Happy New Year! I can’t quite believe it’s already 2018 – I always feel like the last couple of months of the year come around so quickly and before we know it, it’s the start of a new year.
2017 was a big year for my travel bucket list. It wasn’t my busiest travel year by any stretch, but it was the year I finally visited a number of countries that have been sitting at the very top of my bucket list for a long, long, time. Six countries (or 7 if you count a few hours in Istanbul!), two EPIC road trips, 12+ cities and countless incredible experiences – I couldn’t be more grateful!
Here’s a little look back at my 2017 in travel :
We kicked off our travels in 2017 with a trip to Amsterdam in January.
Amsterdam is one of those cities I’ve wanted to see forever and it didn’t disappoint! Despite us visiting at the coldest and bleakest time of the year, we had a lot of fun. Amsterdam is such a cool, laid-back city, full of amazing architecture, food and things to do. Oh, and can we talk about the amazing branding/art everywhere?!
(they look like gingerbread!)
After Amsterdam we were pretty much stuck in the UK all Winter/Spring – with lots of boring real-life things that needed to be taken care of!
In May we ticked off another country firmly sat at the top of my bucket list, Bosnia!
We flew to Sarajevo where we spent a few days learning about the city’s not-so-distant dark history. We toured the underground tunnel used to smuggle supplies into the city during the siege in the early 90’s, walked part of the length of the Olympic Bobsleigh tracks, overdosed on Cevapi and had coffee in a tree house! Sarajevo really surprised us, we didn’t expect it to be the highlight of our trip to Bosnia, but it was.
Next, we headed to the pretty fairytale city of Mostar which offered breathtaking views like this…
Mostar was beautiful (but crowded!) and there wasn’t very much to do. After a day spent exploring, we headed to the neighbouring village of Blagaj for a stop at this beautiful Sufi monastery nestled at the base of a cliff. What a serene place it was!
From Mostar, we caught a coach to Croatia – where we began our first ever road trip!
We explored Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik and Zadar. We found hidden beaches surrounded by pine trees, explored ancient cities built from marble. We walked on planks of wood set between trees and waterfalls at the KRKA national park, ate amazing pizza and overdosed on Gnocchi, we hiked through the breathtaking Plitvice National park (before a thunderstorm came and soaked us), we trecked the length of the ancient walls surrounding the old town of Dubrovnik, and explored an entire bay of abandoned hotels (another one of my life-long dreams!)
Croatia was AMAZING – without a doubt, one of the most incredible countries I have ever visited. Croatia truly has something for everyone.
After a few months back at work, we booked our tickets to finally live out another one of my dreams; seeing fall in beautiful New England!
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. After lots of planning and excitement, our ESTA/Visa’s were revoked just hours before our flight and we were no longer authorised to travel to the US – this was a huge blow, considering everything was booked and we’d been planning our visit for months – but more on that another time!
In November we went to Rome!
We managed to catch a spot of sun on our first day, we visited most of the important sights, ate a ton of gelato (eventually in the pouring rain!), we found a cat shelter set in Roman ruins in the middle of the city and we walked a lot!
On our last day, we visited the Vatican which was breathtakingly beautiful and definitely the highlight of our visit, check out the amazing map room:
If I’m honest, Rome was a bit underwhelming, and we agreed is one city we have no interest in revisiting. Even the food was sadly very, very disappointing 🙁
Remember those tickets to America that we had to redirect?
We decided to redirect them to Oman – which turned out to be our favourite country this year!
Oman has been sitting at the top of my bucket list for longer than I can even remember. We’ve been trying to arrange a trip to Oman for years, but budgeting for it has always been difficult (the Omani currency is really strong!).
Oman’s tourism industry isn’t very well established, meaning fewer hotels to choose from, and more planning needed to figure out logistics.
From the moment we landed, we were in LOVE with this beautiful country.
We flew into Muscat where we spent a couple of days before we picked up our hire car and started our road trip. We drove up the mountains of Jabal Akhdar where we stayed in a beautiful 5* resort nestled on the edge of the cliffs, we visited abandoned cities nestled in the mountains and walked through castles in the ancient city of Nizwa.
We spent a night in the desert and climbed sand dunes in the morning, we hiked in an Oasis and visited a sea-water filled crater (allegedly) caused by a falling star, we hung out on cliffs surrounded by sea and watch the sun-set over the beautiful scenic mountains.
Oman was a dream. I still can’t quite find the words to articulate it; except that this beautiful country has become one of my favourite countries in the world. I hope and pray, I will be blessed enough to return and witness its beauty once again.
And that was it for our travels in 2017!
Not the busiest year at just 9 flights, but a very rewarding one. All the places we were lucky enough to see this year (except Rome!) were sitting at the top of my bucket list for years on end, and it’s nice knowing they lived up to (or exceeded) my expectations.
Here’s to many more travels in 2018 (inshallah) *runs off to finalise 2018 bucket list*
Whats on your bucket list for 2018?