The year 2018 is about to end and I promised my family I’d stay put over the New Year. Well, it was actually tempting to join my travel buddies in Hanoi after Christmas but no, I’m home and will be home for the holidays ⛄️ . Around the same time last year, I was with my Nieta (“apo” or grandniece) spending Christmas and New Year in Spain. As was the custom, the Cabalgata or 3 Kings Parade was held on a very rainy January 6. Many still waited and watched the parade despite the cold and the rain. Including us. That capped my nearly month-long Travels With My Nieta.

Cabalgata 2018. Madrid.

Travels With My Nieta. Dec 2017-January 2018.

By March, my travel buddies were all set to explore underrated Sri Lanka. The highlight of this trip was the mini-Safari we had where we watched herds of elephants in their natural habitat. By the time we left Sri Lanka, we agreed the state was quite a revelation and that we won’t mind visiting other parts of Sri Lanka in the future.

Mini Safari in Sri Lanka

Travels With Nieto. Vietnam. 2018.

Pretty soon, I took off to visit that part of Vietnam I’ve missed in previous trips. Danang, Hoi An, Hue. All in Central Vietnam. Only problem was my travel buddies had this flash idea to do Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava too. So I did the next best thing. From Vietnam, I flew back to Manila, said goodbye to my nieto and a couple of friends, then flew out the same day for Vienna. I caught up with the troop in time for a 9am beer in Karlsplatz. Voila! From Vienna, we proceeded to Budapest and then Bratislava . I decided to stay an extra day in Bratislava while them boys flew back to Manila. For sure, these adventures beyond Vienna made good memories.

Vienna Boys +1.

Day Trip from Bratislava

By the time I got back in Manila, I was ready to pack again. In less than 3 weeks, I’m having my dream holiday. My 2nd African Safari. This time, timed with the Great Migration. We moved from Kenya to Tanzania and even managed a hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara. It was just magical! The thing with safaris is that you don’t know what to expect nor what to see. And there lies the excitement, and at times, the disappointments. There is no telling which animals will show up, more so how they’d behave.

Ngorongoro Crater. Tanzania. 2018.

The animal adventures comprise many memories that’d last a lifetime. One yearns for more and that’s where Safari addictions begin. In my case, budget will always be an issue. So those precious Safari memories are good. For now. Besides, there’s a golden wedding anniversary in Sydney that I’m attending some 2 weeks from my Manila arrival. Some friends from USA are attending too and we have a week to bond and travel in and around Sydney before the grand event. Oh, what fun! I stayed in a hotel in the city to be with them so we maxed out our time, especially with sunsets at 9pm. It was great bonding time with my family too.

Sydney Opera House. 2018

My Sister’s (Golden) Wedding (Anniversary). Sydney. 2018

I barely had time to “recover” from the month-long holiday and I was off again. In between trips, I managed to do my medical and dental checkups, parlour appointments, some business meetings, and a few meet-ups with dear friends. My last trip for the year was scheduled late November. This time to Bologna Via Vienna. We made several day trips out of Bologna, and while we were prepared to “get bored” in Vienna (we visited only last July, remember?), we were so thrilled with Vienna’s Christmas Markets. Not just one, but I think there were 10 if not more. We managed only 4 because it was so freaking COLD. The grounds were carpeted in snow so yes, we had an early White Christmas. Only in our dreams, yeah!

More importantly, Bologna (and the day trips) didn’t disappoint in the “dining options” department. We had jolly bellies up until we reached Vienna in freezing temps. And Vienna’s pastries didn’t disappoint either. Happy bunch!

Dinner at Ristorante Donatello. Bologna.

Pastries with Hot Choc. Aida Cafe. Vienna.

So here I am, waiting till 2018 wears itself out. Staying put, as Sydney-based nephews and their families plus a niece are a-visiting during this holiday period. So from my family to yours, have a good Christmas and New Year celebration! 🍾☃️🍷🥂🎊

Rathausplatz In Winter