The year isn't over yet, but still I'm sitting here summing up 2018. I don't have any more trips planned this year and even if I had the opportunity, I haven't really been able to. It has been a difficult autumn on all levels and I feel right now that the only thing I long for is to take a few days off this Christmas. A few days off here at home in Sweden. Without traveling, just to land and rest up. I have never longed for that before and it hasn't happened in the last 15 years. But but, sometime has to be the first, right? :)
But back to the summary. We're running in chronological order, right?
January: Berlin, Germany
A few weekends after New Years we went to one of my favorite cities in Europe – Berlin. We try to go here once a year and each time we change the theme. Often there can be more shopping than culture, but this time there was a lot of focus on museums and Michelin restaurants. The Pergamon Museum was a real highlight, as was the computer games museum. It's not wise how much fun Donkey Kong is still having! We finished with a visit to the Riksdagshuset's glass dome, which was my first time visiting. If you like architecture, go here!
I haven't written much about Berlin yet, but you will find what I have written here.
February: Jungfrau, Switzerland
In February we went 8 days to the Jungfrau, ie Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren, and went skiing. Or rather, the plan was to go skiing. After two days I got the flu and ended up in bed with a high fever. Two days later, the man also went there. So instead of skiing, it was a week of Netflix marathons for the whole family. Also, the days I was healthy were the coldest days in living memory in the Alps. An accident rarely comes alone... But the Jungfrau is still one of my favorite areas in Switzerland, I've been there before during an autumn and hiked and there are few places more beautiful than Lauterbrunnen in the autumn sun. Would love to go back here and ski again!
Read more about our skiing in the Jungfrau here.
March – Drove around Iceland
Over the Easter weekend we went to Iceland for five days. We didn't have such high expectations, even though we understood from everyone we feel that Iceland should be something for us. And you know what? Iceland turned out to be one of my new favorite countries. These rugged vistas, dramatic waterfalls and changeable weather. We just loved it! We drove around and basically didn't get to visit Reykjavik at all, but what did? Unlike Switzerland, we were also lucky with the weather, if you can have it in Iceland.
Read more about our Iceland adventure here.
May – Stockholm archipelago
Not a trip per se, but I felt I needed to add May to the list anyway. May was absolutely fantastic and we had time for weekend trips to many lovely islands in the archipelago. Islands that it has been a long time since I last visited. I think back to the feeling of being able to wear a tank top and shorts in the May sun on Sandön or lie on a rock on Utö in the early summer sun. There in May, when we didn't know we were going to have a fantastic catastrophic summer with severe drought and heat waves. But right then, then we enjoyed in the moment. Stockholm's archipelago at its best.
June – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai always feels like a good idea. Especially when you can rest up here for a few days on a stop-over on your way to Asia. So we found a really good hotel deal and for 5 days enjoyed the luxury of not having to do anything. We have already done "everything" in Dubai. There was a pool, food, beach, water park and shopping at one of the most luxurious gold hotels we have ever stayed at. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray – you had us at Hello.
Read more about our tip for the United Arab Emirates here.
June – Hoi An, Vietnam
Our first ever visit to Vietnam was to Hoi An, a city we came to love. I had read a lot about other cities and places in Vietnam, but I didn't want to end up in a classic charter resort or charter island, but in a place with culture. Hoi An and Hue have a lot of history and culture and tons of attractions that were perfect for history buffs like us. We swam, ate amazing food and discovered temples, imperial palaces and imperial tombs. Did I mention the food was amazing? :)
Read more about our trip to Hoi An and Hue here.
July – Singapore
If Berlin is my favorite city in Europe, then Singapore is my favorite city in Asia. It was five days in Singapore this year. We started the trip with a day at Universal Studios, then the days were spent enjoying good food and many old and new favorite spots. The botanical garden, Holland Village, Gardens by The Bay, Clarke Quay, Chinatown, ArtScience museum and a Marvel exhibition, among other things, we managed. Gardens by the Bay in the evening I can probably watch ANY number of times.
Read more from our trips to Singapore here.
August – road trip in northern Portugal
A week of intensive driving around Portugal, starting and ending in Lisbon. Up to Porto along the coast and down again to Lisbon via the Douro Valley and inland. After all our driving holidays in the USA, Canada and Australia, we are always just as surprised when we realize how short distances are everywhere in Southern Europe. Everything is just a stone's throw away! (I'm a little behind in writing about this road trip, right now we're probably just above Nazaré. I have too many pictures...)
Lots of tips about driving in northern Portugal you can find on mine Portugal page.
September/October – Skåne
There were slightly more trips than planned to Skåne this year, not just during September and October. My sick father-in-law just got worse. When summer finally left us and the leaves began to fall to the ground, so did father-in-law. Even if we adults understand what's going on and try to prepare ourselves mentally, you're never really prepared. But it was a nice farewell and the sun shone over an autumn colored Malmö at the funeral. A ray of light in a dark moment.
October – Tallinn, Estonia
One rainy weekend in October we went to Tallinn. A weekend with lots of walking, talking and cozy cafes. A lot had happened in Tallinn since I was last here and it really is a lovely little town to wander around and discover all the little lanes and historic houses. I'm now more eager than ever to go to Riga and Vilnius, but why can't there be some reasonable flight times so that you don't have to take a vacation? Something for the airlines to think about.
You will find all my Tallinn tips here.
November – Krakow, Poland
Poland was a country that neither of us had been to before, which made the whole trip a little extra fun. Krakow offered fantastic weather, loads of food experiences and a dramatic war history that makes me cry just thinking about it. Krakow gave us many strong memories and the five days could have been even more. Poland is a gem, why haven't I gone here before?
You can find lots of tips on mine Krakow page.
So, what's happening in 2019?
I'm pretty bad at foresight and don't plan destinations that far in advance. Airlines go bankrupt. Natural disasters happen. Jobs change. All our journeys are a combination of coincidences. I never decide on a destination and pound my head bloody to complete that trip. Last year we had the whole plan ready for a road trip in Texas and Costa Rica during the summer, but everything fell apart when we were about to book. We were unable to use our SAS points on the United route we had anticipated. So it became Vietnam instead. Not even close to the same vacation, but still absolutely amazing.
So what do we have in the plans for the spring? First up will be another hiking trip Madeira! We have rented a villa together with good friends and are looking forward to lots of nature, barbecue evenings by the pool and maybe a swim or two.
In the latter part of spring I look forward to one road trip i Italy, starting and ending in Milano. I imagine all the classics – Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice, Siena. But I can't help but take a look at Slovenia as well, Milan is only 4 hours from the border with Slovenia... We'll see. Nothing is booked yet, I'll have time to change my mind :)
The summer? No idea so far. I thought I'd soon start writing a wish list and see which places all of us in the family are craving. There are three of us who have to agree these days, so it's not as easy to get through all my crazy ideas these days...
Do you have a trip booked for 2019? Where are you going? Give me some inspiration!
Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.