Year in review; the best of 2016
A Year in review
2016 has been one heck of an adventure. While I had been informally blogging for a few years, I decided to step it up a notch and take it much more seriously. Since then, we have been able to grow an amazing community here, as well on my various social media accounts. The kids have grown so much in the last year as well; baby girl is walking and talking, munchkin has started Reception (Junior Kindergarten for my non-European readers) and they have both developed an opinion on our travel destinations. Take a look at our year in review; where we have been and where we want to go.
We rang in the New Year with a last minute trip to Frankfurt. We found an incredible hotel across the street from the train station, took a little walk around the city and had a quick nap before heading out for the fireworks. The second picture was taken while we were walking and he was legit confused. Poor guy. The kids had a great time at the fire works… well, the baby slept through it all, munchkin had a great time.
Later in the month we went to Liege for the Ice Sculptures. It was Star Wars themed this year. Awesome!
This was crazy. We won a discounted vacation chalet in Switzerland through my hubby’s work. We got to spend 7 amazing days in a fabulous ski resort, along with a few days before and after for the travel time. Find our post about Touring Lake Geneva with kids here.
We went to Rotterdam for Easter. It was another last minute trip and I expected to have an Easter market but I was mistaken. Oh well. We had a great time on the Pancake boat and looking around the area.
April was a big month. My mom came to visit for a week, baby girl had her first birthday as well as learning to walk, and hubby left for a 3 month work trip. Good thing the munchkin was in school full time; our routine was more important than ever at this point.
May was thankfully very quiet. We had made plans with a friend to tour Normandy during the munchkin’s half term break but she wasn’t able to make it at the last minute, then most of Europe flooded during a freak storm that same week so it was for the best. We had a lot of birthday parties that week anyways.
Another quiet month before the crazy in the summer/fall. A few day trips exploring the local area led us to discover Gangelt Wildpark. It’s a cute little area about 1.5 hours from home and the kids were able to walk freely in the woods, watching animals in their semi-free habitat.
Having annual passes to the zoo really comes in handy when a long weekend sneaks up on you without any plans. We took the day to explore the Duisburg Zoo. It was a great day filled with shows, parks and hot dogs. The kids slept well that night, for sure.
July was also the first sponsored activity that I had the pleasure of reviewing. The Neanderthal Museum in the town next door kindly invited my family to visit them for the day.
And this is when the crazy started. My in-laws came over for 2 weeks, supposedly after my hubby gets home from his work trip and has time to rest. Nope. His trip was extended and the poor guy landed a few days after his parents; it was a busy little house and no time to recoup before our planned vacation began. He made the best of it, though, and we all had a great time in Brussels.
We also went to St Tropez for the second time since arriving in Europe. We had such a great time last year that we wanted to do it again. It was less successful, only because the kids were more vocal about their wants, but it was still great.
School started at the end of the month and we already had plans to take him out for a week. Oktoberfest has been on my parents bucket list for a while now so naturally I had to join them. We also took a day trip to the famous Neuschwanstein castles. Surprisingly, the kids had a great time exploring.
September is also the beginning of the fall festivals here in Europe. They start the harvest, celebrate with markets, bouncy castles and bier gartens.
Oh wow October was a big one. 1st midterm break of the year and we planned a major vacation. I wasn’t about to let all my planning go to waste so we decided to finally do my Normandy road trip. As part of the trip, we stopped in Etretat, Mont St Michel, Nantes, and Disneyland Paris.
Finally getting a little break. With no long weekends, breaks or special days in the month, we focused our attention on the upcoming St Martin Parade.
We recently took a road trip through eastern Switzerland, in an attempt to chase snow and Christmas markets. While we weren’t entirely successful, we did manage to have a great time exploring the country side, the mountain tops, and everything in between. Be sure to sign up for my posts about those in the coming weeks.
Best of Instagram
I have been working long and hard to build a great following on instragram. If you don’t already follow me, I suggest you head over and follow – I post exclusive images and promotions as they happen, sometimes weeks before they are posted on here.
This is the first post to break the 50-like barrier. It doesn’t sound like much but when your account is brand new and barely have 200 followers, 50 was a great achievement.
She loved to sit in the water and watch it rush at her. I was happy to have a few minutes of peace where I could tan without chasing someone. Turns out, she was eating the sand when I wasn’t watching.
Finding a decent packing list is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Who packs nail polish remover, hair spray and family sized cooler on a plane bound for vacation? with kids no less? My #beach and beach house packing list is ready and waiting for your family’s next sandy adventure. #postcardsfromtheworld #familytrip #myexpatfamily #kidstravel #getkidsoutside #sunandsand #tappedouttravellers
Beautiful #neuschwansteinschloss from the suspension bridge, about 10 min hike away. I didn’t dare walk across; between my fear of heights and the idea of a rocky suspension bridge full of people and my poor babies in a stroller, I stayed behind and did some constructive retail therapy while I waited Photo credit @tapped_out_photographer . . Link in the bio for my ultimate guide to successfully planning a trip for the family from #munich centre . . . #travelwithkids #passportready #travelblogger #travel #instatravel #travelgram #europe #familyblogger #blogger #lovetotravel #tinytravels #bringthekids #havekidswilltravel #childhoodunplugged #getkidsoutside #kidstravel #myexpatfamily #familytrip #tappedouttravellers
Hubby snapped this one as we were running to catch the bus in the rain. I am surprised how well it turned out; it really is one of my favorite shots from that trip.
Beautiful Mont St Michel was our next stop on our road trip; day 4. Arrived just in time watch the high tide engulf the causeway – only happens 3 times a year, for 1 hour at a time. Thankfully we wore our waterproof hiking boots, this meant we got to walk across the water while others waited patiently until the water receded. Kids though it was great. . . . #travelwithkids #passportready #travelblogger #travel #instatravel #travelgram #europe #familyblogger #blogger #lovetotravel #tinytravels #bringthekids #havekidswilltravel #normandy #normandie #montstmichel #castle #cathedral #abbey #france #church #history #statue #sacredplaces #igersnormandie #france_holidays #unesco #atoutfrance #welltraveled #tappedouttravellers
Stonehenge was so cold and so windy we almost didn’t get a solid image. I have to say, though, the tour wasn’t that long and I am a little disappointed . . . #stonehenge #london #tinytravels #globelletravels #kidsoftheoutdoors #pixelkids #traveletting #familytravel #familyadventure #adventurefamily #mypassport #budgettravel #tmom #wanderlust #vacations #instatravel #travellust #traveladdict #theglobewanderer #tappedouttravellers
This is one of the first images that I’ve had shared across Instagram. I didn’t realize this was a thing until I was tagged in it. Just means I’m doing something right, right?
Beautiful #castle #ruins in #Heidelberg. Not the most stroller friendly place I’ve ever been but they had a free #funiculaire so I can’t really complain . . . #adventurefamily #mypassport #budgettravel #tmom #wanderlust #vacations #instatravel #travellust #traveladdict #traveling #blackforest #heidelbergcastle #schlossheidelberg #schwarzwald #vacation #visiting #trip #holiday #photooftheday #tourism #tourist #mytravelgram #travelingram #efe_snapshots_travel #theglobewanderer #tappedouttravellers
What’s next for us
We are constantly making and changing plans. Often times it is a week before vacation and we completely re-write our itinerary, but sometimes it’s on the road to the destination when we make a sudden turn and do something else instead.
2017 doesn’t look to be any different. We had a rough idea of what we wanted; have thrown it away and started again at least 3 times this week so making a final decision and actually implementing it could be challenging.
So far, my ideal year would be;
February – Tropical Islands in Berlin
April – Spain and Portugal
May – Croatia
July – Eastern Europe road trip through Prague, Budapest and Salzburg
August – Iceland
October – Italy train trip from Milan to Rome
November – Poland – try to get some snow, finally
December – Rothenberg for my birthday
– Chasing Christmas Markets on the weekends
– Northern Germany and Denmark
We will see how this year turns up and check back in December to see how my plans differed from reality.