Travel adventures: year 2017 in review

In 2017 I’ve been able to grow and continue exploring some of the area in France and abroad. Even though some things started to change, we continued widening our horizons. These are our travel adventures: year 2017 in review.

As my bf’s PhD was coming to an end at the end of 2017, we started evaluating our options, and came to the conclusion that we want to move abroad. In last year’s review I was mentioning our project and that I will reveal it when the time comes. We didn’t make plans, but we kind of knew that next year we might not be around France. Thus we decided to visit as much as we could of France.

It goes without saying that I’m very grateful to all my readers, friends and family for checking on us from time to time. Whether through Facebook posts or Instagram pictures, or even blog posts on this travel blog. Thank you for supporting us in our travel and blogging adventures, thank you for your encouragements and your feedback!

Here it goes:

Year 2017 in review: My Travel Adventures

January

We started our year 2017 with a trip to Avignon in French area of Provence. Rich in history, this city has been the headquarters of the Pope during the Roman empire. If you didn’t know, Avignon is also well-known for its bridge mentioned in a very catchy folklore song.

On the bridge of Avignon/ We all dance there, we all dance there/ On the bridge of Avignon/ We all dance there in a circle.

February

The following month we discovered Lille, a city in north of France, that we didn’t appreciate much. Gloomy weather with a indecisive snow, fog and pollution. Welcome to Lille!

Bordeaux, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. One of the most beautiful French cities we’ve seen so far! Limestone buildings everywhere, bike paths along Garonne river and lots of delicious Bordeaux wine. The big plus: beautiful weather! Bordeaux is definitely one of the highlights of our 2017 in review.

Plushy in front of Porte Cailhau in Bordeaux, France

March

After my birthday we went to Reims, another pretty French city. It’d been a while since we wanted to visit it.  Reims is best known for the Notre-Dame Cathedral. A Gothic style impressive cathedral with lots of details on the facade.

Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral in Reims, France

After my bf’s birthday, we went to Amiens, another French city that I didn’t know. This time I didn’t know what to expect, I thought I’ve seen the best of France by now. Well, it happens that not really. Amiens was so pretty, with lots of canals and small rivers that I was under the impression of being in Venice. Check below the beautiful view from the Saint-Pierre Park. In this park we found lots of flowered cherry trees.

Parc Saint-Pierre in Amiens, France

April

In April we got engaged and wanted to celebrate with a trip. On our 2017 in review Nantes is next. It’s found in France, at the end of Loire Valley, and has a beautiful castle. The time was perfect to enjoy all the flowers of the Botanical Garden, a real delight. The mechanical animals  were impressive. But the most impressive was the sight of garbage all over the city. It’s too bad that I have to mention this on our 2017 in review.

Visit Nantes, France: Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

May

In May we took the long holidays and went to Greece.

It was the 1st of May and the night before our flight to Thessaloniki we didn’t have any accommodation. Everything was booked online. Our last hope was to call all hotels and ask them by phone if they have a room. After eighth phone call, we finally arranged a room. We were surprised by the beauty of Thessaloniki. It’s a pity that such an original city is overlooked and so underrated.

Our next stop was Meteora (see picture below). The place was surreal, with huge monasteries on top of rock formations. Another impressive discovery for our 2017 in review travel destinations list.

Athens was an out-of-this-world place with its huge temples, but it was also one of my biggest deceptions. Since the first day of visiting the ancient monuments guards came yelling at us and making us to delete the photos we took… of Plushy. Apparently, plush toys are forbidden in these places. Oh, but booze and cigarettes are totally OK. And there is no imposed dress code as on Meteora. Basically you can take photos in revealing or indecent clothes, while drinking and smoking, unless you carry a plush toy. We even saw when the guards going towards a mommy with a baby in stroller. She had to take away her child’s toy.

Please, if you are a Greek person, can you please shed some light on this matter? I’m still very contradicted.

Before leaving we went to Piraeus for half day and was perfect for a quick evasion.

With Plushy at Meteora, looking at St Stephen Monastery
After one week in Greece, I went to Romania…

…while my fiancé went back to Meteora for rock climbing sessions with his friends. After spending several days with my grandma I flew back to Paris.

Targoviste, my hometown
At the end of the month we went to Italy…

…to explore Lake Como for an extended weekend. We took the ferry around the lake and we visited colourful pretty villages like Como, Brunate, Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio, Tremezzo. Varenna and Bellagio were my favourites, with several high belvedere points over the village or over the lake.

View from the ferry over the Lake Como in Italy

Before taking the train back to France, we spent our last day in Milan. It’s been the second time in Milan, first time was in 2014. The first time in Milan we just walked around with a travel guide, without having planned a thing. Since we took traveling more seriously, now we read and prepare in advance a general plan for the visit. And we decide the rest after consulting the local tourist office. Well, in Milan all that wasn’t possible. We couldn’t find any tourist office aside those at the train station that offer information mostly on transportation options. When seeing we didn’t want to buy tickets or the map (we already had a map), they would become rude, sending us away.

We still enjoyed Milan without their advice.

The amazing Duomo di Mialno in Italy

June

In June the time has come for my fiancé to receive his Christmas present: a trip in Provence, for the lavender.

We arrived in Aix-en-Provence and we visited for a couple of days.  After that we went in Manosque from where we could explore more easily the area. We went for the lavender at Valensole, and went from village to village on the Road of Castles of south Lubéron (Allemagne-en-Provence, Saint-Martin-de-Brômes, Gréoux-les-Bains).

Bucket list destination: Lavender fields in Provence, France

July

For July we didn’t have plans, so when the parents asked us to spend a weekend in Bretagne with them, we accepted. It was the National Day. Fougères was a revelation for us, because we had never heard of it. In the evening huge fireworks flew over the castle. Fougères is yet another exceptional place worth mentioning in our 2017 in review.

Another pretty town we visited was Vitré, with its (smaller) castle. And apparently in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier we arrived a little too late to find a whole castle. We checked the ruins and went for a walk in the forest before returning home.

The beautiful Castle of Fougères

August

The annual family gathering in Normandy was a bliss. With morning jogging, barbecues and laser tag games, we became kids again.

And there we were several days before the end of August, and we go for a day trip at Troyes.

“Beautiful” august day in Troyes, France

September

In September we were off the explore the French Riviera. Our train arrived in Toulon from where we took the boat to Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer island. The following days we discovered Cannes with the beautiful hotels beside the beach. It followed Nice and a quick trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer, a beautiful colourful town.

The view from Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer, French Riviera

The event of the year 2017 in review for us was our wedding. Here we were at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, next to the castle. Beautiful day with friends, family and good food.

Our wedding day in Sainte Genevièeve, France

October

Two days later off we were for our honeymoon. We explored Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and saw so many skyscrapers that I lost the count. We took the train to Batu Caves and it was a bliss to be able to enjoy this place when tourists are still sleeping.

Plushy times at Batu Caves

After two days layover in Malaysia, we continued to Bali. And as you know, there was a huge alert of Agung Mountain’s imminent eruption. We had to change the original plan and avoid the temples around the volcano.

In Ubud we were laid off by the trekking agent, so we couldn’t see the Tegallalang Terrace. The next day we learnt how to cook delicious Balinese food thanks to awesome cooking class I’d book online.

After Ubud we continued on Nusa Lembongan island, and even if the weather was moody, our experience was very rich. The best snorkel trip of my life was with dolphins, ray manta, colourful fishes, and stingy jellyfishes.

Bali per total was a super overrated destination in this 2017 in review post.

The last stop was Nusa Dua, the worst part of our trip. Initially we chose this place, because it was supposed to be calmer than Kuta or other places around. It was an awful experience, with people bugging us all the time to book water sports. And we couldn’t bathe anywhere, because it stank worst than on the highway. In front of hotels a small area in the water was delimited by a net, and couple of meters farther, boats and sky jets rushed like cars on the highway. We couldn’t breath. Worst place ever!

Swing by the sea, in the morning everything was calm, as it was still a low tide (no water to bathe in). You can see the net in the water.

November

At the beginning of November we took advantage of a long weekend, thanks to national holidays. We wanted to visit Prague, but as plane tickets were too expensive, we decided to go by train.

First stop was Munchen. We met friends who live here. They showed us around and taught us a lot about people’s lifestyle.

A walk in Munchen’s English Garden, in autumn

The next day we explored Nuremberg. A pretty German town I’m happy we got to discover. Visiting this place was simply a choice of budget: a cheap bus reached Prague in only three hours.

Nuremberg, Germany – Pegnitz river

Another important destination of our 2017 in review is Prague.

Finally we arrived in Prague, in Czech Republic. This beautiful city is a fairy tale place, with cobblestone streets, castles, impressive cathedrals and beautiful rooftop architecture. By day and by night, we were mesmerized by its beauty.

Nonetheless, when in Prague, pay close attention to your money and where you change it. Almost every place is a rip-off. Choose the exchange office carefully.

Prague, Czech Republic – rooftop view

The last two days were day trips to Tabor and Cesky Krumlov.

Tabor, Czech Republic – walk by the river

December

In December we returned to Bordeaux, not for the wine, but for my husbands PhD defense. Now he’s a doctor in informatics.

For winter holidays I had only two Mondays free, so I took advantage of that to think about everything to come. We made plans and discussed about the perspectives of a new year. We celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve at home. Plushy received a Plushy girl companion for the next adventures.

By the end of the year I also decided to explore my options with my drawings and created the Winter Holidays Project of daily illustrations that resulted into a children’s book.

2017 ended with a more determined version of myself.


Wishing you a late Happy New Year, and hope you will have adventurous moments in 2018 too!

This was our 2017 in review. How was your year 2017? Share in the comments.  

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