2015 was one of the best and most life-changing years in a long time: I went from a full time Cabin Crew to a freelance Cabin Crew, started going to university and moved from Switzerland to Austria. Even though 2015 was quite intense, I managed to find some time for traveling.
While I’m writing that, I am already planning some travels for 2016. 🙂 There are some destinations I would like to tick off my bucket list and one longer trip, which I will reveal once it’s official.
So, here is a list of my Top 5 Travels 2015:
Do you know these places you always want to visit, as they seem like a magical place to you? The Taj Mahal is such a place to me. I was a happy as a child when I was able to make a long-held dream come true.
We drove in the early morning and arrived a few minutes before sunrise. The white mausoleum was breathtaking in the morning light and radiated peace and calm. Only a few people were around and I enjoyed the silence. The Taj Mahal has something majestic – it was so beautiful I almost cried when I saw it (maybe you can also blame it on a long flight and being awake for 24 hours, but you got my point ;-))
Note: If you are going to the Taj Mahal and even try to squeeze it in a 24-hours-layover, I strongly recommend you to organize everything in advance and depart right after landing in order to avoid an immense crowd of people. If you would like to have more information about my trip to the Taj Mahal, write me a message or leave a comment. 🙂
Moscow has it’s own fascination to me. Red Square with St. Basil’s Cathedral is a must-see when you visit Moscow for the first time. Whenever I feel like having an Alice-in-Wonderland-moment and escape the hectic city life, I go to the nearby luxury department store GUM for a cup of tea or just for some window-shopping.
Usually I go to the city alone, which is super exciting, as I don’t speak Russian and have to get along in a Cyrillic environment.
The long metro ride to the center is an experience on its own: to me it’s the loudest, most overcrowded and oldest metro in the world, but it offers free WiFi. 😉
Whenever I’m in Moscow I try something new: enjoying a healthy lunch at le Pain Quotidien, do a river cruise on the Moskwa or sipping Moscow Mule (the best ones you’ll find at the O2 bar at the Ritz Carlton!) over the roofs with a mind-blowing view.
The most fun experience was when I went to Gorki Park and bumped into a huge local food festival “О, да! Еда!” (Russian for “Oh yes, that’s food!”). Not knowing what was expecting me, I paid the entrance and spent hours there posing in photo-booth-stations, sipping on detox juices and trying out specialties, one by one.
Vivid Israel seems to be every healthy food lover’s paradise: the freshest, most colorful fruits ever, tons of nuts, huge fresh dates, dried fruits and tons of spices are found on nearly every corner, besides hummus and falafel, my favorite to-go-snack.
Spending the first day in Tel Aviv, exploring Old Jaffa, Camel Market and Tel Aviv’s Old Train Station (where nowadays an Ahava store is located ;-), strolling around small alleys and flea-markets, sipping on fresh fruit juice and eating Açaí-bowls. We enjoyed the cultural part of Tel Aviv so much we didn’t even make it to the beach – but hey, that’s why we kept one spare day to go to the Dead Sea and Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was such a holy and peaceful place. The Dome of the Rock with its impressive golden dome and the Western Wall were really breathtaking. We took a bus to Bethlehem, to visit the Church of the Nativity, where it’s said that Jesus was born.
The Dead Sea is fascinating. Due to its high salt concentration you float in the Dead Sea and can literally “sit” on the water. Applying Dead Sea mud with all its minerals on my whole body and face, letting it dry and removing it like a scrub. I instantly felt ten years younger and for a second I even thought of taking some mud back to the hotel, to keep that feeling a little longer. 🙂
Hot Air Balloon Ride in South Africa
One of the things that seemed to be on my bucket list forever was a ride in a hot air balloon. On my last flight to Johannesburg a fellow crew member and me found out about this once-in-a-lifetime-experience in South Africa.
Early in the morning we drove 70 km North of Johannesburg to the beautiful Magalies River Valley. Lucky us we were only the two of us, the captain and two producer, who were filming for a local TV production in the basket, which made it even more intimate and less crowded.
We were not disappointed: we took off during sunrise and saw Mother Nature as breathtaking as it could be: huge fields and trees, as far as the eye can see. Serenity. It was so peaceful up there, surprisingly no movements and no “turbulences” at all. We even spotted a spring-bock shortly before we landed, how cliché is that? The grand finale was a champagne breakfast upon arrival. Even more cliché, I know.
To me, Tokyo is a world inside our world and hard to explain to somebody who has never been to Japan. Billions of people, but still so well organized, discreetness, but the biggest gaming halls and funky anime characters and countless every-day inventions that keep me astonished.
Exploring Tokyo by foot and by metro, getting lost in the flow, buying the most expensive strawberries ever, watching thousands of people crossing the Shibuya-crossing, having fun posing in a photo-booth machine in a gaming hall, drinking lots of soy green tea latte, enjoying the view from Tokyo Tower, buying Japanese sweets like Dangos, visiting temples, exploring Ginza and taking one of their well organized trains are only a few things we did.
Note: I’m sorry for the poor quality of the photos, these were mostly snapshots taken with my mobile. But as I am a proud owner of a real camera now, my future pictures will hopefully have a better quality. 🙂