Banff and Lake Louise. Toronto. Ottawa. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. Denver. Even considering plans for trips to Trinidad and Pittsburgh that didn’t work out, it wasn’t too shabby a traveling year. It’s hard to sum up a year’s worth of seeing and doing things in different places and the trips there and back, but here are a few of my favourite travel-related memories that will stick from 2012.
Best travel days: The day trip outside of Reykjavik to see Iceland’s “Golden Circle”. So much natural beauty and so peaceful. It was the day that cemented my love of Iceland and ensured a return visit in the not too distant future. In a similar vein, seeing the Sognefjord in western Norway was the reason we included the country on our Scandinavian trip. Jaw dropping natural beauty was the story of that day. Last but not least was a rushed visit to Lake Louise due to a string of forecasted bad weather that forced us to change our travel plans. Even with limited time, looking out over a frozen Lake Louise on a serene day in the Rockies made me feel more connected to my country.
Favourite unplanned moments: Standing in a cemetery on a quiet Sunday morning in Uppsala, Sweden, I watched an elderly woman tending to the grave of her husband who passed away six months earlier. Both beautiful and sad, I still can’t think of it and not have tears come to my eyes. It was a poignant reminder that love and life are precious. Entirely different, on a bus ride in Stockholm, my love chose a seat near the back so we could sit among six dogs (something you’ll never see on a bus in North America). The ten minute ride flew past as I played with two dogs at my feet.
Best meal: A bit of a toss up. Not so much because of the food, but more the company, the best meals were indulging in some deep fried snacks with my Dad before a Jays game in Toronto and watching my love enjoy a gluten-free Big Mac in Stockholm. Both were fun and brought a smile to my face which is what any great meal should do.
Best dish: Hands down, the pork cheek green chile poutine at Euclid Hall in Denver. Not too far behind, the world famous hotdogs from Bæjarins Beztu in Reykjavik.
Best “so glad I tried it” moment: Trying (and keeping down) the hákarl in Reykjavik. It was the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but it was a great experience.