2019 - And what a (record-breaking) year it has been! (II)

Happy lady in Uganda
Traveling is all about the knowledge we gain and the precious memories we create. And from this point of view 2019 - a  truly record-breaking year, as I was calling it in my previous article - was nothing short of amazing! Not only did we finally get to check some of the most sought-after countries for culture and nature aficionados like ourselves off the bucket list, but we were also blessed with quite a few out-of-this-world experiences, breathtaking views (including some fantastic window views from both airplane windows and hotel rooms!) and plenty of sunshine even when we least expected it (oh well, with one notable exception which actually improved our travel experience this one time - I am obviously talking about China's Great Wall, check out the first part of this review for pictures). But most of all, 2019 was (again) a year of marvelous encounters with some of our favorite living creatures, among them Ethiopia's endemic Gelada baboons, Borneo's endemic Proboscis monkeys, Uganda's fearsome mountain gorillas and playful chimps and sometimes... even people (lol). If I were to summarize 2019 by way of a joke related to the Chinese year/zodiac craze, I would say it was - for us - the year of the monkey rather than the year of the pig! :)))

On a more serious note, I have always considered that (at least for us) trips tend to happen at the right time and for a specific reason and some of last's year's trips have definitely left their mark on the two of us and triggered decisions that we have already turned into reality and are very proud of. Also, the best things that happened to us are better left unsaid... as always ;).

Check out a quick recap of the past year below...

2019 - A year in review

We started the year in Ethiopia, tracking the world's only grass-eating monkeys in January and tasting what has to be world's best coffee during traditional coffee ceremonies held across the capital city. February saw us once again skiing the empty slopes of Kazakhstan and discovering Tunisia's (probably) most picturesque little town. In March we finally got to see the pyramids (yaay), including from our very own room and breakfast table at one of Cairo's most famous hotels. April brought an unexpected stay and safari on an exclusive island in Abu Dhabi but also the realization that sometimes the (seemingly) worst weather can be the best weather if - like us - you are anything but a fan of overcrowded tourist attractions, among which China's Great Wall is definitely one of the most visited! Cold weather notwithstanding, May was a good time to take in once again the beauty of Lisbon's jacaranda trees, and I must admit we fully recovered from the cold in the Seychelles, while experiencing the islands' authentic hospitality at one of the most beautiful resorts on the planet (review pending); I guess seeing stingrays, eagle rays and dolphins from the resort's very beaches - before even bothering to snorkel! - must have had something to do with the overall great impression... an unexpected encounter with the lazy, but oh so cute capybaras for the first time ever in Brazil later that month only topped it all off! A surprise vacation in June meant it was once again time for Central Asia, followed by more fabulous beaches and unforgettable sunsets in... the Seychelles. YES, AGAIN!!! But don't you pity me just yet, July was/is our anniversary month so no wonder we made it memorable by tracking mountain gorillas and chimps in Uganda's impenetrable forests as well as ticking off our very first river and walking safaris; however, for our 12-year wedding anniversary we chose none other than one of the most romantic cities in Europe to house us: picture-perfect Mostar! August was the pit stop month for us but we came back fully recovered in September, just in time for the Brisbane Festival and its gorgeous light & sound show, to which even the splendid jacaranda trees were invited! Not to speak about the joy of discovering some more insta-worthy spots around Auckland, including some of the most beautiful volcanic (and tourist-free!) beaches we have ever seen. Which brings us to... October, probably our top month of 2019 with a number of 3 countries, 6 exotic islands visited and a total of no less than 13 flights! More jacarandas welcomed us in Perth in November, shortly before our setting foot in country no. 91, Brunei, where we summoned up all our courage for one hell of an adventure - the canopy walkway which rises 50 metres from the forest floor to the level of the highest trees (nothing for the faint-hearted, if I may add!). Skiing in Bavaria was a lot less of an adrenaline rush after that, I tell ya! :))). Having started with a trip to the haze-enveloped Sydney (damn you, bushfires!), December looked quite gloomy at first, but then, totally unexpected, the vacation gods smiled upon us and I ended up celebrating my 40th anniversary (no, you don't need a new prescription for glasses, this is me struggling to keep a balance between reality and appearance haha)... by finally swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives

Anyway, not too bad of an outcome considering the little planning that went into our 2019 trips, don't you think? 

July - Mauritius, Uganda, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Murchison Falls (Uganda)

Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
September - New Zealand, Austria, Australia

Empty volcanic beach in New Zealand
New Zealand, not far from Auckland
Vienna (Austria)

Brisbane (Australia)

October - Japan, French Polynesia, UK

Osaka (Japan)

French Polynesia

Colorful fall in London (UK)
Windsor (UK)
November - Australia, Brunei, Spain, Germany

Perth (Australia)
Jacaranda trees in Perth (Australia)
Stunning Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei)
Canopy walk in Borneo (Brunei)
Winter by the beach in Barcelona (Spain)
Pool views in Barcelona (Spain)
Christmas market in Munich (Germany)
Skiing in Bavaria (Germany)
December - Sydney, Maldives

Sydney (Australia)

Maldives - the sunny side of life :)
A dream come true: swimming with whale sharks in Maldives

May we all have a fantastic 2020, fellow travelers, filled with love, laughter and never-ending adventures!

For Part One of this year in review click here.

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