An Amazing 2016 Travel Year in Review
2015 was an awesome year for travelling. We came into 2016 with some ideas of where we would be travelling, but the reality far exceeded our plans! Little did we know when we started the year that we would almost travel around the world in 2016!
We visited a lot of the spots that we had on our list – warm spots like Bahamas and St Lucia, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Australia and SE Asia. A lot of our travel was local within Ontario, whether it was day trips for Afternoon Tea tasting, long weekends in Ottawa or Toronto festivals.
We were disappointed to miss Portugal but that was already in the planning stages for 2017. The “wish list” destinations of Antartica and Alaska also did not get on the 2016 travel plans. But we did add an amazing 51 day cruise from Athens to Dubai and on to Cape Town.
Travel For Mardi Gras
Travelling for Mardi Gras is a big thing on our travel list. We have travelled often to Venice but want to go for Mardi Gras and dress up in costume. The great celebration of Mardi Gras in Rio is a party we want to experience. We started our travel around the world in 2016 with Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans.
New Orleans for Mardi Gras was great fun. The whole town was dressed for the celebration.
There are Mardi Gras parties for weeks. The floats were ornate, marching bands entertained and the “throws” were varied. It was not just about collecting beads.
Travel For The Heat
When you live in Toronto, you are often looking to head south. Normally we choose to go in the cold winter months but this year we headed south in the summer. People think this may be odd but we know that we will get predictably hot and sunny weather.
We are blessed to have a great friend with a condo in Nassau, Bahamas. Even with a lot of travel around the world in 2016, this is our home away from home. We spent 10 days in Nassau with our friend Rob as we enjoyed the beach by day and successfully executed a pizza quest at night.
Our trip to St Lucia let us re-discover this Caribbean island. The Sandals resort we stayed at let us enjoy the variety of the 3 Sandals resorts on the island. And we found that the scuba diving in St Lucia was so much better than we imagined.
We did a lot of travel around the world in 2016. But we also spent a few long stretches at home. A few work contracts helped pay for our splurges in the rest of the year. But while we were at home, we made the most of local travel.
When the weather was cold, we started a series of Afternoon Tea experiences. It was a wonderfully decadent way to spend a few hours with great food, elegant atmosphere and good friends.
Ottawa is a short trip from Toronto and a great place for long weekend getaways. We can drive or sit back and enjoy business class train travel. It was great to celebrate Canada Day in our capital city!
Summer is a time for great Toronto festivals. The waterfront area where we live provides the paths to walk or bike with a great city view. We said good-bye to the summer with the annual Toronto airshow that closes the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto.
We usually travel to Europe in the fall but this year we were at home. It gave us a chance to enjoy the colourful splendour that is the fall colours in Ontario!
Travel Around the World – Heading West
From there we flew north to Cairns. No trip to Australia is complete without spending time in the crystal blue waters scuba diving and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.
It was then off to Thailand for 2 weeks. Spending time in Bangkok let us see the city by day and the transformation that came at night. The temples of Bangkok were amazing displays of artistry and glitter.
After seeing the city, we headed to the beaches of Thailand. A week at a resort in Krabi let us unwind and enjoy the luxurious setting. It was a little wilder when we hopped to Phuket for a long weekend.
Travel Around the World – Heading East
We avoided the threat of pirates while cruising from the Red Sea, past Yemen and into Oman. The first half of the cruise ended up in Dubai.
From Dubai we headed out for other ports in the UAE, back to Oman and across to India. We cruised along the Indian coast and did a 3 day excursion to visit the Taj Mahal.
After enjoying the crystal blue waters of the Maldives, we celebrated crossing the equator in a unique sea ritual. Arriving in the Seychelles, we enjoyed the quiet island vibe and uncrowded beaches.
It was exciting to cruise down the African coast. We visited spots that many people do not visit. Madagascar and Zanzibar offered a taste of popular tourist destinations in this part of the world.
We were on a search for the Big Five animals on this trip down the African coast. One day trip game drive in Kenya and two in South Africa (Richard’s Bay and outside Cape Town) got us 4 of the 4 big ones. But that was just a small portion of the animals we saw in the wild.
Finishing Up The Year in Luxury
Much of our travel around the world in 2016 was done in style. We travelled in luxury for some parts of our trip to SE Asia in the early part of the year. Cathay Pacific Business Class would tempt us to put the bar even higher. But that would be nothing like how we ended our year!
We finished our awesome 51 week cruise with 10 days in Cape Town. We found this city to be so much more beautiful and enchanting than we had expected. The city is ringed with sea and mountains. The Stellenbosch wine region offers days of great wine tasting. There are animal encounters and stunning scenery as you head to the Cape of Good Hope. It was a great place to spend the Christmas holidays.
But then we headed to Dubai for New Years! We had a small taste test of Dubai when our cruise ship went through but that was not enough. There is so much to see in this city where everything is over the top! We joined the revellers on the beach for New Years Eve fireworks. This was just a short walk from our great concierge level treat at the Intercontinental Marina Dubai. We were sorry to have missed the gigantic fireworks show downtown but next time we will book a hotel closer to that fun.
We splurged on First Class travel with Emirates between Cape Town and Dubai and then a week later for our return to Toronto. This was truly a way to close out our year in style!
Arriving home in early January, winter was in full force. A good incentive to begin planning our 2017 travel. Stay tuned ….
How much travel around the world in 2016 did you do? We did far more than we planned. Just check out the blogs!