Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thoughts: 2012, the Travel Year that was

2012 is one for the books, from the nearby Southeast Asian neighbors to the far reaches of beautiful Europe. Despite the odds of project schedules and work load issues, I was still blessed to satisfy the wanderlust for this year. For the cubicle dwellers, there will always be means and ways to fulfill our dream destinations.

My personal letters to the 2012 places.

April 2012 - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Dear Siem Reap, 

That was a literal "Temple Run" adventure.Thank you for sharing the ancient wonder of your land - the intricacies of the details, the fine mark of craftmanship in your temples and the rich history that comes along with it. 
But beyond that I admire your resiliency from the tragedy of the Khmer Rogue. 
Thank you for sharing a part of your dark history and how it has transformed you as a nation. I adore your simple life - I have seen how you have dreams but contented with what you have. Beyond Angkor Wat, I will cherish your hospitality, goodness, simplicity and above all your spirit of moving on and pressing forward.

September 2012 - Halong, Vietnam and Hanoi, Vietnam

Dear Halong Bay,
How I longed for the moment to see you up close and personal. You are indeed a beauty but it is not what I expected. I did not have the surreal experience of sunrise and sunset amidst your emerald water.Perhaps it is a case of "It's not you Halong Bay, It's me".

Dear Hanoi,
It is the warmth of your people that has truly captured me despite the chaotic nightmare of your motorcycles.The small gestures and even going out of their way to accommodate reinforces in me the goodness in people. And of course how can I forget your simple yet tasty food like the Pho and Spring rolls.

October 2012 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dear Dubai, 
You are so fancy. Adorned by your necklaces of towering skyscrapers. Crowned by that infamous Burj Khalifa that Tom Cruise finds amusing to dangle from.
Then you turned mysterious as you showed your picturesque desert that shifts its form as the wind blows and changes its color as the sun sets. You bared your soul through your dances and food. 
Good memories, Dubai! 

October 2012 - Spain (Madrid, Segovia, Barcelona, Girona)

Dear Madrid,
Your beauty is unassuming yet beguiling. I really don't have high expectations with you but then you attracted me with the richness of your history, warmth of your people and your delectable food.You did not try to dazzle me with world renowned landmarks but subtlety charmed me with your beautiful simplicity. Amore,Madrid!

Dear Barcelona, 
You made me admire the genius behind Antoni Gaudi. You are a living and breathing shrine to the design genius of Gaudi. What I thought was eccentricity is actually ingenuity. Until now I'm amazed by the details and intricacies of the Sagrada Familia. Barcelona, you will always be an architectural wonder

October 2012 - Italy (Tuscany, Venice, Rome)

Dear Italy,
From rustic Florence, medieval Manhattan of San Gimignano, palio crazed Siena,scenic Cinque Terre to the leaning tower of Pisa - Tuscany, you had me at hello. 
Venice, it was short and sweet but despite that you will always be unique with your waterway highways and grandiose Masquerade. 
Ahh Rome,the Eternal City, maybe we need more time...maybe it's me and not really you that's why it didn't work out.Is it true that not all that glitters is gold?

October 2012 - France (Paris)
Dear Paris,
You will always be a diva. A true beauty with a dash of haughtiness. I must admit that I was mesmerized by the structure that defined you - the Eiffel Tower. That I have to see it thrice and just stare at it with the thought running through my head "I'm in Paris". Your elegance can be clearly seen in the beautiful rows of Haussmann buildings. Your rich history and culture reflected in the pyramid of the Louvre, the banks of the Seine, the facade of the Notre Dame Cathedral and the tables and chairs littered outside your cafes. However, away from the historic center lies a quirky side of you in the small alleys of Montmarte that used to be the artist's quarter. And finally, I stand in awe of the grandeur of the Versailles Palace from the interiors to the never ending gardens where Marie Antoinette once walked and perhaps threw grandiose parties.
Enchanté, Paris...I hope to meet you again

Aside from these wonderful places, one of the highlight of my year is meeting a  travel blogger who serves as an inspiration to explore the world beyond the four corners of the office. If your reading this, you know that I admire your spirit of adventure and courage. May you continue to inspire others to dream big.


Post a Comment