2015: Top 12 Places

2015 was full of so many adventures. Moving to London for school exactly a year ago really gave me the opportunity to travel Europe. I had never been out of the the States before I left, so living in London and traveling to so many countries was overwhelming, but in the best way possible. I've always dreamed about traveling and now that I have gotten the opportunity to do so, I'm even more eager to see more of the world!  This year I'm planning a few US trips including one to San Francisco and another to Nashville and I'll be saving for a trip to Iceland in 2017. Here's a look at my top 12 favorite places that I saw this year. I'm still working on posting about each of these places, if there's already a post about it there will be a link included. 

12. Budapest, Hungary
Ah, Budapest. I'll never forget walking around in the ice-cold rain, my flats filling with freezing water and then catching a sore throat and fairly bad cold. And then, to top it off, I made my way into a pharmacy but couldn't find a soul that spoke any english and all of the medicine was in Hungarian (obviously) so I just guessed and bought medicine with a picture of an orange on it and some green tea to make back at the hostel I was staying at. These are the kinds of memories that make traveling memorable. It's not always comfortable, but the incredible memories outside of the slight hiccups make it all worthwhile. I'll never forget the snow falling, and being in the warm thermal baths outside while it was freezing, or meeting other Americans in the airport who also lived in London, whom we ended up staying friends with and travelled to Portugal with a few months later. You can read about my travels including the thermal baths, ruin bars, traditional goulash and more HERE

11. Brussels, Belgium
Beer. I would say beer would be the most accurate word for this trip. I consumed so much delicious Belgium beer during this trip. And food. Lots of food, including plenty of chocolate, Belgium waffles and frites with andalouse sauce. Life. Changing. Plus - we toured Cantillon Brewery which was really interesting because they still brew their beer the traditional way and still use some equipment from 1900. You can read more about all the food/beers I consumed and see images of this insanely gorgeous city HERE

10. Munich and Nuremberg, Germany
This was a trip that was so needed at the time. I had been away from my family for more than a month at this point and was starting to feel a bit homesick when I went to Germany to visit a family friend. Spending time with her and her family was a nice change of pace and Germany was absolutely beautiful. It was snowing almost the whole time which I was super excited about. It was the first time I saw snow in over a year! Nuremberg was like a fairytale, we visited a castle and ate traditional German food and it couldn't have been better. You can read more about my trip - HERE

9. Lisbon, Portugal
Oh, Lisbon. I'm super excited to share a post in a few weeks about this beautiful city. This was such a relaxing trip full of wine, good food and sight seeing. We didn't rush anything. At one point we just sat by the water for at least an hour and just took in the sights, the smells and the feel of the city. You can read more about our trip on my friend Carrie's blog - CARE TO LOOK. (She is a super talented writer and photographer so be sure to check it out!)

8. Howth, Ireland
This trip was another relaxing trip that was needed. This was near the end of my four months in London and I was starting to feel burnt out. I was staying in Dublin, Ireland by myself for two days and was looking for something to do and a few people had recommended taking the train to Howth. So I boarded the train by myself and headed out seaside. I was so excited when I could see the sea from my train window. I headed towards tourist information and grabbed a map and went cliff and seaside hiking by myself for a few hours. It was so refreshing and insanely gorgeous. The weather was extremely sporadic though so it would start hailing while I was on the cliffs and then be perfectly sunny and clear - and then start down pouring. But I was having such a good time I could care less about the crazy weather. I was just thankful to be in Ireland and to have a day to myself.

7. Soller, Mallorca (Spain) 
Mallorca was a gorgeous island, Soller was the most breath-taking place. I loved the seaside city of Palma that we stayed at but the mountains and orange groves was overwhelmingly beautiful. Funny thing is - we didn't originally plan to spend easter on the island of Mallorca in the city of Palma. There may have been a slight hiccup when we booked our plane tickets. We were meaning to fly to the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands because there was supposed to be a big Easter festival. Instead, we accidentally booked our tickets for Palma de Mallorca.....oops! So, instead of going to the Canary Islands we went to the Mediterranean islands. Oh well, still not a bad mistake, right? And luckily we realized it a few days before we left when booking our hostel.

6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam was incredible. It was a great place for me and Derek to really relax and enjoy a city together after we had been apart for months. It started off rocky with our train breaking down from France into the Netherlands and having to evacuate from it, but once we got there and settled in our air bnb for 3 nights it was great. We visited so many museums, rode bikes through the park and ate a lot of good food (including dutch pancakes - yum!). A full post on this wonderful city will be up next week! 

5. Sintra, Portugal
Sintra was literally like an enchanted magical land, right out of a fairytale book. It was so colorful and bright, full of an assortment of plants and winding roads. I felt like I was in another world while we were walking around this beautiful town. We spent half a day here while we were staying in Lisbon for a long weekend and it made me fall in love with Portugal even more. I can't wait to share a full post about this incredible place. Again, you can read about it on Carrie's blog - CARE TO LOOK

4. New York City, New York
New York, New York. There's nowhere else like it. During my time in Europe I found myself missing the East Coast cities of New York and Philadelphia. It's such a completely different atmosphere and I still can see myself living in NY at some point. I visited this city four times this year after I got back from England and it's just so great to walk around and take in the sights and try different coffee shops and browse shops. The hustle and bustle doesn't bother me one bit and I tend to love faster-paced cities. I like to take a break and breathe every now and then but long term, I like to live somewhere where I can be busy constantly and there's nowhere more perfect for a lifestyle like that than NYC. 

3. Edinburgh, Scotland
I didn't go to Scotland, expecting to love Scotland so much. But I did. Edinburgh had an atmosphere I have never felt from another city. It was friendly and outdoorsy. My friends and I climbed Arthur's Seat and celebrated with beers and burgers afterwards. That's one of my favorite memories from my four months in Europe and it's something I won't forget. I'll be sharing more about this trip as well as the day trip I took to St. Andrews in the next few weeks! 

2. Paris, France
Paris, je vous aime! Paris, I love you! I heard so many mixed things about Paris before I went. Half of my friends who had been hated it and the other half loved it. I fell madly in love with this city immediately. Just walking around, taking in the smell of freshly baked bread and seeing the insanely gorgeous atmosphere took my breath away. I have never been in a more beautiful city. You can read about my trip with Derek - HERE. And look out for a future post on my second trip there! 

1. London, England
London. I miss this city each and every day. My memories here fill my mind everyday and I daydream about going back constantly. If it were easier to move abroad I would do it in a heartbeat and go right back to this beautiful and extraordinary city. London is filled with so many different neighborhoods and has a place for every type of person. It was incredible to see and experience. I can honestly say that my life is so different and my goals have changed since I got to experience living in London for those four months. You can check out a post HERE and HERE. (And look out for two more future posts on this city.)

I can honestly say that I loved each and every place that I travelled to this year, including my stateside trips to Orlando, Florida and Cape May, New Jersey. While I was in London, I also travelled  to Dublin, Ireland, the city of Palma in Mallorca, and St. Andrews, Scotland. Each place holds a special place in my heart and I'm so excited to see as much of this world as I possibly can. Here's to future adventures!