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2016 — A Year in Travel Photos

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is already coming to an end. We’re grateful for our wonderful year of travel that’s taken us all across the US and the globe. We’ve seen places we had never imagined we would visit and had amazing experiences around the world. No matter where we go, travel breaks us out of our comfort zones, challenges our preconceived ideas, and makes us learn new things at every turn.

In 2016, we flew 45,097 miles and visited 13 countries and 10 states, and we delved deeper into our own area in Pennsylvania. Along the way, we hit 36 cities, visited 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and had one harrowing road trip in a blizzard. All those travels mean we took thousands of photos to remember the journey. Here are just a few of the highlights from 2016.


Skyline of Nashville and the Cumberland River

The first trip of 2016 was to a brand new city for both of us — Nashville, Tennessee. We ate and drank our way around Music City, trying some amazing restaurants, speakeasies, and distilleries. We also visited historical sites like Belle Meade plantation and Nashville must-sees like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium. It was a perfect visit right up until the end when the massive blizzard moved in. Rather than wait an extra four days to fly home, we made the dumb decision to drive through the storm. Lesson learned.

Dominican Republic

Boat in a creek outside Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

A volunteer-focused cruise took us to the Dominican Republic for the first time ever. We spent several days helping with reforestation efforts, making paper for a women’s collective, and contributing to chocolate production. It was a unique way to get our first taste of this beautiful island.

Making candles at RePapel, a women's collective in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic


The coastline of the Hotel B in Cozumel, Mexico

Mexico is just so great. It wasn’t on our list for a long time for no good reason, but this trip was our second in less than nine months and gave us the chance for a proper visit to Cozumel. We stayed at the striking Hotel B where we had delicious ceviche and a killer view of the ocean.

Scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico

We also got a pretty great view under the ocean, too. But our scuba dive brought an unexpected experience–a direct encounter with a shark. We’ve seen sharks while diving before, but being head-butted by one was an alarming first for us.

Sea turtle feeding at Akumal, Mexico

Our next wildlife encounter in the ocean was a little bit calmer when we had the chance to swim with sea turtles in Akumal. That and a few days of relaxing on the beach in Playa del Carmen made for one of our most enjoyable trips in a long time.

New York

Lower Manhattan as seen from Liberty Park in New Jersey -- one of our favorite travel photos of 2016

In June, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We decided to get out of town and take a mini-road trip to New York. Although we lived in New York for five years, somehow we never made it to the Statue of Liberty together. This shot was taken from Liberty Park in New Jersey looking across at Lower Manhattan as we got ready to board the ferry to the Statue and Ellis Island.


Overlooking the roofs of Bologna, Italy

A week in northern Italy gave us the chance to explore the beautiful city of Bologna and the region of Emilia Romagna.

Inside a Parmigiano-Reggiano dairy in Parma, Italy -- one of our favorite travel photos of 2016

One of our first stops was to Parma, the home of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. An early-morning journey found us at a dairy to watch this classic cheese take shape.

The beautiful grounds of the Grand Hotel in Rimini, Italy

We ventured to Rimini where we got to attend an amazing brunch picnic, La Dejeuner Sue L’herbe, in the garden of the Grand Hotel. The spectacular event is like a throwback to a much more elegant time, complete with an epic spread of food.

Rome's Colosseum at night

After Emilia Romagna, it was time to head to Rome. And there’s no better way to start out a Roman adventure than by visiting the Colosseum at night. It was a dream come true to explore the floor of this amazing building — an area that’s only been open to the public for a few years.

Some of the beautiful summer vegetables for sale at the Campo de Fiori market in Rome, Italy

The market at Rome’s Campo de Fiori is full of some of the most colorful produce. There’s just something about the brilliance of summer vegetables.

The Canopus pool at Hadrian's Villa, a 2nd century UNESCO site just outside of Rome, Italy

We also had the chance to explore beyond the borders of the Eternal City, venturing out to the suburb of Tivoli. Just about a half-hour from Rome, Tivoli is home to two UNESCO sites — Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este.


Fisherman's Bastion, one of the prettiest sites in Budapest

Budapest is one of our very favorite cities. This trip allowed us to venture back to a couple of sites we’d seen before (like Fisherman’s Bastion, above) to take photographs in much nicer weather than our last rainy trip here.

Memento Park in Budapest, Hungary

We also added some new destinations in Budapest like the Jewish quarter and Memento Park, an area outside of town where all the Communist statues are gathered. A visit to Memento Park is an interesting look at Hungary’s complex political history.

The rooftop pool at the Rudas Baths in Budapest, Hungary

A visit to Budapest isn’t complete without a visit (or several) to the city’s public baths. This panoramic view from the roof of the Rudas baths was breathtaking.


The rooftops of Corfu, Greece -- one of our favorite 2016 travel photos

A one-day stop in Greece and a hot hike up to the New Fortress brought this view of Corfu.


Ksamil, a beautiful spot on the Albanian Riviera -- one of our biggest travel surprises of 2016

Heading into our trip, Albania was a big question mark for us. We had no idea what we were in for. Our first stop of Ksamil on the Albanian Riviera was an unbelievable surprise — pristine beaches, clear water, fresh seafood, and the most welcoming people.

Overlooking the UNESCO city of Gjirokastra, Albania

Our second stop in Albania was the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gjirokastra.


Lake Ohrid, Macedonia -- one of the prettiest places we visited in 2016

After Albania, we crossed the border into Macedonia. Lake Ohrid was absolutely gorgeous. Not only does it have the expansive lake, but it’s dotted with exquisite, ancient monasteries and other remarkable buildings.

Lake Ohrid, Macedonia, at sunset


Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark

Our time in Copenhagen was just lovely and the perfect break from the sweltering temperatures in the Balkans.


Downtown Zurich, Switzerland

A long layover in Zurich gave us the opportunity to take a walking tour of the city.


Holsten gate, one of the symbols of Lubeck, Germany

Although we’ve been to Germany a number of times, October brought an opportunity to visit the northern part of the country where we’ve spent very little time. We discovered new cuisine and fell in love with the beautiful buildings in the Hanseatic city of Lubeck.

The Bremen Roland statue and the buildings of Bremen, Germany's market square

We also got to visit the cute city of Bremen, Germany. It’s probably most known for its namesake Bremen Town Musicians from the Brothers Grimm fairytale, but Bremen is also home to cute cafes, majestic merchant houses, lots of art, and the UNESCO sites of its Town Hall and Roland statue.


Toledo, Spain

A day trip to Toldeo, Spain, was a great break from the activity of Madrid.The ancient city was the first capital of Spain and a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived peacefully side-by-side for centuries.


Close up of an airboat fan in a swamp

We took a break from cultural travel to be awesomely frivolous with visits to Disney World and Universal in Orlando. After drinking our way around Epcot and exploring Diagon Alley, we went back to nature on an airboat trip through the headwaters of the Everglades in Kissimmee.

Mexico (again)

Fake skeleton in front of an altar with candles

We had a chance to fulfill one of Lance’s life-long dreams by attending Day of the Dead celebrations (also his birthday) in Mexico. We saw altars, tried traditional food, and visited some of our favorite parks on the Riviera Maya.


Street art mural of a woman with flowers

Since it’s my hometown, we go to Dallas often. It’s great to discover a new fun thing to do — like seeing this street art in the Deep Ellum neighborhood — in a place you go back to over and over again.

Dominican Republic (again)

Line of people floating on mats in the ocean

Our first-ever trip to the Dominican Republic was focused on volunteering. So it was fitting that our second trip was all about luxury. We explored Punta Cana, soared high above the island in a hot air balloon, and relaxed in the ocean. Not a bad way at all to end 2016.

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Cindy Collins

Friday 13th of January 2017

Wow, you've been busy! So many places! Beautiful photos. I also love Mexico! Swimming with the turtles in Akumal is definitely awesome!


Saturday 7th of January 2017

Great year! I also went to Mexico twice - Mexico City and Baja...I just love the culture! Cheers to another great travel year :)

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