It's been a year since my last "Top 10 Travel Moments in 2014" post and as 2016 is quickly approaching, I finally prepared a whole new "Top 10 Trips of 2015" - the annual countdown of Maryhop's trips around the globe. It was a year full of traveling: Europe was my top destination with my trips to Auschwitz and Arizona being the most intense experiences from this past year.
2015 was an overall great year for Maryhop; one of the best so far.
As the year went by, my nominations at the Marie Claire Blog Awards and the Cosmopolitan UK Awards, both thrilled and honored me while on the other hand, my visit at the Auschwitz concentration camps although overwhelming, it taught me valuable lessons of the world history. Add to that a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences like my trip at the Glen Canyon and my Summer Road Trip around Italy and France, the cruise I took around the Aegean and my visits in luxury hotels around the world and you'll know why I think it was a year so full of traveling. So, let's dive directly into our Timehop!
The countdown is in chronological order - starting from New Year's Day 2015.
#1. ΤHE GRAND BAZAAR IN ISTANBUL
If you'ever been in Istanbul, then you probably know that the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are two great reasons to visit the city again and again. Although I could list a few things NOT to do in Istanbul - since my New Year's experience there left me with a few not-so-great memories - but you should definitely pay a visit to the Grand Bazaar. 58 streets, 1200 stores and 300.000 visitors per day; the numbers provewhy it's such a magnificent experience. Thousands of colors on high-quality carpets, tasty spices, handbags and all kinds of delicacies are your excuse to book a visit to the East as soon as possible.
Highlight of the trip: The strolls around the Spice Market and the colourful spices I brought back home with me.
The Spice Market & Cruise in Bosphorus
#2. WANDERING IN GENEVA IN SPRING TIME
It's spring time in the wonderful Geneva and we're hopping off in Place Bel'Air. When you don't have but a few hours to explore a city, the best way to do it is by making a "quick scan": you scan the list with the must-visit spots around town and you pick those best matching your lifestyle of choice. So I did. I walked across the Mont-Blanc bridge, continued through Jardin Anglais and then made a stop at Jet d'Eau to enjoy the mesmerizing view of the lake. Of course, I visited the National Monument of Geneva and the famous Flower Clock, I walked down the Place de la Madeleine and the Terrasse Agrippa d'Aubigné, I enjoyed a cup of tea at Place du bourg-de-Four, visited the Saint-Pierre cathedral and finally ended the day at the beautiful Old Town.
Highlight of the trip: Without a second thought my walk around the Old Town.
Flower Clock & Jet d'Eau
#3. MY AEGEAN CRUISE
The exciting 4-day cruise I took in May around the Aegean with Celestyal Cruises with stopovers at the Greek islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Heraklion and Santorini and a stopover at Kusadasi, Turkey, surely was an unforgettable experience. Salsa dances, origami lessons, cooking classes and a cocktail show on the deck were just a few of the on board activities we had the chance to experience while cruising. Delicious food and non-stop partying were on the daily schedule along with visits in Ancient Efesos, Roman Villas, Knossos Palace, Mykonos town, the knight's street in Rhodes, the Cave of the Apocalypse in Patmos and experiences like watching the sunset in Oia were a few of the magical moments we experienced when hopping off in each stop.
Highlight of the trip: The moment I witnessed our arrival at the port of Santorini from the bridge of the ship along with the Captain, Mr. Romeos. For an aviation girl like me, it was a super exciting moment to experience!
A few minutes before our departure from Santorini
#4. KRAKOW & AUSCHWITZ
Should I had the chance to nominate the "Best European Capital 2015" then without a second thought the award would go to Krakow. I've clearly stated my love for Krakow again and again - I've even listed my 17 favorite things to do when in Krakow. One of these things, is a visit at the concentration camps in Auschwitz. Although it wasn't at all pleasant, it was a tremendously intense experience that taught me two things; First of all, I learned the hard way, that everything I've seen in movies or read in books concerning the Holocaust and World War II, happened for real and secondly, that traveling isn't always all laughs and joy. "The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again." - George Santayana.
Highlight -or in this case, the most intense moment- of the trip: The moment I saw the document of the Jewish Greeks leaving Thessaloniki for the Auschwitz concentration camps. The photograph is on display at the Museum on Block 4.
#5. MY TRIP TO DOHA
My nomination at the Marie Claire Blog Awards back in June, came with a few exciting challenges - one of which was my trip to Doha. Being nominated at the Awards was a thrilling experience; apart from the fact that I was a nominee, I had the chance to build strong relationships and friendships with my fellow bloggers in a generally competitive field. In my trip to Doha with Qatar Airways, Marilou (Madame Ginger), Chrisianna (Shoprano), sisters Nefeli and Natalia (TwinFashion) and Mariza (MforMariza) kept me great company. Together, we spend our 2-day trip walking around the alleys of Souk Waqif and Katara Village, visited the Museum of Islamic Art, enjoyed the view at Skyline in Doha and right before taking off we visited the Parisa restaurant and had an exquisite meal.
Highlight of the trip: Wandering around Souk Waqif on our first night in Doha, with a food blogger in search of cooking pots and four fashion bloggers shopping textiles and pashminas.
My nomination & the visit at the Katara Village
#6. THE SUMMER ROAD TRIP IN ITALY & FRANCE
It was my second summer living the Road Trip experience - this August we decided to cross both the Italian and French Riviera. 11 days, 16 cities, 4 houses, 2 cars, 3 airplanes, 1 train and 2 buses - the numbers speaks for themselves. As for the memories made? Thousands! I have officialy confirmed it: road trips are an incomparable experience! That is why I've prepared a special 'Road Trip Stories' category to read all about it, as well as, find lots of tips and ideas to organise your very own road trip. It is constantly updated with each city I visit.
Highlight of the trip: I could list a hundred things but I'll just say that Cinque Terre holds a special place in my heart.
Cinque Terre & Siena
#7. 48 HOURS IN SAN FRANCISCOIf my 'Best European Capital 2015' award would go to Krakow, then that for the Best Capital in North America would definitely go to San Francisco. Ι loved this city and I could certainly picture myself living there - it felt like I've spent my whole life there. There's a City- Soulmate for everyone out there and San Fransisco is mine. Its unique architecture, the colors, its charming scenery, the air and rhythm of the city, its crabs - everything was absolutely stunning. I fell in love with the Crab Market and I will most definitely come back to do everything I couldn't in the first place like a night tour in Alkatraz. At least I got to enjoy the sunset in Sausalito and the amazing view with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
Highlight of the trip: The moment I realised I lived inside a postcard when standing across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge & Crab Market
8. IN LONDON FOR THE COSMOPOLITAN UK AWARDS
In November I was in London for the Cosmopolitan UK Blog Awards where I was nominated at the Best for Travel category. Apart from the awards' night when me and the girls had a blast, there were many moments during this trip worth mentioning. Like the Christmas Menu at Opso, a few hours before the awards and my luxurious stay at the historical Grosvenor House in Park Lane. My nomination and the trip to London was a recognition of all the hard work and effort I've put on the blog the past few months and, combined with my nomination at the Marie Claire Blog Awards, they helped end this year in the most spectacular way.
Highlight of the trip: The dinner at Opso with the Cosmopolitan girls and all our travelicious chat over Christmas cocktails.
The awards evening & the Eggnog at Opso
This year was full of Greek Island Hops. From March to September, I had the chance to visit many of the Greek islands, starting from Crete and Hersonissos, then on to Lemnos and after that, Rhodes, Patmos, Skyros, Santorini and Mykonos in May. I experienced the famous greek hospitality to the fullest; from small, picturesque villages and traditional cafes to luxurious hotels and gourmet restaurants. I wish this year I'll have the chance to visit even more islands - especially some of the smallest and more remote ones.
Highlight of the trips: the quiet, morning strolls around the Chora of Mykonos in May.
Mykonos & Patmos
Last but definitely NOT least - the most exciting moment of the year and one of the most spectacular experiences in my life. My trip to the Arizona National Parks and the Grand & Glen Canyon was an once-in-a-lifetime experience - an unforgettable one. Looking at the view from the Horseshoe Bend at the Glen Canyon, I felt so lucky and blessed that almost a decade ago, my parents encouraged me to follow my dream and travel the world. Right there, a thousand miles away from home, I confirmed it once more; I was one lucky girl!
Highlight of the trip: THE WHOLE THING!
The content on this blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
You may not republish, copy or modify the content without my consent.