It Was A Busy Year Travelling In 2019
Even though we started 2019 with no firm travel plans booked, we very quickly filled the calendar and had a busy year travelling in 2019!
It was the year of travel to the west coast with multiple trips to both California and British Columbia (BC). We did 2 long road trips. There were some crazy adventures. And a great variety of wine tasting experiences.
While we normally don’t travel in the summer, this year we cruised through the Norway Fjords and then up to the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. This cruise gave us a good taste test of the UK. And put a much longer return visit on the planning board.
Short trips from our home base in Toronto took us to Ottawa for Canada Day and Boston for the July 4th Independence Day festivities. Winter travels saw us enjoying Montreal, Niagara Falls and included a return trip to Vancouver for the holiday season.
Lets take a look at our year travelling in 2019!
2019 By The Numbers
We visited new and old spots in 2019. There were over 80 cities/towns and 13 countries visited this year. But on our travels in 2020, we will pass through 100 countries visited!
We travelled by ferry, mountain cog wheel trains, boat, 4×4, helicopter, SUP and underwater. There were small boats, fast boats, slow boats and large cruise ships. During our travels we saw temperatures that ranged from -28℃ to 40℃ (-18℉ to 104).
We flew to the west coast 3 times this year, to the Caribbean and for several smaller trips. And did one trip to Europe. Our 3 big road trips put a lot of road mileage on us. And we continued to cruise this year.
In total, we travelled about 84,000 km (54,000 miles) this year!! It was no wonder we finished the year exhausted. And not really ready for the busy travel year booked for 2020.
A lot of the year, we did not sleep in our own bed at home. With so many road trips, luxury getaways and three cruises, we left in beds along the full range of accommodations. And found many things to love and hate about hotels!
Nights in Hotels = 136
Nights Cruising = 39
But all of this travel helped us to build loyalty points and status on our year travelling in 2019.
Returning To California
We were quite shocked when we realized that our last visit to California was in 2014. So we planned a 4 week road trip in the early spring. And went back to California for a short cruise at the end of the year.
Our California road trip started with a return to San Diego. And then moved inland to Palm Desert and then to the wine area around Temecula. It was great to add some new California spots on this trip. And to connect with travel friends.
Our road trip then headed back to the coast. We stopped in Santa Barbara for fresh seafood. And then visited Santa Barbara again for wine tasting on our California cruise. From there we discovered the seaside areas around Pismo Beach and Cambria.
A road trip back up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) brought back great memories. We stopped and saw the stunning Hearst Castle. And then continued for a return visit to Monterey. We stopped again in Monterey on our California cruise.
Our 4 weeks in California took us back to San Francisco to finish up. And then we returned again on our California cruise. We explored old haunts. And found a few new treasures on our two visits in 2019.
We were quite excited to visit California twice in 2019. It reminded us how much we loved that area. And it won’t be quite so long until our next visit.
British Columbia From East To West
Our second long road trip was around the province of British Columbia (BC). We started in the east with stays in Kelowna. And then headed to Canada’s desert, Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley. We loved the natural beauty we found everywhere in this great region known for wine.
When we arrived back at the coast, we headed north of Vancouver along the Sunshine Coast.
After a ferry ride to Vancouver Island, we spent 10 days and travelled from south to north. The areas around Victoria offered a mix of city and rural draws. A stay on the far west coast in Ucluelet let us enjoy more remote areas. And a final stay north in Comox added more wildlife and natural beauty. We certainly explored Vancouver Island from sea to mountains.
Our great year travelling in 2019 included a month on the west coast in BC. We visited many new areas. And continued to enjoy Vancouver and the surrounding areas.
A Fall Trip To Utah And Arizona
When we started 2019, we thought we would return to Europe in the fall. But instead we decided to road trip from Utah down through Arizona. We caught the trees just changing colour on day trips from Salt Lake City as we drove the Mt Nebo Loop and travelled through the Wasatch Mountains to Park City.
A tour of the 5 Utah National Parks brought us one stunning sight after another as we visited Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion. We threw in a few state parks to up the natural beauty.
When we finally hit Phoenix, Scottsdale and then Tucson, cactus of many varieties dominated the views. Although hills and mountains still framed the horizons. We stayed in luxury resorts at the end of this trip. But used these as bases and explored the many things to do in Arizona.
Road trips were a common theme in our year travelling in 2019. We were not sure we wanted to do another one in the fall. But we were so delighted that we planned our fall trip to Utah and Arizona. We will definitely plan a return visit. Check out our tips for planning a visit to Utah and Arizona!
Wine Tasting Our Way Through The Year
We had some great winery experiences throughout 2019. We started with ice wine tasting in Niagara on the Lake.
From there we headed to the Okanagan Valley to explore this great Canadian wine region. And tried fruit wines and ciders as we travelled in BC.
We finished our wine tasting experiences with a day trip for wine and cupcakes in the Santa Ynez Valley outside of Santa Barbara.
Lots of wine tasting meant a tasty year travelling in 2019.
Summer North Of The Arctic Circle
If you are winter wimps like us, you plan a trip north of the Arctic Circle for the middle of summer. We expected cool temperatures. And a lot of rain. But instead we got record high temperatures and only once did we wear full rain gear!
We started with a cruise through the Norway Fjords with Oceania Cruises. The charming small towns of Flam, Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Hardstat delighted us. We explored the Geiranger fjord at water level and from the heights. Every day we got yet one more beautiful sight.
We finished with a day in the charming town to Bergen. A funicular ride took us high for amazing panoramic views.
After a brief change of cruise ships in Southampton, we headed north. The Faroe Islands charmed us with colour and grass-roofed houses. Weather changed our plans for Greenland. But we still enjoyed a day in a small fishing village.
The upside of losing a few days in Greenland was that we added those two days to Iceland. We explored the city of Reykjavik. And the saw many of the awesome waterfall, geothermal and volcanic sites of Iceland.
We headed north of the Arctic Circle travelling in 2019. And it was so much better than we expected.
A Teaser Put The UK On Our Travel Planning Board
We travelled from north to south in Ireland. Our first stop in Northern Ireland was Londonderry. From there we did a day trip and explored the Giant’s Causeway. On our visit to Belfast, we saw a little of the city and then headed out along the Ards Peninsula. On our day in Dublin, we explored on foot this lovely Irish city.
We finished our cruise of the Nordic countries in the port of Southampton. A small group tour let us explore Salisbury, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. When we stayed by Hyde Park, we added a few places to our list of things to do in London.
We got just a small taste test of Scotland, Ireland and England during our year travelling in 2019. But we saw enough to know we want to go back for a much longer trip around the UK.
More Than One Crazy Adventures
There were some crazy adventures in 2019.
We have been whale watching in many places around the world. But we had the best whale watching ever from Campbell River in BC. The humpback whales put on a such a fun show.
We climbed rocks on our jeep adventure in Moab, Utah. And explored the Navajo slot canyon in Page, Arizona by speedboat. We messed up a bit on our planning and missed hot air ballooning in Temecula and the Sedona Valley. But a helicopter tour of the Sedona Valley was everything we wanted it to be.
Adventure was never far away when we went travelling in 2019?
Pampering Luxury Retreats
We started the year with a luxury stay at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. It was the perfect way to be reminded about world class customer service. And the bar was set very high for the year for the things we love about hotels!
But this was not the only time we enjoyed a pampering getaway as we took advantage of our strategy to build loyalty status. We enjoyed a stay outside of Victoria at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort. It was a great base to explore the Victoria area from.
While in Victoria, we splurged on Afternoon Tea at the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel.
We finished our cruise of the Nordic countries with a pampering stay at the Intercontinental Park Lane. It was the perfect way to unwind after a busy cruise with over 30 days at sea.
At the end of our fall trip to Utah and Arizona, we booked two different luxury resorts. A long weekend at the Hermosa Inn in Scottsdale provided a small boutique experience. And a week at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain outside of Tucson provided a relaxing retreat with lots to see and do.
On our year travelling in 2019, we stayed in a wide range of hotel properties. Especially during our road trips. But we planned several luxury pampering stays as well.
Winter Weekend Travel
On our winter weekend away in Montreal, we experienced unseasonably cold weather. It was a good thing that Montreal was known for its great food. We had some of the best food of the year on that trip! And we even managed to leave our luxury retreat a few times.
We returned to Vancouver for the holiday season. It was a great visit to see our children. And to take in some holiday cheer.
When we are at home in the winter, it is always tempting to hibernate from the cold. But this year travelling in 2019, we tried to get our an embrace it.
Travelling For The Holidays
It is always fun to head to Canada’s capital city for Canada Day. Ottawa always puts on a great show. When we returned this year, we got an amazing sweet suite upgrade at the Westin Ottawa with a view right over Parliament Hill. And oh what a show we got!
From Ottawa we flew to Boston for the July 4th Independence Day festivities. We love to pick historic U.S. cities for this annual celebration. The year before we chose Philadelphia. So Boston was a logical next choice!
From Boston we headed north into New England and were charmed. We loved the very iconic Wentworth By The Sea Resort in Newcastle, New Hampshire. From there we went north into Maine and enjoyed the fresh seafood, beaches and lighthouses. Our 10 day visit to New England was just a taste test. And we know we want to go back to enjoy more.
Shorter getaways were a fun part of our year travelling in 2019.
An Amazing Year Travelling In 2019
We had an amazing year travelling in 2019. As we entered the year, we planned to try to do shorter trips but more of them. And we certainly did that!
Our travels ranged the gamut from road trips to luxury cruises. We travelled within North America and up north of the Arctic Circle to Greenland. There were a lot of miles put on rental cars on 3 major road trips. We had exciting adventures. And days where we just lounged by the pool.
And like so many years, we finished the year with a long list of places we want to return to. Cruises provided a small taste test of new places. Returns to destinations reminded us why we loved them so much. And we discovered some new places we know we want to see more of.
We already have firm booked plans for 2020. You will soon be able to read all about those plans.
Did you enjoy reading about our exciting year travelling in 2019? If you want to read more, make sure the click the links. Or search on the index. There is so much more detail in the individual blog posts.
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