My ten countries of 2017 (part 1)

As you all definitely read in my last blogpost (what? You haven’t? Shame on you! It’s right here!), 2017 has been an exciting and busy year for me. It’s the year I started this website, graduated, moved out/on and for the first time visited more than 10 countries in a year! Some were new destinations and others were revisits of cities and places I absolutely love. I tried to keep it closer to home this year and stayed mostly within the borders of Europe, with one exception. I traveled by car, van, bus, train and plane and now I would like to take you on a trip through my adventures of 2017.

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

1. Serbia – Belgrade (January)

foto van Renate Tyncke.

In January I last minute decided to fly to Belgrade to meet two friends from my Erasmus period in Amsterdam. I hadn’t seen them for over half a year and they both moved back to their home country. This was the only option to see them together I would get in a while, so I booked an overpriced ticket and just went for it. I could only stay for 2 nights and due to a delay, there was little time left. We still ended up having a great time, drinking cheap rakija (yes, please!) and exploring the cold but beautiful city of Belgrade!

2. France – Paris and roadtrip (February and July)

In February my boyfriend and I decided we needed a weekend away and took the train to Paris. We stayed at a hotel near the Moulin Rouge and discovered the city by foot and metro. I had visited the city before while still in high school but didn’t really like it back then. This time was different. We visited Musée d’Orsay (picture above) and le Louvre, walked down to La Tour Eiffel and discovered the little streets of the city of love and their amazing vegan restaurants. Definitely worth a third visit!

3. Portugal – Porto (March)

I already wrote two blogposts about my short trip to Porto (you can read them here and here). It’s pretty clear that I fell in love with this cozy but vibrant city and its inhabitants. Once again I set off to meet a foreign friend I hadn’t seen in a while, this time accompanied by the amazing Anneleen. In a nutshell, these are the things I absolutely adored about the city: the relaxed atmosphere and friendly people, the huge but very cheap drinks, the random student parties in the streets, the seaside that’s nearby and the incredible sweets.

4. Lebanon (June)

After two long months of staying in Belgium, finishing my thesis and finally graduating from my Master’s studies, I set off for my first and only adventure outside of Europe. My destination? Lebanon! My aim? To spend time with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while (since my trip to Serbia to be exact) and let her take me on a journey through her country. Visiting Lebanon never crossed my mind before I became friends with a resident but I’m so glad I did! I had no idea what to expect. The plane ride was already a bumpy one, with people getting arrested from the aircraft. This resulted in me missing my connection and spending my night in the airport of Istanbul. Thankfully with very friendly people who were suffering the same fate. After this rocky start, I was ready for all that Lebanon had to offer. It turns out Lebanon is a very diverse country: mountains, beaches and metropolitan cities are only a scary car ride away from each other. I’m planning to write another post about the things I did and places I visited during this crazy week! The highlights? Ziplining and rappelling the Baatara gorge waterfall, partying in Beirut, eating all the local foods and magically not dying in the crazy traffic.

5. Belgium – Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Liège, Willerzie… (all year round)

Even though it sometimes might seem like it, I don’t actually have unlimited free time or money to travel out of the country all year round. And sometimes visiting a city you haven’t been in a while or rediscovering the place you’ve lived all your life, can be just as fulfilling. I’m pretty sure that I wandered around most big cities in Belgium this year. I already wrote a blogpost about Ghent here! But I’m definitely thinking about covering some of the other lovely cities and where to find the most beautiful nature and best vegan spots in our very little country. Let me know which place you’re most interested in!

Next time I’m taking you on my roadtrip across Switzerland, Italy, Spain and France before we set off for my most recent journey to Budapest!

I would love to hear which places you visited in 2017! What was your favorite destination and what’s in store for 2018?

 

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