Travel inspiration is the theme of the latest installment of our The Best Of… series.
The tradition began four years ago as a fun and a bit nostalgic look back at a year-worth of adventures and reminiscing about our best discoveries. Sometimes good-humored or a tad goofy, we wanted these bits of experience to show the diversity and excitement of worldwide traveling. In a way, it was always about travel inspiration.
Time flew by. The old format outlived its usefulness. Nowadays, the internet connection is taken for granted; bicycles superseded traditional modes of public transportation. As for the best airline? Are you kidding? Modern air travel transports you from point A to point B, pulse optional. Meanwhile, visualization became a king.
It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. There could be doubts about the origins of this proverb (some say it came from China, others mention Japan or even Russia) but the meaning is indisputable. We shall follow suit.
2018 has been a successful year from a visual perspective. We amassed impressive 18K pictures from Cyprus, Morocco, France, Greece, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Choosing the most striking ones from the whole bunch is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Let’s break them by country.
This funny shaped island is the warmest winter destination in Europe. We saw quite a few people who were swimming way into January. Seemingly, they were not in a hurry to jump out of the water. The balmy weather and the invigorating sunshine were perfect for a warm-climate lover like me.
We discovered breathtaking sunsets and unforgettable nature when we came to Cyprus for the first time a few years back. We fell in love with this beautiful land and happily came back again to spend the entire winter (and a bit of spring) in 2018.
Despite its sunny appearance, Cyprus, sadly, endured many hardships during thousands of years of history with the last conflict still dividing the land. The abandoned villages of Cyprus is a testament to those days.
We spent a couple weeks in Morocco. Unusually short, this trip was sort of reconnaissance for a future long-term visit. Based in Casablanca, we traveled to some lesser known destinations along the Atlantic Coast and in the northern part of the country.
In short – it was amazing. Literally, every place we visited stood out for its visual, historical and cultural heritage. Morocco exceeded all our expectations.
To be fair, the title should say Paris. It was a layover in the French capital on a flight from Casablanca to Athens. The Air France strike led to an extended stopover that lasted more than a day. I have all sympathy for the airline staff fighting for their rights, but I am glad that by accident we had an opportunity to walkabout Paris courtesy of the strike.
I was thrilled to finally take a picture of the Eiffel Tower. Sadly, we got there too late to get inside, but who cares – sitting on the grass watching the tower and simultaneously observing locals was all I needed.
We covered more than 15 km on that day visiting places that we saw so many times in pictures or read about years and years ago. It was a fascinating journey through times and history.
I am not going to put you to sleep with an endless stream of photos of Acropolis and other famous ruins. They are mesmerizing, yes. Everybody snap pictures of them, yes. The result – information overload. Instead, take a look at this rather unique mode of transportation.
Locals are not too keen about street art in Athens. Sadly, there are plenty of walls that look senselessly vandalized. We saw some political graffiti meant to deliver a message sans beauty. Finally, there are more than a few outstanding murals too. I was impressed with the amount and the quality of street art in Athens.
In one of the half-forgotten corners of the city, we found this touching tribute to Sudan, the last white rhino on our planet.
Japanese castles, temples, and shrines are expected to be the belles of the ball. True, they are stunning. Moreover, I can’t help to throw a couple of them here – the photos came out absolutely perfect in my obviously biased opinion.
Yet, I want to share some other photos too. The beautiful nature and quiet countryside; the blur of a fast-moving train; the famous pumpkin soaking in the rain – they captured different moods and aspects of everyday Japanese life.
This time we stayed in the southern-most city called Kaohsiung. Known as Taiwan’s Maritime Capital, the metropolis is the island’s largest industrial center. The port is modern and huge. On the way to Kaohsiung, we flew over it and took a fantastic shot of the port.
Although I read the history of the city, I was surprised how modern and totally different than Taipei it looks. The Chinese influence is much more pronounced in traditions, architecture, and cuisine.
Hong Kong was the first stop of our full-time travel lifestyle. Thus, every time we are coming back there over all these years of wandering it feels special and never fails to ignite travel inspiration. The antique double-deck tram, the skyscrapers, the streets… it’s like visiting childhood home.
By the end of the year, we found ourselves in Vietnam. The travel inspiration was there, and this trip was in the cards for years but took a long time to materialize. Winter in Hanoi is not too pretty: grey clouds and cold drizzle. Still, we managed to find a few good days to wander around.
… for more travel inspiration to be continued in 2019.
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