I totally get it–you’re downright pooped from the holidays and there’s still one more to go. I won’t keep you from your food coma, passive-agressively dealing with your family, and fiddlin’ with that talking Amazon thing with a long, detailed travel post or something deep like a rant on how I changed my life this year by answering one simple question (’cause I’ve already done that). It’s the end of the year–we’re all MENTALLY EXHAUSTED. Can’t… words… right now… Only… pictures… hungry… zzzzz…
Ah yes, the sweet spot.
Instead, a lighter post. A post for the casual reader, your visiting grandmother who speaks little to no English, or your friend whose favorite show is Real Housewives of Idiotsville.
MY 16 MOST-LIKED INSTAGRAMS OF THE YEAR
As far as social media platforms go, I stick to the standard–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–and I’m not particularly good at any of them. Is this because the only form of social media I grew up with consisted of folding a looseleaf, handwritten note into the shape of a triangle and flicking it across the classroom? Maybe just a little.
Instagram underwent a lot of changes in 2016–a new algorithm, the introduction of Instagram Stories, the ability to “save” pictures, and I’m guessing video now based on the invasive notices I get that some random account I follow is now live streaming? OMG no. Who has time to watch all that shit? Outta my face with that.
Let’s keep it simple here–there are naps that need taken and dates wrapped with bacon! Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
If you follow me on Instagram, virtual high-five for you! 👊🏼 If you don’t, well, either do it, or not because I’m showing you the best of the year anyway (according to my followers, my opinions vary slightly).
Here are my sixteen most-liked Instagrams of the year…
#16 // MARIENPLATZ — MUNICH, GERMANY
I actually took this photo in 2014 on my trip to Munich for Oktoberfest but shared it a few months ago in anticipation of this year’s. (But what I really should’ve shared was a picture of the other thing I did in anticipation of Oktoberfest–dancing around my kitchen to polka with my volume up to 11.)
This is the famous Marienplatz after an afternoon of watching surfers and devouring cheese plates at the English Garden and just before plopping down for a cappuccino at an Italian café — because I’m an inception traveler and because you do need a break from beer every once in a while (if only to replenish your caffeine reserves). It was the day after Oktoberfest–cut me some slack! The servers sure won’t. “No coffee for you!”
#15 // GOL STAVE CHURCH — OSLO, NORWAY
The #StaveChurch at the #NorwegianFolkMuseum was one thing I was looking forward to the most. I always visit churches on my travels but these are unlike anything else you’ll find in Europe. This particular Stave Church was built around 1200 — you old! Admission to the Norwegian Folk Museum is included in the #OsloPass.
I took this photo at the Norwegian Folk Museum during a whirlwind 24-hour layover in Oslo en route to Prague from Boston via Norwegian Air. I visit this church’s replica every year at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and have been dying to see the real, much larger thing for years. Well, that and Gaston pounding hard boiled eggs at a French tavern. (No one’s neck’s as incredibly thick as Gaston.) All I ever see are princesses and that stupid bear in the sailor suit–what gives, Disney??
#14 // PRAGUE CASTLE ACROSS THE RIVER — PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Prague may very well be the most photogenic city in the world. Five of the sixteen pictures in this post were taken in Prague so apparently the people agree. This picture was taken from under the Old Town Bridge Tower on the Charles Bridge after a super weird lunch at Lokal (with the exception of the world’s greatest potato chips, Czech food is not fantastic) and just before hitting up happy hour at the Absinthe bar. Because when in Prague… burn your nasal passages with the flames of a thousand angry dragons then giggle like mad until you’re blue in the face.
#13 // GOL STAVE CHURCH — OSLO, NORWAY
Oh, this old thing again… Actually, you know what? This is the only photo in this roundup that was actually taken with my phone — vintage Insta’!
It’s rare that I post any of the spur-of-the-moment shots that catapulted Instagram to such popularity but every now and then I sneak one in if it doesn’t completely SUCK. And this one was so perfect (if I do say so myself) — no editing required at all; Norway did all the work.
But in all seriousness, no one’s got a swell cleft in his chin like Gaston — where is he?
Photo taken with: Samsung Galaxy S5 ⇠ Because as we like to say in my house: There’s an Amazon link for that! Also, the S5 isn’t banned from all commercial airlines so there’s that.
Didn’t click on my Oslo post three paragraphs ago? Here it is again!
#12 // VIEW FROM NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE — SCHWANGAU, GERMANY
…and here’s the picture of my backyard from the balcony at #NeuschwansteinCastle. No big deal. Only the sweetest view everrrrr. Have you visited #Neuschwanstein? It’s really worth the short trip from #Munich to visit this #fairytale world. Double-tap if you, too, enjoy the occasional break from reality…
In 2014, on the way from Munich to Switzerland we stopped at Neuschwanstein Castle and lemme tell you… this lady can’t take a bad picture. As a matter of fact, the castle and its entire surrounding landscape seem blanketed in a magic spell that prevents it from looking anything remotely like it woke up late and just found out it was picture day.
Neuschwanstein Castle is also prettay prettay prettay popular I’d say–any ‘gram of the Neusch goes straight to the top of the popularity chart. Because that’s a real thing. And if you’re looking for me on that chart, I’m a little more than halfway down sandwiched between Chia Pets and the board game Pop-o-matic Trouble.
I took this photo standing on the castle’s rear balcony overlooking Alpsee (the lake) and the town of Schwangau. Unfortunately, I visited Neuschwanstein before I discovered this King Ludwig biography but, regardless of how much you know of the history, this place really is THE DREAM. There’s horse-drawn carriages and waterfalls, colorful banners, great wooden doors, mysterious woods, an old bitch on a bridge, even visitors from the Orient. It really is like a magical storybook village up on that mountain.
#11 // TOWER AT TIKAL — GUATEMALA
Don’t let the pretty blue sky and puffy white clouds fool you–this was one of the most intensely scorching days in the history of the sun. The Mayan tower is plenty peaceful but off camera my husband and I were sweating buckets and borderline in need of an ambulance. But although it was HOT, visiting during the low season also meant that we had the place practically to ourselves to act out scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Also, have you seen the new Star Wars Rogue One? Yeah, this is totally in it.
#10 // AKERSHUS CASTLE & FORTRESS — OSLO, NORWAY
This post must have made it all clear for you–I have an underlying obsession with all things Disney.
We visited the Akershus Castle and Fortress as part of our 24 hours in Oslo using the OsloPass and again had the place mostly to ourselves. Our visit took place just after returning from Bygdøy Peninsula and just before heading to Frogner Park to get our art-freak on.
#9 // VIEW FROM GIOTTO’S CAMPANILE — FLORENCE, ITALY
I’m in an Italy state of mind lately. Where is your brain this week? This photo was taken on my way up #GiottosCampanile in #Florence. I raced up the 400+ narrow stairs to see how fast I could make it up and down the tower. Photo ops included, 15 minutes. And that’s only because of the congestion and people freaking out from claustrophobia. Wimps! #timebudgettravel #travelstoke #lovetheworld
This picture is from the spring of 2015 but wasn’t posted until this summer when I finally got around to writing about my favorite European city. I took it most likely during a pause for fresh air. Giotto’s bell tower is 414 steps to the top up a steep, narrow corkscrew staircase with a lot of unshowered travelers and very little ventilation.
The views from the bell tower outside the famous Duomo are some of the best in Florence (second only to those from Piazzale Michelangelo or by standing outside the men’s Armani store). From this window you can see: the Basilica of Santa Croce (the big white church on the left) where Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo are buried; the Badia Tower (of the church and abbey–the pointy brown tower on the right); and the Bargello (like the Fresh Prince in a sea of Carltons, it’s the flat-topped brown tower in the middle), a former prison turned art museum–one in the same to an adolescent mind.
#8 // CHURCH OF OUR LADY BEFORE TYN — PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn is my favorite building in Prague but I still have no idea why they covered up the front of it with buildings! Does anyone know the reason behind this?
I just wanna go to the top of one of those towers and toss my long hair out the window. (If showing you my most-liked Instagrams of the year has proven anything, it’s that I 100% live in a fantasy world. It’s a lot more fun over here, I promise. Won’t you join me? We’ve got Butterbeer! Actually, I’m fairly certain I used to be one of those mice in Cinderella’s house for whom the clock never struck midnight.)
We stayed near here in the Old Town Square Apartments and I used this church as my homing beacon since, lord knows, I was lost my entire time in Prague. I never made it inside though–a mission for next time. I took this photo while my husband was shopping for yet another sausage.
#7 // STAIRCASE INSIDE SAGRADA FAMILIA — BARCELONA, SPAIN
I both love and hate this photo (and wearing makeup, if you’re keeping score). The quality is so poor but the subject is mesmerizing. I’m guessing it’s the second reason it ended up as one of my most-liked Instagrams of the year and not the fact that it’s grainier than a Kellogg’s assembly line with color distortion that makes less sense than a game of True American.
This is the staircase inside one of the towers of Sagrada Familia–the most famous and indescribably badass church in all of Spain. Its designer, Antoni Gaudí, was pure genius with an unbelievably unique artistic outlook. He was a wise old owl in a beard who incidentally died a bird’s death. He had an obsession with nature and left no detail to chance.
I took this photo in the summer of 2015 but wrote about my time in Barcelona at the beginning of this year. I had plenty to say (and show) about Gaudí so if you’re interested, check out the posts below.
#6 // CHARLES BRIDGE & PRAGUE CASTLE — PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Here’s another shitty photo with phenomenal subject matter: the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle across the Vltava River. Can y’all see how terrible this picture is? Of course you can–I just hope you’re seeing it on a teeny old iPhone 1. This begs the question: Why did I post this? coughABSINTHEcough
I have much better pictures of these subjects that made it at least into the top 25 of my most-liked Instagrams of the year but… the thumb double-taps what the thumb double-taps, I guess. I broke the #1 rule of photography with this one but sometimes your schedule doesn’t allow for perfection. In other words: NEVER SHOOT INTO THE SUN.
I took this photo from the top of Old Town Bridge Tower (another of my favorite Prague landmarks) at sunset around the same time that I took #14–before the inhalation of Absinthe fumes killed one-third of my remaining brain cells.
#5 // PORK KNUCKLE — PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
My Instagram account consists primarily of landscapes and awesome buildings but this one was too good to leave out. My husband eats a lot of pork knuckles when we travel to Europe and I still have no idea what it is. Is it literally a pig’s knuckle? Do pigs have knuckles? Please advise.
I love how all his meals come with protruding daggers. It’s so primitive, so medieval. I just wanna lock someone in a dungeon then walk around with a lit candle.
I took this during lunch at the Strahov Monastery somewhere near Prague Castle (lost, yet again, on the way to Petrin Hill). We didn’t intend on visiting the monastery but wandered into it by accident then spent the next couple of hours there looking at books and old crusty starfish.
#4 // STROKKUR ERUPTION — SELFOSS, ICELAND
I’ll admit it–this photo was pretty much an accident. I was preparing myself and my camera so that I’d be ready when the Strokkur geyser erupted again but it happened sooner that I expected. My finger slipped and hit the shutter button just as it happened and I couldn’t believe how good the accidental photo came out. Why can’t all of life happen this way!? Oops, I just stumbled into an interview for a job I’m perfect for. Oops, I just tried to buy a pack of gum but bought a winning lottery ticket instead.
I took this photo on my 2014 trip to Iceland / Germany / Switzerland but shared it this year while reminiscing. Oops, I booked a flight to Germany and it came with a stopover in Iceland.
It was after this Golden Circle excursion that we spent an exorbitant $75 on shockingly little at Domino’s Pizza. Oops.
#3 // PETRIN TOWER — PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Inspired by the #EiffelTower at the 1889 World Expo in Paris, Prague decided to built their own kickass tower. The nearby #PetrinTower offers amazzzzing overhead views of #Prague and y’all know I love me some rooftops. And unlike all the other European towers, this one has an UP and a DOWN staircase.
I think the caption sums up this photo of Petrin Tower fairly well, don’t you? So I LOVED reading the comment that even though she sees a lot of Eiffel Tower photos, this one really stands out. You see… a lot of Eiffel Tower photos, do you? And yet.
After our lunch at the Strahov Monastery, we eventually did make it to Petrin Hill to climb the Eiffel Tower-Inspired lookout tower. The views from the tower are incredible as you can see the entire sprawling city of Prague. The walk from Old Town is exhausting. The climb up Petrin Hill is exhausting. The climb up the tower is exhausting. The gelato in the shop at the tower’s base is well-deserved.
#2 // ON THE VIA FERRATA — MÜRREN, SWITZERLAND
Completing the via ferrata from Mürren to Gimmelwald, Switzerland was probably THE best experience of all my travels. The most death-defying ones always are, no?
My friend Lindsey took this picture of me at the start of the open cliff wall portion of the hike. It’s only a short piece of the overall hike but, by far, the most anxiety-inducing for some and most thrilling for others.
This photo is a hit wherever I post it so it’s no surprise it ended up as one of my most-liked Instagrams of the year. (Too bad I didn’t even take it.)
#1 // VIGELAND SCULPTURE PARK — OSLO, NORWAY
The #Vigeland sculptures at #FrognerParken in Oslo, Norway were incredible. Some of them bizarre to no end, a lot of them beautiful, but all of them intriguing. You could spend hours here examining each one but weather wasn’t on my side. Next time! Have you seen these works of art before? What’s your favorite?
OF COURSE this is the #1 of my most-liked Instagrams of the year–it’s the weirdest! There’s hardly any color in the photo and the composition is super off. Must’ve be the dude’s butt and those compromising positions that got your motors running.
The sculptures at Frogner Park all make perfect photography subjects and I was incredibly lucky to fit in a trip here during my 24 hours in Oslo. I could’ve spent all day here checking out each of the 200 sculptures but, alas, the rain… the growling stomach… the penis overload.
Yup — I think I’ll end this post (and 2016) with the phrase “penis overload.”
Wishing all my readers a wanderlusty new year! And follow me on Instagram if you don’t already–that can be your totally attainable resolution for 2017.
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?
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