Somehow I’ve anticipated that I’d be in hiatus again. Yet a two-month worth of time (or three, almost) that just guiltlessly went by didn’t seem to be fair. As I’d put it, there’s a black hole; between the days my husband and I spent our holidays and the time we settled into our new home.
For weeks we ‘d been living out of our suitcases. I’m an avid traveler, but then I realized that I cannot remain a nomad for a long time. I still felt the need for a home base. What’s even more, we also had to move our stuff over the thick snow at zero temperature.
Anyhow, I’m relieved that we have settled into our new home at last, and I’m steadily getting back to my routine. We made it and we did well. So yes, you heard me right. It’s finally au revoir, Suisse. And hallo, België!
I’ve always considered these countries as my homestead in Europe. Both Switzerland and Belgium share the same benefits and perplexities for being multilingual; and love for their own silk-smooth chocolates. I must be pleased as punch!
As I look back now on my past travels in 2014, it’s no surprise that I have apparently spent more time traveling around Switzerland and Belgium, as well as in other places like France and the Philippines (of course) where I feel the comforts of home.
1. New Year Getaway in Boracay, Cebu, Bohol & Dumaguete
Five years after my first visit in 2009, I finally made a return to Boracay. This time, I celebrated new year with hubby and friends. After NYC, off we went to Cebu. We also had an overnight stopover at Bohol, before we made it to Dumaguete.
2. Start of the Year – Manila, Batangas & Tagaytay
After a trip around the Visayan islands, we also spent some time in the city, as well as in equally interesting and nearby places, Batangas and Tagaytay.
That’s my #PerpieInPinas in 2014, together with Mahal!
3. Top of Europe – Jungfrau
Asian-looking Eskimo on top of the Swiss Alps. Don’t fret. I wasn’t alone. Lots of Japanese and Chinese tourists were here, too.
I couldn’t find the right words to describe Jungfrau and elaborate on our fun experience, hence the missing blog post. I’ll write about it very soon!
4. A few more of Swiss delights – Neuchatel, Fribourg…
We took our chance to visit charming towns like Neuchatel and Fribourg, while we’re still in Switzerland. We also celebrated the Swiss national day at one of the ski mountains in Valais. And finally, I was able to witness the Desalpes. It’s when the Swiss cows descend from the mountains, signaling the end of summer and the start of the winter season.
5. In Flanders Fields
“2014 is the year that marks the first hundred years after the first Great War in Europe began. We came to visit Belgium again in the springtime and we put Ypres as a priority on our itinerary. More officially called as Ieper, Ypres is actually the Belgian town where the most intense and sustained battles between German and Allied Forces occurred.” – Lest We Forget in Flanders Fields
6. Other Slices of Belgium – Antwerp, Mechelen, Durbuy…
A painting of Rubenshuis interior courtyard with Rubens and his family. You can get a virtual tour of Rubens museum here.
I am beginning to like Antwerp a lot. Its central train station is a beauty. It is also in Antwerp where the former home and studio of the Baroque master, Peter Paul Rubens is located and that it already houses most of his artworks. I’ve also visited one of the oldest zoos in the world and that is also located in Antwerp.
We’d been frequenting Mechelen as well since we intended to live over there. Well, we ended up not so far from it anyway.
We also visited Durbuy on our first wedding anniversary. It is dubbed as the smallest city in the world. It didn’t take us an hour to walk around and explore – that’s just how small it is!
Other places I quickly visited in Belgium are so far Aalst, Lier, and Brugge.
7. Almost Spring in Provence – Mt Ventoux & Avignon
Spring is in the air when we spent a long weekend somewhere in Provence. Specifically, we stayed in one of the villages near the famous Mont Ventoux and we visited the Pope’s city Avignon and the town of my favorite French wine, Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
8. Weekend at Aix-les-Bains
A weekend break was all we needed, so we chose to visit Aix-les-Bains in the Savoy, at the foot of the French Alps. It is also situated on the shores of Lake Bourget. Also called Grey Lake, this one doesn’t look grey to me.
We walked around the city center, ate French cuisines, dipped into the pool and thermal baths, and biked alongside the lake. What an energizing weekend it was indeed.
9. Long Weekend at Alsace
Another long weekend before the year ended, we chose to visit Alsace. Like the trip to Jungfrau, I also enjoyed this French city. I promise I’ll also write about it soon.
10. Christmas in Belgium, New Year in Pinas
So we thought we would return to the Philippines two years after our last visit, but we wanted it again. It was a #PerpieInPinas in 2015 after all then. I’ll blog about it soon too!
So…What’s up for On the Go in 2015?
I think I was able to keep my promise of blogging more about my travels in a more timely manner, but I also think I wasn’t fast enough. It’s still taking me some time to write after the trip, such that the next thing I knew, we’re set for another!
What I can possibly give you a hint is that I’ll definitely be visiting more places in Belgium. And here’s a shortlist: Bruges (a return to exploring it more), Brussels (ditto), Waterloo, Hasselt, Leuven, Ghent, Ostend, the Ardenes. One thing’s for sure – it’s my way for me to learn more about my new home and hopefully imbibe the Belgian culture. So, wish me luck!