As 2013 comes to an end, I was thinking back on all the cities I traveled to this year. I decided to make a list on my 9-hour train ride to Vienna. Boy, were there more cities than I thought! I would love to share this with all of ya’ll, including some pictures! Here are bits and pieces of 14 cities, 3 continents and 18 trips.
January 22 to January 24- Zurich, Switzerland by car
In our marketing module last year, we had to perform an audit for a restaurant or hotel. One of our group members had a contact in Zurich, so we went there to complete an audit for the restaurant Walliser Keller (serves traditional fondue). As much as it was about “work”, we still got to explore the area and even had the chance to meet someone on the street who was doing a Eurotrip alone!
January 31 to February 3- Florence, Italy by train
I went to Florence at the beginning of the year with my ladies. Some of them have been before, but it was my first time. Our main purpose of going there was to visit the outlets- The Mall, Barberino and Space Prada Outlet (and of course to eat their famous gelato and pizza/pasta). While my friends splurged at The Mall and Prada for the families and friends, I stayed low key with buying a few sweaters and ties for my dad, a nice Ralph Lauren vest for my mum, and Timberland boots/Adidas sneakers for myself.
March 2 to March 17- Shanghai, China by plane (KLM Airlines)
A last minute decision, my friend and I decided to go to Shanghai for our spring break (and skip the first week of class of the new term). My friend wanted to go because his girlfriend was there; I wanted to go back simply because I miss Shanghai. The tickets were cheap, and all we had to do was calculate the number of days we were allowed to stay there (Singaporeans can only stay in China for 14 days without a visa). This turned out to be such a worthwhile trip- I got to represent my university in a few conventions, I met up with the admissions team from my university for two lunches, I got to eat Papa Johns with my dad, 生煎包 (fried buns filled with pork and soup) with my mum and even went to a steam room and had my back scraped (刮痧).
March 31 to April 4- Istanbul, Turkey by plane (Turkish Airlines)
One of the reasons I chose to study in Switzerland is because my dad has a conference here every year, which meant I get to see my parents once a year in Europe. This year, my mum decided to visit me a bit earlier during my easter break to see where I lived and also so that we can travel together. We decided to go to Istanbul! It was amazing- the weather there was perfect, the people were friendly (one guy at the Spice Bazaar tried to ask me for my hand right in front of my mum!) and the atmosphere was great. We even went to a traditional turkish hamam! Unfortunately, I came down with a stomach flu the last two days I was there, so we didn’t go out much then. But we did all the touristy stuff before hand; I am so grateful that my mum got to visit me in Europe and we got to travel somewhere together! It was one of the best vacations ever.
April 19 to April 22- St. Tropez, France by car
The road trip to St. Tropez with four other ladies was.. let’s just say, what happens in St. Tropez, stays in St. Tropez! Haha, no in all seriousness though, we had a blast. The weather there was amazing, the seafood was amazing, and most of all, the partying was crazy (we got free Patron shots…). Enough said.
April 23 to May 5, June 5 to June 22 and August 3 to October 25- Praslin, Seychelles by plane (Etihad Airways)
The first trip to Seychelles was completely spontaneous. I was applying for internships for the summer, and Raffles Praslin was one of them. The director of human resources called me one fine morning, said the resort is looking for a Chinese-speaking staff and this would be an appropriate time to see whether or not I would really like to go there for my internship; a week later, I was on a plane to Seychelles (all expenses paid). This was easily, the highlight of my year (at that time). It was 10 days of pure bliss and happiness in amazing weather and meeting amazing people. I was skipping classes at this time, but it didn’t really matter to me because I know I was receiving a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was sad to leave, but knew I would be back for my internship in a month. The next trip was for two weeks and I had to leave due to work-visa issues. The last trip was for the rest of the duration of my internship. It was here that I got to meet many tour operators/travel agencies and journalists. This was most definitely the highlight of my internship.
May 9 to May 13- Amsterdam, The Netherlands by plane (KLM airlines- I think)
Four days after I arrived back to Switzerland, I was packing my bags again for Amsterdam. I was really counting my blessings at this time, thankful for all the traveling experiences I got to take. Sitting on the plane and looking out at the beautiful and colorful tulip fields in Amsterdam made me more than excited for the landing and the chance to start exploring the amazing city. There were four of us; two have been here before, and it was the first time for another friend and I. Of course we did all the touristy things- we went to the Keukenhof, had space cakes (which didn’t hit until 8 hours later), went on a tour around the dam, went to the Heineken museum, went to amazing restaurants and the most fun thing we did- three of us got our tragus’ pierced. I plan on going back this summer again when the weather is warmer, and I am most definitely looking forward to it!
June 22 to August 3- Singapore by plane (Emirates)
I had to go back to Singapore while I waited for my work-visa for Seychelles. At first, I was extremely disappointed. I had just settled into Seychelles, and now I would have to leave again. But boy, did this trip prove me wrong. This was the time where I reconnected with old friends, made new friends, and literally changed my life. I also took on a non-paying, two-week job at a start-up called Self Spark and met many amazing people. My sister graduated from her masters program, which prompted our family to be together for the first time in a year and a half. I met my niece (cousin’s baby) for the first time since she was 6 months old and instantly fell in love. I also realized that this is probably where I want to work after I graduate. This was also where I first started blogging, and many of my pictures can be found in my previous blogs! Too many things happened in this month and a half, and I am forever grateful for it.
October 25- Dubai, UAE by plane (Emirates)
I was in Dubai for a day during my layover from Seychelles to Shanghai. I went to the Dubai mall as well as the Burj Khalifa. Definitely worth the 14-hour layover!
October 26 to November 7, November 10 to November 16 – Shanghai, China by plane (and business class! Emirates)
Spending my birthday here was amazing. It was one of the quietest birthdays I’ve had since I turned 18; I caught up with a high school friend for lunch and met up with two university friends for dinner. I lazed around most of the time I was in Shanghai, recovering from my experience in Seychelles. I also met someone amazing, and I haven’t looked back since. Pictures from my previous blog post :)
November 7 to November 11- Hanoi, Vietnam by plane (Vietnam airlines)
Because I could only stay in China for 14 days, I decided to visit my friend in Hanoi. Another few days of complete happiness and stuffing ourselves with amazing Vietnamese food. We definitely ate more than we did touristy things.
December 20 to December 23- Vienna, Austria by train
I stayed with a family-friend in Vienna, but I explored the city alone on Saturday (Dec 21). This was probably the best day out of my entire trip. I will write a post about it when I am back in Switzerland (and when I recover.. because now I am sick).
December 23 to December 24, Prague, Czech Republic by train
I met up with my friends in Prague and we went on a beer-hopping tour. The bars we went to served amazing beers, and I prefer hands-down, Prague beers over Berlin beers. We also had many, many, deep conversations; conversations that I will hold dear to my heart. Unfortunately, I was there for less than 24 hours, but will definitely go back when the weather is warmer.
December 24 to December 27, Berlin, Germany by train
Berlin is beautiful, but I don’t recommend to go there at this time of the year, as everything is closed. I’m going back this summer again when the weather is nicer to visit all the must-see sights! Unfortunately I became sick from the 26th, so didn’t do much after that.
December 27 to January 2, Mannheim, Germany by train
I have a few relatives in Mannheim, so I am just chilling out here until after New Years, where I will go back to Switzerland and do my laundry. Yippee..
What about you guys? How many places have you been to this year? Do share with me your travels as I’d love to hear about them!