In all honesty, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around everything that happened in 2016. I'm not going to even try to talk about some of the year's larger events here, since I don't feel that this is appropriate platform. For now, let's just say I went an awful lot of places and wrote an awful lot of things. Here are some of them.
Early in the morning, the piste is all but empty despite the perfect conditions.
There’s no real après–ski scene or glam resorts at this little glacial getaway, just perfect powder and heart-stopping views over the German-Italian border.
Copenhagen's downtown is both lovely and small enough that you can tackle it by foot.
It’s no secret that the Danish capital has an unbelievable culinary scene. While I may not be able to claim the bragging rights that a seat at Noma entails (although, hey, I did talk to some of its former chefs months later), I ate remarkably well and had some pretty great craft beer.
Saying "hi" to the inhabitants at the Giraffe Centre in Karen, Nairobi.
This was my second visit to Kenya and while I didn’t go on safari this time, I did manage to spend an afternoon with a tower of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. I also talked to the best (and some of the only) cheesemakers in the East Africa, met an entrepreneur who credits his entire education to Google, and ate freshly made mutura.
Munich and Bavaria, Germany
The town of Schliersee may be tiny, but there's a surprising amount to see and do. My personal favorite: check out the whisky distillery or pop into the impressively decorated church.
I managed to get out of the city long enough to go foraging in the countryside and see a few more of the area's glacial lakes.
Bawled at the theater, raced through the museums, ate some pretty fabulous food, and generally reminded myself of how much I love this city.
As if it weren't already cool enough, Stockholm commissioned sculptors, painters and installation artists to make a masterwork out of its metro system.
Although I breezed through the Swedish countryside in February, this was my first trip to the capital. Like any good tourist, I stopped at the museums and ate as many kanelbulle (cinnamon buns. Delicious), tunnbrödsrulle (a hot dog wrapped topped with mashed potatoes and shrimp salad. Questionable), and, yes, köttbullar (the Swedish meatballs of IKEA fame) as my stomach could hold.
Getting lost in these canals is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, it doesn’t take much to convince me to go to Amsterdam. So when I heard about pair of rather eccentric Dutch restaurateurs creating edible art in their restaurant/gallery, I had to head over for a weekend.
Wandering through Bologna's portici by night brings back all sorts of memories.
I’ve already gone on and on about this city on this blog, but it bears repeating: this will always be one of my favorite places. Over the course of a too-short weekend, I revisited old favorites and a few new places.
Munich and Bavaria, Germany
Again, I've sort of avoided touching on some of the larger issues here, but it bears noting that my visit to Munich was right after an attack this summer. This sign reads, "Love is stronger than hate.".
As cozy as it may be in winter and as much fun as Wies’n (or Oktoberfest) may be, summer is still the best time to visit the Bavarian capital, in part because of all the outdoor getaways within easy driving distance of the city.
Lake Garda, Italy
The drive up a series of 180-degree switchbacks to Hotel Paradiso is more than worth it for lunch with this view.
Sure, it may be mobbed with tourists, but the shores of Italy’s largest lake are so ruthlessly gorgeous it doesn’t matter. Plus, you can still find little, lesser-known gems like this historic limonaia just off the main drag.
Technically, this is a picture of me getting away from Bangkok for a day, but isn't it pretty?
There may be a few new additions to the skyline and a few dozen new restaurants each time I visit, but going back to Bangkok always feels a bit like coming home. I returned for an extended stretch for work and managed to get myself chased by North Koreans and meet the craft beer-fans behind Thailand’s first commercial hops farm.
Ho Chi Minh City
Taking in the view from the rooftop bar at Hotel des Arts Saigon MGallery Collection.
While conducting research for the launch of the newly rebranded Vietnam Tourism website, I spent a few days wandering the atmospheric streets of old Saigon.
Danang and Hoi An, Vietnam
The protected heart of Hoi An feels like stepping into another era.
On the same trip, I paid a visit to the UNESCO-lauded center of Hoi An and roamed up and down the beaches of Danang.
Staying at Amanjiwo in central Java feels like another world.
Driving straight in the tangled, emerald Indonesian jungle was a shock to the system after all that city time. After getting up well before the crack of dawn to gawk at Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist temple, I spoke with some of Java’s most influential painters.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Morning is the best time to see the temples in the historic center in Chiang Mai.
As much as I’ve always loved Chiang Mai, I never make it up there as much as I would like. In an attempt to remedy that, I spent a couple weeks up north checking out the local art scene, chatting with owner of one of the coolest coffee shops anywhere, and cycling around town.
The Reverie Siam is the perfect, laid-back alternative to the somewhat overrun town center.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect here, as I’d heard conflicting opinions about this little town. If I were to go back (and I would very much like to), I would skip the oversaturated downtown entirely and spend as much time in up in the surrounding green hills of the northern Thai countryside as possible.
Visiting the ruined temples and statues in Ayutthaya.
While doing research for an upcoming article, I traipsed through the temples and past crumbling Buddha statues in this former capital city.
Sailing the high seas off the coast of Hainan province.
This coastal city in Hainan province is mainland China's go-to beach getaway. I hopped over on behalf of Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia for a few days of rock climbing, sailing and hanging out by the sea.
The sun sets over a half-frozen pond in my hometown.
Sometimes after you’ve been all over, all you really want to do is go home. I’ve celebrated the holidays in all sorts of places and nothing else would do this year.