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My Top 10 Travel Experiences of 2015

December 28, 2015

Top 10 Travel Experiences2015 has been an amazing year for my travels. I went to 6 countries this year, and 5 of those were new countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, France, Italy, India and Thailand. Italy was the only repeat. This is not counting the two trips to the U.S. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to travel this much. Each country has been a great experience, but each place has offered some unique experiences. I cannot possibly rank them in any order, but here are my top 10 travel experiences of 2015 in order of occurrence.

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Going to Bahrain

Top 10 Travel Experiences

After going to Dubai and not being that impressed, I wasn’t sure what I would think of Bahrain, but I am determined to see as much of the Middle East while I live in Qatar. Bahrain was very different than both Doha and Dubai. There were very few high-rise buildings in Bahrain like there are in Doha, and it felt more like what the Doha must have been like in the late 1980s. It was much more organic in its development and seemed to have more things to do than in Doha. My favorite thing there was visiting the Bahrain National Museum. The museum was filled with Bahraini artifacts and amazing art.

Meeting My Family in Paris

 Top 10 Travel Experiences

When my parents decided to go on a trip to Europe, I knew I would meet up with them somewhere, and when Paris became part of that plan, I decided that was the place. Later, my Mom told me they were going to bring my oldest niece. The highlights were sharing a room with my niece for three days and getting to spend some more time with her that way, sitting outside a Paris cafe having a beer with my Dad and my Mom staying with me on the lower levels of the Eiffel Tower instead of going up to the top because I am afraid of heights.

Visiting Monet’s House

Top 10 Travel Experiences

Once I decided I was going to Paris, I knew I would go to Monet’s House in Giverny. I have always been a fan of Monet and couldn’t go to France without visiting. Not only did I love seeing the gardens of inspiration for his Water Lilly paintings, that I saw in Paris, but the bed and breakfast I stayed in was amazing, and I am planning to go back one day.

Driving in Italy

Top 10 Travel Experiences

Italy is the third foreign country I have driven in and I loved every minute of it. I was a bit worried about not being able to read the road signs and missing an exit, but an excellent GPS unit helped prevent that. Driving the Fiat felt very Italian, although it had a few quirks, like going in reverse when it was in drive. However, getting to see Italy from the road was great fun and I was able to stop a few places along the drive from Rome to Venice.

Visiting Friends in Italy

Top 10 Travel Experiences

Visiting friends is always fun, but my friends had tons of fun plans for me on my three-day visit. Not only did I eat mussels for the first time, but they took me to visit the Monster Park. I have never seen anything like it! The amazing food continued throughout the trip both homemade and the restaurant food. Thank you, Jackie and Alessio, for an unforgettable experience!

People Watching in Piazza San Marco

Top 10 Travel ExperiencesI loved all of the things I did in Venice, but my favorite thing was sitting in Piazza San Marco with an Aperol Spritz watching the people. At one point, before I was sitting down, I saw a seagull take a sandwich out of a woman’s hand! Scared the woman to death I am sure as she screamed really loud. It was interesting to see people from all of the world sightseeing at the same place. The Aperol Spritz is a must while in Venice.

Finally Making it Further East than Qatar

Top 10 Travel Experiences

Exploring Europe and the Middle East was great, but I have wanted to go further east into Asia. I managed to get to India for the second Eid for a beach vacation in Goa. Although parts of Goa felt like Europe. I went on this trip with friends and really enjoyed the less busy time I had on the beach with little sightseeing.

Visiting a Spice Farm in Goa

Top 10 Travel Experiences

I love to learn while I am traveling and the Spice Farm we visited in Goa was one of the best places to do so. We all use spices every day in cooking, but many of us don’t know what those spices look like as a growing plant. I learned what many spice plants look like while visiting this farm. Also, I learned that Mace is made from nutmeg!

Making Travel Friends in Bangkok

Top 10 Travel Experiences Now that I am blogging on a more regular basis and really enjoy it, I have been working on making the blog more professional. I found out in the early fall that there was a travel bloggers conference in Bangkok in October, TBEX Asia. Not only would I get to go to the conference, but I would get to see Bangkok, so I made this unplanned trip fit into my schedule. I met some really great bloggers there. We had a great time sharing travel stories and a few of them I got to swap expat stories with as well.

Discovering a Mystery and Thai Silk Weaving

Top 10 Travel Experiences

One of the tours I went on during TBEX, was to the Jim Thompson House and to tour some Thai Silk Weaving manufacturer’s shops. The Jim Thompson house was a well-preserved house that is built in the traditional Thai style with a few western touches. It houses Mr. Thompson collection of artifacts, but the most interesting thing was that Mr. Thompson disappeared without a trace in 1967 and had never been seen since. After that, we walked down to tour the silk manufacterer’s shops. I was expecting large areas of manufacturing, but what I found was small houses with one to two weavers each. I felt privileged to be allowed in to see this amazing craft being made.

Where did you travel to in 2015? What did you enjoy most? Please share with us in the comments!

Blog

Out of Office

December 21, 2015

Out of Office

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In last week’s Friday Favorites, I mentioned that I was home for Christmas and there would be no Friday Favorites this week. I have decided to take the whole week off, so there will not be a travel post today. I am enjoying time with friends and family this week and unfortunately, I am also feeling a bit under the weather. I hope that if you are celebrating the Christmas season, that you are also spending the week with friends or family. If you are traveling, please tell me where in the comments. I love hearing about your travels as well as my own. Next week I will be back with regular posts. For now, I will leave you with my most recent posts on my trip to Bangkok!

Exploring the Chatuchak Weekend Market

Wat Pho in Bangkok – Photo Essay

Thai Silk Weaving

Mystery and Silk: Jim Thompson House

See you next week! Merry Christmas and Happy Travels!

Blog, Travel

Friday Favorites

December 18, 2015

Friday Favorites

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Hi, everyone! I am little late today as I am in the U.S. and kind of forgot that it was about to be Friday. My days are all off! I guess that is the point of being on vacation. I flew out on Tuesday morning from Doha to Dallas. The flight is 15.5 hours and I watched five movies. I was only able to sleep for a few hours. So far, I haven’t done much, but today I am going to head out to the mall to do some expat stock-up and Christmas shopping. Wish me luck!

Travel History

Passports Were Once Considered OffensiveAn interesting story of the history of passports and how people felt like they were being treated like criminals when they started asking for photographs.

Destination News

The World’s Must Visit Islands – Not all of the islands on this list are tropical. I have always wanted to go to Tristan da Cunha, but it is hard to get to.

Anthony Bourdain Reveals the Most Under-Rated Destination – After watching this video, I am ready to head to Marseille, France!

Airline News

New Airplane Luxury for the 1% is Insanely Cool – This is a video and plays music, so be aware before you press play. This looks cool, but I am not sure if my fear of heights would be able to handle it.

Kuwait Airlines Drops London-New York Flight – A strange tale of an airline refusing to sell an Israeli a plane ticket. According to the airline, it is because it is illegal for a Kuwaiti business to do business with Israelis.

Weekly Post Wrap-up

Wat Pho in Bangkok-Photo Essay – This is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok. Such as stunning place, I let the photos speak for themselves.

6 Gifts for Travelers and a Giveaway – There are only 7 more days till Christmas, so if you need a gift here are a few suggestions. You also have two more days to enter my giveaway for a GPSmyCity app download.

Don’t forget you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Bloglovin’. You can also subscribe to receive posts via email in the top part of the sidebar. Also, if you like my posts, please feel free to share. You can share by using the buttons below! I would appreciate it. Due to Christmas falling on Friday this year, there will be no Friday Favorites next week.

Blog, Travel

Friday Favorites

December 11, 2015

Friday Favorites

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all had a great week. This was finals week at work, and that means students being frantic and faculty looking exhausted. I was also busy this week at work and feel very unprepared to go to Dallas on Tuesday. Last night, I went to my first Christmas party of the season. I was the only American there, which is very Doha. Many of the people there were from Spain. It was nice to hear Spanish being spoken as I don’t hear it much here, and I was surprised to realize that I missed hearing it. I have another party tonight, which I won’t be the only American as it is hosted by an American. This is an ugly Christmas sweater party, and I don’t have one here, so it will be ugly Santa hat for me instead! Tell me in the comments what Christmas parties you got invited to and where you are.

Destination News

Top Coffee Cities – I am a huge coffee lover and drinker, so this article caught my eye. The first one, Taipei is a surprise to me. I had no idea it was such a huge coffee place. My favorite coffee while traveling so far has been Italy. Any good coffee on your travels?

First Passenger Plane to Land in Antartica  – I have always wanted to go to Antartica. However, I won’t be going by plane as it costs about $24,000! Still cool that you can do it. You can still go to Antartica by boat though as a much-reduced cost.

An Exiled Nation Turned into Tropical Paradise – The Chagos Islands have a pristine reef thanks to the US and Britain taking over the island and kicking out it’s inhabitants for a base. Now you can go visit and explore the amazing coral reef.

Airline News

Airports Staffed by Animals – Take a look at all the different kinds of animals helping to keep us safe while we travel. It includes mice and Falcons!

Airplanes Abandoned at Airport – Three planes have been forgotten at a Malaysian airport. Does anyone want to buy a 747? They may sell the planes to get rid of them.

Can you tell I have a vacation on my mind with all the destination news? I am busy planning what I am going to do in 2016. I will update you in January with my travel plans. Where are you planning on going in 2016?

Weekly Post Wrap-up

Exploring the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok – Take a walk with me through the largest outdoor market in Bangkok.

6 Gifts for Travelers and a Giveaway – Still looking for gifts? Take a look at 6 gifts I have used or have given for inspiration. Also, you have till December 20 to enter my giveaway!

Don’t forget you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Bloglovin’. You can also subscribe to receive posts via email in the top part of the sidebar. Also, if you like my posts, please feel free to share. You can share by using the buttons below! I would appreciate it. Stay tuned for next week’s Friday Favorites!