Country #7: Austria

As I said earlier, this year (2018) I’m looking to visit at least three countries in Europe that I haven’t visited before I started this list.

Happy to say that I’m writing this short update from a very cold but otherwise lovely Vienna, Austria. I’ve been invited to do a presentation and demo at a local meetup here, and I’m making a city trip out of it together with my wife.

I’ve been to Austria, and even to Vienna, before, but that was long before I started this list. I’m glad that I’m able to properly check it off my list now. And glad to get a chance to eat proper Wienerschnitzel again!

Austria

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#5b – Visit all provinces and territories of Canada

Canada may well be my favourite travel destination in the world. I’ve been there two times, so far (plus a short day trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls when I was in the US), but I’d like to see much more of the country. Therefore, I’m making it a bucket list item to visit all of the 10 provinces (which should be relatively easy) and the 3 territories (a bit more challenging) of Canada. Again, starting from 0, which is also a good way of making myself visit British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland once more!

Provinces and territories of Canada

This item replaces the original #5 on the list, visiting all 50 states of the United States. As I said in that post, I find Canada an even better travel destination, and I think that visiting Canada on a couple more occasions would be much more satisfying than completing the list of all US states.

Country #6: United Kingdom

Finally, I’m able to say I can check off another country off the list of all European countries that I’ve visited since starting this blog. Being accepted to speak at a conference in Manchester, which was held this week, meant I finally got the chance to go to the United Kingdom again, for the first time in 12 years. Funny how it has taken me so long to get to the UK, it’s very close to the Netherlands and easily accessible.

Manchester itself isn’t all too interesting, but this has been more than made up for by the incredibly nice people I’ve met and discovering the glory that is steak and ale pie. I think this will be the last country I visit this year, which means I have been able to get to only two new countries instead of the three I planned to visit, but I’m not complaining. I’ll just try harder next year.

United Kingdom

Country #5: Romania

Finally, another update.. A week or so ago I had the opportunity to attend and contribute to a work-related conference in Cluj, the second largest city in Romania. Having never before been to this country, it was another excellent experience. The city of Cluj is partly quite modern, with a lot of young people and several universities, and partly quite old (both in the good way, with medieval churches, and less good, with seventies-style brick towers).

I spent three nights in the country, enough to at least get enough of a feeling of the city and the people. Being there for work-related purposes meant I didn’t really get to tour the area around Cluj, but that’s OK. Maybe some other time… But in the meantime there are a lot of other countries awaiting me!

Country #4: Spain

And another visit to a European country is behind me! Last week, I spent a wonderful week together with the wife and kids on Gran Canaria, an island belonging to Spain, even though it’s situated far more south than mainland Spain. The island of Gran Canaria is roughly on the same degree as the southern border of Morocco, but as it belongs to Spain, it surely counts as another country for the list!

We had a wonderful week there, lots of sun and fun, a wonderful break from the cold weather over here in the Netherlands in November. Taking a holiday in November was a first for us, but it surely won’t be the last time!

This has been the final trip for this year, hopefully I’ll be able to add some more countries in 2017. One’s already confirmed, but I’m looking to add at least two more to the list.

Spain

Country #3: Lithuania

Well, riiiighttt.. When I added the item of visiting all fifty European countries to my list, I didn’t dare to think that the third country I’d visit would be Lithuania. Belgium, maybe, France, or Italy. But not Lithuania. Nonetheless, last week I went there for a work-related conference. And it was great.

Granted, I’ve only seen the capital, Vilnius, but I stayed there for two nights, had a walk through the city to get a feel of the place, spent a full day networking (and speaking) at the conference, so it was definitely a Lithuanian experience of some sorts!

Lithuania was great!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling all too well, so I didn’t feel like going out for a nice dinner in a restaurant (something I like to do when abroad) or spend time in a bar, a theater or even outside at all (there was work to be done after all), but still, traveling for work, doing a public speaking gig abroad and visiting a place I’d never been before has been a great experience. I’m definitely going to do more of this work-related travel in the future, so that’ll be a great opportunity to tick off some more countries on the list. But before that, there’s a week of holiday left next month, to yet another European country..

Country #2: Germany

At the beginning of this year I vowed to visit at least two European countries other than my country of residence. Last week, I reached the half way point of this target by visiting Germany for the first time in a couple of years. We’ve spent a nice two weeks close to the German border, and looking for a day trip on a day with not-so-great weather, we decided to cross the border and visit a zoo in the town of Nordhorn, in the Lower Saxony state.

Germany

So that’s one under the belt, only 48 more countries to go! Looking forward to the rest of the journey already… As for the end of year goal: I’ve managed to land a public speaking gig in another European country in November, so I’m definitely going to make it. I’ll post another update on that afterwards!