My Top 10 Travel Highlights from 2015

My Top 10 Travel Highlights from 2015
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2015: Travel Review

This my trip that started in the last week of December 2015 is soon, in a couple of hours, coming to an end. I am writing this post, while sitting in a window seat, on a Cathay Pacific flight outbound from Hong Kong to Oslo, Norway via London.  It's the second week of January, and it’s the beginning of the end of my last adventure of 2015. That we are now in 2016, still it hasn't quite sunk in yet.

I am thinking - I am here, it is now, and this trip seems for the moment like it will never end. Suddenly, a feeling of gratefulness grips me, as I reflect on the amazing adventure I just had.

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends”. - Cesare Pavese

My 2015 had been blessed with many great adventures that I wanted to share with you. Last year, I was in many different cities while visiting 10 countries, but for now I’m only going to mention my top 10 highlights from my 2015 travels and adventures.

Travel Highlights 2015

United States of America

Coming to the states was a great surprise! Since I’m holding a Philippine passport, I had to apply for a visa. Me and my boyfriend were visiting his family on the easter holiday for two weeks. I thought getting a month visa would be good enough. To our surprise, I was granted a 10 year visa! At first, I thought there was a mistake when I saw the expiration date for 2025. Lol, they just wanted to give me enough time to visit more states in the future. So to me, it means I’ll just have to go back, again and again and soon!

1. Dallas, Texas - "Big Sky Country"

Dallas was the first place I visited in the USA. Having come from the Philippines in the tropics and Norway which is surrounded by high mountains, Texas was quite the opposite.

I was amazed at how flat their land was, “Big Sky Country” is what they call it, a never ending sea of flat land.

Big Sky Country 2015

I also love the feeling to be in an American english environment. It felt like I was in a movie and at the same time I felt at home. I realized how much our Philippine culture had so much American in it.

Dallas, Texas

 

2. Chicago, Illinois

Visiting Chicago was unplanned but turned out to be superb! In Dallas, my boyfriend got sick a couple of days after we arrived in Texas. Lucky for me (bad for him), I got the opportunity to travel and see some friends living in other states, in this case Illinois (Instead of being a caregiver, haha). A perfect time for a solo adventure.

Millennuim Park 2015

 

To make the story short, in my Illinois adventure, I reconnected with a former acquaintance that developed into a friendship. Somebody who became my host and guide all throughout the trip. I couldn’t ask for more. It made my trip even more memorable! I felt blessed to be a filipino who can easily connect with anybody. Having networks around the globe, is a part of it, filipinos are known for networking and this can gives us unusual opportunities to travel.

Travel Highlights 2015

Bonus States' Visited :

Layover in Florida and Shopping in Wisconsin

School Trip in Israel

Of all the trips I took, this was the best so far! This may sound dramatic or cheezy to you but, every time I was asked,  “how was your trip to Israel?”, I found it difficult to answer. I was grasping for the right words because I couldn’t find the right words to explain how I felt when I was there.

3. Israel

It was the most enriching educational trip I took so far. Because it was a guided trip, I got the chance to visit most of the ‘must visit’ historical places in Israel.

From Tiberias where I was able to experience sailing in the sea of galilee, down to the fishing village of Capernaum then to Caesarea, to Jerusalem where we visited the Mt. of Olive (had my first camel ride!) Gethsemane, City of David, the Western Wall, Old City, watching the lights festival and walking to other places nearby. We also went to Masada, which I call it my real desert experience. Then down to the dead sea, where we got to experience floating in the water without an effort.

Travel Highlights 2015-Israel

I will write more about my Israel trip soon! 😉 Meanwhile, here's 10 things you need to know when visiting Israel. 

 

4. Golan Heights

Standing on top of the Golan heights you can see the borders of Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, which overlooks the Jordan River,as well as, the Sea of Galilee and Mt. Hermon. I had a mixed feeling when I was there. It made me think that Israel, a very small country is surrounded countries that for many many years, they have been fighting. Golan heights is a Syrian territory that is currently occupied by Israel.

Travel Highlights 2015- Golan Heights

Staycation in Norway

Last summer, I had to reapply for visa here in Norway, so it wasn’t advisable for me to leave the country while waiting for the result, to avoid troubles in coming back. I therefore, was on a staycation. It was my first time to stay in Norway all throughout the summer. Luckily, I wasn’t alone, many of my friends were also on staycation. We decided to go on a hike to one of the world’s famous fjord and mountain in Norway.

Preikestolen 2015

 

5. Preikestolen, Stavanger (Norway)

I traveled with a group of friends this time. Although, me and my friends were disappointed with this trip, I still consider it as one of my highlights of 2015. Hiking while we were soaking wet and cold wasn’t fun but we made it. Being close to this breathtaking nature was fulfilling enough. Even though we weren’t able to take clear pictures by the fjord due to the thick fog, we just savor the moment being close with mother nature.

Travel Highlights - Prekeistolen




Tour Guide in Paris

From time to time, I end up being the tour guide on some of my trips. Though this time, it was my sister's turn. I hadn’t seen her for about two years. The last time I saw her was in 2012 in Austria, during the Christmas holidays. I hadn’t really thought of going to Paris last year, but because of my sister’s constant request, I had not a choice, I just had to go!

6. France The 2nd Time Around

I revisited Paris about a month before the terrorist attack incident. I wasn’t that excited anymore as I was when I first visited Paris in 2012, but I was excited to see my sister and my niece from Austria and my cousin who lives in France.

We stayed in my cousin’s place just about an hour drive away from Paris. It was great to get a little bit further away from the city and experience France with the locals. It is the best place too to eat local food and do sightseeing with the typical french houses and landscapes in the countryside.

Travel Highlights 2015

 

 

7. Disneyland Paris

I'm not a fan of disneyland to tell you honestly, but because of my 5 year old niece, we had to bring her there. It wasn't bad afterall, I just thought I didn't had the chance to go to disneyland when I was a kid, so it was a great time to just enjoy the moment. 

Disneyland Paris 2015

Don’t worry if you haven’t been to disneyland yet, it’s never too late to go! I was already 30 years when I first went there.

 

Frankfurt, Germany

8. Best Layover Ever! -Frankfurt 

I had 6 hours layover in Frankfurt on my way back to Oslo from Paris, so I took the chance to get out of the airport. I was going to see a good friend who lives in the city. I only expected to have a German lunch with her and to  see a place or two, but guess what?! I had seen pretty much what I needed to see. I wrote a guide on this in my previous post, you can read it here, Frankfurt In Six Hours. 

Frankfurt 2015

Thanks to my friend! I told you, it’s great to have networks around the globe or they call it also, international friends! 😉 

Coming Home to the Philippines

Before the year ends, I got an early Christmas present for a trip back home to the Philippines. What more could I ask for?!

9. Home For Christmas in Southern Leyte

Finally, I was home sweet home after 2 years since my last visit. I was home for Christmas! I couldn’t barely remember the last time I spent christmas back home. It must have been close to 7 years, because I used to work in Manila and I spent my christmas there during those years. Whatever it was, the most important thing was that I made my parents happy. I wanted to believe it was one of the best presents they had had.  

We have a wall frame back home, a cross-stitch made by my sister that says “No matter where you may roam, the best part is coming home”, I couldn’t agree more!

Christmas 2015

10. Swimming with the Sharks in Oslob

My 2015 ended with a blast as I got to swim with the friendliest whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu, right before the New Year's eve. I heard and read many things about these famous creatures, both from locals and foreigners, so I didn’t want to miss experiencing it myself too! 

Travel 2015 Highlight -Oslo Cebu

Fortunately, I was with tourists (mostly Koreans), on the same boat, who didn’t know how to swim. It gave me chances to take solo pictures and swim with the sharks as much as I can.

Thank you for taking time to read my 2015 travel highlights! Now, let’s look forward for another awe-inspiring adventures this 2016! Subscribe for free to follow my future trips and adventures, or follow me on my social media sites. 😉

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  • Robin Rue

    Sounds like 2015 was a fantastic year for you! Hope you get lots of cool new travel experiences this year.

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Thanks! Hopefully, yes. Now that’s gonna be a challenge! 😉

  • I would love to see France and Germany someday! You’ve had a pretty rocking 2015! I hope you get to travel more this year!

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Thanks, it was a busy year! I hope so too, even with the busy sched 😉 You can visit both France and Germany in one trip, when you get the chance.

  • laci carlson

    I’m so jealous lucky you !!! I will also travel more one day 🙂 laci

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Absolutely! And when you do, you can’t stop anymore hehe 😉

  • tara pittman

    You are so lucky to do all this travel. I am trying to travel more.

    • Crizzy Kiss

      You can too! Just think I’m traveling with a Phil passport (which has many restrictions) 😉

  • Mardene Carr

    Wow…you have been very busy…I like it. We all should travel to somewhere new at least once per year. Good for you

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Agreed! Thanks! 😉

  • Looks like you have traveled to some wonderful places. Here’s to all of the places you will travel to in 2016!!

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Cheers to that! 😉

  • I want to visit Chicago as it has a fantastic street art scene! Great list x

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Yes! And the famous Millennium Park is cool 😉

  • Madeline Fowler

    I want to go swim with sharks in Oslob. It looked so fun. I like all animals so any interacting with animals attraction is right up my alley.

    • Crizzy Kiss

      It was! But you are not allowed to touch it, otherwise you will be fined about 2k PHP or be put in jail.. 😉

  • Michelle Mink

    you got some incredible travels in this past year which is great! looking forward to see where your travels take you in 2016

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Thanks Michelle! 😉

  • Myrah Falco Duque

    Wow! What an amazing year! Sharks in Oslob? #priceless

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Yes, in Oslob, Cebu (Philippines).

  • You had an amazing year! I miss traveling. I need to plan a few this year.

    • Crizzy Kiss

      It’s never too late to do it 😉

  • Victoria Armijo

    What a fun traveling year you had! So amazing to be able to travel and crete these amazing memories!

    • Crizzy Kiss

      Thanks! Something I’ll forever be grateful for 😉

  • mail4rosey

    The BEAN! I love Chicago, it’s one of my favorite cities to visit. 🙂

    • Crizzy Kiss

      It’s really an amazing city 😉

  • Eileen Murphy Kelly

    What great locations you toured in 2015. I was lucky to live in both Dallas and Chicago. Come to NYC!

  • rika agustini

    wow… never been to any of these places. I would love to visit Norway

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Omg so jealous you went to Israel!!!! Israel
    Is in my top 5 places I need to go 😉

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    These are all fantastic places to go for a vacation. I think it would be amazing to go to Disneyland Paris.

  • So many exciting destinations!

  • The bean! Ahhh!! I want to go there one day. I can just imagine my kids not wanting to leave it.

  • Congrats on your travel adventure it seemed like you had a lot of fun. I would love to visit Italy one day.