A Look Back At 2014: We Visited Germany, Finland and Australia!

Today marks the last day of 2014 and what better way to reminisce than through a look back at photos? Yes, this is one of those year-end posts because I like lists and this is how I keep track of it all. So let’s rewind!

A Look Back At 2014: We Visited Germany, Finland and Australia! Driving the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Scotland

Places visited: Edinburgh, Isle of Skye, The Highlands

The year started out in Scotland for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. There were street parties, fireworks over the castle, and I even tried haggis. From there we headed out on a fun tour of the Scottish Highlands where we castle hopped and searched for Nessie. I have to say, even though it was brutally cold and the wind nearly blew me over on more than one gusty occasion, the landscapes were incredible. I’d love to go back to Scotland in the summer to really do the place justice.

Learning to cook Thai food in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A little shack in Pai, Thailand.

Dada Kafe, my favourite restaurant in Chiang Mai.

Living it up in Thailand taking it easy on a hammock

Thailand

Places visited: Chiang Mai, Pai, Bangkok, Hua Hin

I spent a lot of time in and out of Thailand this year and there were no complaints about that! Shortly after New Years we met up with Sam’s parents and their friends in Chiang Mai for what would mark the start of a two month long backpacking adventure. This proved to be the perfect excuse to play tourist in Chiang Mai; we tried new restaurants, visited wats, played with elephants, and even took a weekend trip to Pai. We also spent a few days hanging out in the Big Mango (aka Bangkok) and enjoying the beaches of Hua Hin.

The slow boat down the Mekong Delta

The chocolatey waters of the Mekong in Luang Prabang, Laos

Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos

Places visited: Luang Prabang, Vientiane

The trip to Laos got off to a rough start with the ultra budget slow boat down the Mekong (my fault for being cheap), but once we settled into Luang Prabang all that was forgotten. Honestly, this town was a dream. I loved the easy-going vibe, the French colonial architecture, the delicious meals at Tamarind, and the morning walks across rickety bamboo bridges. I could have stayed for weeks on end, but we had people to meet so we continued onward to Vientiane for a taste of the sleepy capital.

Terracotta coloured streets of Melaka, Malaysia

The streets of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Trishaw rides in Melaka, Malaysia

Malaysia

Places visited: Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown (Penang), Melaka

I revisited Malaysia for the third time this year, and while none of the destinations were new to me, it was still a lot of fun showing Sam’s parents around. The most exciting thing about being back in Malaysia again was all the food!!! Malaysia is home to a real blend of cultures and when it comes to the cuisine this means you can have dim sum for breakfast, thali served on a banana leaf for lunch, and then cendol for dessert.

Stormy skies over Bali, Indonesia

Balinese architecture in Indonesia

Scenic views after the volcano hike in Indonesia

Indonesia

Places visited: Bali

Ahh, Bali! It was hot, it was sticky, and I seriously spent most of my time by the pool or in the pool. I wasn’t very ambitious when it came to sightseeing around the island, but I climbed a freaking volcano! I think that should exempt me from extreme physical exercise for a while…

Mosque in Singapore

Colourful architecture in Singapore.

The Marina Bay Sands all lit up at night.

Singapore

Places visited: Singapore

Singapore surprised me. Yes, it was orderly, ultra modern, and expensive, but it was also colourful, flavourful, and a lot of fun to experience.

The Berlin Wall - 25 years after the fall

Adventures with Rebecaa in Berlin, Germany

Karaoke at Mauerpark on Sundays

Germany

Places visited: Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Freiburg

Deutschland! Germany is one of my favourite countries and it was so much fun getting to spend an extended period of time there. One of the highlights was when my friend Rebecca came to Berlin for a visit – our outings were all about art galleries, pastries, and the occasional Currywurst!

Australia collage photo

The Whitsundays in Australia scenic views on the beach

Magnetic Island scenic views in Australia

Tim Tams, because when in Oz...

Australia

Places visited: Townsville, Magnetic Island, Bowen, Airlie Beach, The Whitsundays, Gold Coast

I can’t believe I nearly didn’t go to Australia! I was a bit freaked out about the distance – I don’t particularly enjoy flying, and the thought of taking 4 consecutive planes for 2 days made me want to curl up into a ball – but I made it and Australia turned out to be amazing! My two weeks in Queensland were a little taster that only made me hungry for more.

I came face to face with wildlife I never even knew existed, held a python around my neck, visited the town where they filmed the movie Australia, ate my fill of Vegemite and Tim Tams, sailed around the incredibly idyllic Whitsunday Islands, and spent a week living it up in the Gold Coast.

Historic Prague views

Prague off the beaten path in Czechia

Entering Prague Castle

Czech Republic

Places visited: Prague

From there we bid farewell to Europe with a week in Prague. The city was every bit as magical as I thought it would be, and this is also where I discovered the coolest thing ever – room escape games!

NYC flags in downtown

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Chicago Baseball Game at Wrigley Field

United States

Places visited: New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C.

I ended up stateside twice this year. The first visit was in the summertime with Sam, where we spent one week in New York City and another Chicago – the later revolved mostly around deep-dish pizza.

And then in early December I ended up travelling to Washington D.C. to attend the Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship (you can read more about it here). My visit was short, but I did manage to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing and visit the National Geographic Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, and also tour the White House all decked out for the holidays. It was also nice getting to reconnect with bloggers I had met before and meet others I had known online for ages.

Wedding Bells - Samuel and Audrey marriage photo

Canada

Places visited: Toronto, Montreal, Kingston, Gananoque, Quebec City, Fredericton

I spent quite a bit of time in Canada this year. Sam and I came back in the summer to get hitched (oh myyy!) and then in the fall we started our Bachelor of Education at Queen’s University. It was a big transition going from being on the move to temporarily settling in one place, but the biggest pro of it all is that we have been able to spend a lot of quality time with family, and that’s something I really missed!

Nuuksio National Park in Finland

Biking in Finland alongside beautiful forests

Bloggers on the loose in Helsinki, Finland

Finland

Places visited: Helsinki, Kimito Island, Nuuksio National Park, Hanko, EkenΓ€s

This was my second visit to Finland and it was all about enjoying the outdoors. My week there was spent hiking in Nuuksio National Park where I learned about every man’s right, kayaking under the midnight sun, exploring Kimito Island and the archipelago region, and biking through the charming seaside town of Hanko. It was all topped off with a couple of days hanging out in Helsinki. For my third visit, I want to experience Lapland in the winter time!

Hibiscus

The Honeymooners in Cuba

The Cuban flag

Travel lit on the beach

Cuba

Places visited: Cayo Santa Maria

And then there was Cuba. For our honeymoon Sam and I spent a week enjoying the Caribbean island. This was my fourth (or fifth?) visit, so we ended up skipping the tours and just enjoying the beach. There were no complaints from Sam who looked like he was melting and only wanted shade.  I also insisted he wear these ridiculous sunglasses.

And that was 2014! We visited 4 continents, a total of 13 countries, 6 of which were new to me. I don’t have any grand travel plans to ring in the New Year, but I can honestly say I’m just as happy to be spending it at home with family, in my pyjamas, and popping a holiday movie into the DVD player.

Wishing you all a happy New Year!

Join the Conversation

25 Comments

  1. says: Ashley

    It looks you had an incredible year! I’m glad you decided not to skip Australia- it’s definitely one of my favourite countries! Happy New Year!

  2. What a year! I don’t really like flying either, and this always surprises people when I tell them this, given the amount of traveling I do. Two peas we are, I guess!
    All the best in 2015, hope to see you somewhere in Ontario!

  3. says: Justine

    What an incredible year in travel. That’s awesome that you’ve traveled to Cuba so many times. I’ve been twice and it’s still my favorite country on earth. I’m actually really interested to see how the country is going to change now that relations with the US have been restored. It’s going to be interesting. Happy New Year and I can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring for you πŸ™‚

  4. What a wonderful year- marriage, travel, going back to uni- all awesome things, congrats! I hope all is going well with your education degree (and you’re enjoying the holidays!). I’ve wanted to visit Cuba since I was a teenager but haven’t managed to make it..yet!

  5. says: Clara

    Hi Audrey! Stumbled upon your blog one day and I just wanted to thank you for all your incredibly helpful and fun posts! I’ll be travelling to Thailand for a couple weeks soon and can’t wait to visit all the places you suggested!

    PS. I’m also a fellow Canadian and Queen’s graduate πŸ˜€

  6. says: Erica Camille

    nice collection! i’m using some of your advice on malayisa… heading out jan 13 for four months in SE Asia (my fourth winter in asia).

  7. Happy New Year to you! Seems like Finland is becoming a big destination for 2015, everyone is writing about it! I would love to discover it myself, as it never actually crossed my mind. I am half way across the world at the moment, in sunny New Zealand, escaping the cold european winter πŸ™‚
    I am looking forward what 2015 brings to you! Happy travels!

  8. says: Victoria

    Holy moly! Hard to believe you packed all that AND school into your year. Over achiever much? Just kidding. Happy new year to you both. I’m pretty excited to explore Toronto this year for the first time. Will have to check your blog for tips for the city!

  9. What a year, and congrats again on marrying the red head! We hope to get to Cuba soon, as an American I have been waiting for this to happen for awhile now.

    We currently are living in Chiang Mai and are yet to “play tourist” here, we hope to when we have friends/family from home come and visit.

    Safe travels in 2015.

  10. I see 2014 was a great year for you, Guys! I got some travel too, visited World Cup in Brazil, Spain and Balearic Islands.
    Wish you a happy new 2015 full of a new wonderful places!

  11. Happy New Year Audrey!
    Kudos to you for a great year that you had. A lot many memories you have have captured for your lifetime. its always rejuvenating to travel to places. so whats your plan this year!

    Visit India and get mesmerized in the beauty !

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *