It’s always my favorite post of the year. I make myself a cup of tea, take my pocket calendar and look back at past 12 months, reminisce about all amazing things that happened. And this year, I must admit, was beyond my expectations! Maybe I didn’t visit some exotic destinations as in 2014 or 2013 but I was lucky to visit places that have been on my bucket list for years, those that appeal only to a certain kind of people. I grew up as a traveler, I know what I’m looking for in my journeys, what interests me the most. But most of all 2015 was about amazing people around me and some incredible friendships I made.
Here’s a little recap of 2015!
Table of contents
I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Eve but I like a good time with my friends and so I welcomed 2015 among some of my favorite people, playing board games till early morning and just having a lot of fun. I was supposed to be in Iran at that time but well, things can’t always go like we want and I had to cancel the trip. But sometimes all the bad things happen for a reason – I remember very well 2nd of January and the random meeting with fellow Polish travel bloggers – the day that changed everything and shaped my (and probably not only my) year. It was the beginning of some of the best friendships, prelude to the best evenings and the moment where the best idea of the year was born (but more about that later).
At the end of the month I flew for one day to Bergamo, Italy and it was such a perfect day trip! I’ve heard before how stunning this town is yet people often overlook it, going directly from the airport to Milan. Big mistake! Bergamo is everything you wish for in Italy: charming old town, stunning views and delicious food! Funny thing: on the way there I got stuck for the night at Warsaw Modlin airport! The flight was delayed, the last train to Warsaw has already left and I had to wait till 5am for the next one. I came back home, took a quick shower, repack my backpack and went to work only to took the train to Prague few hours later! And I spent another great weekend there with my Czech friends, exploring great local spots and attending Prague Alternative Tour, visiting art galleries, eating way too much and trying to get out from the escape room!
Places visited in January: Bergamo – Italy; Prague – Czech Republic
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 5, in Poland – 0
Again I started the month with the meeting with Polish travel bloggers, this time in Kraków – another fun night in the great company. In the middle of February I went for the long weekend to one of my top 3 cities, the absolute top of my list – Sarajevo. And I loved it, even more than during my first visit! The weather was just gorgeous, I spent hours wandering aimlessly around the city and I worshiped every minute there! I don’t know if it’s the recent tragic history, still very clearly seen on the streets, the multicultural vibe or the stunning location but Sarajevo just can’t get out of my head! On the way back from Bosnia I spent few hours in Belgrade, Serbia where I was lucky to meet for a coffee with Stephen of Bohemian Traveler.
Places visited in February: Cracow – Poland; Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina; Belgrade – Serbia
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 5, in Poland – 2
At the beginning of the month I went to Gdańsk for the festival of travelling women where I had a presentation about balancing travels and full time job, something I’m master at. The audience was pretty huge and I did fine, I guess, but I’m still not a big fan of public speeches. Later in March I went for few days to Portugal (with a quick stop in Berlin on the way). It was such a good trip! Portugal was the first country I’ve ever visited abroad, back in 1997, and I have a huge fondness for it. I shared my days there between Porto and Lisbon, with a day trip to Sintra and Cabo da Roca and I truly enjoyed the alternative side of both cities, especially the street art scene in the capital was amazing. I was also so lucky that Sam and Zab of Indefinite Adventure lived in Lisbon then and invited me for dinner – that was a fun evening! Portugal is always a good idea!
Places visited in March: Gdańsk – Poland; Berlin – Germany; Porto, Lisbon, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, Cascais – Portugal
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 6, in Poland – 1
It was the most important month of the year, the one when dreams came true, even those I didn’t dare to think about! First, the crazy idea from the meeting in January actually took place – together with Osmól we organized the first all-Poland meeting of travel bloggers. Over 50 people came to my favorite town – Cieszyn – and my favorite hostel – 3Bros’ and the weekend was a huge success! We spent the whole days talking about blogging issues and whole nights partying, there was almost no sleep that weekend. But the best thing about the weekend was that we finally meet each other, outside internet and computer screens! It was one of the best weekends this year!
Few days after Cieszyn I set off for the biggest trip of my year – to Caucasus and Iran! It’s no secret I adore Armenia with my whole heart and for the reason I can’t really explain being in Yerevan for the centennial of the Armenian genocide was my dream. When I had found out that my all time favorite band – System of a Down – will play a free show in Yerevan at that time too I just knew I had to go. And so I found myself in Caucasus again. My initial plan was to go to Abkhazia but had to postpone it for some other time (hopefully next year?) and after two days in Tbilisi I went to Yerevan. Again I stayed at my good friend, Zof’s place, caught up on work, ate way too much delicious food, met with fellow bloggers who happened to be in Armenia at the same time and just enjoyed being in one of my favorite places. One day, when we were sitting with Zof in one of the cafes, Shavo – the bass player of System of a Down entered the place and sat in front of us. To say I was hyperventilating would be an understatement – I literally had the fan girl moment as things like that don’t just happen. Of course I had to use this chance to have a quick chat with him and Shavo was just the nicest, seemed to be even more excited than me when he found out I came all the way from Poland for the concert! This, together with the show on the next day and the centennial commemoration, were definitely the moments I will never forget and the proof we need to go after our dreams!
After an amazing week in Yerevan I came back to Tbilisi, ready to make another of my dreams happen. I went solo to Iran!
Places visited in April: Cieszyn – Poland; Cesky Tesin – Czech Republic; Tbilisi – Georgia; Yerevan – Armenia; Tehran – Iran
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 13, in Poland – 3
Iran was pretty great but to be honest it didn’t impress me as much as everyone else. I guess I was prepared too well and knew exactly what to expect, including the incredible hospitality. But I enjoyed every single day there and solo female travel in Iran isn’t as scary and dangerous as everyone thinks! Actually Iran was one of the safest countries I’ve been to!
Again my initial plan for this trip was to go also to Eastern Turkey but I had to return to Poland earlier as there was a work trip I had to go for. And it wasn’t that bad, spending 3 days in the forest at the lake shore was actually pretty relaxing, despite the “work” part!
At the end of the month I started my Interrail trip through Romania and Bulgaria. My first stop was in Timisoara and I just fell in love with it! While everyone visits Transylvania, this city was my absolute favorite destination in Romania!
My interrail trip continued. I really enjoyed Bucharest and found it so much better than everyone was saying! I also think Bulgaria is one of the most overlooked countries in Europe: Veliko Tarnovo is a true gem and Sofia is such a cool capital, like a new Berlin! I definitely would love to explore this country better, it has so much potential! On the way back I also quickly stopped in Komarom/Komarno – a city on the Hungarian/Slovak border, divided by the Danube.
A week after I returned home I went to Silesia region in southern Poland for Industriada – the festival of technical landmarks. It was already the 6th edition yet I’ve never heard of it before! Huge mistake! It’s the only time of the year where the majority of industrial sites in the region – mines, power plants, zinc rolling mills or adits – are open to the public and you can access places you didn’t even dream of! In 2016 Industriada is pretty high on my list of events to attend too!
Another weekend I went together with my friend Evi for a day trip to Żyrardów. The city is located just one hour away from Warsaw and is a true industrial pearl! It’s all about red brick and old factories there – my kind of place!
Places visited in June: Bucharest – Romania; Veliko Tarnovo, Sofia – Bulgaria; Komarom/Komarno – Hungary/Slovakia; Silesia, Żyrardów – Poland
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 7, in Poland – 4
I usually don’t travel in the summer time – too many people, too hot, too expensive and someone has to work. But this year was different. Already at the beginning of July I went for a week to our southern neighbors. I started my trip in Cieszyn where I met with blogging friends who happened to be there as well only to go in the next morning to Jeseniky mountains in Czech Republic where I went for a road trip with my local friends. The area is so interesting and so unknown! Charming spa towns, beautiful landscape and stories about witches – you can find it all there! From Jeseniky I went all the way to east Slovakia and its second biggest city – Kosice. It’s yet another place, perfect for a city break, that not many people seem to know about. I love it! In 2013 Kosice was the European Capital of Culture and you can still easily find many great cultural spots all over the city. Not to mention the amazing street art scene there! From Kosice I went to Banska Stiavnica – another Slovak town that is probably one of the prettiest towns in Central Europe! It looked like from a fairy tale and two days weren’t enough to see everything it has to offer!
In the middle of the month I had to go twice from work to Gdańsk and Gdynia but at least I had few extra hours to see a little bit of both cities and let me tell you, they burst with creativity and the street art scene is pretty amazing there! Another place I need to explore better in 2016! I also went for a fun weekend with friends in Wrocław and well, it quickly became my second favorite Polish city! Needless to say I’ve been back there few more times ever since!
Places visited in July: Cieszyn – Poland; Cesky Tesin, Jeseniky Mountains – Czech Republic; Kosice, Tokaj Region, Banska Stiavnica, Zilina – Slovakia; Gdańsk, Gdynia, Wrocław – Poland
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 8, in Poland – 5
It was a hot month but this didn’t stop me from traveling! Again I had to go from work for a day to the the north part of my country, this time to Ustka. Polish seaside in the summer time was always a big no to me but actually Ustka wasn’t that bad. OK, I’ve spent only 2 hours there but I managed to go to the beach which was packed but the sea was clear and warm (considering it’s Baltic Sea) and the surrounding area wasn’t too cheesy.
On the next day I set off for a trip I didn’t really plan all that much. You see, I’m this boring kind of traveler, always planning things ahead. I just like to know well in advance where I’m going, life is better then. And for months I’ve been so sure I’m going to the Balkans but eventually my flights were cancelled. Instead I went to Ukraine and Moldova and discovered some new amazing places! Kamyanets-Podilsky is definitely much more than just the impressive fortress, Chernivtsi was beyond my expectations and Odessa is just the prettiest! The most memorable, however, was the day trip to Transnistria, a country that doesn’t exist! Ukraine is really safe to travel and is a great value for money!
The next weekend was spent in Czech Republic with a friend. We visited two of most beautiful Czech cities – Olomouc and Brno, ate lots of smazeny syr, drank even more beer and Kofola and walked like crazy. It was exhausting but good weekend!
Places visited in August: Ustka – Poland; Kamyanets-Podilsky, Chernivtsi, Odessa, Lviv – Ukraine; Chisinau – Moldova; Tiraspol – Transnistria; Olomouc, Brno – Czech Republic
Days spent on traveling: abroad – 11, in Poland – 1
It was supposed to be a calm month but when I look in my calendar it was busy as always. I spent a weekend at my best friend’s cottage in the middle of the forest, celebrating my birthday with some of my good friends. It was such a relaxing time, full of laughter and good conversation, something I enjoy the most! Few days later I went to Riga for the long weekend. It was already my third visit and this time I finally fell for the city! I even think it might be the best one of the Baltic capitals! And the art nouveau architecture there is just stunning!
I did another day trip to Gdańsk, this time for the railway fair from my job. And it was fun as always. I am a railway geek, no doubts about that, and checking all the new trains was a pure pleasure for me! Just after Gdańsk I went for a weekend trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best so I spent majority of my time exploring the local cafe scene which is actually pretty amazing! And Bratislava turned out to be more than just a day trip from Vienna, the city really has a lot to offer! On my way back I missed my connection in a small Czech town Breclav and actually ended up for few more hours in Brno!
Places visited in September: Fronołów – Poland; Riga, Jurmala – Latvia, Gdańsk – Poland; Bratislava – Slovakia; Brno – Czech Republic
Days spent on traveling: abroad – 7, in Poland – 4
So the bloggers meeting in Cieszyn in April was so epic that we’ve organized another one, half a year later. I must say I had huge concerns as the first edition was a massive success. But there was nothing to worry about! No one had thought it’s even possible but the second all-Poland meeting of Polish travel bloggers was even better! This time around 70 people came to Cieszyn, the city participated in the organization and guys from 3Bros hostel did amazing job too! It’s incredible how in such a big group of people every single person was amazing. Again there was hardly any sleep but lots of interesting conversations, fun and laughter!
Less than two weeks after Cieszyn I went for 5 days to Malta, with a quick stop in Wrocław to meet my blogging friends. And well, the island was really beautiful and I liked it but I might be the only person who wasn’t crazy about it. It was just fine, one of the places that I enjoyed when being there but I don’t think I will be back (maybe when I retire, it seemed like a perfect country for older people or families with kids). In Malta I also had the worst travel moment of my life when I realized that sometimes solo travels suck…
Places visited in October: Cieszyn, Wrocław – Poland; Cesky Tesin – Czech Republic; Sliema, Valletta, Marsaxlokk, Mdina, Mellieha, Gozo, Birgu – Malta
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 5, in Poland – 3
I like traveling in November when it’s grey and gloomy in Poland. This year I went to another of my dream destinations – Central Asia! On the way there I spent an intense day in Prague with my friends, there were hipster cafes, visit at the local farmers market and in the quirky National Technical Library or a walk in the cemetery. As it turned out November isn’t the best month to visit Central Asia, I felt like I was the only tourist both in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. But even if I didn’t manage to see some of the places I dreamt of I still enjoyed my time there! I fell in love with Almaty and the mountains around Issyk-Kul lake were really spectacular! Now I’m already thinking of returning to Central Asia, just not in November!
Places visited in November: Prague – Czech Republic; Almaty, Astana – Kazakhstan; Bishkek, Bosteri, Cholpon-Ata, Karakol – Kyrgyzstan
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 16, in Poland – 0
It’s always the calmest month travel-wise and it was the same this year. But at the same time it was probably the most intense month of 2015, full of meetings with friends and just a good time! I really can’t express how grateful I am to have so many wonderful people around me and even if last weeks have been pretty exhausting you will never hear me complaining about lack of sleep or difficult mornings after some great evenings in the best company! I also spent a great weekend in Cieszyn with friends and went for few hours to Wrocław for another meeting. Crazy times! And even if I had some plans for New Year’s Eve I’ve decided to cancel them all and just take it easy. This year exhausted me enough and I need to gain my energy for 2016!
Places visited in December: Cieszyn, Wrocław – Poland; Cesky Tesin – Czech Republic
Days spent on travelling: abroad – 0,5; in Poland – 3
What’s in for 2016?
2015 was pretty epic for me, probably the best year I’ve had! In 2014 I’ve spent 114 days travelling and I’ve thought that’s some sort of unbeatable record. Well, this year it was even more, 124 days (29 in Poland and 96 abroad) and even I have no idea how I made it… But these past months will forever stay in my mind not because of travels but because of amazing people that surround me. I don’t even dare to think that 2016 can be better but my hopes are high. I’m at the good stage of my life, of course there’re ups and downs but overall I can’t complain.
My travel plans for 2016 include Italy, Balkans, Finland, Lebanon and Ukraine – that’s already confirmed. But there’re so many other places I’d love to visit: East Turkey, Russia, more of Central Asia… And Poland! I declare 2016 the year when I will rediscover my own country, after all it has so much to offer!! I also have many plans and hopes for my personal life and for this blog and if I manage to make half of them happen it will be a huge success!!
And if you’re still wondering how I manage to work full time and travel the world please read this post before judging me!
Have a wonderful 2016 and thank you for being here with me!!! You are rockstars!
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