It is hard to believe, but we are into the 20s! Last year went out with a bang, with so many incredible firsts for me.
As always, limiting my list of top travel moments of the year is something I struggle with doing as there are so many adventures I want to put on the list. But without further ado, these are the experiences that were the most memorable for me.
10. Cirque Du Soleil
Going to see Cirque du Soleil is a tradition for me (I already have my tickets for 2020). In 2019, Alegria occurred under the big top, which is always the best experience. Seeing the dazzling performers under a classic circus tent always enhances the show.
If you get the chance, make sure to check out Alegria, it won’t disappoint.
9. First Time In Slovakia
Slovakia was a country that previously had been off my radar in terms of spots to visit. I ended up having a short visit on my river cruise and had the pleasure of seeing the capital Bratislava. Here I visited Bratislava Castle, Michael’s Gate, Primate’s Palace and the Old Town.
8. Michelin Star Dinners
I’m the type of woman who enjoys all kinds of restaurants, from street food to fine dining. That being said, as Canada doesn’t have any Michelin-star restaurants, it always feels extra special to dine at them abroad.
7. Seeing Music City Nashville
I wasn’t sure what to expect when heading to ‘Music City’ for the first time. I admit I’m not into most country music, so I didn’t know if I would enjoy my experience. But did I ever love it! Even if you aren’t into music, this party city has a foodie scene that is just exploding right now. I loved going on a food walking tour and seeing the historic homes in the area.
I hope to return soon to try some more of the southern cooking, and perhaps learn how to make some proper biscuits.
6. Returning To Southern France – Toulouse And Mirepoix
I’ve had the pleasure of returning to France yearly for the past few years. This fall, I visited the L’Occitane region of southern France again. Last time my visit was focused on wine tasting as part of France Into The Vineyard Challenge.
This time I visited new cities and villages to see the historic ruins and charming towns. As part of the adventure, I also got to see the lovely city of Mirepoix, which feels straight out of Beauty and the Beast. It is a ‘charming little town’ with a lively nightlife scene.
Another big highlight was the short visit I had in Toulouse. It is a vibrant city with endless shopping, restaurants and tons to see and do. I feel like I barely scratched the surface, and would like to come back to see everything. One of the highlights here was I got to see the spot the robot monsters that walked across the city in Ottawa were made.
5. Feeling Like I Stepped Into A Fairytail In Carcassone
The biggest highlight of my France adventure was visiting the breathtaking walled city of Carcassone. It looks straight out of a fairytale. Here you can walk through the medieval citadel and enjoy the breathtaking views from the 12th-century castle. While here, I not only got to enjoy some spectacular meals but go wine tasting too.
4. Unforgettable Carriage Ride Of Vienna
The most memorable tour I did in 2019 was an over-the-top luxurious carriage ride in Vienna. No visit to Vienna is complete without taking a tour with Riding Dinner.
For their tours, you get to enjoy a posh carriage ride around the city, where you can sip champagne and enjoy a delicious dinner. All the while, the guide will point out the sights and inform you about the rich history.
It was fairytale worthy and made me feel like a queen for the day. There is nothing like seeing Vienna’s famous white horses up close. I’m still dreaming about how I got to enjoy a glass of bubbly and see castles. It was pure bliss.
3. First Time Seeing Hungary
I was delighted to scratch seeing Budapest off my bucket list (though I want to return to try the thermal baths). I got the chance to most all the top sights like the breathtaking Parliament Buildings, Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion.
While I haven’t gotten the chance to share my adventures yet, I also visited Esztergom and Kalcosca too.
2. Touring Europe On A River Cruise
If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you might have realized I love cruising. I’ve done two ocean cruises in the past, and this year I made a huge switch. Instead of sailing on the largest cruise ship in the world like I did last year, I boarded a little river cruise.
The boat was cozy, with just a handful of rooms and only one dining space. But I adored the experience, as unlike the giant cruise ships, the small river cruise could park directly at the ports of major cities. So you could walk off the boat and be a few minutes away from all the top sights.
Both are very different experiences, so it all depends if you want to see more on the boat, or more in the city.
1. Feeling Like Royalty In Austria (Dinner At A Palace)
I’m sorry, France and Japan you two are still some of my top places in the world – but Austria captured my heart too. In particular, the capital Vienna felt like it could be ‘home.’ I loved everything about the city, from the food (and all the desserts), the coffee scene, the art scene, the classical music.
Plus, there are castles everywhere! I spent a few days visiting the local castles like The Hofburg, Belvedere Palace and Schonbrunn Palace.
My absolute top moment in Vienna would have to be my visit to Schonbrunn Palace. It looks similar to Versaille in France, complete with a hall of mirrors. But what made my stay genuinely unique was not only did I get to see the elaborate gardens, tour the castle, see the zoo, but I had dinner at the castle!
Typically Schonbrunn Palace is closed to the public in the evenings, but I purchased dinner and concert tickets to hear the palace orchestra play in their Great Gallery. It was a magical night where I got to see the castle without all the crowds and feel like I had the palace all to myself. It is a moment I’ll never forget.
I realize some of the moments above I haven’t had the chance to write about yet. I will be sharing those stories soon.
Thank you to each of you who continue to read my blog and interactive with me on social media. It means the world to me, and I hope I can help inspire you to plan your next adventure.