At the cusp of a new year, Tom and I have realized with a start, that another year has just zipped by. In 2014, we have been away from home, as much as at home. During a year of exciting travels, we have connected with old friends and made new ones. We’ve savored great food. We have experienced the joy–and occasional fatigue–of frequent travel.
Most of all, our top travel experiences this year have reminded us why we travel, and reinforced our belief that, for us, slow travel is the best travel. Spending time in a few destinations brought us closer to the cultural traditions we were experiencing, provided more opportunities for tasting great food, and best of all, brought us the self-awareness and joy of connection that come through experiential travel.
Now, before we board another train or plane, or tick another destination off our wish list, we take a deep breath, pour a cup of tea, and look back on our five top travel experiences in 2014. A big thank-you to everyone who helped make our travels this year extra special!
- Travels in Serendib
In February, we traveled to Sri Lanka, for a six-week stay in that wonderful country. It was a tropical extravaganza, complete with elephants, ancient ruins and stunning beaches–and of course, fabulous food. We sampled the delights of Sri Lanka as guests of Connaisance de Ceylon and Amaya Resorts & Spas, traveling in style from Colombo, across the Cultural Triangle and central highlands, to the east coast, and finally, Galle Fort and the country’s southern beaches. It was a spectacular journey, one we can heartily recommend.
- At home in Switzerland
In April, we spent a splendid week dipping into three of Switzerland’s ” Time Travel” routes, hosted by Swiss Historic Hotels and Switzerland Tourism. We traveled the rails, waterways and roads of the Swiss Travel System, and enjoyed great food and stays in family-owned, character-filled hotels. Along the way, we were treated to Switzerland’s specialty: spectacular mountain vistas. Our Time Travel experiences were brought to us by Monte Verità in Ascona, Terrasse am See in Vitznau, and Gasthof Hirschen in Eglisau with its superb La Passion restaurant. There are 50 hotels in the Swiss Historic Hotels group, each with unique charms. Still much to explore!
When not on the road, we also had a number of wonderful moments close to home. From January’s unique Vogel Gryff celebration and late-night museum visits, to Basel’s celebration of the Town Hall’s 500th birthday in August, and Switzerland’s top Christmas markets in December, there was plenty to see and do right here in Basel.
- Two foodies in Portugal
For six weeks in May and June, we traveled in Portugal, from north to south and back again, as guests of APTECE, Portugal’s food travel association, Portugal Tourism, and a number of regional tourism offices. In October, we returned for a month’s stay in Lisbon. Our focus was culinary adventure, which came with a hearty dose of great companionship and history. What a wonderful way to explore this sunny country on the edge of Europe!
- Festive Germany
We made four trips to Germany this year, visiting summer festivals and Christmas markets in several cities, and participating in the anniversary celebration of the wonderful Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden. Deutsche Bahn took us from Switzerland and through the German countryside in comfort, and our host cities provided us with superb accommodations, tours and introductions to the local cuisine. Thank you Baden-Baden, Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Potsdam, Rüdisheim and Wiesbaden!
- Helping hands in Nepal
In late November and December, Tom had a chance to provide photography services for several charitable organizations in Kathmandu, Nepal. His documentation highlighted the efforts and recipients of assistance provided by Sherpa Outdoor, a Swiss sporting goods retailer (an orphan home), Curry Without Worry (feeding the homeless), Rokpa (an orphan home), and Epsa Nepal (providing training and work for disabled women). We heartily endorse the work of each organization. This was Tom’s second trip to Nepal in just over a year, and he found both experiences to be incredibly rewarding.
In a few weeks, we will celebrate the fifth anniversary of Anita’s Feast. To mark the occasion, we will travel to the snowy mountains of Graubünden. We look forward to visiting a region of Switzerland we have not yet explored in depth.
A big thanks to all who follow our travels, and best wishes for a wonderful year to come!