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2017 Top Three Trips: Bahamas, Ireland, Switzerland

Hello, hello! It's been a minute since I've written, and it feels good to be back in the swing of things. I've been traveling a lot the past month, and had the pleasure of going to Europe over the holidays 😍 I rang in 2018 and said, "au revoir," to 2017, in Paris! Since I've been home the past week, I've been reflecting on all of my travels last year, and thought about writing a "Top Three" trip guide for you guys. It was so hard to choose which trips to share! I decided to write about the three most interesting, and extraordinary places I traveled...

Sitting on a cliff, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Dingle, Ireland

1. Bahamas

Last summer, I traveled to the Bahama Islands, specifically through the chain of Exuma Islands. The islands I spent time on were: Paradise Island, Harbour Island, Governors Harbour, Staniel Cay, Compass Cay and Highbourne Cay, as well as some lesser known and unpopulated islands. What made this trip extraordinary is that I lived on and traveled by boat to each destination, which, on average, took several hours each travel day to do.

I mapped out the trip to give you a visual... The starting point was Paradise Island (I flew into Nassau) then hopped on the boat and went clockwise, ending back up on Paradise.

Found the cutest resort with a beautiful infinity pool on Governors Harbour, which was a less-populated island, despite the looks of it!

The Bahamas 700-plus islands and cays range from uninhabited to packed with resorts, and I got to experience BOTH! My trip was about two weeks long, and I can't even tell you how many islands I really went to, because so many of them I traveled to via our ship's tender (a very small boat we used to cruise around on) and didn't show any sign of human existence. I've never in my life seen water this pretty or beaches kept in such pristine condition. The pink sand on the beach in Harbour Island is epic... and, if you haven't already, you should probably add visiting the pigs in Staniel Cay AKA "Pig Island" to your travel bucket list because they're so darn cute!

Favorite Experiences: Atlantis Water Park in Paradise Island (Nassau), Pink Sands beach in Harbour Island, Pig Island in Staniel Cay, and swimming with sharks in Compass Cay.

2. Ireland

I traveled to Ireland last fall, and got to experience a handful of towns and unforgettable activities. Since I was already in Paris, it was an easy 1.5 hour flight over to Dublin. From there, I traveled to Belfast, Killarney, and the Dingle Peninsula.

Standing in the Gravity Bar (with a fresh glass of the dark stuff), which is at the top floor of the Guinness Museum in Dublin.

Each town I traveled to had its own unique vibe and history, which made this trip extroardinary. In Belfast, I toured the city, saw the culture divide, and went to the Titanic Shipyard and Museum. In Killarney, I went to a castle and took a boat ride through grassy mountains sprinkled with sheep. I also went on a horse and carriage ride through the mountains and got to know a local farmer that wouldn't trade his life in Ireland for anything. I explored the Star Wars set in the Dingle Peninsula and ate fish and chips with the locals that are among the few Irish that still speak their native language.

Favorite Experiences: Guinness Museum tour, Killarney boat and horse ride, Dingle cliffs.

3. Switzerland

This country JUST made it into my top three before the end of the year. But, this trip was really extraordinary because I got to spend Christmas there, and felt like I was living in a magical Swiss Christmas village the entire time! I flew into Zurich and spent a few days there before heading to Saas Fee, and then ended up in Geneva.

Standing on a bridge overlooking the Limmat River in Zurich.

I would actually love to travel back to Zurich some day, and see the small, enchanting city in the spring or summer-time. I'll never forget driving our rental van onto a train and driving through tunnels in the Alps to Saas Fee, an adorable ski village. Saas Fee offers first class skiing as well as one-of-a-kind Swiss shopping. Oh, and the food is outstanding... make sure to try a raclette dinner if you're there, you can't get more Swiss than that! I made sure to spend a little time in Geneva because of its history and global presence... I checked off visiting the United Nations and strolled through "Old Town" where I climbed to the top of an 850 year old church (the St Pierre Cathedral) to get a stunning view of the city.

Favorite Experiences: Christmas lunch at Baur au Lac (the hotel I stayed at) in Zurich, train ride to Saas Fee, skiing the Alps, Old Town exploring in Geneva.

Thank you for following along with me in 2017, I can't wait to see what 2018 holds for Golden Girl's travel! I made one travel goal for myself this year: write in my journal more while I travel. Traveling can be so fast-paced and chaotic at times, and I end up forgetting so many things I've experienced! So, I'd like to make a conscious effort to write more, so I I can share some real, authentic moments with you.

-Golden Girl

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