Before telling you all about our 2018 adventures, I just want to stop a little and say Thanks to all of you that have been following my stories so far and letting you know The Blog has a Brand New Face that we have been working on for so long! I really hope you will Love it as much as We do and I promise I will dedicate it more time and share all my experiences as soon as possible! Click HERE to see more!
That being said, our year started in the amazing MOSCOW, Russia, which we both wanted to see for so long. Not sure if you know this about me, but I have Russian roots from my father’s side so it was always a dream of mine to visit this country. And I was not wrong, we loved our time there especially because they were still getting ready for Christmas and the city was full of lights and decorations. We went ice skating in the heart of the Red Square, drank mulled wine and enjoyed breathtaking panoramic views over the city. And it was not even that cold as we’ve expected. Cannot wait to explore Moscow in summer time as well!
The first trip of 2018, in January, was also one of my favorites even if I had already visited the destination so many times: I had my first full collaboration with a 5 stars hotel in ROME, Italy. Grand Hotel Palace spoiled us and showed the true meaning of La Dolce Vita with a stunning suite facing the iconic Via Veneto. The timing was also perfect since it was our One Year Anniversary so we definitely enjoyed it to the fullest. As a plus, I can never be bored with the Eternal City.
The next adventure was a short city break in ATHENS, Greece in the last week of January, enough to enjoy the amazing feta cheese and the perfectly cooked lamb. Yes, apparently I am obsessed with food! The city break ended perfectly with the best pancakes and the most incredible view in Athens.
February came in a hurry with a shopping city break in MADRID, Spain, with my mother and my sister & best friend, Berta. Even though I had a terrible flu those days, we still managed to taste all the Spanish goodies and buy way to many clothes on sale J
I went back home, took my now fiancé and flew all the way to DUBAI, UAE where I got to see my childhood friend & sister by soul, Oana, and her fiancé, Toufic, and we just tanned under the friendly sun. I have visited Dubai 5 times already and it has a special place in my heart, but I will tell you all about this at the end of this article.
UAE was followed by an African adventure and I still cannot believe how much beauty lies in this world. I have also wanted to see ZANZIBAR, Tanzania, and its pristine beaches, but the reality was even better than my dreams. I am not gonna lie to you, there are shocking things for a European to see regarding poverty and the conditions people live in, but we were surprised by how welcoming and helpful the locals are. I know I promised I will write everything about our magical experience there and I will because I want you to visit this amazing island. I just wanna summarize: white sandy beaches empty most of the time (if you skip the popular north ones), breathtaking marine life and surreal turquoise water.
March wanted to be amazing as well so it started in NAIROBI, Kenya, where we had a short safari experience, followed by giraffes’ kisses at the Giraffes Manor. Meeting baby giraffes was the cutest thing ever and we even got to hand feed them – real bucketlist experience checked!
The end of April took us to COMO Lake in Italy and God, we were so spoiled by Grand Hotel Imperiale Moltrasio. I have always wanted to return to the stunning Como Lake area and explore it town by town. Boat2Go even gave us a boat tour and it was the best way to admire the amazing houses by the lake and their architecture. We definitely recommend this activity if you visit this Italian gem. The sunny and incredibly hot weather in late April was definitely a plus!
May is dedicated to my fiancé since it is his birthday so he got to decide where he wants to spend his magical day. He chose AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, which I have never seen before, and I added PARIS, France for a touch of romance! The perfect mix between city breaks. I have to start by saying Amsterdam exceeded my expectations: beautiful canals, colorful tulips, yummy food and cute cafés, can we go back like tomorrow, maybe? The Fletcher Hotel offered us an “out of this world” accommodation experience and Canal Motor Boats showed us the best way to explore the city – by using eco boats! PS: Don’t forget to try the famous fries!!
PARIS, France will always be a special destination for me since this was the first city I have ever visited outside Romania and citizenM Hotel made it even more special with a room with Eiffel Tower and Seine view! We stayed up late at night just to see the lights sparkling. Amazing croissants and Instagrammable cafés, need I say more?
June took us to new adventures and two new countries on the list: Sweden and Denmark. We only had a glimpse of Sweden in MALMO, but definitely ate the best grilled salmon ever, and then we moved on to COPENHAGEN for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s concert. Kong Arthur Hotel offered us the coziest accommodation experience and we’ve witnessed the white nights for the first time. We practiced our captain skills on the canals thanks to Friendships Copenhagen and ate the most deliciousss sushi ever!! Happy kid! PS: Don’t miss the Instagrammable Nyhavn.
July was adventure time again and we flew all the way to SRI LANKA which blew us away with its stunning jungle views, empty beaches, palm tree fields and luxury hotels. The good news is that even luxury in Sri Lanka can be cheap and I totally recommend this country for budget travelers! Sri Lanka by Car provided us with private transportation everywhere on the island. We were spoiled by KK Beach, an amazing ocean front hotel, and Theva Residency where we had a panoramic suite with Jacuzzi included. How awesome is that? We also tried budget accommodation and it is crazy how much you can get for 30 dollars/night in Sri Lanka! To summarize: we hiked, we tanned, we were caught by torrential rain on top of Little Adam’s Peak, we flew our drone around wasps and almost got attacked, we took the famous train from Ella, visited many Buddhist temples and tried traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. I nearly forgot: we saw elephants into the wild! What a magical adventure!
August meant another dream come true: THE MALDIVES! More than that, we had the chance to prove that one of the most expensive destinations in the world can be visited on a budget too by staying on a local island called Omadhoo at the amazing Kirulhiya Maldives Guest House! Our hosts were so helpful and friendly and showed us the best that The Maldives have to offer. It was a crazy beautiful week with memories for a lifetime: sunset beach dinners, breakfast on a sandbank, snorkeling in the middle of the Indian Ocean, seeing baby sharks and rays every day, lunch on a deserted island, fruit breakfast on the beach, candle light dinners under the full moon! Hard to top all that!
We finished our MALDIVIAN adventure by ticking off another bucketlist experience: staying in an overwater bungalow where we fed the sharks and the stingrays at sunset time.
If May is my fiancé’s month, September is definitely mine and we chose to celebrate it with two new destinations: MALTA and TAORMINA, Italy and a short layover in ROME for a quick breakfast with Colosseum view..
After seeing its beauty, I am still wondering why we waited for so long to visit MALTAsince it is so close to our home and the perfect sunny destination. My favorite place was definitely Blue Lagoon on Comino Island and I recommend heading there early morning to catch it not so full of tourists because I guess empty is not possible. Blog post regarding our Malta adventure coming soon!
SICILY was also waiting for a long time on the list and I was amazed how beautiful it actually is. We had the craziest room view from Villa Le Terrazze and ate the best granita in the world at Bam Bar Taormina! Needless to mention the yummy lemon ice cream and the cold Aperol perfect for hot days. The highlight of the trip was the day we rented a boat and enjoyed some privacy with the best view on the island!
November was ready for me with the most emotional day of my life in DUBAI, UAE. I said YES to the most amazing man – my love, my best friend, my family! I had my magical friends, Berta, Oana & Toufic and Alexandra by my side which made the moment perfect! We stayed in my favorite area, Dubai Marina, had an incredible view from our balcony, rented a yacht to celebrate our engagement, ate the yummiest Asian food at Asia Asia Pier 7 and Italian food at Luigia, went on top of the world at Burj Khalifa and tanned all day long in JBR and Dubai Marina. It was my fifth time in UAE and I cannot wait to be back!
And the year came to an end with another two epic destinations: LISBON, Portugal and PARIS, France, for the second time in 2018, but for the first time in winter.
December is the most magical month of the year thanks to Christmas decorations and lights so, despite the cold weather, I love exploring. LISBON was the perfect choice because it waited for us with 16-18 degrees Celsius and sunny weather. It was my second time in Portugal and I have to say I love the vibes of Lisbon: always so full of life! As a plus, this is also a cheap European destination so I recommend it to budget travelers! The sunset at Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe, stole our hearts for good!
We spent the night between the years in PARIS, France with a glass of champagne and a magical view of the sparkling Eiffel Tower, where, unfortunately, there were no fireworks, as we have seen in the Instagram pictures. The main fireworks show was on Champs Elysees so you can easily imagine how crowded this area was, but we loved how happy and joyful everyone was. We ate macaroons and croissants and, of course, visited Montmartre for the loveliest cafés!
That being said, 3 continents, 16 countries, 39 flights after we are ready to receive 2019 with arms and hearts open so we cannot wait for the new adventures! I hope each one of you had a magical 2018 and I pray that 2019 will be even more amazing and filled with lifetime memories!
Happy New Year, beautiful souls and thank you for making time to read my blog! Don’t forget the website has a brand New Face and I would love to know what you think!