Top 5 Trips

Five years ago today, I walked down the aisle and caught the eye of a handsome young man, and we agreed that spending our lives together, traveling, eating and laughing, was an awesome idea. In honour of our 5-year wedding anniversary, here is the first in a series of Top 5s, starting with our favourite trips, in reverse order of awesomeness.

Traveling is extremely important to us (we were appalled a couple of years ago, when we discovered that David’s passport had expired without our noticing, because it had meant we hadn’t recently traveled internationally). We have had the good fortune of taking over 20 trips (big and small) together, so it was a real challenge to decide on our Top 5. A really good trip is so deemed if it provides us with several key things: great food, beautiful vistas, and a slice of city life. You can click on the place names to read about our adventures in depth!

5. Québec (2015)

This was our most recent trip together, and we had a great time. The first time for both of us, we spent 5 days in Montreal and 4 days in Québec City. Though it was freezing (that’s what you get for traveling in March), the trip was made especially amazing by the fact that we ate constantly, and we ate well. While we did see some beautiful sights, we really just focused in on eating our faces off. It was quite the “manger-thon”, as we called it, just scurrying from place to place, escaping the cold into the warm embrace of delicious liver and pork products.

4. Thailand (2013)
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It was great to be able to visit Thailand with David again. We had first visited together in 2009, and it was a bit of culture shock for David (even having traveled and lived in Asia before). This time, however,  we could just dive right in. We spent the first portion of our trip in Bangkok, where David really enjoyed diving into street photography, and, of course, eating all the weird and wonderful foods you can find in Thailand. We then had the opportunity to travel to the south, visiting Phuket, Ko Lanta and Railay. We traipsed around white sandy beaches, went on a sea kayaking trip, rented motor bikes and explored, and just generally relaxed (whilst Chicago was having a particularly nasty winter). Very relaxing, lazy days are not normally how we plan trips–we’re usually on the go, taking in sights and hustling from place to place–but Thai time is very compelling/obligatory. But it’s always nice to slow things down some times.

3. Scotland (2014)

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This was also a second visit for us, and whoever said sequels aren’t as good as the originals are lying, because I’d argue we had an even better time than the first time we visited. First of all, we had fantastic weather for Scotland (only a couple days of rain! Unthinkable!). We had some delicious food and drinks and some great city time in Edinburgh, but the real winner of the trip was the flat out gorgeous landscapes we drove through. We love just renting a car and exploring off the beaten path, and we had some truly fantastic vistas on our travels. Rolling hills and meadows, dramatic seascapes, winding roads–we loved it! It was also our first trip where we tried our hand at videography (we usually just stick with photography), the fruits of which can be seen here.

2. Scandinavia (2013)

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I had never really had Scandinavia on my travel list, but I’m so glad that a conference forced it on there. What a crazy trip this was! We covered a tremendous amount of ground, starting in Stockholm, then training to Oslo and Bergen in Norway, down to Gothenburg, Sweden and ending in Copenhagen, Denmark, in about 2 weeks. While the weather was wintery (we seem to have a knack for Spring Break-ing in less than tropical locales), it somehow seemed even more perfect to be experiencing these far northern countries when blanketed in snow. These cities and towns were colourful and just different enough from what we’d seen elsewhere in Europe to be quite novel and fun. Despite being crazily expensive, the food was excellent (favourites included smørrebrød and meatballs). And while we loved the cities, the landscapes we witnessed on our tour from Oslo to Bergen were truly otherworldly.

1. France (2010)

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It is hard not to be biased by the fact that this France trip was also our honeymoon. However, being as “objective” as possible, this trip still rises to the top in both of our minds largely because it was packed full of all the things that make a trip great for us: museums and city-going, gorgeous landscapes and fantastic food. We started out in Bordeaux for a couple of days before hopping over to St-Emilion. From there, we rented a car and drove through the Dordogne region, renting a little house and cooking tasty meals with local ingredients. From there, we drove north to the Loire Valley and visited many of the famed châteaux that populate the region, finishing up with a few days in Paris. The entire trip was 3 weeks, which was long enough to not feel rushed, where we could actually spend the time visiting small towns and taking in the sights. We left feeling like we had seen the country, eaten wonderful things and longing for more.

It was quite a fun activity to sit and muse about our Top 5s. Not only to just get an impressionistic sense of which trips were our favourites, but, as any good scientist would, to really think about why these trips were the best for us. I encourage you to make your own Top 5 list!

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