Noelle’s Monthly Recap: December 2016

December was a month full of friends, family, and festive holiday celebrations. I started off the Christmas season at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London, followed by a weekend in Stuttgart, Germany to experience the infamous Christmas markets. Mid-month, it was time to head home to be with family and friends for Christmas, my birthday, and New Years.

Philadelphia skyline

Destinations visited:

Stuttgart, Esslingen, and Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany

London, Cheltenham, Bibury, and Bourton-on-the-Water, England

Herndon and Reston, Virginia, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Stuttgart, Germany

Favorite destinations:

Bourton-on-the-Water, England – Nicknamed the “Venice of the Cotswolds”, I loved this quaint English village that has the River Windrush passing through and is dotted with several pubs, tea houses, and gift shops.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philly is a place I’ve been before but it continues to exceed my expectations. Although we only had two short days there, I really enjoyed how lively and historic the city is. Reading Terminal Market and the view from the One Liberty Observation Deck were two of my favorites this time around.

Bourton-on-the-Water, England


My first German Christmas market visit – I fell in love with German Christmas markets (and glühwein in particular!) after visiting three Christmas markets in the Stuttgart area earlier this month.

Visiting my family and friends for the holidays – There’s no place like home for the holidays! For the first time since moving, I had a full two week visit at home so I really was able to spent a lot of quality time with friends and family.

Italian market, Philadelphia


Flight and luggage chaos to get home – Travel mayhem was abound in my effort to get home to Washington, D.C. for the holidays. In total my flight was delayed seven hours, and I spent three of those in the plane on the tarmac. Then, upon arrival to the U.S., I found out the airline had lost my luggage. Three days later, I was sent luggage that wasn’t mine (similar last name, but different bag tag), and then finally on day four I (surprisingly, with no notice) received my luggage. I’ve now filed a claim with my airline to reimburse me for the clothes I had to buy in the meantime.

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London


Tis the Season: Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London – Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is definitely one of the highlights of the Christmas season in London. It’s beautiful and well done, and is as close to a German Christmas as you can get without actually going to Germany.

Cotswold Villages: A Picturesque Day in Bibury and Bourton-on-the-Water – Cotswolds villages are quintessentially English, and I loved spending a day exploring two of them.

Top 10 Reasons to Love Living in England – A question I get asked regularly is why I like living in England, so I decided to answer with this listicle.

A Weekend at the Christmas Markets in Stuttgart, Germany – The Christmas Markets in Stuttgart were amazing, and I loved enjoying all things German during my trip.

Noelle’s Ultimate Beginners Guide to Hostels – Banish fear of staying in a hostel with my ultimate beginners guide.

2016 Reflections of Gratitude – My travels in 2016 made me very grateful in many ways.

Noelle Across the Pond in 2017 – See what travels I have planned for the New Year!

Ben Franklin, Philadelphia

Coming up in January 2017:

Early January will be a whirlwind of two friends coming to visit England in the span of a few weeks, so day trips to Bath and Gloucester are planned. Later in the month, Mark and I are celebrating my birthday belatedly with a long weekend in Porto, Portugal.

What was the highlight of your December? What are your plans in January?


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