Time for part two of my recap of 2015 using some of the Instagrams I created on my phone throughout the year! I don’t have Instagram photos of all of the places we visited, but going through my Instagram folder has given me an overview of 2015. When I ended off in the last blog post, we had just reached summertime. Along with a lovely trip to the Ostsee (Baltic sea) in summer, we also took a four day trip to visit some friends in Seville. Together the four of us also travelled to Granada, where we visited the beautiful palace of Alhambra.
We also spent some time in summer in Czech, in J’s family’s home near Pardubice, in Prague and in the picturesque hiking area Cesky Raj (where we climbed 273 stories in flights of stairs in one day, as measured by our friend’s phone app!).
These were mostly all weekend trips, but at the end of summer I took proper summer holidays and returned to my home city Cape Town for one too-short week. I was fortunate to be there during great spring weather, with millions of flowers around and lots of sunshine. It’s always so nice to catch up with family and friends, see the mountain and the ocean and go hiking! In fact i had a hard time getting on the plane to come back to Europe, but I knew that J was there waiting for me.
After flying back from Cape Town I met J in Czech and we relaxed there for a while before heading on a road trip to Slovenia and Croatia. This trip was definitely one of the highlights of the year. Croatia, with its mountains and sea, reminded me a lot of home and also had fascinating archaeological sites and history. Slovenia is a wonderful country that reminds me of the Shire in Lord of the Rings, with beautiful mountains and countryside and kind, friendly people.
Finally summer was over, but autumn offers its own pleasures. The leaves were changing into a myriad of colours and mushrooms of many sizes, shapes and colours were popping up after rainy days. We had a lot of fun going on autumn walks and bicycle rides with friends. September was chilly, but also brought the Festival of Lights, and later in autumn the weather was sunny and relatively warm.
J’s sister had a baby this year, so we also visited them a few times and on one occasion spent some time walking around Prague. We actually passed through Prague quite a few times this year and it was nice getting to explore a bit more of it.
November brought a work trip to another city I have visited a few times before but always enjoy, Brussels. Even though there was not much free time, there was enough time for a chocolate waffle, a walk around town and some kriek (cherry beer), as well as a visit to a beautiful Art Noveau house designed by Victor Horta.
J and I also took a weekend trip to Czech Switzerland with some friends. At the height of autumn, it was absolutely beautiful on a misty day.
In November we also visited my uncle, aunt and cousin in the Rhineland, where we visited Bonn and the castle of Drachenfels.
Once December started it was time for Christmas markets, where we wandered among wooden stalls enjoying the scent of gluhwein and caramelized nuts, and browsed through the many handcrafted gifts for sale. I love visiting Christmas markets and this year we even made a trip further afield to visit the large Nürnberg and Dresden Christmas markets, although I haven’t even sorted out those photos yet! Both are also scenic and interesting towns in their own right. It’s amazing how well they were reconstructed after heavy damage due to bombing during World War II. We also visited Oslo for a weekend, where it was fascinating to see the low winter sun skirting across the horizon, casting a clear pale yellow light onto all the buildings, and to experience a bit of Norwegian culture. Finally it was off to Czech for Christmas and then to Slovakia for New Year’s – I thought I would write some blogs during the holidays but they flew by too quickly.
And with that, the Instagram journey of 2015 comes to and end. Happy 2016!