Travel Diaries: 2018 Adventure Highlights

I can’t believe 2018 is already over, and boy, what a year it has been! It may sound over the top, but  I really believe that 2018 has become our best year yet. With all the discoveries and fun adventures we made and did together last year, it surely looks like 2019 has some big shoes to fill.

After a heartbreaking year in 2017, we became so eager to fill the new year with brand new memories and a more positive outlook. Even before ringing in 2018, we've already decided that we should try to discover the rest of the world together while we're still young and able, but without drilling a huge hole in our pockets. So we saved up a ton and skipped a vacation to the Philippines last year to make our travel goals possible. To be honest, it was tough not seeing our families for an entire year, but we knew that we needed it in order to grow and gain a fresh perspective. Fortunately, this year brought us so much fun memories and experiences which we can treasure for the rest of our lives, and I'd like to think that our many travels have made us closer than ever too. :)

Yerevan, Armenia
For our Easter break, we went to a short but meaningful trip to the Pink City of Yerevan in Armenia. It really made our “Visita Iglesia" extra special and the highlight? Experiencing snow again after so many years, which was such a refreshing treat. We seriously felt like kids again going on the most fabulous road trip ever!

Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 
We also enjoyed hosting some of our friends and families who visited Dubai last year. It somehow relieved our homesickness and have made us feel like wide-eyed tourists in this country all over again. Our close encounter with the charming penguins of Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates and the sharks inside the Dubai Aquarium in The Dubai Mall for the very first time, and also our multiple visits to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi were some of the highlights of our adventures.

England and Scotland, United Kingdom
Probably the most expensive, but also the most fun was our UK vacation in June. We spent more than two weeks exploring the vibrant London scene, mysterious rocks of Stonehenge, Warner Brother's Studios, and also going on a fun weekend trip to Edinburgh in Scotland  the birthplace of Harry Potter.

London easily became our best and most favorite discovery ever. This city totally captured our hearts with all its food markets, candy-colored houses, museums, lively pubs, stadiums, and musicals. There's so much to do and enjoy! Watching our first London West End show (Wicked) was definitely one of the highlights. It felt magical so magical that we even went back for a second visit to London in September which proved to be equally amazing. Planning to visit again once the renovation of the famous Big Ben is done, so it wouldn't be covered with scaffolding next time we see it.

Istanbul, Turkey
One of the most utterly wonderful places we visited this year was Istanbul. It's so beautiful, there's just no words! We spent barely five days there in September, but it honestly felt so short and didn't give justice to the many things Istanbul can offer. I enjoyed staying in Ambassador Hotel, which was situated at the heart of Sultanahmet because we were just a few steps from Istanbul’s beautiful landmarks and must-see's like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Ciscern, and Topkapi Palace. Just a little bummed that we didn’t get to experience Capadoccia’s famous hot air balloons due to time constraints, but atleast we now have the perfect excuse to go back there in the future. Hopefully soon!

Prague, Czech Republic
My birthday this year was nothing short of a fairy tale after celebrating it in Prague early this month. The authentic vibe of this bohemian city is truly on a league of its own! It's definitely one of the most picturesque cities we've ever visited. The timing of our trip couldn't be more perfect too because all the Christmas markets and celebrations were in full swing when we were there. Prague was so alive and insanely festive!

Vienna, Austria
There's something so special about Vienna that just stays with you. It's been more than a month now since our visit, but I still find myself smiling silly whenever I think about our short trip to Vienna. This sophisticated and charming city set the bar high for us. It is beyond perfection with its exceptional mix of the old and new. I’m very grateful too that we got to meet and bond with some of my husband’s family who were so nice to tour us around Vienna. It made our final trip this year all the more special and meaningful. When the thick snow fell during our last night in Vienna while we were exploring the charming streets of Stephansplatz, I knew right there and then that Vienna will forever be one of my favorite memories with my husband. It was an early white Christmas dream that came true, like one of those pretty tiny Christmas villages.

I’m not one to make plans, but I have a feeling that 2019 will be an even better year for us (I’m claiming it!). Just thinking about the many places in our travel goals are making me feel super excited already. Can't wait!

Cheers to more travels and Happy New Year to all of us!

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