Compared to previous years, I travelled much less over the course of 2013. Mostly, it was because I moved back home to Toronto and a life full of new responsibilities.
So I made the most of weekends away and of all the vacation time I had. I hit up some North American destinations including Ottawa, Detroit and San Francisco. Of course, I also made my way back to Europe, taking in Germany, Poland and Iceland.
My first adventure of the year was a weekend away to our nation’s capital in early February. I spent a weekend in Ottawa for the annual Winterlude celebration. Highlights were walking (not skating) along the frozen canal by day, eating Beavertails and seeing Parliament Hill at dusk.
In May, a friend and I headed to Motor City to get to know the good side of Detroit. We stayed at an urban farm and took in some community art installations like the Heidelberg Project and MBAD’s African Bead Museum.
Then it was July and I eagerly paid a return visit to my all-time favorite American city of San Francisco. I walked and walked and walked some more … more than 50 kilometers over the first two days alone! By the end of my time there, walking up a hill felt like a painful and fruitless attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Even better was meeting all the German people staying at my hostel. We had some fun times – especially on my last night when we made cocktails at the hostel and then ventured out to Chinatown for some Mai Tai’s at Li Po Lounge (a spot favorited by Anthony Bourdain)!
Passed through Beantown in August while enroute to Berlin, switching planes at Logan International Airport.
August arrived and I paid a visit to Berlin, spending three bittersweet weeks hanging out with friends and doing touristy things like taking a boat tour along the Spree and lounging on the lawn in front of the Berliner Dom.
Not known for being a tourist destination, Szczecin remains one of my favorite Polish cities. I took a day trip there from Berlin just to have beer and perogies!
I ended the year by spending Christmas in Iceland. While there, I swam in the Blue Lagoon, rode horseback across a lava field and even snorkeled at Silfra where I swam between two continents!
I also did my usual urban exploring, walking around Reykjavik.
Not a bad year! And 2014 is looking good so far with weekends away to Chicago, Montreal and Denver. I’m also visiting Italy at the end of January – cue, for a girlish squeal of delight!
I wish you happy travels this year, my friends. Do you have any exciting vacations planned? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
If you like my photos, follow me on Instagram (@cdngrrleh) to see updates from my life in Toronto and on the road.