The Best of 2021

True story: I typed “The Best of 2020” twice before finally getting it right. Whoops.

Wrapping up the year by rounding up the Best Of 2021 with the top posts and favorite memories on Jessica Lynn Writes

I won’t lie and say 2021 was all peaches and cream, because it was more like a roller coaster of emotions. Lockdowns, virtual learning, bike rides, and tears fueled the early months of the year, followed with an impulse decision to flee Deutschland and its restrictions for a couple weeks in the summer. Being home brought us smiles and “normalcy,” and we returned to Europe feeling refreshed.

Even though the pandoozy is still lingering and lockdowns are still happening (currently in the Netherlands), we have a travel-game plan for 2022, and I’m feeling incredibly optimistic to finally (hopefully) step foot into some new countries…

These “best-of” recap posts are some of my favorite things to publish, because it’s fun to look back on what I accomplished over here. And I’m throwing in a little extra (from the gram) with more info and links, because I’m wordy like that.

Thank you for sticking around this year!

(Some of) My Favorite Moments (in no particular order) from 2021

I’m sharing an instagram post with some of my favorite moments from 2021, but wanted to follow it up with links to all the spots I mentioned (only realizing that I didn’t write about two of them and I need to keep posting my Christmas market posts, so I’m pushing those up on my to-write list).

  1. Traipsing through (and smelling!) dozens of tulip fields in the Netherlands. ⁠
  2. Exploring castles without a single soul in sight. (Pic: Burg Satzvey, Germany—blog post coming soon)⁠
  3. Walking under a canopy of cherry blossom trees in Bonn, Germany.⁠
  4. Taking our newly-discovered love of bicycles and peddling alllllllll around Amsterdam. ⁠(Coming in 2022: info on visiting Anne Frank’s House and Corrie ten Boom’s home, where to stay, where to eat, and more to do in Amsterdam)
  5. Standing on the shores of Normandy, France, and wishing every American could visit those beaches. ⁠
  6. My mom visiting us ???? (Pic: Berlin, Germany. Coming in 2022: what to do with limited time in Berlin)
  7. When we became the Fünfer Bike Pirates ????‍☠️ for riding between two countries (and meeting some new shaggy friends.)⁠
  8. Going up, up, and away in a hot air balloon in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  9. Getting out of my comfort zone and traveling solo with just the kids (Idstein, Germany. Coming in 2022: more on this adorable little town.)
  10. Enjoying the magic of more than a dozen different Christmas markets…finally! (Köln, Germany. Coming in 2022: more posts on the Christmas markets we visited)⁠

The Top 10 Posts from 2021

And here’s a roundup of the top posts written and published in 2021, starting with the most popular.

Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Vicenza, Italy

Are you getting stationed at Caserma Ederle and moving to Vicenza, Italy, soon? This guide from a military spouse has everything you wanted to know, but didn't know where to ask! #pcs #militaryspouse #militaryfamily #armywife

I sadly didn’t keep up with my Duty Station Spotlight series this year—no excuses other than it just fell off my priority list. I’m hoping to kick start it again. If you’re interested in having your duty station featured, please, please, please fill out this form.

Where to Find Tulip Fields in Germany

Everything you need to know about seeing tulip fields in Germany. No need to cross the border when there are some in Deutschland.

Finding some tulip fields not far from our home was such a thrill! They sadly closed it early (because too manny people showed up #covid), but I’m hoping they’ll open it to the public again in 2022.

The Best Coffee Shops in Albuquerque

I had visions of writing this roundup post back in 2020, but it always got away from me. I love that this made the top 10 for 2021, and hope the local business I love so much are still doing well.

Top 10 Things to do in Wernigerode, Germany

Visiting the Harz Region and not sure what to do? Here are the top 10 things to do in Wernigerode with kids!

We visited this amazing town in the fall of 2020, and it remains as one of my favorite trips. The entire area is simply gorgeous. I’m proud of this particular post and how much info is packed into it.

Our Favorite and Useful Family Travel Must-Haves

These family travel must haves will change your life whether you're packing for a quick trip, hitting the road, or an extended stay somewhere.

This was a fun round-up to write, filled with our tried, true, and favorite things. I hope it helps families in the years to come.

How to do a Military DITY Move

Tips on how to do a DITY move like a pro—from the queen of military DITY moves who's done almost a dozen moves in 12 years.

Mallory is a serious DITY queen, and I’m honored she wrote a guest post for me last year. There’s so much helpful information for anyone attempting a do-it-yourself move—military or not.

Cherry Blossom Street in Bonn, Germany

Everything you need to know about visiting heerstraße, aka: the famous cherry blossom street in Bonn, Germany.

This was a complete bucket list moment for me. You can read the post, but long story short: I had this street saved on Pinterest for years. The timing of seeing the flowers in bloom is tricky, but we made it happen!

5 Ways to Save Money After you PCS

Five ways you can save money when you PCS overseas with the military. From a family who's been there and done that twice!

I was surprised to see this as a top post, but happy nonetheless. I also hope this will help families with prepping for a move overseas with the military.

Where to Find Scottish Highland Cows in Europe

Scottish Highland Cows in the Netherlands? You betcha. Here's everything you need to know about seeing these animals!

This is a hyper-local piece, so it was neat to see it pop up on my list. I can say with almost certainty that if it wasn’t for the lockdowns in our area, we may not have ever seen these cows. At the very least, this post probably wouldn’t have existed.

A Good Gouda Day Trip

Here's everything you need to know about when you go on a Gouda day trip. Get ready for cheese, some sweets, and a lot of charm.

This was our first trip after arriving in Europe in 2020, and I had such a fun time putting together posts for the guide. Love that it’s (hopefully) helping families plan a day trip to Gouda.

Top 10 Posts of ALL TIME

And one last round up: a quick peek at the top posts of all time on my blog:

1. What to do When you Find out Your Pregnant
2. San Diego Bucket List
3. A New Mexico Biscochito Recipe
4. Postpartum Pooping (and Other Things Nobody Talks About)
5. PCS Tips: Preparing for Your Military Move
6. Things to Take to the Balloon Fiesta
7. What Being a First-time Mom is Really Like
8. Caprese on Crostini
9. Free PCS Binder Printables and Cheat Sheets
10. Decorating with Disney Cruise Door Magnets

Whew. And that, my friends, is a 2021 wrap. Here’s to 2022!

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