It’s that time once again when everyone feels compelled to look back on the year that is about to end. Far be it for me to be left out of a trend, so here’s a brief look back at my travels and other adventures. To not give you too much of an overload, I’ll cover January to June here and do a separate post on the rest of the year.
January: Back in Ohio.There’s something reassuring about going back to your roots, seeing family and friends, a familiar landscape and shopping, happy in the knowledge that prices are so much lower than in Stockholm. Plus, the longer I am away, the more easily I can appreciate where I’m from. Robert and I spent Christmas in Cincinnati and new year’s in Port Clinton for the great walleye drop where yes, a giant fish is dropped at midnight to celebrate.
February: Tasmania, Sydney, Canberra, Darwin and the Outback. What’s not to love about 1) Being in Australia in summer and 2) Leaving winter in Stockholm behind? After traveling for 37 hours, more than 10,000 miles through 9 time zones (I think) and five airports – including Stockholm, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Sydney and Hobart – we finally arrived in Tasmania. I loved seeing the brand-new MONA art museum there and this post continues to be one of my most read of the year. Sydney is always tops in my estimations, but in the Northern Territory, we encountered crocodiles, kangaroos, floods and cyclones, making this one of my most memorable trips of the year.
March: Living in the Arctic. After already having had four solid months of continual snow, we got even more of the white stuff. After falling when I attempted to switch to regular boots outside, I wore snow boots every day. It seemed that I spent most of the month checking out new restaurants and bars and exploring the Soho-like neighborhood around me. Eating and drinking is really all you can do to cope with this relentless winter stuff. It’s a good thing I like snow.
April: Transitions. At the beginning of the month, there was still snow and ice. Everywhere. By the end, the snow was finally gone and Stockholm was starting to bloom. I could be outside again without freezing or wearing snow boots. At last. I felt alive again, especially when the cherry blossoms came out at Kungsträdgården. And there were a lot of parties too, including one for Prince William’s royal wedding. I got a teenage thrill seeing Swedish band Peter, Bjorn and John in concert and getting to dance with lead singer Peter.
May: The Swedish countryside. Unbelievably, we got more snow at the beginning of the month. But it melted quickly and we moved on with spring. On a press trip into the middle of the country, I got back in touch with my Swedish side by staying in a manor house that was built in 1775, eating some fabulous husmanskost or home cooking – including reindeer, meatballs, salmon and cloudberries – sweating in the sauna and hiking in the forest with deer.
June: Amsterdam. I love this city more every time I visit it. Sure it’s got that rap for being seedy, what with its infamous red light district and coffee houses, but this place is so much more than that. Pretty canals, fantastic art museums, international cuisine, great live music, flower markets, tasty cheese and beer, charming architecture and alleyways – all of which can be easily explored by bike. It’s my kind of town. Back in Stockholm, we celebrated my favorite swedish holiday – midsommar – with snaps, herring, good friends and yes, we did do something called the frog dance.
Coming up in the next half of the year, the archipelago, Austria, Croatia and more.