The year is almost gone and it was so quick. And I have been so busy that I never really got the time to sit down quietly and write about my travels. Today as I sat down looking at my travel photos, I thought this being the last weekend of 2018, it would be nice to write and share my travel experiences of this year.
This is also an opportunity to reflect back on the year and be grateful for all that I have been through. I have been to some wonderful places of our beautiful world. I have learnt about Cyrillic alphabets to Hieroglyphs. I have seen icy landscapes to deserts, valley of roses to valley of the kings, ancient treasures to modern marvels, tomb of the boy king to gas chambers of the holocaust, natural beauties to man made wonders. This varied experiences have helped me to know more about these places, made me eager to learn more and to realise that we must not forget everything from the past. There is so much to learn from them.
This has been a memorable year with quite a bit of travel throughout the year. I feel lucky enough to have travelled to some countries which were on my travel wish list and have truly enjoyed my experiences in each one of these countries.
In February 2018, I visited Iceland. It was like a dream come true when the Iceland air flight started descending towards Reykjavik. I can still see the vivid icy landscapes in front of my eyes. Walking down on the hot waters of the Blue Lagoon was a lifetime experience indeed.
After that in Mar 2018, I was on a family visit to India but I took this opportunity to make a short trip to the sea side town of Bakkhali on the Bay of Bengal. This place is famous for its sandy beaches where the water recedes and comes back with the tide. The beaches are filled with thousands of red crabs which goes inside their holes as soon as they detect any footsteps.
In May 2018, I visited another lovely country Bulgaria. The main reason to visit in May was to see the famous Damascena roses in the Valley of Roses at Kazanlak, which is around 200 kms from Sofia. To stand in the valley of the roses and inhale the lovely smell of the Damascena roses made the long travel from Sofia worthwhile. And so was the visit to one of the distilleries to see how rose oil was being extracted from the fresh rose petals which are collected in the early hours of the same day.
In June 2018, wanderlust stuck again and I was out on a week long trip to Poland. It was a great itinerary starting with Warsaw and then travelling to Baltic coast town of Gdansk, the ginger bread capital town of Torun, Wroclaw, the city of the famous dwarfs and finally the beautiful city of Krakow. The highlight of this trip was the visit to Gdansk, the medieval brick castle of the Knights Templer – Malbork Castle, Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt mines.
Then came a big gap to my travels and life got busy with work and more work. This is when I realised that I need to go away somewhere. So in December 2018, I travelled to a new continent where I have not been before, Africa and to the country where I have always wanted to go, one of my dream destinations, Egypt.
I started my travel in Egypt from Cairo and went to Luxor, travelling upstream the Nile river up to Aswan. Being on a cruise boat was also another first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope to write about my Egypt travels soon.
Once I was back home safely, the news of the attack on the tourists was all in the news. I felt relieved that I was back home safe but at the same time felt extremely devastated thinking about the travellers caught in that moment. As travellers we seek to see new places, experience new cultures and bring back these experiences with us to share with family and friends.
I hope and pray that 2019 would be safe for all travellers and we can travel in peace and harmony around the world.
Some tips from my travel experiences, specially if you are travelling solo:
- Being safe is the most important thing, so trust your instincts. If you do not feel right, it is not right.
- Watch what you eat and drink. There is nothing worse than to fall sick when you are travelling.
- Always keep some local currency with you. This is handy if you need to buy some water and snacks in local shops or for tips.
- Check with your hotel front desk if you plan on walking out for dinner, ask them which way is the safer route.
- Always carry your prescription medicines along with the prescription (some countries need to see this) in your hand luggage.
- Learning some basic phrases in the local language certainly helps.
Looking forward to fulfil some more travel dreams in 2019!!
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