As 2016 comes to a close, I can't help but to think back over all the places we've been fortunate enough to visit and experience. Belgium, France, Austria, Italy, Croatia, just to name a few. Not to mention our big move from Germany to Texas and some of the exploring we've done since then. But, I'm also starting to look forward to 2017 and what it has in store for us. Both Aaron and I feel that we've been in one place too long already. We need to explore, see someplace new. While Texas has a lot of cool things, none of those are close to where we live and are not spur-of-the-moment type things like we could do in Germany. That hasn't stopped our planning though! Here are some trips we are already planning on for 2017 - with hopefully LOTS more to come!
1) Portugal and Spain
Right before Black Friday, we scored a KILLER deal on flights to Portugal. We fly to Lisbon for just over a week at the end of February. I think we will rent a car to drive over to Seville and see Andalucia for a few days and finish up in Lisbon. Beyond that though, we have zero concrete plans. We are open to suggestions of places we should definitely not miss!
2) Seattle, Washington
While we love Europe, the long flights with a toddler (omg, Evelyn is a toddler!) are difficult and the jet lag can be killer, despite our best efforts to combat it. So we are going to try to explore more of the US. Our first planned trip is to Seattle for a long weekend. Again, we have zero plans for this, but after browsing pinterest for things to do, I fear that we may fall in love with the Pacific Northwest and never ever want to come back to Texas.
I know we just moved back, but friends of ours are getting married in September! Of course if we are going all that way, we might as well make it a vacation, so we are going to take the week afterwards and explore northern Germany. I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but in the two years we lived there, not once did we make it to Berlin. Whomp whomp...
Our current plan is to do a driving trip like we did in Northern Italy this past summer hitting up Berlin (of course), Hamburg, and some other small towns. We might even make it up to the north sea. Again, no concrete plans have been made yet.
4) New Orleans, Louisiana
Our new home in Texas is just over 5 hours from NOLA, so of course it is high on our list of places to visit! Dates are not planned just yet, but I think this might be a good trip to do in the late winter/early spring, after Mardi Gras, but before the heat of summer starts to set in. Also on the plan: stay at a haunted plantation, if I can convince Aaron.
5) Texas Hill Country
The more I research, the more I find amazing things to do in and around Austin and the Texas Hill Country. I'm coming to understand why so many people love the city. While we will likely not be in Austin a whole lot, the hill country part of Texas is beautiful and I'd love to explore it a bit.
Unfortuately, with our move back to the US, we were forced to transition back to a US-style vacation schedule, as opposed to the German one. Here, we are fortunate to have 4 weeks, unlike many Americans, but losing a third of the vacation time we had available to us in Germany was hard (6 weeks there!). While many Americans end up leaving vacation time on the table at the end of the year, you can bet the Oaks' will use every last minute of it!