Don’t hate us just yet.
Whether this is your first time here or you’ve been keeping up with our adventures and misadventures for a while, truth is we must be some of the travel bloggers sharing the least amount of selfies and this one you are reading, could be one of the most private blogs ever around here.
That said, it does not mean we don’t take pics of our faces from time to time – or that we don’t like to talk about our own experiences. When we go somewhere, after taking tons of landscape shots, we tend to snap one or two of ourselves.
Despite all that is being said lately, 2016 was pretty grand to us as a blogger couple. We definitely cannot complain because health, love, and happiness was all around us (and that is EVERYTHING). We could not be luckier really.
After a couple (more like 3) rough years where we had to say goodbye to some family members, this one respected us. And not just that, it brought us many adventures both close to our Galician base and far. So THANK YOU 2016! Let’s keep it like this next year too, can we?
Overall, we went to 11 countries* (technically 12, but as one – Germany – was for less than 24h, let’s just say 11), stepped into Israel twice and spend a whole summer from music festival to music festival (six of them!) like there was no tomorrow. And made it out alive!
*Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Romania, Israel+West Bank, Jordan, Luxembourg, United States, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Portugal, and Italy.
We worked hard, partied hard, traveled to a fair amount of places, crossed paths with many old friends, and met lots of new and interesting people. After all, we remained together, which is also a great thing.
And thanks to that, this blog continued running smoothly for yet another year (yay 4th Anniversary there!)
So, without further ado, here’s everywhere we went in 2016.
Start hating us should you feel like it now.
Ribadeo, Galicia, Spain
No matter how many countries I visit every year, every NYE in my life but 1 (I had a really good reason, as I was headed to Edinburgh for the Hogmanay celebrations, Loony Dook, and the Scottish Highlands) was spent in Galicia.
And about half of them, in Ribadeo. My hometown and where my closest family members live.
NYE parties are HUGE in Spain, so here you have me in the above picture. Trying to reflect on life and so on January, 2nd. Yay!
Andalusia road trip, Spain
When the NYE hangover was over, this travel blogger couple quickly moved South to warmer lands. From Malaga to Tarifa, Cadiz, Seville, Ronda, Granada, and a few other places in between, we road tripped our way in Andalusia. And got TONS of amazing pictures that ended in a 5000-word article, one that got a hell of traffic since we put it together.
Seriously, if you have never been to Southern Spain, make it a priority ASAP.
The Ultimate Guide To Road Tripping Andalusia
Noia and Muros estuary, Galicia, Spain
If we traveled to 14 in 2014, 17 in 2015, and god knows how many countries every other last year, this one we kept a lower profile and used our limited time wiser balancing travels and life (meaning, spending lots of time in Galicia!). Because when your dog is crazily awaiting you in between travels and your base is barely minutes away from places like the one above these lines, who wouldn’t?
Carnival in Galicia
And, since we were home, we did what people do in Galicia during
carnival entroido. Party and dress in fancy costumes. Or at least costumes we thought were fancy at the time lol.
Vigo bound to attend Celta vs Sevilla match, Spain
As I am NOT a soccer fan at all (I hate it!), I got invited to join the madness a couple of times this year. At least I found it fun enough. I mean, think you are inside this craziness. Wouldn’t the crowds drive you a little mad in the good sense too?
Santiago de Compostela, Galicia
Introducing you all our closest city, Santiago de Compostela, where rain turns cobblestone streets into art. We have many friends living here and no month goes by without visiting it once or twice.
If you are familiar with St. James’ Way, you might have heard about it as all the routes of this ancient pilgrimage path end here (although many people keep walking till Finisterre – in the Death Coast – these days).
A jewel if you ask us. Oh and this picture was featured by Lonely Planet 🙂
Shooting for TVG (Galician TV) in Castros de Baroña
Overcoming my camera shyness was fun. TVG came and we did a 5′ video about one of my favorite places in Galicia, Castros de Baroña.
It was already time to leave Galicia for a while. The first country on the list was The Netherlands for a three-day Amsterdam bound. Fourth time in this city that never disappoints and the first one where I happened to explore it beyond the typical tourist path. Yay Amsterdam tourism board! Thanks so much for showing me around.
Cluj Napoca + Transylvania, Romania
The second stop of this tournee was a one week bound in Transylvania. I made Cluj-Napoca my base as my brother was
rocking University life studying there and the rest of my closest family joined us for a few days of pretty Romanian towns and unique sites like Salina Turda (pictured above) as we road tripped the country with AutoEurope.
One of the highlights of 2016 was indeed visiting Israel. Abraham Hostels and Tours invited us to spend 10 days in this country and those were filled with unique experiences, awesome sights, and delicious food.
We learned a lot there too.
As we were already in neighboring Israel, we crossed to West Bank and visited a few cities thanks to a one day tour offered graciously by our host, Abraham Tours.
People, that are already the big deal when you travel, were amazing and we can’t wait to continue exploring this region of the world.
Finally, before leaving the Middle East, we had a chance of experiencing Amman, Jerash, Wadi Rum, and Petra. Four of Jordan’s most visited sites. Again, thanks to Abraham Tours! We will never forget the red city and desert!
Glamping and Hiking in Luxembourg
On our way back from Jordan, Jose and I split ways as Luxembourg invited me to experience three days of hiking and glamping (loved it!) in their countryside.
Although Springtime might be a bit too soon for sleeping in a tent without proper heating, I can’t recommend you enough to try it for yourself. Kalkesdelt, in Ettelbruck, is a camping ground with that touch of luxury you will appreciate after a long day in the woods.
Fonforron beach, Galicia
After all these countries, we settled in Galicia for a few weeks. And did what we usually do if the weather is nice enough. Go as many times as possible to shoot sunset pictures by the beach.
I tried to learn how to fly as well but that did not go well.
Galician Death Coast
This region has much-untapped gorgeousness. And one of the places away from the crowds is Lires estuary, in Costa da Morte (Galician Death Coast).
Do not worry, your life is not in danger. This area got its name after a series of unfortunate events that caused a few ships to sink in the previous two centuries. It mainly happened due to the combination of bad weather and a rugged and rocky seafloor.
But, as I said, it is perfectly fine to visit this region today.
You might be the only one enjoying some stunning beaches like Nemiña (pictured above) at sunset. Talk about exclusivity.
After spending 4 Summers working in this country when I was younger, I finally got the chance to stay a few days in Miami.
Oh well, I had already been there for a night when the group I was leading and I got stranded in the airport due to a missed connection flight (and we got us all a night on the DoubleTree courtesy of the airline yeah!) but other than experiencing how fast the city can go from an end of the world storm to tropical sunny weather, I had no idea of what I was missing.
The city surprised me positively in so many ways. And now I cannot wait to go back and continue exploring it!
Thanks to my friend and talented photographer Edin, who was kind enough to spend a day with me and a couple of other bloggers I met on a cruise (more on this right after this paragraph), I got to have a big picture in record time. And eat awesome healthy vegan food, take lots of shots of street art, spend a day on SOBE, and lots of other things that make me happy. THANKS!
Caribbean cruise to the Dominican Republic
Again, something I was not expecting at all when I started 2016 was that I would be jumping on a Caribbean cruise with Fathom (a Carnival cruises branch that had do-good cruises to DR and Cuba!) and spending a week in the Dominican Republic.
I guess sometimes I cannot believe how lucky I am.
PS. The swimming picture was taken with a GoPro by no one else other than me. It got lots of love on social media (it is still my Facebook profile photo) and many people asked me how I managed to snap it.
Some people even went the extra mile, showing some hate and claiming that photo had been made by someone else, plus that I was not the girl in the photo.
Simply put, like the best things in life, I left the camera with the selfie stick folded in a 90-degree angle, hanging from the edge of the pool in automatic mode, shooting an image every half a second. After three or four attempts, I finally got something decent.
Huasteca Potosina, Mexico
The reason why I crossed the pond in the first place was going back to Mexico. The country I had already fallen for in 2013 when I won a writing contest and got a 2-week trip there.
That time I visited 6 states: Veracruz, Chiapas, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Yucatan. And it was an experience I will never forget. But 3 years had already gone by and Mexico called my name again this year as my dear friend Elsie invited me to spend a week in Mexico City to explore the capital from the comfort of Zocalo Central Hotel.
Anyway, as these guys were kind enough to book my flights earlier, I got some extra time in the country and that is how I got to visit some of the Northern parts of Mexico I had never stepped in.
San Luis Potosi, a state with the mixed press and not the best rep in the world, turned out to be a great idea (nevermind the full day traveling in buses from Mexico City and back) and the perfect spot to spend 4 days going all crazy and adventurous with the cool guys at Huaxteca. They took me all over to experience this region’s unparalleled natural beauty, where waterfalls, pools, turquoise rivers, and enchanted gardens never seemed to stop.
Finally here and reunited with old and new blogger friends, I got to have one of the most unbelievable weeks of this 2016. I was treated to the nines, met the best chefs in the city, and went everywhere worth going. I seriously cannot believe how cool this trip was.
Millo Verde Festival, Galicia
For some reason, apologies beforehand, we have not a single picture of the first festival we attended this Summer.
You just need to believe we went there, partied as we do, and had fun.
Summer in Galifornia
Since I stopped working for others in Summer, taking Spanish guys to Canada, the US, UK, and the likes to study English, I spend all my Summers in Galicia. Because if you add good weather to this land, you get PERFECTION.
A Veiga – Trevinca, Galicia
Ever heard of Starlight destinations?
Around the world, this badge is only awarded to destinations that meet ideal conditions for observing the night sky and stars. Astronomy enthusiasts move incessantly to these chosen points because the luminous pollution is practically nonexistent. And the communities where they are, they try to keep these locations as they are so that they do not suffer changes that would make them lose this characterization.
Well, again lucky, A Veiga – Trevinca invited us to spend a weekend getting to know their territory.
Legends, tradition, excellent cuisine, best hotels, and an endless amount of outdoor activities kept us busy and happy.
Testing our new Summer home in Galicia
Why settle for a five-star hotel when you can sleep under a thousand star sky.
Here is some good news for everyone who feels identified with this quote. Nowaday’s tents quality is incredible. As it is the ease of use, lightness, and technologies used in creating them.
As we are outdoors super fans, Decathlon sent us his latest creation, the Quechua Fresh and Black tent 2 seconds 3 people to test it out.
Sleeping in complete darkness and avoiding boiling yourself in when the sun rises is our priority for being happy campers. And this model finally got it. Difficult to explain how happy we were this Summer – and hopefully continue being in the upcoming years – thanks to this beauty 😀
Resurrection Festival, Galicia
Second music appointment this Summer, the first time in this one specific festival. As my older (but still younger than me lol) brother was raving about it since his teens, it was about time to give it a try.
Resurrection blew Jose’s mind. He is now a big fan of bands like Abbath and Gojira and no two days go by without him swearing for the next edition.
I loved it too. Organized as few, hardcore and metal meet in Viveiro for three days. And it is a match made in
Let’s just cross our fingers for a couple of press passes in 2017. Scoring them would be as sweet as a Death by Chocolate dessert overload PLUS we would be able to properly feature it across our platforms and this site as we did with the other 4 festivals that are coming up in a few paragraphs. Seriously guys! It is really difficult to get nice pics otherwise.
Around mid-July, I traveled to Sweden to take part in TBEx Europe (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference for the second time in my life.
Two years ago the city of Athens hosted this event where almost a thousand bloggers meet a few times per year in different destinations around the world. And I got to be in one of the after TBEx press trips to the unreal Meteora.
This time, the iconic Landsort, in Stockholm’s archipelago, was the chosen spot for one of the pre-TBEx overnight trips I was lucky to be on. I also joined a few other experiences in and about Stockholm.
Landsort, the most southerly outpost of the Stockholm Archipelago
As mentioned before, I attended TBEx Stockholm this month. On top of meeting old friends and new fellow bloggers, I had some time to explore the city on my own as we were given the Stockholm Pass and a transport card.
That is how I got to spend some time in Gröna Lund, the old school amusement park pictured above.
Big shout out to Fredrik Bronan for snapping these pics while everyone else was having fun. Fatbikes, kayaks, boats, and unique islands are part of the Lulea archipelago Summer and, I got to experience all that and much more as the post TBEx tour took me there.
More on this North of Sweden bound soon!
ReggaeBoa Festival, Leon, Spain
Luckily for everyone involved, we just LOVE music and music festivals, especially if these are in Summer.
No matter the music genre (in reality it does, we would never go to a shitty music one!), we always have fun even if we are working on creating some content worth sharing.
Reggaeboa, as its name reads, is all about reggae. There is a small but select crowd that we keep seeing year after year, a beautiful river beach where all the festival-goers swim sooner or later (and where you can go as you are, clothing optional) while a DJ or band sounds and a night stage for the big names.
We love it there.
Son Rias Festival, Galicia
There is our photographer, Jose, all happy in the shade chilling before the concerts get started when the sun goes down.
Four festivals down, just 2 to go!
V de Valares Festival, Galicia
Fifth appointment on the festival circuit and one filled with musical greatness. More in this article:
Baby shower in Pazo do Tambre, Galicia
As photographers (this is one of the two or three pics we have of ourselves all dressed up from that day) and barely five hours after the previous V de Valares picture.
An interesting and long
day couple of days after all.
Paredes de Coura Festival, Portugal
This one needs no intro as this was the sixth edition we attended (and the fourth as press). You have lots of articles on this site about Paredes de Coura should you wanted to know more.
But, for now, let’s just say it was again one of the absolute highlights of 2016.
Can’t seriously wait for Paredes de Coura 2017!
We made it alive!
Thank you, Universe, for letting us live a summer as intense as this.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Vuelta a España, Galicia
While we were trying to get over the hangover of summer music festivals, the cycling tour of Spain passed through our small village on a sunny afternoon.
Hardly ever this place is on the news so it was nice to see it all busy for a few minutes 😀
WSL’s Pantin Classic Pro. Valdoviño, Galicia
Jose attended this year’s Pantin Classic surf competition and snapped many great surfing shots. You can find some of them on our Instagram feed.
Teaming up with Panasonic Lumix Cameras
Ok, this might not be a destination itself but we can’t let this year go without saying thanks once again to Panasonic Spain.
We became part of their ambassadors’ team last September and now you can also read some of our adventures (and see many cool pictures snapped with our Lumix G7 as the ones above these lines) on their site in Spanish.
My hometown’s main celebrations happen to be this month. So if I am in Galicia, I always try to spend some quality time with my family and friends.
Now up there, meet my parents, my brother and Austrian girlfriend standing by one of the most iconic buildings in town, the Moreno’s tower.
Cathedral’s beach, Galicia
And as we were already nearby (this gorgeous beach is barely 10km from Ribadeo), one morning we set up the alarm at an insane hour to go and shoot sunrise.
Before the crowds hit the place!
Asturias West coast, Spain
Serantes and Porcia are two coastal spots that shine on their own.
Asturias, you beauty!
Luarca, Asturias, Spain
We did not want to leave without rediscovering Luarca. Yet another Asturias gem.
Forest fires in Galicia
For many years now, no summer goes by without leaving behind a trail of burned forests. Most of these fires are man-made and shame of our beloved land.
We have written about it before:
Walking the Pilgrimage Route Via Francigena, Italy
Along with lots of other bloggers, we were chosen to walk this ancient Pilgrimage trail that stretches between Jerusalem and Rome.
It was a week to remember as every day, after walking a few km along beautiful paths, we ended up uncovering lots of little Italian villages. And you all know how you get treated there, don’t you?
Galician Train Routes
Again in our base, we dedicated this month to explore different ways to move around. And so we joined a hiking + spa train route that took us from A Coruña to Lugo and a few other interesting places in between.
We loved it so much that next year we have already planned to jump in the lighthouses and coastal train one!
Puebla river pools, Galicia
Some other destinations within Galicia were reached by car (like this one above) or simply walking with our dog, Rufo.
Celta vs Ajax soccer match, Vigo
Again, as I anticipated in February, I was cordially invited to witness a soccer match in Vigo. This time we joined some friends and stopped on our way there for a quick pic.
Jose is a big fan of Celta de Vigo (and Real Madrid), so we are never far from this sport. Sigh!
Yo, I don’t want to bore you to death with our base gorgeousness so I will just leave these Galician photos here.
Chemical Brothers gig in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia
This was like going back to our teenage years for a cool night out.
So much fun attending this gig we definitely could not miss!
Start noticing a few patterns here?
For the second time in my life – and this year -, I visited this city I swore I would not visit any time soon again after experiencing so much hassle back in March.
Luckily, this time my time there was much nicer as many other sites – not only the most touristy ones – were included in the program.
Thanks, TBEx for trusting me to test one of your pre-TBEx International tours!
Entrepreneurship adventures in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia
Since October, we took part in a couple of start-up accelerator programs by Cersia Empresa and go2Work EOI. Happy to have Cidade da Cultura as our office till March next year!
For the third time this year, we were invited to a press trip within Galicia.
Lalin was the chosen municipality this time and so we spent a couple of days among colorful forests, delicious delicacies, spas, and many other wonders.
Santirso de Abres – A Pontenova hike, Galicia
Earlier this month, we joined A Chocolateira on their main event. A hiking route between Santirso de Abres and Pontenova along a 14km stretch that once was a railway route.
Thanks, guys! We really enjoyed it.
Cioyo Waterfall hike, Asturias
We also were crazy enough to attempt this hike with less than 1-hour daylight left. Do not follow our steps here and allow yourself more time to complete it.
Although we were fast enough on our way back, we would not recommend doing it with such a short amount of time on your hands.
Anyway, this waterfall – and route – need to be walked (downhill and uphill back).
One of the most authentic and stunning forests we have seen in a long time.
I Xornadas do Berberecho, Noia, Galicia
Noia, the place where we go to between travels, is also home to the common cockle. A delicious mollusk that grows and lives in the Muros and Noia estuary.
This year the municipality decided to launch a four-day event to celebrate this delicacy.
Between talks of experts in marine tourism and tapas made with cockles, we enjoyed it all like little kids.
Especially the one day we spent learning about the production process.
Galicia… always Galicia!
More of a September picture, I needed to end this speech on a high note.
Plus, I am working on this asana to pose better – and improve that silhouette against the sunrise, I promise! Great thing I rediscovered yoga in 2016 and will indeed continue practicing it next year. I am sure everyone and their mother told you about all its benefits but if they didn’t… yoga is AWESOME!
But more on that in a few days, shall we?
Now, go open that champagne bottle and welcome 2017 as it deserves!
HAPPY NYE EVERYONE!
PS. Do you also run a couple’s travel blog? Drop your link in the comments below.