Canvas-Worthy Europe, 2014 edition

Last Wednesday I shared my round-up of my favorite photos taken in Paris in 2014. Now it’s time to see the year in review through a collection of my canvas-worthy contenders from our European travels outside of Paris. Here’s where I traveled to during the year!

Madrid, Spain

We started off the New Year with a wonderful flamenco show and glasses of cava in Spain. Here’s my favorite photo of Madrid from one of the first days of 2014.

Sunset at the Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid)

London, England

It’s funny how I felt a bit homesick and travel-tired during our two weeks in London in January (during the period of time we refer to as our “exile” from France due to visa renewals - we were able to return to Paris in the beginning of February). I may have felt worn out at the time, but London kept calling me back and I happily kept returning...for a total of four visits in 2014. These two are the best photos I took in England’s capital, both from January.

The London Eye on a sunny winter day

Looking out at Trafalgar Square from the steps of the National Gallery

Beaune, france

Last year we traveled a lot within France but not as much in 2014. Beaune was our first weekend trip to another area of France, and what a wonderful time it was! We traveled with Michael’s sister for a weekend of wine, good food, laughter, and beautiful sights in Bourgogne

The colorful rooftops of the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune

Loire valley, france

Continuing the trend of traveling with siblings, the very next week we were in the Loire Valley with my brother and his girlfriend...a trip I learned about the day before we set off! The Loire Valley was so gorgeous in spring that I just had to include all three châteaux in the round-up.

Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire

Château de Cheverny

Château de Chenonceau

krakow, poland

Yes, there is a pattern that you must have noticed by now. Give me a camera and some flowers, and perhaps a significant monument in the background, and I’ll happily snap some pictures. This one is my favorite from a city that stole my heart -- Krakow. And it was just the beginning of an epic journey around Poland.

The Wawel Castle in Kraków, Poland

wroclaw, poland

This next one is more than just a pretty view of the main square. There’s a memory I will always associate with Wroclaw and its 250 little gnomes hidden around the city. It sparked a fierce competition between Michael and me to be the first to spot these creatures in our travels. It was quite an unexpected and different way to explore the city, running from one gnome to another all over town!

The first gnome we spotted in Wroclaw in the main square!


Growing up, I was always happy that the US recognized my birthday as a national holiday (it falls over Memorial Day weekend). It turns out that France does as well. With a long weekend to plan some celebrations, I planned my first trip to Portugal. Sunny skies, a view of the ocean, port, and my husband of course were perfect ingredients to make for a festive birthday celebration.

Looking over the Alfama neighborhood towards the ocean in Lisbon

sintra, portugal

Our day trip from Lisbon to Sintra was a bit less sunny, but it made for a cool mood at the Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros).

The Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros)

bremen, germany

Summer came and I got the opportunity to visit my uncle in Germany. Not only did I enjoy getting to spend time with him and seeing his life in Germany, but he also gave me a great tour around the area. I loved the Altstadt (old town) of Bremen.

The statue of the Town Musicians of Bremen 

berlin, germany

Our one day and night stint in Berlin in the winter of 2012 left us with wanting more time there (and perhaps with warmer temperatures). Our wish came true in July with a few more days to explore this cool city. Added bonus - being warm enough to relax at some biergartens instead of clutching mugs of glühwein for a little added warmth (no complaints, but that first visit was frigid!). 

My favorite view of Berlin - sunset at the Reichstag

prague, czech republic

The trend continued with revisiting places in Europe that we love. Prague was magical in December of 2012, and was every bit as wonderful in the summer. Maybe even a little more since trip #2 was shared with some friends, both new and old!

A lookout over the Vltava River from a spot nearby the Vyšehrad cemetery and the Church of Peter and Paul

This second time to Prague introduced me to many of the city's fun statues!

Reykjavík, iceland

This is the one photo in the bunch that represents a place Michael went to without me...but I love this classic view he captured of Iceland’s capital and have to include it. Spoiler alert (if you missed all the previous Iceland posts): I made it back to Iceland in October with him for a breathtaking journey up north.

The view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja church

chartres, france

I celebrated my birthday in Lisbon, and Michael celebrated his in Chartres. I was quite pleased that I managed to keep my mouth shut and pull off a surprise weekend getaway! 

I love walking through cemeteries for interesting photo opps! 

bristol, england

I probably never would have thought to venture westward from London to Bristol before my good friend moved there over the summer. I’m so glad he did move - not only have I been glad to be able to hang out with him more, but he is a great tour guide of Bristol. My favorite photos of the city are at the harbor, and per usual, I couldn't decide which one I liked better.

The Bristol Harbour

I loved the boats with the colorful buildings in the background


I really just can’t stop talking about our adventures in Iceland. I posted a lot about it - from the waterfalls, to our photos on the road, and what to see along the way northward bound to Akureyri. And out of all those photos, I managed to select two (out of many canvas-worthy nominees) to represent our October trip.

I'm surprised that one of my favorites was taken right from our moving car! I couldn't stop snapping away as we drove through Iceland (unless I was at the wheel, of course!).

Hofsós, Iceland

budapest, hungary

While many struggle with resisting food temptations around the holidays, my battle started in late October in Budapest. I lost (happily) to the outrageously delicious pastries the city had to offer, and certainly have more food pictures than scenic ones from the long weekend. This one stands out to me of the beautiful parliament building. Notice the Hungarian flag waving with a big hole in the middle - we happened to be in town on October 23rd, a national holiday commemorating the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Outside Budapest's Parliament building


I have so much to say about the week we spent in Morocco that it’s overwhelming to put it all in words. I will certainly get to sharing more about this amazing country...but for now, here are the two photos that make the canvas-worthy cut.

One of the highlights of the trip, and of the year - riding camels in the Sahara Desert

The city of Aït-Benhaddou 

zurich, switzerland

We followed up the week in Morocco by immediately shoving off to Switzerland for a week. Quite a different culture with a drastic change in scenery! I have to say, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Zurich as much as I did. This photo represents the city to me - a touch of city life surrounding by breathtakingly gorgeous natural scenery.

The Grossmünster church with mountains in the background

bruges, belgium

Bruges is another of those places that I could just keep going back to for a weekend trip. In fact, I have been doing just that - this trip in early December was my third visit in three years (we figured out that we’ve been booking trips there every 16 months apart like clockwork without realizing it). 

A perfect end to the day - sunset over the canal in Bruges

And the round-up isn’t even officially done for the year! Not pictured is our end-of-the-year Christmas trip through Germany and Austria with plenty more canvas-worthy contenders in the batch. But for now, I think this gives a good representation of the year. 

Which are your favorites from this selection? And since I’m somewhat behind with writing about some of these locations, are there any that you want to hear more about in the New Year?

Wishing you a wonderful 2015!