My 5 most treasured places of 2017 in pictures

Looking for travel inspiration? Wondering where to go in 2018? I have picked my most treasured places of past year. I will tell you a little accompanying story, but the pictures tell everything. Here are my 5 favorite places of 2017. In other words; please visit these 5 great places in 2018!

What are your favorite travel destinations of past year or this year? It would be great if you let us know in the comments.

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Palacio de Bellas Artes – Mexico City – Mexico

Slowly getting acclimated in Latin life and culture

I must admit I didn’t feel very comfortable the first days of our stay in Central America and Mexico. I had red the stories about the crime rates and kidnappings. We had changed continents rapidly; from Asia to US to Mexico in two weeks. The hotel from where we started to explore Mexico City rented rooms by the hour and the walls weren’t isolated that well.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Rush hour in Mexico City

 

But then I started to feel more relaxed and started to see the beauty of Mexico City. Our Couch Surfing host Manuel was so hospitable to let us stay for four weeks and invite us for lunch and parties with his family. And can you imagine this picture below was actually my view when we were drinking coffee at my favorite place in Mexico City?!

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexio City

 

Monte Alban – Oaxaca – Mexico

Developing a taste for stunning Mexico

And I really started to like Mexico! The landscapes look like one would expect. Dry, brown, a lot of cacti (plural of cactus ;)) but of a special beauty. It was easy to run into very friendly people. Like our Airbnb host family in Oaxaca where we ended up staying for almost 2 weeks. The mother and her two youngest daughters took us with them to special celebrations with the family. Visiting archaeological site Monte Alban (on the picture below) high on a mountain range above the plain was a great positive surprise. Gorgeous views all around.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Monte Alban in Oaxaca

 

If you are in Mexico and you are impressed by the archaeological sites like I am .. Don’t miss out on visiting Palenque (picture below) in the steamy jungle.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Palenque in Chiapas

Varadero – Cuba

Charming surprises in the biggest resort area of the Caribbean

I expected a great white beach and blue transparent ocean. Because that is why there is a 20 km long strip filled with only hotels, and what Varadero is known for.

It is as awesome to dip in the water – glittering as gemstone – as it looks like in the picture.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
The perfect sea in Varadero

 

But you wouldn’t expect authentic elements in a place like this. The mixture of old Soviet style like tourist resorts, original old houses hidden in the backstreets, local cafeteria’s and big shiny touristic restaurants give the village a nice absurdist atmosphere. I loved it. I like to call my visits to this kind of places ‘my anthropological fieldwork’.  Although it is a resort town, it is still attractive to backpackers and adventurous travelers not looking for resort destinations.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Varadero architecture

 

I am grateful to have visited Cuba in general. The people in Havana have  attitude. Traveling the Cuban way is rough, time consuming and one big adventure. Cuba reveals a lot of cultural influences. People use the horse and cart for transport in outback villages.  Read here more about traveling in Cuba the budget way.

 

Miami Beach – USA

Yes, life is a beach! 

When you are in Miami, go to Miami Beach. And just stay there. And say “life is a beach” a few times a day. Don’t go into Miami town to explore the city. Believe me, it is just Miami Beach that you will like. And not just the sandy beach but the whole neighborhood on the peninsula that goes under the name Miami Beach.

Life is a beach! That is what you start to believe when you spend a few days in Miami Beach.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
The beach crew in Miami Beach

 

We stayed with Eric – who is a pilot and flies to Aalsmeer in the Netherlands with fresh flowers a few times a month – for a few nights. With him, a French couple visiting, and his friends from the neighborhood we caught up on the beach everyday.

You will find in Miami Beach what you know from the movies. Body builders working out, girls skating on the boulevard, a lot of glitter and glamour, testosterone and big cars. But especially by night. Miami Beach by day actually has a very laid back beach vibe. I felt it doesn’t matter how you dress or how you look. You just enjoy beach life, and that is okay.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
The famous Miami boulevard with her art deco style

 

Below JD and Eric waiting for me while I capture this scene. This is what I imagine when I think about Miami. The boulevard, palm trees rocking in the wind, girls skating and guys showing their muscles. And cool girls showing their muscles!

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Bike tour with Eric and JD

 

Culemborg – The Netherlands

Country side life with three amazing dogs in a typical Dutch landscape

And after our stay in Miami the time came to go back to the Netherlands after a whole year of traveling and being away (for me) and for JD almost 2 years of being abroad. People thought JD’s beard was big. We discovered a new way of nomadic traveling and living that suits us very well. This is the moment we started doing pet sitting & house sitting. And this is where we launched The Perfect Strugglers.

In the picture below you get an impression of one of our first sits.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Lupo, Shira and Lara

 

How Dutch can it be? Dikes, water ways, a bike path with eternal headwind, vast meadows, a view on the cows at dinner. Are you interested to know what the life of a house sitter is like?

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Rainbow above the Lek river and her dikes

 

Biggest catch of getting back to the Netherlands for a few months was meeting again with friends and family. Here having fun on a warm summer day in Amsterdam.

 

my 5 favorite places of 2017
Another Dutch classic; the Amstel river in Amsterdam and houseboats

 

I am looking back with happiness and satisfaction on 2017. How was your 2017? Please tell us.

See you in 2018 hopefully!

 

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