2014 Solo Travel Highlights
2014 was a wonderful year of solo travel. Looking over the highlights of my year I did do more traveling than in prior years. I made a point of trying to see more of Texas. Although my goal of taking one road trip per month was not completed – not even close! I did enjoy three road trips around Texas in 2014 starting with my first trip of 2014 to Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Texas
After 15 years living in Austin I finally made the short drive north to Fort Worth to visit a city that I had been meaning to go see.
The main reason I wanted to visit Fort Worth is because I heard so many people talk about how fantastic the art galleries and museums are in Fort Worth. My solo road trip to Fort Worth was mainly to view the Kimbell Art Museum’s exhibit but I also visited the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and I fell in love with the place!
Port Aransas – Texas Gulf Coast
My second road trip of 2014 I visited Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast. This was another trip that I had been meaning to take for several years but had never gotten around to making it happen. I was hoping to spot a few Whooping Cranes as they do spend the winter in the area. The whooping cranes start the migration from Wood Buffalo National Park in Northern Alberta in late summer and start to arrive on the Texas Gulf Coast around October. Alas no whooping cranes were spotted by me but I saw plenty of pelicans and enjoyed some great seafood at Roosevelt’s at the Tarpon Inn.
I took the short ferry ride across to St Jos Island and walked along the beach for a couple of hours doing some beachcombing. When I turned around to walk back to the ferry I nearly stepped upon a bright blue Portuguese Man ‘O War!
On the drive back to Austin I stopped at Goose Island State Park near Rockport to pay a visit to the oldest live oak tree in Texas – known as The Big Tree.
Spring in Austin Texas
March is when my monthly road trip came to a halt – wow I lasted two whole months! Traveling by car is not my favorite mode of transportation but it is the best way to get around Texas so I will have to work on my road trip skills. The thing is March is my favorite month in Austin. I love getting out to hike around the city and enjoy all the beautiful blooms on the wisteria vines along Lady Bird Lake and the clusters of red bud flowers are gorgeous!
San Antonio Texas – Fiesta!
In April my sister said she wanted to visit San Antonio so I asked her to come stay with me in Austin for a few days and we would spend the weekend in San Antonio. I started looking for accommodation and was surprised that everything I checked was booked up. Then I realized it was Fiesta! time in San Antonio – a huge celebration with roots dating back to 1891. Luckily my sister came to the rescue with her Air Miles points and booked a great room at the outstanding Hotel Havana right on the River Walk in San Antonio. I love my sister and her fabulous ability to choose just the right hotel.
Barcelona – Catalonia – Spain
I LOVE Barcelona!!!!!
My big solo trip of the year was to Barcelona Spain in May. When I started looking at all the things I wanted to do in Barcelona I knew I had picked the right city. I love to walk when I travel and Barcelona is a great walking city. I chose my accommodation via AirBnB and found a fantastic deal. My room was only $24/night (now listed at $44/night) and I shared the apartment with a local family and a few other travelers – there were 3 rooms to rent in total.
The apartment was in La Ribera district – a half block from the fabulous Palau de la Musica Catalan where I enjoyed a tour of the concert hall and later attended an extraordinary Flamenco concert. I also attended an intimate guitar concert at Santa Anna church just a few blocks from the apartment. Every day was a joy for me in Barcelona! I hiked Montserrat and enjoyed it so much I went back for another day of hiking on the last day of my trip. Hiking and walking around Barcelona helped me to work off all the tapas I ate!
Calgary Alberta Canada – My Hometown
June was my visit to the homeland to visit family in Calgary. I love visiting Calgary in the summer months to enjoy the cooler weather and see what my mom has done with her incredible flower garden.
Calgary has short summers but the days are long and there is plenty to do around the city. Two of my favorite places to visit in Calgary are the downtown area – to see the public art work and visit Glenbow Museum, and Glenmore Park for some hiking and an escape from the city within the city.
July I never made it out of Austin – according to my 2014 Travel Plans I had planned to visit Jacob’s Well in Wimberley Texas just a short drive from Austin but I missed out.
Montreal and Ottawa
In August I went back to one of my favorite cities in the world – Montreal Quebec! I have been three times now and I plan to visit again in 2015. I had a few hotel points to use up so I stayed 3 nights at the Hyatt Regency in front of Place des Arts.
I enjoyed a night at the Ritz-Carlton on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal – used up 50,000 Marriott points for one night and it was luxurious! The next night I should have been sleeping soundly in my own bed in Austin TX however the travel goddess said Wait, you will spend one more night in Montreal….since all the flights are delayed…don’t get stuck in Chicago! Okay, one last night in Montreal – not at the Ritz mind you – I spent the night in a 4-bed dorm room at my favorite hostel – Montreal Central. Read my comparison between the Ritz-Carlton and Montreal Central to find out which one I think is best for solo travel.
In between my stay at the Hyatt Regency and my stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal I enjoyed a five-day visit to Ottawa. August was a great time to visit Ottawa and this was my first visit to Canada’s capital so I spent a lot of time walking the city. I stayed in Wellington West neighborhood – again booked through AirBnB – this time I spent $48/night for a room and shared bathroom in a house owned by a young couple. The location was superb. My first afternoon in Ottawa I walked a few blocks to the Ottawa River and happened upon the whimsical art rock exhibit – an annual event each summer.
I spent a lot of time outdoors in Ottawa – the weather was pleasant and perfect for walking around exploring the city. One day I walked from Wellington West neighborhood to Dows Lake and all the way along the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa Locks at Parliament Hill.
September and October were spent working, working, working. I enjoy running my bookkeeping business and when my clients need extra time from me I make it happen. No road trips and no travel at all for two months – I was going through a little withdrawal and the wanderlust was getting stronger. Then I read a post from another travel blogger about Mexico City!
I could not stop thinking about Mexico City after I read Sarah’s post. Naturally I booked a trip to alleviate the wanderlust – 8 days in Mexico City for Thanksgiving break.
A big highlight for me was visiting the archaeological site of Teotihuacan about an hours drive north of Mexico City.
Long on my list of museums to visit – Frida Kahlo Museum in the Coyoacan neighborhood.
Mexico City is a great city for solo travel – fantastic walking city, rich history, delicious food, friendly people, safe, incredible art museums, and easy to get around the city via the metro. I will be visiting again!
Halifax Nova Scotia
December was another crazy busy month for my bookkeeping business but I did manage to get all my work done. The big motivation was my last trip for 2014 – to Halifax Nova Scotia during Christmas. I was supposed to visit a friend that I had met in Montreal in August. He bailed on me just 4 days before my flight on Christmas Eve.
Sometimes people are jerks. At my age I am quite accustomed to men acting like jerks. So I pouted a little and then I booked a room at the Radisson Hotel and off I went to Halifax!
Lucky for me Halifax was unseasonably warm while I was there. Christmas Day the high was 17 degrees Celsius (63 F) and the following two days were sunny and around 10 degrees Celsius. The wind was brutally cold at times but for the most part I lucked out with the weather. I did not realize the whole city pretty much shuts down for Christmas Day AND Boxing Day (that’s December 26th to my USA readers) so my plans to eat my way through Halifax were thwarted due to the holidays. I did manage to take in some delicious meals and enjoy some great live music. In order to succeed at eating my way through Halifax I will have to visit Halifax again – in the summer! Or perhaps in autumn.
That wraps up my 2014 Solo Travel Highlights. I am looking forward to new travel adventures in 2015 and I hope you are too!