A Review of my Travels and Adventures in 2016

2016 was a great year for me and travel.  I have declared 2016 the Year of the Pyramids.  I saw the temple pyramids of Mexico as well as the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.  I managed to visit 5 US states I had never been to as well as crossed 3 national parks off my list.  My job allows me to travel so I spent much of my month on the road.  It varies but on average I am on the road 3 nights a week. When I started looking how many flights I took this year, I couldn’t believe it.  I started and ended my year of international travel in Canada and my travel year in New York. Here is my favorite 16 adventures from 2016 travel.

2016 stats

  • 10 Countries visited
  • 21 US States visited
  • 2 Canadian Provides visited
  • 1 5 US National Parks Service Units
  • 70 airline flights

Climbing the Statue of Liberty Pedestal

I took a chance while in New York City for New Year’s 2015/2016.  I got up early in the morning on January 1 and headed over to Fort Clinton National Monument.  I kept my fingers crossed the whole time.  I was hoping to get a ticket to the Statue of Liberty and Elis Island.  I didn’t just get a ticket for the ferry; I got a ticket to climb the stairs of the pedestal.  I wanted a crown ticket but they are sold out weeks if not months in advance but it never hurts to ask.  I was just happy to be able to visit the two islands.

Hiking in the Bay of Fundy

I started my international travel with a visit to Nova Scotia, Canada.  I flew up to Nova Scotia for a long weekend.  The Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s largest tides.  The tides can swing 90 feet from high tide to low tide. I drove across the island from Halifax to Wolfville to see the tides.  I arrive at low tide.  I hiked out into the Bay.  I walked about half way to the water line.  I returned to this sport at high tide.  The 8 ft staircase I used to walk into the bay was now covered with water.

Photographing the Sunset in Joshua Tree National Park

I drove 5 hours from Phoneix, AZ to visit Joshua Tree National Park in California.  I spent two days hiking in the park.  I hike out to several old mine shafts or mining operations.  On one hike, I spent some time talking with a local artist who was making an oil painting of the rocks.  My favorite part of this trip was watching the sunset behind the Joshua Trees.  The colors were amazing even if the skys were too cloudy for me to see the stars.

Flying with a California Cond0r Pinnacles National Park

I made a trip to California for Memorial Day weekend.  I planned to spend the weekend in America’s newest national park, Pinnacles National Park.  I can still remember the day Pinnacles was elevated to a national park.  I was upset because the addition to Pinnacles mean I was no longer halfway done visiting all the USA national parks.  After my three days in the park, I am in agreement that this park deserves it’s new status.  I hike the high loop across the ridgelines.  I hoped that this would allow me to see one of the parks nesting California Condors. I was so excited while eating lunch when a bird flys over.  I can see the radio caller and number.  It is condor 340.  He is male and he has just hatched a chick in the park (The chick has survived.  She took flight October 2016.  She is the first chick to have been born in the park and lived since 1890s.  Does a happy dance for this endangered species!!!)

Exploring volcanic activity at Lassen Volcanoes National Park

Lassen Volcanoes National Park was my third national park in California this year.  I spent two weekends in this mountain park. I was horrified to discover that I need a new national park pass for my visit to the park.  I explore the many volcanic areas of the park.  I hike out to several of the volcanic mud pits including Hell’s Hole. I spent time napping by the alpine lakes and doing some small hike around the mountain.  I walked through the areas of the early 1900’s explosion of Lassen Volcano.

Climbing the Temple Del Sol

For all my travel, I had never been to Mexico before 2016.  I decided to fix that during Labor Day weekend.  I booked a last minute flight to Mexico City.  I then took a bus from the city out to the pyramids.  I took my time to hike up all three of the major pyramids plus explore the surrounding temples.  It is amazing to think that these massive monuments were built before the great Aztecs civilization.

Visiting all the Tombs of the Valley of the Kings

One of the most exciting parts of my trip was getting to visit the Valley of the Kings.  There are no photos allowed in the Valley of the Kings.  As in, I had to check my camera at the gate.  The way the Valley of the Kings works in that certain tombs are almost always open and others rotate being open.  An entrance ticket to the Valley of the Kings provides entrance to three tombs excluding Tutankhamun, Rames VI and Seti I.  There were 14 tombs open while I was in the valley. I had to buy 3 regular tickets ($32), and 3 special tickets (Tut and Rames were $5 each and Seti I was $53).  Visiting Seti I was a treat.  Seti I’s tomb had been closed for the last 30 years for restoration and protection of the tomb.  Seti’s tomb is one of the most elaborately decorated tombs.  It was worth the $50 buck to go see.

Entering the Great Pyramid at Giza

My last stop in Egypt was the Great Pyramids of Giza. I both loved and hated this historic site.  It was full of sellers whose main goal was to part me from my money.  It was not an enjoyable for that reason.  I liked getting to see the pyramids and the sphinx.  The engineer in me love imagining the effort and work it took to build these monuments as well as align them with the stars.

Seeing the rest of the Elgin Marble in Athens, Greece

I had a short 7-hour layover in Athens, Greece.  I couldn’t let that time go to waste.  I got off my flight and quickly made my way out to catch a taxi.  I had the unfortunate experience to get caught in the Athens Marathon. The marathon shut down most of the major roads in Athens.  My very nice cabbie dropped me off at a subway station and gave me direction on which line to take to the Parthenon.  I spent my time exploring the Parthenon and the surrounding museums and area.

Exploring the former hiding place of my favorite Dutch writer

I finally made it out of the Amsterdam Airport and into Amsterdam.  I had two things I wanted to do visit the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank House.  I had not made reservations for either.  I planned to walk up and buy tickets.  I was told that I would never get to do either without a reservation.  I managed to do both in one day.  I did have to get to the Anne Frank house at 2:00 pm to hopefully get in during the 3:00 pm until closing walk-up time slots.  I got to visit the Anne Frank house for over an hour before making my way back to the airport.

Trying to get super powers at Chernobyl, Ukraine

One of the highlights of my year was my visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with ChernobylWel.com.  I spent two days exploring to zone.  I visited Chernobyl city, Prypiat, as well as several smaller villages.  I walked under the Duga radar array.  The cities were creepy but it was amazing to see what happens when humans abandon cities.  I was super excited when we saw a fox while in Prypiat.  It is nice to see some of the wildlife returning to the area.

Seeing the horrors of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

I made the several-hour journey from Warsaw to Oświęcim.  I was there to visit Auschwitz Concentration Camp.  I took the train to the city of Oświęcim and then a taxi to the camp.  I did a walking tour of the work camp.  It was like I could still feel the souls whose lives were lost during this brutal time period.  I spent almost an entire day paying my respects to those who were killed and honoring the brave men and women who risked or lost their lives smuggling photos and details out of the camps.

Hiking along the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

It was early morning when I arrived at the Cliffs of Moher.  The early morning fog had just cleared and I couldn’t wait to see the cliffs.  I hoped to see the puffins but I knew they were out to sea for the winter.  I hiked out along both sides of the cliffs.  It was amazing to look down the cliffs.  I would love to take a boat tour and see the cliffs from the water.

A private tour of Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

I had an amazing year of travel. I visited 10 countries and had some great adventures around the United States. Here are my favorite 2016 travel moments.

I was the first person at Giant’s Causeway when it opened.  The tour guide gave me a private tour of the causeway along with the history and stories of the region.  I loved the story of the giant of the causeway.  I want to go diving at this site someday.  The stones extend out into the ocean for several hundred feet and I want to see them underwater.

Exploring the start of the American Revolution in Boston, Massachusetts

I had an amazing year of travel. I visited 10 countries and had some great adventures around the United States. Here are my favorite 2016 travel moments.

The Freedom Trail is a 3 miles walking tour of Boston.  The trail stops at many of the Revolutionary War sites in the city of Boston.  There are three historical museums along the trail.  I took two days to visit the trail.  I walked through graveyards and saw the graves of many of the founding fathers as well as their supporters.  I visited churches where meeting were held to plan the early events of the American Revolution.

Hearing the roar of Niagara Falls
I had an amazing year of travel. I visited 10 countries and had some great adventures around the United States. Here are my favorite 2016 travel moments.

I ended my year in Canada.  I drove from Richmond, Virginia up to Niagara Falls, Canada.  I spent the three day weekend exploring the falls and enjoying the views.  The two massive waterfalls are an impressive site.  It is hard to imagine that only 30% of the water is flowing over the waterfalls.  The remaining 70% is being used for electrical power generation.  I would love to visit someday and see the full power of the waterfall.

 What was your favorite 2016 travel adventure?

I had an amazing year of travel. I visited 10 countries and had some great adventures around the United States. Here are my favorite 2016 travel moments.

40 thoughts on “A Review of my Travels and Adventures in 2016

  1. Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers

    You packed so much into 2016, I hope 2017 is starting off just as exciting for you. I have always wanted to go to the Joshua Tree National Park, we love National Parks all around the world but wow it really did put on it’s most spectacular sunset for you!

    Reply
  2. Munchkin Treks

    Wow! 10 countries and 21 states is a lot to see in one year. You visited a lot of different places around the world. What are your plans for 2017?

    Reply
  3. Kate

    So impressive. Seems like you were busy this year 🙂 I would really want to see Chernobyl. It would be a good post to read how you did it!

    Reply
  4. Christopher

    Wow you got some real ancient locals there. Tombs of the Valley of the Kings (Been wanting to visit here since my teenage years) and Athens. I loved Acropolis Hill. As a Canadian Bay of Fundy is huge on my to go to list!!!

    Reply
  5. Mar Pages

    Your 2016 looked like it was epic. 70 airline flights! You must be an airplane guru by now, haha. I saw in one of your comments that you’re thinking of Namibia this year, I would highly recommend marveling at the stars in Soussasvlei!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      That is one of the reason I want to go there. It is just so hard to find a flight that isn’t going to take 2 days to get there from the USA.

      Reply
  6. Chris

    Your travels make me so jealous! What a year!

    Auschwitz, Chernobyl, the Giants Causeway, and Joshua Tree are all very much on my to do list. That shot from Joshua Tree is stellar too!

    What’s next for you in 2017?

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Chernobyl was amazing. I wasn’t nervous at all. Mostly because the radiation exposure was the same as getting two dental x-rays and with how much I fly anyway. A little exposure in Chernobyl isn’t going to be my main issue.

      Reply
  7. Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    So cool that you had the chance to visit so many historical sites and it’s great that you were able to take advantage of your long layovers to visit two very interesting cities. Here’s to many more travels in 2017!

    Reply
  8. Meg

    Your travels are right up my alley! Isn’t J-tree the best? Ugh I LOVED climbing there! I wish I got to make it to the cliffs in Ireland. I’m going to have to go back!

    Reply
  9. Punita Malhotra

    Wonderful destinations, all of these. There’s no use asking you which one of these was most memorable, because each is so different. It seems like a full year. And now i’m sure your list for 2017 is ready.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Surprisingly, it’s not. I hate planning and most my US travel is dictated by work. I did pick up a ticket to Iceland in Feb but otherwise nothing is planned.

      Reply
  10. Melissa

    What a great year you have had – so much of the world covered in such a short period of time. Good on you. I visited 2 countries in 2016 New Zealand and Vietnam 🙂 Have you got more big plans for 2017?

    Reply
  11. Kelly Duhigg

    Wow!! That is amazing. You accomplished so much in one year. I loved your photos of Egypt and Arizona. So beautiful. Makes me want to visit both places right now. I also love the statue of liberty. Such a great place with so much history. And i would have never thought to see Chernobyl. Very neat photo. Can’t wait to see what you do in 2017.

    Reply
  12. Nathan

    The highlight for me would have been sunset in Joshua Tree National Park- your photo is amazing. Also, your Ireland pics are exciting as I’m set to go there for TBEX in October. I know very little about the country but I’m excited to visit.

    Reply
  13. Kallsy

    I loved gathering inspiration from your 2016! New York City will always be a favorite place of mine ever since I stayed there for a summer but I still have yet to visit Niagara Falls. Your visit to Auschwitz gave me chills. It reminded me of when my husband and I visited Hiroshima and saw how horrific the atomic bomb was.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      I have never cared for New York City. I just hate the crowds. I really want to see Hiroshima. I have seen the start of the Manhattan project so it would be interesting to come full circle.

      Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      It was shocking when I realized I had never crossed that border. I am glad I changed that and now can say I have been to Mexico now I just need to explore the rest of Mexico.

      Reply

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