able to see too much, but we'd be with locals and could get flights using the points John's racked up from all the travel he does for work. 

And, you guys - five days in India is worth it. Granted, Bangalore isn't Jaipur or Rajasthan or Mumbai, but it was raw and real and crazy and so much fun. Blog posts will be up in a couple weeks' time. Until then, here's a photo of the beautiful grounds at The Taj West End.


This week, I just returned from a trip to Amsterdam and Cologne with my parents, which was so much fun. I can't wait to blog about it in the next few days!

Amsterdam looked incredibly festive in December - I loved seeing Christmas trees in nearly every window that lined the canals, not to mention the beautiful Amsterdam Light Festival.

We took a quick day trip to Cologne to visit the Christmas markets there - have you been? So, so pretty. We browsed the stalls with a mug of hot chocolate (for me) and gluhwein (for everyone else), before climbing 533 steps up to the top of the Cologne Cathedral.

Here's wishing you a wonderful 2017. Are you heading to anywhere fun? So far, we've got trips planned to Morocco and Cornwall - we're also hoping to fit in a trip to Asia, the US, and Scotland somewhere in between!

xo

This post is part of this month's Travel Link-Up series, hosted by Emma, Polly, and Angie. Head over to their blogs to read more about their travel wishlists for 2017 and travel highlights from 2016!
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38 comments

  1. You've been to some beautiful places this year Jaime! And I'm glad you said that about going to India for a few days only as we've got a family wedding we've been pondering a visit to Delhi for but we weren't sure if it was doable for only a week but looks like it clearly is!

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    1. I feel really, really lucky, Shikha! And yes, I totally think that the short stay in India was worth it. I can't wait to go back and explore more, especially Jaipur and Rajasthan!

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  2. I can't wait to read about your India trip.

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  3. Your travel photography is beautiful! Also, Snoqualmie Falls (and plenty of Douglas Firs) are on my must-see list for a hypothetical PNW trip. Have a great 2017!

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    1. Thank you so much, LL! I hope you make it to the PNW this year. I miss it a lot and am already planning a trip for May/June!

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  4. You've had a fun 2016, I'm excited to ready your India posts :) All the best for 2017 xx

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    1. It was a whirlwind of my travel dreams come true!

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  6. That pool in Tenerife looks absolutely gorgeous. I may have to consider it for a beach break this year! Would definitely love to visit some German Christmas markets too so can't wait to hear more about your December travels :)

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    1. I'd definitely recommend Tenerife for a short, easy break, Ayla! It wasn't what I had expected it to be (I'll admit to having my prejudices before we arrived), and I really appreciated getting the winter sun right when I needed it.

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  7. I loved your Bordeaux posts - you totally inspired me to revisit and do some antique hunting while I'm there. Would love to read more about Amsterdam. I've not visited in years and am thinking about a few days with one of my sons as a post-exam treat. Very much looking forward to reading about your coming year's adventures. Happy New Year! I've loved reading your blog over this last year. Cxx

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    1. Thank you so much, Clare - that means a lot to me.

      Amsterdam would be a fantastic place to visit as a post-exam treat! It is so lovely. I have a better time there with every visit.

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  8. Looking forward to reading about your trip to India too, we fell in love with the place on our adventure and will be going back! As for Cornwall - I hope you have a wonderful time in my home county

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    1. Thank you, Anna! I can't wait to go back to India - Jaipur and Rajasthan are at the top of my list.

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  9. I visited Aquitaine a few years back and it was so lovely! I loved going up the Dune du Pilat as well! And I hope you love Scotland when you come over :)

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    1. Aquitaine is so, so special. And I can't wait to come to Scotland, Camila! Feeling motivated to book my trip now ...

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  10. Oh my goodness, what a fantastic year and what gorgeous places you visited and hotels you stayed in! I never really think about traveling from Europe to a place like the Canary Islands or, well, anywhere outside of the continent but it's something I'm starting to open up my mind to (if there is a good deal, of course!). Thanks for all the travel inspiration ;)

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia! Definitely lots of good deals flying around for places like the Canary Islands ... if it turns grey here in February, I might consider a repeat trip this year!

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  11. What a year! I love your photos. My sister is actually off to Tenerife this January so you may have sparked a trend! I think it sounds brilliant, if you choose your location carefully. Nothing beats a bit of winter sun.

    I'm also looking forward to your India posts; sometimes the slightly more unlikely destinations turn out to be the best ones.

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    1. Winter sun can be so healing and soothing. I was struggling last February and it really helped, although I realize not everyone can just escape easily at the drop of the hat, so I was super grateful for that opportunity.

      I absolutely loved India - I'm so happy that our first visit has just instilled a greater sense of wanderlust in me!

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  12. I'm iffy on India (I had a chance to go for work but never wanted to), but I think if it was for something fun, festive, and personal I could be persuaded. It'd have to be luxury travel though.

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    1. That's so interesting, Becky! For me, I can't wait to go back and explore more. The colors, sights, sounds and food are so incredible to experience.

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  13. This has created some serious wanderlust in me! Here's to another traveling year in 2017.

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  14. Oh that resort in Tenerife looks devine! I can really see myself there. Sounds like a busy travel year ahead for you with a whole range of destinations.

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    1. I'd love to be poolside now, Sarah! Christmas was fun but SO exhausting. I feel like I need a break after our break, ha!

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  15. Hope you enjoy Scotland! I love to get back home whenever I can. :)

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    1. Thank you, Sorcha! I know how special it is to you. I'll let you know where we end up going!

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  16. Wow, I didn't realize you'd only been in India for 5 days - what a whirlwind!! I've loved following your travels this past year - your writing & photos as always are beautiful, and I'm excited to keep up with your writing & travels in the coming year! Good luck to you & happy 2017 Jaime!!

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  17. What a year you had Jaime! Your photos are absolutely stunning and I loved hearing about your quick jaunt to India (need to go and check out those blog posts). Rich and I went to Bordeaux for our first ever holiday together and Arcachon remains one of my favourite places in the world - it's so unusual!! Can't wait to go back one day. Here's to a 2017 with just as many wonderful surprises (and can't wait to see the flowers in your new garden when they come out).

    Polly xx

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  18. Oh wow, you've had such an amazing travel year! Your trip to France looks amazing, and I think I now need to climb that sand dune (I have a thing about sand dunes haha). India sounds amazing too - it's been on my bucket list for so long!
    I absolutely love Cornwall and Scotland (though I might be biased about Scotland because I'm 1/2 scottish hah). Definitely take a trip to the Highlands - Fort William and Aviemore are my favourites.
    xo April | April Everyday

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  19. Your photographs are so gorgeous! :) I've always written Tenerife off as a bit of a tacky place, but your photos make me think that next winter I need to look at booking myself a little sunshine break pick me up!

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  20. I've loved following your adventures in 2016 - wishing you plenty more fun in 2017 :)

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