By just about any measure, this past year was an interesting one for travels and exploration. It was a bit of a grab bag of locations and for a good part of the year, I was packing my bags about every month en route out of Halifax. Here’s a quick look back at how I accumulated a few more passport stamps, some frequent flier miles, but most importantly, some great memories.
Toronto – Two separate trips to a place that feels like a home away from home let me experience some new restaurants, finally see my first Leafs game, and take in part of a Blue Jays home stand with my Dad. Of all the great memories, sitting with Dad and swapping stories over a few Steam Whistle pilsners is what I’ll remember most.
Chicago – In need of a few days away in the early spring, I had enough points to get a flight to Chicago that gave me the ability to see a Cubs game, a White Sox game and have a meal at a restaurant I missed on my first visit (as well as a host of other delicious escapades).
Nashville – This was a June work trip with very little time to explore a city that I enjoyed far more than I ever would have expected. Even with limited time, I got a reasonable fill of country music and ate like a complete king. Not sure when or if I’ll get back in this area, but I’d love to have another visit to Tennessee to explore the state in much more depth.
Boston – This was a second honeymoon trip that almost didn’t happen thanks to a hurricane moving up the coast. Some lucky advance maneuvering got us into Boston with a night in Ottawa thrown in to get us out of the path of the hurricane. Boston felt like visiting a larger version of my own hometown; it was a perfect four day getaway. A night at Fenway, long something I wanted to experience, was thoroughly enjoyed from seats along the third base line.
Cottage – Our annual trip to my wife’s family cottage in western New Brunswick was made all the more special this year by the presence of our dog, Chewy. Our first road trip with our adopted senior dog seemed to be enjoyed by him – he settled into cottage life pretty easily.
Rome – Our Italian trip started (with a Sunday Lazio football match no less!) and ended in Rome, and from staring in awe at the Colosseum to wandering the Forum to just experiencing life in the Monti nieghbourhood, I fell in love with the city pretty quickly. It didn’t hurt that I had one of the two best pizzas of my life and without question the best pasta I’ve ever had in the span of a few days either.
Naples – So, of course there was pizza (magnificent, and amazing that something that cost 3 Euros would ruin me for its namesake back home). But Naples was so much more than I expected. It was hectic, it was frazzled, it was a little unkempt, but it had a charm unlike any city I’ve been to before. Maybe it was low expectations, but I was stunned by this city. One day wasn’t anywhere near enough.
Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri and Amalfi Coast – Five days in the south of Italy should be required for anyone in need of relaxation. For all of the amazing sights, rich history and stunning vistas, some of my favourite times were very simple: sharing a few bottles of wine under the stars in Sorrento will forever bring a smile to my face.
It’s been a great travel year – the kind that makes me want to see how much I can squeeze into 2015. Luckily for me, I already have my plane tickets for a spring trip to British Columbia. Here’s to a few more plans firming up in the not too distant future. My passport gets lonely if I don’t pull it out every few months.