Our adventure highlights of 2016

2016 has been a fantastic year for us. Looking back at the past year, we had a lot of great experiences: we celebrated the 1 year anniversary of our own apartment and the 1 year birthday of our adorable cat. Beyond these small festivities, we started off with our little travel and craft beer blog: Rice and Fries Adventures. And…. We set off on a our world trip! The real adventure started!

Some facts and figures about this grand cru year:

  • traveled a total of 141 days in 2016
  • visited 16 countries in 2016 (starting a world trip helps a lot!), with only a few we had visited before (France, Italy, Netherlands, China)
  • took a flight 16 times, while also making several road trips (seaside in Northern France, hopping around Tuscany in Italy, cruising for craft beers in the Netherlands,…). It was also the first year we spend so much travel time in a bus!
  • tasted over 300 different craft beers, hoping to beat this number in 2017 🙂

So where did our adventures take us in 2016?

January – UK & Belgium

We started the year with a bang. Literally, since we were in London for New Year and saw the enormous fireworks at the Thames.

I traveled already a few times to London, but it was a first timer for Ms.Rice. We enjoyed the Christmas holiday spirit in the City during our 4 days, passing by the must see places, having some nice food and meeting up with an old colleague. A great start of this adventurous year!

We also caught the few snowy days in Belgium, in late January. Just for fun!

February – Belgium

We did not travel this month, but we still were busy: we started our first preparations of our world trip and we went to several beautiful Chinese New Year celebrations.

March – Ireland

This was a special month, as we had both a very nice trip to Ireland, but also experienced a horrifying event in Brussels.

Ireland is only 2 hours away, so we decided to have a long weekend in the country of xx flower and leprechauns. After a day trip in Dublin (small but cosy capital), we head out to the West, with it’s beautiful lakes and green hillsides. We spend one day biking around the beautiful and largest of the Aran Islands (Inishmore) and another day to visit the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren Area. With a country known for its rain, we did not feel a single drop and had great sunshine!

Only a week later, the terrible terrorist attacks happened in Brussels, where both of us were working at that time. That truly was a challenging day, and it makes you think about life, about how the life the fullest. Travel, Enjoy, Dream.

April – France

Spring finally started to kick in, so we did a small road trip around the beautiful Coastal area of Northern France. It’s a great place for some nice hikes.

The second half of April typically holds the Belgian craft beer walhalla in Belgium. There are awesome tasting events like Zythos beer festival in Leuven and Night of the Great Thirst in Eizeringnen.

May – Portugal

At the end of May when the days are getting longer and warmer, we spend 6 days in Portugal, heading from Porto and its Douro valley down to Lisbon and Cascais area. We truly love Portugal, it’s one of our favourite destinations in Europe: good food, nice wines, great weather, lots of cultural places to visit, and beaches to relax on. And on a budget!

The craft beer scene has seen some great improvements as well.

June/July – China & The Netherlands

In the middle of June, I had to go to the Netherlands for a training. It was a nice opportunity to visit the dunes and seaside around Noordwijkerhout. Nothing beats a nice stroll on the beach! It was also a nice occasion to visit my favourite Dutch craft brewery De Molen.

Later that month, we split up, as Ms.Rice went to China for some quality time with family and friends. On the other hand I went on another road trip to The Netherlands, going through Zeeland for some peaceful hiking.

August – France

Some Chinese friends popped over from China for a mini trip, and we took them around Belgium, Paris and Southern France. The clear blue sea and long stretches of beach under a blistering sun around Nice never get bored!

September – Italy

Before we finally set off on our 5-month world trip (the 29th), we still had a small road trip in breathtaking Tuscany. From the tower of Pisa, passing by the cultural capital of Florence, we drove by all the major red wine areas, tasting and dining like never before: one last splurge before we went on that one big adventure. Tuscany, you did not let us down! It’s amazing.

October – Peru, Bolivia, Chile

All of a sudden, you’re in South America. No, it’s not a dream. The colourful aspects of the daily life in Peru, hiking the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu, crawling out of the Colca canyon and finding inner peace on Lake Titicaca. Peru is truly a great destination, and a great starting point for traveling in South America.

Later that month, we enjoyed the beautiful Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, before entering Northern Chile.

November – Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay

After our rather rainy passage in the lakes district and Chiloé island, we found ourselves at the top of Patagonia. Swiss Alps-style Bariloche was a great starting point for our hikes, slow but steady heading more south. By the third week of November, after numerous hikes, ice treks and complete 5-day trek in Chile’s Torres Del Paine, we found ourselves at the end of the world. Watching a penguin taking a nap, ha!

December – Paraguay, Argentina, China, Laos

Our last travel month of 2016, with 2 birthdays to celebrate. We said goodbye to South America after an amazing 9 weeks crossing the continent, and continued our journey in Yunnan, China. After lots of hikes, nature and minority’s culture, we lastly set foot on our 16th country of the year, Laos, to celebrate the new year in the jungle!

We had a blast! Keep following our adventures in 2017 and happy travels throughout the year!

Where did you travel to in 2016? Share your travel highlights with us!