Review of my 2017 travel year

2017, the first full year of Reto’s Little Travel Blog, was rich in memorable family vacations, solo trips and business travels. A retrospective:

The start of the year was marked by a ski holiday with my family in the Alps – a sort of national tradition in Switzerland. We spent a wonderful week of precious family time, sporting activity, sunbeams and alpine air in the small ski area of Stoos: Blog post “Family skiing holidays in the Swiss Alps”

Several city trips were scheduled for springtime. During a 24-hours visit to Cologne, I discovered the spectacular Cathedral (Kölner Dom), strolled through the trendy Belgian Quarter with its cafés, boutiques and markets and experienced the city’s urban lifestyle and joie de vivre: Blog post “Welcoming Cologne”The journey  to and from the metropolis on the Rhine was also something special: Blog post “On the world’s shortest international flight”.

After a business trip to Nuremberg – with its beautiful Old Town and the impressive Nazi party rally grounds – it was time for the annual city trip with the boys in May. This year we explored Gdańsk (Danzig) in Poland. The city’s Old Town is full of colourful, decorative hanseatic-style buildings. Together with the relaxed atmosphere, the nearby seaside resort town (and party hotspot) of Sopot and some exciting spots for history lovers like myself (Westerplatte peninsula, Museum of the Second World War), Gdańsk is an ideal destination for a city trip: Blog post: A boy’s weekend in Gdańsk.

The highlight of the year was the cruise in the Baltic Sea with my family in July. Departing from Kiel (Germany), our ship – the brand-new Mein Schiff 6 – steered to the following ports: Gdynia/Gdańsk (Poland), Klaipeda (Lithuania), Saint Petersburg (Russia; see separate blog post “3 must-do’s during a first-time visit to St Petersburg”), Tallinn (Estonia) and Stockholm (Sweden). The blog post “20 do’s and don’ts on a ‘Mein Schiff’ cruise” also contains tips for shore excursions. Before flying home, we extended our stay in the North with a three-day stay in Hamburg. With its harbour, spectacular historic and modern buildings, the legendary St. Pauli quarter including the Reeperbahn entertainment district, and its open-minded lifestyle, Hamburg is one of the most attractive city destinations in Europe: Blog post: “Hamburg, my pearl”.

An exceptional experience in every respect followed at the end of July: Together with a group of friends, my wife Corina and I climbed our second 4,000-metre peak near Saas-Fee in the Swiss Alps. As the title of the blog post “Strahlhorn (4,190m), you bitch!” suggests, the high-altitude tour was a real torture at times. But we were rewarded for 11 hours of hiking on rocks, glacier and snow with majestic views and not least a little pride in ourselves.

In autumn it was time for a few city trips again. I decided to extend a business trip to Stockholm in early September with a stay in Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg (Göteborg). My wife joined me for a relaxed weekend including a boat trip in the archipelago and a dinner in a Michelin-stared fish restaurant: Blog post “Chilled-out Göteborg”More business travels later in the year brought me to Milan and London.

Also in September I was able to fulfill a year-long travel wish: With its spectacular setting against the snow-capped High Atlas, the bustling medina, colourful souk and atmospheric riads (traditional family houses turned into guesthouses), Marrakech in Morocco is a highly recommended city destination for a long weekend: Blog post “Marock’n’Roll in Marrakech.

Towards the end of the year, there was once again room for two family holidays. In October, we spent a week on a farm in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. We were allowed to help in the barn and witnessed the birth of a calf. We also made some trips to the region, such as to the city of Bern, the Stockhorn, the Gantrisch and Lake Thun.

Finally, between Christmas and New Year we were invited to a wedding in Katowice in Poland. Apart from the unique experience as such and the precious time spent with friends, there was also time to spend a day in Krakow, one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe (post blog will be available soon).

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The #2017bestnine travel pictures of my Instagram account (from top left to bottom right): main market square in Krakow; Strahlhorn the evening before our ascent to this 4,190m summit in the Swiss Alps; charming snakes on Djemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech; selfie with my brother Daniel and an unknown local in Sopot near Gdansk; enjoying a sunset drink with my wife Corina during our Baltic Sea cruise; newly weds in St Petersburg; family bicycle ride on the Curonian Spit near Klaipeda; posing with the captain of our Mein Schiff cruise ship; struggling with the height of the Cologne Cathedral

Read next: Chilled-out Göteborg

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