Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Travel Favorites of 2015

What a whirlwind of travel experiences that 2015 ushered in! As I look back over the year, it feels like I stuffed two years worth of adventures into one. I traveled to 11 different destinations and I'm grateful for the sights, sensations and memories that will always be with me. I can't adequately list every single favorite experience because there were so many but here are the standouts: Walking through the cold and rainy cobblestone streets of the Czech Republic and being dazzled by the fairy tale scenery, like in the UNESCO town of Telc, pictured above. I strolled through castles dating from the 9th century,ate dinner with singing Czech miners and explored the oldest and best preserved Jewish quarter outside of Israel. And that's just a few of my Czech memories.

The colors and vibrant culture of Guatemala immediately grabbed me, there was so much history and life, everywhere I turned. I climbed my third volcano, sampled classic Guatemalan ciusine and met Liria, shown above, a Mayan Nana (female shaman) who delivered a message from my grandmother that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

I returned to my sweet Jamaica and had the honor of visiting Bob Marley's Kingston house and Nanny Town, the Maroon Village high in the hills of Portland that was settled by Jamaican freedom fighter and national hero, Nanny. 

I sailed a stalled cruise ship (stuck for 24 hours) and landed on the Bahamian out island of Bimini by sea plane. The striking blue of the sea and sky surrounded everything on the island, including the homes of Adam Clayton Powell, Ernest Hemingway and the legendary Fountain of Youth.

My first trip of the year unfolded in Stockholm, where I learned about Swedish design and culture and met fellow journalists from India, China, Japan and Turkey. It snowed every day but Stockholm was still warmer than Chicago.

Memphis is always a good idea and I gorged on music history with visits to the Stax Museum, The Blues Hall of Fame, Beale Street, The Rock N Soul Museum and the newly opened Tina Turner Museum, shown above. The museum is located inside the one-room schoolhouse that Tina attended,

I will never get enough of St. Lucia and this year's visit allowed me to see another perspective of the stunning landscape with a stay at the iconic Anse Chastanet Resort which boasts only three walls, for up-close views. I also hiked Tet Paul Nature Trail, which rewarded me with visions like the one above and went jungle biking for the first time.

The wild and beautiful landscape of the Yukon will always be symbolized for me by Caveman Bill, shown above. I wandered the streets of Dawson City with Aussie blogger Lorraine, searching for the elusive local who lives in a cave. We found him and he took us in a boat to see the cave he's lived in for 20 years. Only in the Yukon. Here's to more adventures and fascinating new friends in 2016! What were your favorite travel memories for 2015?