2013 was a hell of a year. We had what seemed to be a never ending deluge of bad luck. But finally it all turned around. You can read about how all our plans went out the window, how we recovered, and what we achieved in our reflection post we published on Saturday.
So here is our list of “bests”. I hope you enjoy! 🙂
Best domestic travel destination in 2013
We didn’t do much domestic travel in 2013. The two main places we traveled were to Adelaide in January, and to Northern Queensland in September. I was pregnant in January and spent most of our Adelaide holiday vomiting uncontrollably, so I guess that doesn’t give Northern Queensland much competition. But actually, Northern Queensland is an incredible domestic destination.
We spent just over a week and rented a car so we could fully explore the region. We drove up to Cooktown, saw awesome sunrises and sunsets, spent an afternoon exploring Mossman gorge, and of course, spent several days in the Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
This was also a great time for us as Dan was just starting to eat solid food again. We did still have to travel with the liquid food as well, but at least he was able to experience the fresh seafood and organic ice cream along the way.
Best international travel destination in 2013
Well this is sort of difficult. We have been to some AMAZING places this year. But if we had to choose favourites I think we would have to go with Iceland. We visited Iceland in November and were prepared to spend most of our week there shivering in a snow storm or something like that. So many people had warned us about the weather and how they had to cancel all their plans.
Well we went in with no expectations, but lets just say, Iceland blew us away. (It literally blew us away on the first day…. the wind was so strong).
Yes it was cold. Yes the weather was unpredictable. But it was worth it. Icelandic horses covered in frost, frozen waterfalls, crystal blue glaciers, iceburgs washing up onto the black sand beaches and the reflection of the sunrises and sunsets off the snow covered ground. I mean…. need I say more? We even wrote a post about just how awesome travel to Iceland in the winter can be.
Best travel food experience in 2013
Hands down Belgium. Belgium is just great for food. It’s the home of waffles, chocolate, beer, speculoos, mussels, and french fries. The only thing that I don’t like about Belgian food is the weight gain.
But our best food experience in Belgium wasn’t actually a Belgian restaurant… it was Ethiopian. Dan and I loooove Ethiopian food so we decided to check one out in Brussels. Our friend FourSquare led us to one called Toukoul. Look it up if you are in Brussels. Just do it.
We are actually considering taking the train back before our flight leaves from London just to eat there again. It was that good.
Best travel wow moment in 2013
This was probably in Belgium as well. In the main square (Grote Markt) they had set up a Christmas market. When we were walking off our excessive Ethiopian dinner we heard music coming from the square and decided to investigate. What we found was a 360 degree multimedia show playing off the 17th century buildings themselves. Hundreds of thousands of LED lights had been installed on the buildings and were lighting them up in tune to the music being played. It was magical. The show lasted about 15 minutes and ran ever half hour, so Dan went back to video it. It was amazing. If you have the time, you should check out the video he took.
The best part of the whole experience was watching the awe and excitement on Jacob’s face. As each building lit up he would squeal and smile and point. It was the most exciting 15 minutes for this baby in probably the whole of Belgium. He even gets excited when we play back the video of the show to him.
Best family travel moment in 2013
This isn’t really a moment, but a collection of moments. It’s how my baby boy interacts with the world around him. I have never seen a more joyous happy child. He brings happiness to everyone around him and is often (always) the center of attention for the locals. When ever we are out with him Jacob does his best to get each new person around him to make eye contact with him… and once he achieves that… well you are in his power. Today, within one metro stop, he had three women fawning over him.
The attendants at museums actually run over to see him. At the National Archeological Museum he had three people walking around with him and talking to him while Dan and I organized our jackets and tickets. Jacob was in his element. A waiter in New Caledonia actually chased after us when we have left a restaurant in order to give Jacob a toy, and in Cyprus Jacob had a waitress holding each hand for pretty much the duration of our stay.
Old women in souvenir shops who don’t even speak English give him little gifts and get other people to translate to us how much they love our baby. And the lady who sold us our bus ticket to Albania actually had Jacob on the other side of the desk with her.
Jacob really is the world’s child, and seeing him interact with new people and different situations all over the world is really the best part of travel for us.