Looking back at 2016…and forward to 2017. And our Travel Oscars (and losers) for the year.

signs-in-south-africa

Ah, the usual yearly wrap-ups that we travel bloggers come up with. But I’ve said it before: year end posts are about remembering what we did in the year, how far we came in fulfilling what we hoped for, and remembering how we felt about the places we visited as well as where we are in life. After all, the main goal when I set up this website was to document our travels (for ourselves).

In this post you’ll see a summary of the different places we went, our favorites and not-so-favorites, as well as some thoughts on our lifestyle as full-time (slow*) travellers. I’ll also go over some of our plans for the coming year.

* For those unfamiliar with our blog: we are slow travellers, travelling and working at the same time. We like to stay somewhere 1-2 months, trying to fit in and getting to know a place. As I write this, in early January of 2017, we’ve been at it 2 ½ years.

A few numbers from 2016. Countries visited: 13 (South Africa, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, Portugal, Spain, Japan, Serbia). Flights: 13. Nights stayed in Airbnb apartments: 315 nights in 20 apartments.

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Cape Town, South Africa

We finished off 2015 in Cape Town and stayed there until late January, a total of 3 months in the Cape region. Click here for last year’s year end post. South Africa was just fabulous and one of the most spectacular places I have ever been. Highlights included a 2 week roadtrip around the Garden Route and Karoo, a weekend in the wine region of Stellenbosch/Franschhoek, and a bunch of hikes up Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. Lissette didn’t love South Africa as much as I did (I wrote about that here) – but for me it was no doubt the highlight of the year. Some of the most spectacular geography I’ve seen anywhere combined with great food and friendly people. Loved it.

DCIM107GOPRO

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Budapest, Hungary

A long flight from Cape Town brought us to Bucharest, Romania, followed by a 16 hour train ride to Budapest, one of our favorite cities. We spent 3 weeks there.

budapest-in-february

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Bamberg, Germany

In mid-February we took a 2 week vacation, visiting Vienna and the Franconian region of  Germany. We spent time in Nuremberg and Würzburg, but our favorite place was the incredibly charming town of Bamberg. It is a place we both loved and that we want to revisit some day.

rathous-in-bamberg-germany-in-february

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Prague, Czech Republic

We spent the month of March in Prague. We got our dentist/doctor checkups (we find Prague a good place to get those things done) and did a lot of walking. Prague is beautiful in the winter and we loved our time here. Photo Essay: Why we keep falling in love with Prague.

prague-in-march

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Padua (Padova), Italy

April was spent using Padova as a base. I had never heard of Padova (or Padua as a lot of people call it) but we were looking for a base in Northern Italy and I stumbled upon it doing my research. A couple of years ago I wrote about Italy and the things we don’t like about it – well, our month there was a reminder of both those things as well as the reasons we do like it (principally the incredible history and architecture). We visited Rome, Bologna, Verona and also returned to Venice where we had last been back in 2008.

palazzo-della-ragione-padova-padua-in-april

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Rovinj, Croatia

May was spent in Rovinj, Croatia. We were happy being back in Croatia and really enjoyed Istria (friendly people). We did a lot of driving in the region, visiting the hilltowns as well as the towns of Porec and Novigrad. We had the most incredible Airbnb host here and we spent a lot of time eating, drinking and sleeping. We really enjoyed Rovinj.

rovinj-views-croatia-in-may

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Split, Croatia

In early June, we drove from Rovinj to Split (one of our favorite places). It would be the beginning of what would be a very busy and honestly, tiring, summer. While Lissette stayed in Split, I flew to Mexico where I visited my mom.

split-croatia-in-july-and-august

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Central Mexico

I always love meeting up with my mom in Mexico. In late June we met up and spent some time in Mexico City before travelling to the Pueblo Magico town of Patzcuaro and the Unesco city of Morelia. We finished up in San Miguel de Allende where I also visited the beautiful town (another Unesco listed town) of Guanajuato. Mexico is always colorful and vibrant, one of my favorite countries.

guanajuato-mexico-in-july

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Skopje, Macedonia

I flew back to Split and a few weeks later (mid-July), we were flying again – this time to the very interesting city of Skopje in Macedonia. Skopje has to one of the most bizarre places we’ve been. After the crowds in Split (July gets packed) and the hordes we would see in Lisbon (our next major stop), this would be a really nice break. My post on Skopje got more traffic than any of my posts in 2016. Really interesting place and we definitely want to see more of Macedonia in the future.

skopje-macedonia-in-august

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Lisbon, Portugal

We spent August in Lisbon. I don’t know what to say about Lisbon. We had such high hopes and in the end just didn’t enjoy our time there. Actually it sucked the life out of us: the hordes of tourists, the lousy apartment we had there, the heat, the inconvenience of Lisbon as a base…I wrote about it here and got a lot of shit for my thoughts. Well, as I always say, sometimes things just don’t work out and it can be circumstances just as much as the place itself. Lisbon was just not meant for us.

lisbon-in-august

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Sevilla, Spain

Oh, how we loved our time in Sevilla!! It was just what we needed after Lisbon. We had a great apartment in Sevilla, were close to a gym, had a large grocery store across the street. We were a 20 minute walk from the center of Sevilla – which is magnificent with its churches, Moorish architecture and gardens. We drank lots of wine, ate tapas, had some late nights out watching flamenco….love, love, love Sevilla. Southern Spain is a region we will come back to.

We spent 2 months (September & October) in Sevilla and they were our easiest months of the year. Living and travelling were easy and speaking Spanish was a huge plus. We could really get into the Spanish lifestyle. I wrote about our impressions on Sevilla after our 1st month, I also wrote a post on visiting Sevilla on a budget. We also visited nearby Cordoba and its famous Mezquita which is another must when in the area. Spain was a highlight in 2016.

catedral-de-sevilla-in-september-and-october

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Kyoto, Japan

Japan was a place at the top of Lissette’s bucketlist. We spent 7 weeks there: 2 in Tokyo, 1 travelling through Central Honshu, and 4 using Kyoto as a base. There were many things we appreciated about Japan, mainly the people, but we left knowing we probably won’t be back. We liked it, we just didn’t love it. I have a few more posts coming up on Japan and I’ll touch on that.

kyoto-japan-in-november

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Belgrade, Serbia

We were back in the Balkans in mid-December. Our 6th country in the Balkans and Serbia surprised us. Belgrade is gritty, not the most beautiful place, but if you look behind the rough exterior you’ll find beautiful cafes, eclectic bars, and some nice boutique stores. The Serbs surprised us with their mastery of English (they brag that they have the best educational system in Europe. We can believe that). I’ll be writing about Belgrade in the upcoming weeks.

belgrade-serbia-in-december

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Split, Croatia

After a few days in Zagreb over Christmas (where we were both sick with bad colds) we arrived in Split on Boxing Day. It was 15C, the sun was out, and we had lunch on the Riva watching the beautiful people. Split is going to be our home for the next few months. We sent off 2016 with a dinner party at a Croatian friend’s house, drinking Ozujsko beer, homemade Rakija (moonshine) and lighting firecrackers in the street at midnight.

split-sunset-in-december

 

That was our 2016.

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Our Travel Oscars (and losers) for the year
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Most Romantic Place: Sevilla, Spain. Beautiful old city full of old colours, palm trees, parrots, tapas, wine…Spain is romantic. Lissette doesn’t agree, she says her favorite romantic destination was Split (hmm, what went on while I was in Mexico?)

Most colourful places: Bo Kaap (Cape Town, South Africa), Rovinj (Croatia), Guanajuato (Mexico).

Below: Bo Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town.

bo-kaap-cape-town-south-africa

Most Dramatic moment: South Africa, when I (almost) shed a tear over when leaving. I always love moving on to another destination. But I remember being at the airport in Cape Town, after 3 months there, and feeling a pain in my heart that I had never felt anywhere else. South Africa is at the top of my list of places I want to get back to.

Most disappointing base in 2016: Lisbon. Nothing worked out for us in Lisbon. It’s a pretty city but we left feeling no love for it. I think Lissette and I were ready to kill each other after Lisbon. Lucky for us our next destination was Sevilla.

Most “Original” destination of the year: Skopje (Macedonia). Really weird, interesting place with friendly people – and the cheapest prices we encountered in 2016. We want to see more of Macedonia.

The place other countries could learn from:  My pick: Japan. Organized and efficient, Japan made travel easy. There’s always someone to help you when you need it, there are signs in English, elevators in the metro, and the people want you to see the best sides of Japan - they’ll go out of their way to make sure you’re not lost or inconvenienced in any way. Also, toilets are everywhere. Germany and Japan, in our experience, are the 2 places in the world where they just know how to organize things. Lissette’s pick: Serbia, for totally different reasons. She didn’t know what to expect from Serbia and, if anything, expected Serbs to be a little gruff. Instead she was totally impressed by their charm and their interest in foreigners. We met and spoke to so many people over the course of 2 weeks, we were even invited to somebody’s home (where we had an interesting 2 hour conversation over cakes and coffee).

Below: Attendant in the Tokyo metro.

attendant-in-tokyo-metro-japan

 

Worst travelling experience: that train ride in Romania. 16 hrs, with overflowing toilets. I said people could learn from Japan and Germany – well, let’s start with Romania.

Best Airbnb host in 2016: Rovinj. Marina treated us like royalty.

Best beer we’ve had: Sorry Prague, the answer to this one is Bamberg. It’s a small town but they have 11 breweries and all the beer is bottled in distinctive bottles (no cans).

Most Dramatic driving experience: The Swartberg Pass in South Africa. The scariest drive we’ve done this year.

Below: Swartberg pass, South Africa

swartberg-pass-sign

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Best Foodie destination
: these don’t fit in most people’s list of foodie destinations and some might find them surprising considering we spent time in Spain, Portugal and Italy in 2016. My pick: South Africa. We had so much great food here: traditional fare including the more exotic (Springbok steak, Yellowtail), sushi, Indian food. Lots of great wine. Lissette’s pick: Macedonia. Balkan/Mediterranean cuisine, healthy and fresh. Everything we ate in Skopje was great (and excellent value).

Below: South African food on the left, Macedonian on the right.

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Most challenging hike of the year. The India Venster hike going up Table Mountain in Cape Town. Yikes. What an adrenaline rush.

Most scenic hike of the year. A tie between Vosac peak on Mt. Biokovo in Croatia and Lion’s Head in Cape Town.

The most ‘extreme’ thing either of us did this year: Lissette bungying off the Bloukrans River bridge in South Africa, the highest bridge bungy jump anywhere in the world. I’ve hiked, paraglided and ziplined this year – but honestly I don’t know if I could ever bungee. What impressed me most of all was how cool Lissette was the whole time.

spanky-bungees

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Lessons learned in 2016. In both cases, these were things that we’ve already experienced but which reasserted themselves in 2016. Me: How lucky we are to be born in a rich country. It strikes me when visiting many places, especially in the Balkans, how fortunate Lissette and I were to have good jobs in the West. The more we travel, the more people we see who don’t have chances at meaningful employment (even if educated) or a decent salary. Lissette: Travelling can be tough on a relationship. No matter how good a relationship you have, travelling can wear it down. We’ve been travelling full-time now for 2 ½ years, together every minute of every day except for the 7-10 days a year when I visit my mom in Mexico. Some of that time is spent in stressful situations (Lisbon) or tight quarters (like Japan where we were usually in a space barely larger than a closet). Sometimes you just need a bit of space and a chance to “relearn” who you were before you started travelling together full-time. A little time apart is a healthy thing, so don’t be surprised if we plan separate trips sometime in 2017.

 

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Our Plans for 2017

Last year I wrote an article for Business Insider on how we saved $46,000 while travelling. In 2016 however we treaded water, no longer in debt but not saving either. That was mostly due to more expensive destinations and staying in some places during high season. One of our goals in 2017 is to save money again.

So we’re going to be good, especially in the first 6 months of this year. We’re currently staying in our favorite apartment in Split where we’ll stay until mid-March. It’s off-season and our friend Vedran has given us a good deal…so that’s going to help. After that, we’re planning to visit two new (and inexpensive) countries: the Ukraine and Poland. That will be followed by some time in Moravia, in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. Things could change, but that’s the plan.

The 2nd part of the year will be dictated by our tenants in Montreal, our storage locker (which we would like to empty out), and our plans for a base sometime this year (which I wrote about here). It’s all a bit up in the air at this point. And we’d of course like to add in a few exotic destinations. Top of my list is a return to South Africa with excursions to Zambia and Lesotho. But again, we’ll see.

 

Health: We’ve been incredibly lucky health-wise since we started travelling full-time (knock on wood). One of the things we did in 2016 was join a gym everywhere we went. It was only in November, in Japan, where we couldn’t join a gym (although we jogged and did our own workouts). Now, back in Split, we’re working out again and want to continue on a good path this year.

 

This blog has always been a personal passion and recording our memories and feelings has been the goal. Readership has gone up every year since we started the blog in 2013 and, more than the numbers, we appreciate the personal relationships that we’ve made (both online and sometimes in real life) with readers and other bloggers. Nothing makes us happier than helping out a reader who has questions about a place we’ve been to or receiving feedback from them after their trip. Or hearing from people who will, out of the blue, give us advice on a place that we’ll be going to in the near future. We’ve also met quite a few travel bloggers over the past year and it’s always nice to match a face to a voice.  All to say that we enjoy comments, feedback and being part of the travel community :) .

 

If you’ve gotten all the way down here, thanks for reading!

 

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Above: Anywhere but in South Africa (or maybe Australia) we’d look pretty stupid dressing like this.

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Comments

  1. Always love reading your posts, keep them coming! You’ve had an amazing year, which of course we’ve come to expect ;-) Looking forward to reading more about Japan…it’s never been somewhere I’ve fancied going particularly, yet some of our friends return year after year and can’t understand why we’re not keen. Interested to hear more about your experiences since you don’t think you’ll be back. Happy 2017, and keep up the good work!
    Heather Cole recently posted…Is Casablanca worth visiting?My Profile

  2. What a round up! Other than Lisbon, sounds like you’ve had a really fun year! I hope we get to cross paths again!
    Corinne recently posted…A Fateful Detour to Lucerne, SwitzerlandMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      It was a pleasure meeting you guys in Prague Corinne, you guys are an inspiration! I hope we have as many years of travelling in front of us as you guys have had.

  3. You had a busy and eventful year.

    Like the Bamberg Bridge….
    Ted recently posted…Destination JerusalemMy Profile

  4. Sara Yoel says:

    Wow and yes, I read it all, always before I read all the junk mail. Firstly, I finally got to see a full photo of Lissette, so gorgeous she can pass for an Israeli Sabra (which I am originally from). Secondly, what’s wrong with dressing like that, it looks comfortable and classy…ha…ha.
    I felt bad for the horrible view on Romania (remember our past exchange). After Croatia I am back to Romania in May, this time to see and drive through the famous Trans-Alpine/Fagaras mountains (with a guide), considered the best in Europe. I’ll let you know.
    I wish you both an enlightening and fun 2017.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      You like our matching Crocodile Dundee outfits Sara? Thank you. And thank you for the compliment given Lissette, she’s blushing. She’s Latina but people figure her for many different things which is great – she always fits in which I wish was the case for me (Mr. White Man).
      Romania will change, just takes time. But they could start with obvious things, like having tourist offices open on weekends (when tourists usually show up) and having half-decent toilets. There is huge beauty and huge potential, Lissette always talks about Romania with a “what could have been” look in her eye. I just think that someone in charge has to care enough, and also realize the potential for tourist dollars.
      I wish you the very best in 2017 Sara and look forward to hearing more about your Balkan trip.

  5. I admire you two for being so mobile and at the mercy of other people’s kitchens :-). It would be lovely to meet when we’re allowed back into Croatia and if you find yourselves Sarajevo-bound in the next couple of months do not hestitate to reach out.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you so much Lucija. If our dreams of having a base in Split are ever realized we WILL make it to Sarajevo and will look you up :)
      By the way, your comment about other people’s kitchens spot on. I think food issues are sometimes the biggest issues of travelling the way we do.

  6. Totally loved reading this….and the oscars section especially..!
    Such a great mix you had..so enriching to experience such diversity..

    You both have a great 2017 ! Looking fwd to all the interesting reads …

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you so much Soumi! I know you’re a traveller as well – hope you have some interesting travels in 2017 :)

  7. You certainly had an exciting year indeed! You had one more trip than we did. I’ve loved reading about your adventures and experiences. Definitely wish you more of the same and more in 2017! It will be very interesting what your tenants decide. Even if they move out, you could just rent it out again. As far as the storage space, it was a relief cleaning ours out, and one of my older sisters is absolutely thrilled to have the better pieces of furniture. I couldn’t bear to sell them for peanuts or leave them with a consignment company. :-). Happy new Year, and yep..love the last picture.
    Kemkem recently posted…That Was Quick! Looking Back At a Terrific YearMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Kemkem. We’ve been lucky with our tenants, they’re good people and hassle free. And real estate always a steady investment. But with the wrong person it’s a pain in the ass and I don’t want to be a full-time landlord. Might just want to bank the cash and invest it (less secure but I usually get a better return than on renting out).
      You’re absolutely right about the storage. We’ve been paying $250/mo to have it in storage. But with our base idea, we’re thinking of having it shipped – cost is less than $5000 which is a lot cheaper than the cost of buying a whole lot of new stuff. And with an apartment in the $750 range in Split (I guess about the same in Sevilla) the cost savings make up 1/3rd of the rent. I know you’ve gone through the same decisions. I guess we’ll just have to see how things work out…

      Hey, thanks for the comment on the last photo! We never take photos of ourselves and it was the best we could come up with.

      All the best in 2017 Kemkem, look forward to seeing where you and Federico end up this year.

  8. Happy New Year to you both! Thank you for your wonderfully enriching traveling experiences!
    Definitely, I’ll be in Seville this May:). Thanks for the article about it. You said it all!

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Enrico, all the best in 2017.
      I think you’ll love Sevilla, if you have any questions pls don’t hesitate to ask.

  9. Any plans to visit Poland or Estonia?

  10. Happy New Year to you both!
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…Amsterdam A City Below Sea LevelMy Profile

  11. Nice overview & summary, Frank . As the saying goes, “Variety is the spice of Life”, – and you’re both exceeding that criteria … Is it our imagination, or is your ‘slow travel’ becoming faster ? Last year (except for the stay in S Africa) your trips seemed to be “based” for shorter periods in most places, with more side ‘excursions’ to surrounding places & attractions . Just an impression. Its interesting that each of you have often (not always…) totally different likes and dislikes of the various destinations you hv visited . Last photo outfits ? Absolutely terrific – may seem to be a bit strange today, but the South Africans & Aussies are leading the world in sun-protection style & fashion .. just wait & see.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      I think it might appear that we’ve travelled faster because of vacations (Germany – 2 weeks), and “pit stops” (Skopje – 10 days, Belgrade – 2 weeks) between slow bases. But really I don’t think much changed: we were in Budapest 3 weeks, Prague 4 weeks, Padova 4 weeks, Rovinj 5 weeks, Split 8 weeks (while I went to Mexico), Lisbon 4 weeks, Sevilla 8 weeks, Japan 7 weeks. Actually, I looked back at 2015 and we travelled faster (but incidentally visited the same number of countries). I think the 1st year, the half year, was actually our slowest staying 3 months in Prague and 3 in Thailand. Overall I think we’ve been pretty consistent, the only thing is that now that we ‘revisit’ some places we usually see them for a shorter period of time than the 1st time around.

      Differences: Lissette’s answer will always be “Split” :) And she always has that bias for the Balkans, she’s been Balkanized. My two highlights were Spain and South Africa which she also enjoyed, they were just overshadowed a bit by other places (and she had that issue with race in ZA).

      Actually that clothing perfectly suited to that climate, you’re right Tony. I picked up a few things in SA and they’re very good quality, better than all the shit clothing we’ve bought in Europe. Lot of things I liked about South Africa.

  12. I’ve read SO many blog posts about Sevilla and they all sing the praises. We need to get there. While walking the Camino we spent 4 days in Leon and fell madly in love, so if Sevilla is anything like Leon, we’d be golden.

    And, Croatia. We need to get there as well. Hopefully, we’ll cross the pond in 2017 and pick up where we left off continuing to explore Europe. So many places so little time.

    I pinned your last photo of the two of you to my blogger tales board, it’s a terrific photo and a great addition to my collection.

    Happy New Year Frank and Lisette, and if the universe presents the opportunity, our paths will cross one day. Wouldn’t that be something?
    Patti recently posted…The Best Laid Plans ~My Profile

  13. Wow talk about a comprehensive post on 2016. I saw how long it was and wondered if I would read it all. But I did… in fact, I read it aloud to Ben and we both enjoyed it immensely. As fellow bloggers, we appreciate the structure and format of this post ~ the key numbers, the Oscars, the losers etc. We did particularly enjoy your best and worst list. It is always interesting to read someone else take on places, especially ones we might have been to. It is so interesting as you say, because it is contextual. Being South African I am waiting for a 4-5 month period to take Ben there, but the thing is I really want the trip to include other countries in Africa as I have not had the opportunity (other than Morocco) to travel to so many African destinations. I can’t wait!

    Shocked that Lissette went bungie jumping! I would not do that if you paid me a million dollars. Because I would simply have a heart attack and die. One of my biggest fears is not heights so much, but sheer drops! I do remember that scary as shit drive from my childhood where I had to cover my eyes to survive it each time my family insisted we had to do the drive.

    We see you continue to explore the Balkans and Eastern Europe. We have not been to any of these countries strangely enough… Split sounds worth checking out. Have you guys been to Latvia? We hear good things about it…

    On the list of exotic destinations… huh, where is Sri Lanka? Obviously :)

    Ben & Peta

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks so much for the comment Peta. Ben has never been to South Africa? Did you leave a long time ago? I lived in Zambia for a few years as a kid and have been back a few times. I think there’s something about Africa that always makes me want to go back and I’d love Lissette to love it as much as I do (she has a problem with nature and I don’t know honestly if she’ll ever feel comfortable with any place with a lot of nature…including Sri Lanka).

      I agree with you about sheer drops. I just can’t imagine it. Yet she was totally cool and was smiling the whole time. Beats me, I would have pooped my pants.

      Latvia – nope, haven’t seen any of the Baltics.

      You guys are inspirational and I enjoy reading about how you are making Sri lanka and Vietnam home simultaneously. Incredible. All the best in 2017 :)

  14. Lots of interesting places in 2016, some we know, others we are keen to try out – Bamberg looks great, as does Rovinj! I hope you will enjoy Ukraine. The language barrier can be a pain sometimes but apart from that, it is great country and one we would recommend. Have a good 2017. Cheers, Mark
    Mark recently posted…Kep’s Abandoned Colonial and Modernist VillasMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Mark. I actually wrote you guys on your year end post (2016 Travel review) with a bunch of questions on Ukraine, Poland and Moravia but it looks like it never went through. I’ll write it again over the next few days. You and Kirsty are among the top blogs we follow, I don’t know anyone who travels closest to the lifestyle we do and we always enjoy your honest opinions on different places (gee, don’t you wish more people just wrote what they honestly thought?)
      All the best in 2017.

      • Nice of you to say Frank and I can now see your comment on our blog. I’ll reply in due course. Currently we are going through the arduous task of deciding in which direction to head next. I doubt whether we’ll (and I include other full time travellers like yourselves) get any sympathy in relation to this problem, but the procrastination can be a real pain sometimes, especially when no region instantly jumps out at you. It even causes a few arguments!!!
        Mark recently posted…Nomadic Horse Games in KyrgyzstanMy Profile

  15. I was planning a trip to Sri Lanka years ago but things happened and didnt go. Been reading up on it again and some visitors were complaining about high prices and being disappointed compared to India.

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      I really don’t know much about Sri Lanka Tom but one day would also like to go. Peta, from Green Global Trek, would be the person to ask if you have any questions. They’re actually building a house from scratch there.

  16. What an awesome 2016! We are planning to visit Europe very soon and Ill be getting tips and recommendations from here for sure. Hope you can make your 2017 as awesome as the previous year! Safe travels guys! We hope to see more of your travels this year! :)
    Joanna recently posted…India Travel Guide (for First Time Visitors)My Profile

  17. Wow so you’re pretty much living in Air Bnb apartments atm? 315 nights in 20 apartments are impressive numbers.

    You’re train ride in Romania doesn’t sound to nice, but it’s all about experiences eh! :)

    Have an amazing 2017 ahead and hope to run into you both one day. :)
    Mike recently posted…15 photos that will make you want to visit Niagara FallsMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Yeah, I know – we should be Airbnb ambassadors or something.
      Thanks for the comment Mike, hope you have a great year of travels.

  18. wonderful year Frank and heres to 2017. im going to try and work backwards through your blog as i havent had the chance to see you posts over the last three months!

  19. Frank a great and awesome year for you. You had some great experiences and looking forward to your great travel year in 2017.
    Gaz recently posted…Tikal-Must-SeeMy Profile

  20. What an awesome year, I would love to explore more into eastern Europe so your Serbia and Macedonia experiences are very interesting. Cape Town is simply a starry destination isn’t it (and I can say that despite having been robbed at gunpoint there!). Your AirBnBing is really interesting as well. My very best wishes for a happy 2017 xx
    Natasha von Geldern recently posted…Wandering Kiwi’s 2016 travel year in reviewMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Robbed at gunpoint! Really! Yes, the city center always felt a bit dodgy at night and we avoided it…but I guess could have happened in any neighborhood. I’m sorry to hear that happened to you and impressed that you still came out of it with good memories.

      Thanks for the comment Natasha. Safe travels in 2017!

  21. This is a great round up and the most original I’ve read. I liked the idea of the Oscars for the best and worse places and experiences, and that you included the lessons learnt. I believe an important part of traveling is the learnings we get from it.
    Happy 2017 full of travels!
    Laia recently posted…Bern: music, roses and… bears?My Profile

  22. Yes to Bamberg! I have been trying to get there for years living here in Frankfurt, but it has never worked out. My boyfriend and I, avid beer drinkers, have decided to prioritize it for the first part of 2017 so it will definitely happen!!! This makes me even more keen on getting there :) Great roundup- yall visited some awesome places. Happy 2017!
    Megan recently posted…Issyk-Ata: A Soviet Sanatorium in KyrgyzstanMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Lucky you, we always love our trips to Germany and would love to be based there.
      Franconian wine also good and we’re usually more wine drinkers, but we loved the beer so much we just stuck to that.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…Photo Essay of Kyoto (and our highlights)My Profile

  23. Loved this wrap-up of your 2016 travels and you’ve convinced me that our plan to visit some of Eastern Europe later on this year is going to be fascinating. It’s really strange how we react to some places – head-over-heels for Seville and Cordoba (me too!) and less-than-enthralled by others (Lisbon for you, Marrakesh for us). It’s what makes the experience of travel unique plus it’s always interesting to compare first as well as last impressions because some places just grow on you. As for travel being tough on relationships – we’ve fought more in the last 4 years of travel than in the 30 previous years, no kidding. That 24-7 gets old and everyone needs some space. We too have talked about some independent travels for 2017. On the upside, we’ve talked and laughed more in the last 4 years than previously too. It’s well worth the occasional bumps to share the journey with someone you love.
    Anita recently posted…Caballerizas Reales de Cordoba and The Andalusian Horses of SpainMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Ah, I think I love you Anita – thank you so much for addressing travelling and relationships. You’re the first one to do so and I think it’s important to keep it “real”…the fact is that travel is not all peaches and cream and that travelling 24/7 together can be challenging. So it’s great to hear someone else acknowledge that. And you are right, with the downs come the ups. Despite everything I couldn’t travel with anyone else.
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…Photo Essay of Kyoto (and our highlights)My Profile

      • Laughing! I don’t think that people who write about their travel experiences do anyone a favor when they gloss over the mishaps and challenges of making it all work. Before we started our travels we both had very separate lives and spent much more time pursuing career challenges than quality time with each other. And, to be honest, we wondered if 24-7 was going to work for us. Travel involves a lot of too-small rooms, long and uncomfortable plane, train and bus rides, an-almost constant feeling of being lost or looking for the market, the ATM or your temporary home, etc. as well as pushing your own comfort boundaries over-and-over. It’s not for everyone and a lot of the time, it’s far from glamorous but what an experience! And sharing it decreases the effort involved and increase the rewards. :)
        Anita recently posted…Caballerizas Reales de Cordoba and The Andalusian Horses of SpainMy Profile

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