It’s that time of year, to look back and reflect on the year gone by. 2014 has been an amazing year, and I’ll give you fair warning that this will be a long post. How can I sum up a great year in just a few words? I can’t! So, here goes, the month by month summary of 2014.
In the fall of 2013 we put our house on the market, and in January we were still waiting for that right buyer to come along. In early January I went to an all day silent meditation and yoga retreat, which I loved. I look forward to going to another one someday. I also took a last minute trip to Northern California to visit family and friends.
In mid-February we got an offer on the house. We were very excited, and we even bought our one way ticket to Europe before the inspection period on the house was complete! We were fairly sure that this deal was solid! And, it was!
This was one of the craziest months ever. We packed, we sold stuff, and we had a visit from a good friend from California. We finalized plans for the first part of the trip, finding rentals in Reykjavik, Iceland, and also in Amsterdam. We had friends over for gatherings, we gave things away, and we packed a few belongings into storage at a friend’s house. The house closed on March 31st. We handed over the keys and headed to Seattle.
We stayed in Seattle for two days before our flight out of the country. This was insane. What were we thinking? We had only two days to sort out banking and final details before we left the country. If you’re selling a house and going to travel, I suggest giving yourself a bit more time that this between closing and the day you fly out of the country. It was scary, stressful and exciting. It all worked out, but I wouldn’t do that again! We went to the Seattle REI to buy last minute things for travel. On the 2nd, we flew to Iceland. We were in Reykjavik for one week. On the 9th we flew to Amsterdam, where we spent the rest of April.
- Sunday service at Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik – the organ, the choir
- A wonderful day tour of the sights of Reykjavik
- Konrad’s concert
- Tulips at Keukenhof, near Amsterdam
- A visit in Amsterdam with a good friend
- The canals of Amsterdam
We spent the first few days of May in Amsterdam, and on the 8th we flew to Belgrade, Serbia. We spent all of May in Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia. My husband, Darren, met some great beekeepers. Sadly, we were in Belgrade during the worst flooding the country had seen in many years. It was a difficult time for many people.
- Arriving at the Belgrade airport and seeing my dear friend and giving her a long hug!
- Fruska Gora National Park
- The city of Novi Sad, Serbia
- Smederevo Fortress
The first few days of June we were in Serbia. On the 8th we flew to Milan, Italy, and a beekeeping friend picked us up at the airport and drove us to the small town of Gavirate, Italy. We enjoyed our time there. I got terribly homesick in Italy, and also celebrated my 49th birthday there.
- Birthday trip to the islands in Lake Maggiore
- Making new friends in Italy
- Experiencing Italian culture
- Sitting in the sun by the lake in Gavirate
In early July we headed to Venice for 10 days. For the first 5 or 6 days, I didn’t like Venice much. Then I discovered some ways to get away from the touristy Venice and see how the people live. I loved Venice by the time we left! We spent a week in Prague, Czech Republic, and then several days in Chemnitz, Germany visiting a dear friend. We ended the month by spending a week in Berlin. These parts of Europe were too hot for me in July, and I spent a lot of time in our rented apartment.
- My special writing place on edge of the canal in Venice
- Air conditioning!
- The taxi ride (which was a boat) from the Venice canals to the Venice airport
- The architecture of Prague
- Seeing our friend in Chemnitz, Germany
- Visiting the Reichstag in Berlin at sunset
- Did I mention how much I love air conditioning? 🙂
On the 1st we flew from Berlin to Dublin, Ireland. I’ve never fallen so fast for a city. I loved Dublin. The summer temperatures were so much cooler than where we had just come from, I felt like a new woman! I could take a walk in the park in the middle of the day! We spent the entire month of August in Ballinteer and Dun Laoghaire, two towns to the south of Dublin. I hope to get back to Ireland someday to see the rest of the country! 🙂
- Making new beekeeping friends in Dublin
- The cooler weather
- The Dublin Horse Show
- The pubs – Finnegans in Dalkey, Fitzgeralds in Sandycove, the list goes on!
- The Guinness!
- The kind Irish people
On the 1st we flew to Edinburgh, Scotland. Oh, Edinburgh, you gave Dublin a run for its money! I loved Edinburgh. On the 22nd we took the train to Llangollen, Wales for a beekeeping conference. We were there for a week. On the 29th, we headed to the south of England.
- Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh
- Meeting my high school friend Susan, and her husband Chris, for dinner – we all just happened to be in Edinburgh at the same time
- The Highland Games in Pitlochry
- The architecture of Edinburgh and the castle
- Llangollen, Wales
- Making more beekeeping friends!
We spent most of October in Hove, England. I loved being by the sea. On the 23rd we traveled by train to Richmond, a city just outside of London. We enjoyed our time in Richmond. London, on the other hand, was a bit too busy for this tired girl. I really wanted to like it. Sorry, London!
- Samson the cat, our temporary pet at the airbnb rental in Richmond.
- The Brighton Pier
- The white cliffs of Beach Head
- The Thames in Richmond, and spending a sunny day at the cafe right on the river
- London’s Oyster card, which worked on SO many different kinds of public transit – the Tube (Underground), the Overground, trains, buses… it was great
On the 3rd we flew from London-Gatwick airport to Faro, Portugal. We stayed in the small fishing village of Fuseta, Portugal. We had a view of the lagoon, the barrier islands and the Atlantic beyond that. I loved being near the water, having sunny days that weren’t too hot, and lots of nature to explore.
- The hot tub on our rooftop terrace (yes, we were terribly spoiled!)
- The sunrises, and particularly the sunsets
- The clean white sand beaches of the barrier islands, one of which was accessed by a small train!
On the 1st we headed to Spain. We had a crazy travel morning that got worse when our rental in Torremolinos, Spain wasn’t up to our standards. We spent a few nights in a hotel, and found a new rental that was so much better. Our apartment was right on the beach. We only had to go downstairs, cross a pedestrian path and we were on the sand with the Mediterranean calling us. The Costa del Sol lived up to it’s name, as we had lots of sun. On the 30th, we flew to Larnaca, Cyprus.
- Ronda, Spain
- The gatos of Torremolinos
- The sunrises over the Mediterranean
Other favorites from 2014:
- Favorite apartment: Fuseta, Portugal
- Favorite bus driver: nice Irish driver on the Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey route who gave us tourist advice about Dalkey, while the rest of the folks on the bus patiently waited.
- Favorite new fruit: cherimoya (from Portugal and Spain)
- Favorite new catch phrase: I want THAT*
- Favorite new drink: coffee and brandy (from Spain)
- Favorite cats: Samsom of Richmond, Apple the cat from Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, the random photogenic cat from cafe in Novi Sad, Serbia and d’Este and Carlotta of Southsea, England, and of course the gatos of Torremolinos. 🙂
- Favorite new way to say goodbye: (overhead as someone was ending a cell conversation in Milan, Italy) Ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao (said very quickly)
- Favorite new food: ajvar from Serbia
I could go on but I’ll stop now. 2014 has been an amazing year, and I’m looking forward to the travels that lie ahead in 2015. Happy New Year, and be sure to continue to reach for and work toward and dream about the things that you want for yourself in 2015. 🙂
* The “I want THAT” girl: we were on the train from Milan to Venice, and Darren headed to the cafe car to get some drinks. They were just opening and he and another passenger were waiting patiently for the staff member to be open and ready for business. A woman who spoke very little English marched up to the counter, pointed at the Coke in the refrigerated case that the staff member was restocking and very loudly said “I want THAT.” Everyone was a bit stunned, and the guy behind the bar didn’t quite know what to do. There were obviously others waiting ahead of her, but she just stood there pointing. He hesitatingly handed over the Coke, and she tossed some money on the counter and left. Darren, the guy behind the bar, and the other passenger just looked at each other in shock and bewilderment. I guess that is one way to get what you want when you don’t speak the language! If you need a new catch phrase, feel free to use this one. I mean THAT one! 🙂