Most of my years, if I’m being honest about it, are pretty ordinary – and I think that’s probably the case with most people. 2014, however? 2014 was not one of those ordinary years. I spent roughly half of the year traveling, and when I wasn’t traveling, I was doing other big things: graduating from law school, taking (and passing!) the bar, moving to New York City, and starting a new job (and a new life, for that matter). It was a year of huge changes and incredible opportunities – and looking back at it is pretty damn fun, I think.
January: Traveled to Geneva for the semester. Never tired of the sight of sunsets over Lac Leman. Took lots of long walks all around Geneva, including many strolls past the Jet d’Eau. Had hot chocolate at Café Schober and climbed to the top of the Grossmunster in Zurich. Took a winter wander through Geneva’s Jardin Botanique. Started my internship at WHO. Celebrated my birthday on my second day of work – and was totally shocked when my supervisor made me a cake and everyone in the office sang to me. Toured the United Nations (and had lunch in the UN cafeteria). Fell in love with the picture-perfect Lucerne, especially the cobblestone streets of its Old Town and its riverside market. Spent an afternoon meandering around the capital city of Bern. Walked the Promenade des Anglais, explored the flower market, and visited the Russian Cathedral in Nice. Spent a sleepy morning in the seaside town of Villefranche sur Mer.
February: Visited the Last Supper, ate to-die-for panzerotti, and wandered among the spires of the Duomo in Milan. Explored Lisbon’s neighborhoods, including the Bairro Alto, the Baixa, and the Alfama. Sampled Portuguese treats on a food & wine tour of Lisbon. Inhaled pastries and explored the monastery in Belem. Wandered around Sintra’s Pena Palace in the pouring rain. Spent a mishap-filled day in Chamonix. Toured the Chateau de Chillon and took a lakeside promenade in Montreux. Climbed every hill and visited the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. Explored Geneva’s markets on a rare non-traveling weekend in the city. Sampled cheese and hiked to a chateau in Gruyeres. Binged on chocolate at the Cailler factory in Broc.
March: Ate my way through the Borough Market, saw Les Mis, and had two very different teas in London. Made my way to the Top of Europe at Jungfraujoch. Spent the first sunny day of spring in Basel. Finished binge-watching Breaking Bad (love) and House of Cards (love even more). Enjoyed good food and explored Roman ruins in Lyon. Fought through Carnival crowds in Annecy. Fell in love with Budapest, from the gilded interiors of the Opera House to the delicious food to the view from Castle Hill. Walked the Royal Mile, sampled haggis, and hiked up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.
April: Explored old world Gamla Stan, feasted on Nordic cuisine, and visited the ABBA Museum in Stockholm. Climbed the Reichstag dome, tried currywurst, and went on a street art safari in Berlin. Regained my travel mojo in Dresden, one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Finally fell in love with Amsterdam, from its foods to its flower markets to its museums. Spent Easter Sunday among the flowers at the Keukenhof. Day tripped to the charming Delft and the Hague. Savored Rue Cler, wandered among the roses at the Rodin Museum, indulged my sweet tooth, found new foodie favorites, ogled Eiffel Tower sunsets, poked around colorful Rue Crémieux, took a culinary journey through the Marais, explored the 5th arrondissement, and fell in love with Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.
May: Wandered among the canals, toured a brewery, binged on Belgian waffles, and walked to a windmill in Bruges. Stared in awe at Brussels’s Grand Place. Spent an afternoon in Antwerp. Admired colorful Nyhavn Harbor, spent an evening in whimsical Tivoli Gardens, ate Danish smørrebrød, visited all the castles, and paid a visit to the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Returned home to the US and graduated from law school the very next day (holy jetlag). Toured wineries around Traverse City with my family.
June: Studied for the bar exam. Took lots of long walks around scenic little Oxford, Michigan to distract myself from studying for the bar exam. Binged watched Orange Is the New Black while on break from studying for the bar exam. Cuddled with my dog while studying for the bar exam.
July: Studied for the bar exam. Celebrated the Fourth of July by studying for the bar exam. Went to Ann Arbor to take a practice bar exam (and ate at the yummy Slurping Turtle afterwards). Made eight million outlines as part of studying for the bar exam. Flew to Buffalo, New York to sit for the bar exam.
August: Binged watched Doctor Who in a post-bar exam haze. Sampled poutine, took a food tour through the Mile End, went to mass at Notre Dame, and took a wild ride down the Lachine Rapids in Montreal. Had a delicious dinner at Toast in Birmingham. Purged all my possessions and had a gigantic garage sale. Found an apartment on the Upper West Side. Saw Kinky Boots on Broadway.
September: Ate one gelato per day in Italy while on my bar trip. Took a boat cruise around Lake Como and attended a cooking class in Varenna. Hopped from piazza to piazza, enjoyed the view from the top of the Torre dei Lamberti, and visited Juliet’s balcony in Verona. Got lost among the canals, nommed on cicchetti (tapas), and day tripped to Murano and Burano while in Venice. Explored the amazing culinary scene in Bologna. Hiked among the hills of the stunning Cinque Terre. Overdosed on Renaissance Art, took a pizza making glass, admired the Duomo on the daily, and survived a hailstorm in Florence. Soaked up sunshine and limoncello in Sorrento. Took a disappointing day trip to Capri. Spent an incredible day driving through the best of the Amalfi Coast, including Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi town. History geeked out at Pompeii. Wandered through ever-charming Trastevere and marveled at ancient wonders in Rome.
October: Bought gourmet balsamic vinegar and tasted treats in Rome’s Testaccio neighborhood before returning home (briefly) to Michigan. Moved to New York City! Took many a fall walk through Central Park. Started a new job. Walked the new part of the High Line (and some of the old part, too). Fell in love with my new neighborhood, the Upper West Side. Discovered the wonder that is a Levain chocolate chip cookie. Found out I passed the New York bar!!! Celebrated with my sister at Rosemary’s.
November: Attended a Paint Nite class in Hell’s Kitchen. Spent even more time in Central Park. Braved the crowds at the New York Festival of Light. Brunched at Jacob’s Pickles. Hosted my family in New York for Thanksgiving. Had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at Rosemary’s, then walked through Washington Square Park afterwards. Saw Les Mis on Broadway. Had an amazing meal at Parm. Visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Experienced a very elegant high tea at the Plaza. Tried the incredible black and white cookie at Amy’s Bread. Admired the gorgeous holiday windows at Bergdorf’s. Took a quick trip to North Carolina for work.
December: Discovered the amazingness of the Red Hook Lobster food truck in midtown. Wandered through the holiday markets at Bryant Park, Union Square, and Columbus Circle. Saw Straight No Chaser in concert. Saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. Spent an amazing Saturday exploring the West Village. Attended our office Christmas party at Tao. Went to the Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Visited the Christmas windows at Macy’s. Braved the crowds – and serious tourist-induced rage – to see the big tree at Rockefeller Center. Went home to Michigan for Christmas, where I frosted sugar cookies, hung out with my dog, and did way too much work. Closed out 2014 by attended an amazing 1920s-themed NYE party with my best friends.