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Looking Back on 2018

Looking back on 2018
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Happy New Year!!! ????

Kicking off the 2019 posts, a look-back to 2018 and all the trips I managed to pull off while holding a full-time job in Vienna. If I can do it, you can do it too!

WINTER

Coming from a (too) hot hometown, I still struggle with the rigorous European winters. So I don't really travel much during this season.

After spending Christmas 2017 in Lisbon, my only winter trip in 2018 was to London.

Hampton Court Palace, London, UK

Hampton Court Palace, near London

Read more: all about arriving & getting around in London, plus hotel recommendations in the South Kensington-Earl's Court and Paddington areas.

SPRING

Now this is when my year really starts! ????

Kicking off the year with Rome and soon after the first of my visits to Milan.

This year I spent with Easter with a friend's Italian family and it was intense, I even attended Easter Mass. Unbelievable as it sounds, Rome during this time is even busier and more chaotic than in summer.

Read more: Check out how to navigate the city and tips for visiting its top attractions.

Milan is hors concours every year, as it's a great base to explore Northern Italy and ridiculously easy to fly from Vienna.

Read more: How to navigate Milan, where to eat like a local and what to do if you have just one weekend. Day-trips from here include Lake Como and Lake Garda.

Visiting a good friend in her hometown had the "side effect" of an addition to my 'countries visited' list: Romania.

Parliament, Bucharest, Romania

Palace of the Parliament @ Bucharest

High prices on my planned flight brought me to an alternative departing from Budapest. To take advantage of a free day and an evening flight, I spent the day on the Széchenyi Baths, relaxing until it was time to head to the airport.

Piacenza, on its turn, came about as I also had some free time in Milan and decided to go there to pick up a custom made hat I ordered. Yes, random, but I won't pass on a new city 🙂

Exploring (part of) Lake Como had been on my list for some time, and I finally got it off the paper last spring. Starting with Lecco, then on to Varenna, Bellagio and ending at Como itself. It was a magical day, with fairytale villages.

Read more: Day-Trip to Lake Como.

Lecco, Lake Como, Italy

Lecco @ Lake Como

Varenna, Lake Como, Italy

Varenna @ Lake Como

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Bellagio @ Lake Como

Dream come true...

The next day – isn't spring energy the best? – it was time for a dream come true: seeing Florence with my own eyes.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be bittersweet as I twisted my foot in my first hours there. I kept going as I wasn't gonna let it stop me from seeing the Florence but after stopping to eat, I was in excruciating pain. Will just have to return, I guess 😉

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio @ Florence

SUMMER

If you asked me 6 years ago, I'd never have guessed I would cherish the summer months so much. ⏳ Counting down to July and August is a real thing! ????

Kicking off the summer with a weekend in Spotorno, one of our favorite spots within a short drive from Milan.

Spotorno, Liguria, Italy

Spotorno

Then it was time for a full weekend in Budapest. I have lost count of how many times I've been there but it's one of my favorite cities and so easy to reach from Vienna 😉

St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest, Hungary

Szent István-Bazilika @ Budapest

Read more: how to arrive comfortably and navigate Budapest, all the must-see spots you can cover in 1 day and a great hotel recommendation.

On to one of the year's highlights: taking my mom to Greece. Together with my sister, we spent an awesome 4 days mini-break in Varkiza, a suburb of Athens.

Varkiza, near Athens, Greece

Varkiza

Since our point was to enjoy the beach, we stayed there and took an Uber one day to Athens itself for sightseeing.

Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Akropolis @ Athens

Another trip that was on the back of my mind for a long time: Melk, an easy train ride from Vienna.

Melk, Austria

Melk

Finally the fortnight I spend the year looking forward to...

August brings my longest uninterrupted break of 2 weeks. This year I used the first day for a quick visit to Lake Garda.

Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda

Desenzano del Garda @ Lake Garda

Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy

Sirmione @ Lake Garda

The only ways to reach idyllic Sirmione are with ferry or car. I have done both but I'd say the ferry is even better because you can stop by another cute city on the way.

Read more: Day-trip to Lake Garda.

Then it was on to real first half of the August vacation. But instead of road tripping around Sicily, we stayed only in Ortygia Island. It was so relaxing I didn't find one picture of myself in the city ????

Siracusa, Sicily, Italy

Duomo di Siracusa @ Ortygia Island

Read more: how to manage Siracusa & Ortygia without a car and the top 10 things to see & do while there.

One easy day-trip is to Noto, a jewel of Baroque architecture.

Noto, Sicily, Italy

Duomo @ Noto

Then it was time to fly to Lisbon to meet up my mom again and finally, on my 5th visit, have the chance to, calmly and with good weather, explore the city and its surroundings.

Read more: how to navigate Lisbon easily and how to make the most of one weekend, covering its top 10 landmarks.

Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Lisbon, Portugal

Miradouro das Portas do Sol @ Lisbon

An easy suburban train from Lisbon takes you to the beaches of Cascais, Estoril and many others along the way.

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais

An unmissable day-trip is to romantic Sintra. Here's Pena Palace, but it offers so much more than this. The Moorish Castle and Sintra Palace are two other spots that you can cover in the same day, with a bit of organization.

Read more: how to cover Sintra's main spots in one day.

Palácio da Pena, Sintra, Portugal

Palácio da Pena @ Sintra

Crossing the Tagus river, other beaches await. One of them Costa da Caparica.

Costa da Caparica, Portugal

Costa da Caparica

Closing the summer, a quick visit to Lake Iseo.

Monte Isola, Lake Iseo, Italy

Monte Isola @ Lake Iseo

Iseo, Lake Iseo, Italy

Iseo @ Lake Iseo

AUTUMN

Time to start slowing down again... only a U2 concert

U2 @ Milan

and a quick stop in Amsterdam to see one of my besties.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Read more: how to arrive & get around Amsterdam, plus a good cost/benefit hotel recommendation.

WINTER

Although I love Christmas markets and all the lights and decoration... it's too freaking cold for me to enjoy doing anything outside. So until springtime with its warmer temperatures comes, I barely travel.

Barely doesn't mean never, however ???? So around Christmas holidays, a visit to better-climate Cyprus. This was a spur-of-the-moment decision, largely based on escaping the frozen temperatures for a bit.

TravelAfter5_Cyprus, Larnaca

Larnaca

TravelAfter5_Cyprus, Nicosia

Nicosia

Finally, after three days in Vienna for work and regroup, back to the airport for New Year's Eve trip. Flying to the best place in the world for this celebration:

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Picture from last year for illustration purpose, as this post is going live while I'm still soaking up all the sun away from a computer ????

Closing 2018 with New Year's celebrations in Rio will be the cherry on top of a year when I did a lot of what I love most. Travels with friends, family, and solo, it's been an amazing year.

Cheers to a travelful 2019!

????

What about you? How has your 2018 been? Are you planning a special trip/destination for 2019? Let me know in the comments.

See also:

Looking Back on 2019

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Looking Back on 2018, by Travel After 5

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Luke Perry
    February 26, 2019 at 21:16

    Wow, looks like you had a great 2018! We love Lake Garda and I cannot wait to get to Rio at the end of the year!

    • Reply
      Alline
      March 1, 2019 at 08:46

      It was a great year… 2019 is shaping up to be not too shabby either, can’t wait for the better weather to kick in!lol
      Glad to see your interest for Rio sparked, it’s an incredible time to be there, I’m sure you’ll love it!

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