Menu

CheeseWeb’s 2016 Year in Review

By - December 30, 2016 (Updated: January 23, 2017)

CheeseWeb's 2016 Year in ReviewWe look back on 2016, a difficult year for many, and reflect on our past articles, challenges, and hopes for the new year.

2016 is drawing to a close, and for the first time I can remember, I can’t wait to see the back of this year. It has been a long, challenging year for a lot of people; politically with Brexit and the ticking time bomb that is US politics, socially with the loss of so many talented actors, musicians, scientists, and political figures, and on a global level with natural disasters, terror attacks, and the crisis in Syria.

On a personal level, the goings on in the rest of the world paled in comparison to the loss of my father. From January to August we were almost entirely focused on his health and well-being. For the past few months, since his death, we’ve been doing our best to recalibrate and figure out our new normal.

Bad news seemed to plague us this year, and we weren’t the only ones suffering. We have dear friends battling illnesses and breakups and losses of their own, and frankly, we’re sick of the doom and gloom. We were 100% with John Oliver’s (not safe for work or sensitive ears) take on 2016 and will be sending this year off with a one fingered salute.

All that said, we try to be as positive as possible (although admittedly Andrew is better at it than my cynical self). Despite the chaos and rise of intolerance in the world, we do believe people everywhere are generally kind, open, and giving. – It’s something travel has shown us time and time again.

Our wish going into 2017 is for everyone to take a moment to put themselves in someone else’s shoes – maybe it’s the Syrian refugee family that just moved to the neighbourhood, or the Muslim gentleman who drives your taxi to the airport, or the gay couple who you see jogging in the morning. Pick someone who doesn’t share your religious, political, or social values and take a moment to see them as a person who lives, breathes, fears, and loves, just like you. In the midst of all the turmoil in the world right now, we need to stop looking at everyone as Us and Them and remember we are all WE.

On that very sombre (but I also hope positive) note, we’d still like to look back over our favourite articles from the last year. While Andrew and I stayed close to home focusing on family, we did have the opportunity to explore a few places here in New Brunswick we had never visited before and to revisit a few old favourites from my childhood.

We also owe a huge debt of thanks to our three superstar regular CheeseWeb contributors: Adi, Monika, and Adrian, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to keep CheeseWeb running at the same calibre in 2016. We still managed to crank out 95 articles this year (!) and they kept the Belgian and other European content fresh and exciting (and frankly made us pretty jealous with their amazing stories).

Usually, I share our posts of the year chronologically. This year, however, I think it makes more sense to categorise them by country as our travels were so sporadic. Without further ado, here are our favourite articles from 2016:

Slow Travel in France

We still had plenty of stories to share this year from our slow travel in France.

We still had plenty of stories to share this year from our slow travel in France.

Even though we were no longer in Europe, in 2016, we still had plenty of stories to share from our motorhome slow travel through France. We completed a few epic posts we’re quite proud of including:

How could we possibly resist the charms of Auvergne, France?

How could we possibly resist the charms of Auvergne, France?

The majority of our remaining France articles were from Auvergne, (now part of the new region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes). We can’t say enough good things about this under-rated region of France. See why:

We loved revisiting one of our favourite French cities, La Rochelle

We loved revisiting one of our favourite French cities, La Rochelle

We also shared some articles from Poitou-Charentes (now part of the new region Nouvelle-Aquitaine), a close runner up for our favourite place in France. It’s home to La Rochelle, which gets our vote for a city we’d love to live in someday.

Finally, a few more France articles from our travels through the Dordogne department, of Aquitaine (now part of the region New Aquitaine) and Midi-Pyrenees, (now part of the new region, Occitanie).

Slow Travel in Belgium

We'll always have amazing stories to share from Belgium

We’ll always have amazing stories to share from Belgium

Even though we weren’t able to be in Belgium this year, it was very close to our hearts and minds. We were devastated on March 22nd when our former neighbourhood was ground zero for a senseless act of terror. While we were relieved to be away from the danger, we also found it extremely tough to be away from our adopted city during this time of need. We wanted to help with the healing and be surrounded by our Belgium-based friends who felt this loss as deeply as we did. I tried my best to express my feelings on the terrorist act in this article.

There are so many reasons you should visit Belgium. I’ve started a series of posts to round up some of my favourite things to do in Brussels and beyond. Here are a few of those posts:

We had a lot more Belgian goodness from Monika and Adrian this year, and you should definitely check them out:

Of course, you can’t talk about Belgium without great food options and luxurious hotel stays:

Slow Travel in New Brunswick, Canada

Rediscovering my home province of New Brunswick has been a highlight of the past year.

Rediscovering my home province of New Brunswick has been a highlight of the past year.

One thing we’ve been grateful for this past year is the ability to discover some parts of my home province of New Brunswick. Our Slow Travel Manifesto was in part inspired by these close to home travels. We also learned there are ways you can travel, even when you can’t leave home.

If you haven't yet visited New Brunswick, 2017 is the perfect time to plan your trip.

If you haven’t yet visited New Brunswick, 2017 is the perfect time to plan your trip.

And let’s face it, when you come from Canada, staying home is not at all bad. In fact, Canada is Lonely Planet’s destination of the year for 2017, and we’re pretty excited to spend next year exploring it in our motorhome, Yeti. Especially since our Canadian National Parks have free admission for the entire year. If you aren’t planning a trip to Canada next year, maybe you should be. If you do, you definitely don’t want to miss my underrated but amazing home province of New Brunswick.

Our intrepid trio of CheeseWeb contributors has been hard at work bringing you travel stories from around Europe. Here’s what they were up to this year…

We're so proud of our CheeseWeb family and the incredible destinations they continue to share with us.

We’re so proud of our CheeseWeb family and the incredible destinations they continue to share with us.

Slow Travel in The Netherlands

Slow Travel in Germany

Slow Travel in Italy

Slow Travel in Romania

Slow Travel in The United Kingdom

Slow Travel Around Europe

We don’t know what 2017 will hold for us. On a personal level, we hope for health and positivity for our loved ones, enough growth in our business to allow us the flexibility to maintain our location independent lifestyle, and the freedom to explore some of this vast country we call home. For all of you, our dear readers who we are so grateful for, we wish joy, peace, love, and openheartedness as you face the New Year and new challenges.

Safe travels xx

We look back on 2016, a difficult year for many, and reflect on our past articles, challenges, and hopes for the new year.

Like this article? Save it to Pinterest!

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Winter in Canada - Last week we got hit with two major storms which dumped 80+cm of snow and left us digging out... https://t.co/aHsJsx5rVh - 3 days ago

2 comments

  1. Comment by Monica Alward

    Monica Alward Reply December 30, 2016 at 17:27

    Great article Alison!
    Here’s hoping 2017 is a great year for you…I especially agree with your ‘wish’ for more peace and harmony throughout the world and in our own communities for 2017!
    I quickly went through some of the other articles…Loved Adriana’s ‘Milan’…we spent 4 weeks in May/June touring Paris, Italy and Provence…we Loved Milan and wished we had longer than the 2 days we had!!
    Monica

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Reply December 30, 2016 at 18:06

      Thanks Monica! I agree, Adi’s article had me wanting to visit Milan. Andrew has been a few times for work (and therefore hates it) but it even tempted him to go back. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go top