Looking back at the most memorable Jetting Around moments of 2012: places, people, food, and more.
As the year is coming to a close, I find myself reminiscing about time spent on the road. 2012 started with me getting home from Europe (via three flights…), just in time for a New Year’s toast with Mr. Jetting Around. I don’t remember if we made any specific resolutions, but we both were looking forward to more travel.
12 months later, I can say that 2012 has been quite eventful. I feel fortunate to have visited beautiful new places, gone back to a few favorite ones, and met great people.
Here are 12 experiences I’m likely to remember for a long time. I hope that some of them can inspire you in planning your 2013 trips, or perhaps you will get to know me a little better.
1. BEST TRAVEL DISCOVERY: Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country
It’s hard to believe that I live less than two hours away from the wine trail, but for a few years I didn’t even know about it! It all changed when I visited a friend who had moved to southwest Michigan. After getting a taste of the area (and its wine), I vowed to return and explore more. It was certainly worth it for the award-winning wines, affordable prices, and a relaxing atmosphere.
2. MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE: Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego
Ever since my first visit to California in 2005, I have been enamored with the Pacific coast. I consider the combination of mountains and water one of the most beautiful sights, and one I can never tire of. My latest discovery, the serene Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, is where the first European set foot on present-day West Coast. Excellent choice, Mr. Cabrillo!
3. FAVORITE VIEW FROM ABOVE: San Francisco rooftops
There are many excellent vantage point in San Francisco for city and Bay views. Thanks to a friend and former SF resident, I got to look at the city from yet another spot - the rooftop deck of the San Francisco Art Institute. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to own a place with a view like that?
4. FAVORITE CITY BEACH MOMENT: Baker Beach in San Francisco
I am not much of a beach goer, unless it involves walking. Or running downhill, as was the case in San Francisco’s Baker Beach, just west of the Golden Gate Bridge. With wind and sand in my hair, I felt like a child for a few seconds. Happy, carefree, laughing…
5. MOST ENJOYABLE ACTIVE MOMENT: Hiking in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is a city of about 100,000, located 30 miles northwest of Denver at the base of the Rocky Mountains. I call it the perfect mountain city – it has all the amenities of a bigger metropolis, plus miles of hiking trails and 45,000 acres of open space.
During two hikes – one with a guide and one solo – I not only got to see fantastic views, but I was also inspired to hike on a regular basis, like I used to do as a teenager.
6. BEST “TOURISTY” THING I DID: Chicago’s Skydeck Ledge
Looking at Chicago’s magnificent downtown skyline – from a glass balcony suspended 1,353 feet/412 m above ground – is a thrilling experience, no matter the crowds. I’d gladly wait in line and pay $17.50 again.
7. MOST MEMORABLE MEAL: Misión 19 in Tijuana
This infamous Mexican border town may be known for cheap pills and the red light district, but it has recently started to emerge as an exciting foodie destination. Case in point: Misión 19, named the country’s best new restaurant by Travel + Leisure Mexico.
The meal I enjoyed there is one I won’t soon forget – an 8-course chef’s tasting menu, paired with local wine from the Baja California Wine Country. Extra points for making it all vegetarian for me.
8. FAVORITE NEW HANGOUT: Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis
Having grown up in Krakow, where many theaters are located in the Old Town, I am used to performances inside historic buildings. However, the second I stepped into the modern Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, completed in 2006, I couldn’t wait to see a play there.
Blue and red mood lighting, river views, and images of old production photos projected on the walls create a very inviting space, cozier than some other modern buildings I’ve seen. I hope to go back there some time.
9. FAVORITE TRAVEL BOOK: The Mango Orchard
The Mango Orchard by British writer Robin Bayley tells the story of the author’s journey to Mexico to retrace his great-grandfather’s footsteps and learn more about family history. This book combines elements of a memoir, travelogue, romance, and mystery, making for an engaging read.
10. MOST MEMORABLE INTERVIEW: Grażyna Auguścik & Paulinho Garcia
2012 was a wonderful year for Jetting Around’ interviews – I chatted with several great travelers, photographers, musicians, and writers. The one interview that stands out though, is the one I did with the Polish-Brazilian musical duo Grażyna Auguścik & Paulinho Garcia.
This interview was different, probably because it wasn’t done via email, the preferred method for interviewing someone on another continent. Since the three of us live in Chicago, we met at Paulinho’s home. It was very early in the morning and we talked over a cup of Brazilian coffee, brewed… in a 30-year-old kettle .
11. MOST MEMORABLE MEETING: Windy City Tweetup
During a weekend in May, I met up in Chicago with several travel bloggers that I had met via Twitter. We had a fun time trying deep dish pizza, doing an architecture river tour, and exchanging travel stories. Since then we’ve kept in touch and some of us have met in person again. Here’s to more meetings in 2013!
12. MOST NOSTALGIC POST: My ten favorite things about the USA
2012 marked 10 years since my move to the USA. The anniversary was an occasion for me to reflect on the time spent here. The result was a list of things I hold dear about the adopted home, such as baseball, automatic transmission, and sub sandwiches.
What will you remember about 2012? Share your favorite travel moments of 2012 in the comments below!