The Year That Was and the Year Ahead

2013 was quite a busy travel year – 10 new countries, 10 more things crossed off our 100 Things List, and countless new memories and stories. The saying is true – Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

January
We went to Bruges then Mons to visit my cousin, Carrie. We had a great time drinking fruity beer, climbed the Belfry Tower, and toured some of the Canadian and NZ war memorials and cemeteries.

Belfry and Grand Palais

Caterpillar Cemetery

Vimy Ridge

February
Quiet month around London – went to Viva Forever with some girlfriends, Matt’s work moved into the West End and I upgraded my camera!

March
I finally went to Ireland for the first time even though I’m a citizen with a passport. We went to the Guinness Storehouse where I managed to get through a 1/4 of a pint before handing it over to Matt and spent the rest of time with friends, eating potatoes and celebrating St Patrick’s Day.

Guinness Storehouse

Flags

Two weekends later we spent Easter weekend in Copenhagen and did a day trip to Malmo.

Nyhavn

Little Mermaid

Hot Chocolate

Turning Torso

Malmo

April
Paris totally won us over with the great weather, amazing sites, and the best baguette we’ve ever had.

The Louvre

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Notre Dame

Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
May
We moved into our very own flat and while we’ve had a few issues with it, we still enjoy living in it. Shortly after moving, we went on a trip that I’ve looked forward to my entire life – Egypt (part 1, 2, and 3) – and it didn’t disappoint. Each trip has been so different that it’s hard to compare them all but this was definitely in my Top 3 (so far!). So many amazing sites it’s hard to pick only a few photos!

Camel riding at Giza

Sunset at Kom-Ombo

Edfu

June
This month was spent hanging around London as we both settled into new jobs/roles. I surprised Matt with dinner at Amaya for his birthday, we went to London Zoo late night, and saw the musical, Once.

Using his hands at a fancy restaurant....

Tiger

Date Night

July
Lisbon will forever be known to us for it’s food. We ate some pretty amazing meals as well as cupcakes and gelato. Between the eating, we did manage to see a few sites – the aquarium, Cascais (dipped my toes in the Atlantic for the first time), Sintra (later found out our favourite show, The Amazing Race, used this spot as a check in a few weeks before we were there), and walked all around the city itself.

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August
One of my favourite months because my Mommy came all the way from Canada to visit and be with me as I tried wedding dresses on for the first time (and got to see me in the one I eventually bought). I didn’t realise how important it was for me that she be here for that experience until it was actually happening. We took this opportunity to go to Glasgow for the weekend to see the house where my Grandma and Great Aunts grew up.

The house my Grandma and Aunts grew up in

A week after Mom left, we made our way to Spain for an epic 10 day trip in Barcelona, Valencia, and Ibiza. There were water & wine and tomato fights, amazing sites, and very late nights. Also, the most amazing food and sangria. It was a good trip but we were so tired by the end of it!

Sagrada Família

La Tapas

Water and Wine

La Tomatina

Pacha

September
Oh, Croatia. This was one of our favourite trips because we were able to totally relax. We spent some time hiking Plitvice Lakes and taking in the incredible scenery before heading to the coast to spend a week on a yacht. I would go back and do the same trip every year if we could. It was the perfect end to our summer…I can’t even describe just how awesome and relaxing it was. Croatia wins as my favourite European country.

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes

The Crew

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October and November
All this travel does catch up with you eventually, mostly in the form of extra weight from all the delicious food. So, we took on the Whole30 challenge for the month of October. It was hard but awesome and it’s safe to say, we’re converts. We’re currently on Round 2 and I’m left wondering why we ever ate processed crap in the first place. I could really go on and on about the benefits but I’ll let you read my guest post on Naturally Leah instead!

December
Work Christmas parties were both a hit with air guitar at Matt’s and winning employee of the year at mine. This was our first Christmas just the two of us and we had a great day watching movies, opening presents, and eating fudge and gingerbread men. Cath and Jono came over in the evening after spending the day at her sister’s so it was nice to have their company.

Oh my word. We are awesome

I won employee of the year. I was so surprised that I could barely get out a thank you. Going to save this for a very special occasion...

Port, chocolate, and our Christmas tree. #goodday

Our last trip of the year was to Vienna for the Christmas markets and they did not disappoint! I have no idea what you’d do in Vienna if you didn’t go in Winter – there were Christmas markets everywhere!

Mulled wine at Am Hof

Bretzels

Rathausplatz

This next year won’t be nearly as trip-filled as we have our wedding in August to save for look forward to! Hard to believe we only have 6 months until we kick off our Epic Wedding Trip….time sure does fly.

In addition to our wedding, we will be spending Easter weekend in Luxembourg, Cologne, and Amsterdam. Yes, you read that right – 3 countries in 4 days. We had to make up the lack of new countries this year somehow! We’ll also be attending a wedding in Ireland in May, might spend a long weekend in Paris, and are looking at having Christmas in Finland. So, a little bit quieter than we’re used to but it will also be the best year yet!

Our Amazing 2012.

We couldn’t resist a classic “2012 review” post since it has been a pretty special year for us.  Looking back, it seems crazy how many things have happened since the 1st of January.

At the start of the year, between us, we had visited 8 countries.  Now, nearly 12 months later, we have been to 16 countries.

Since New Year’s day, there’s been a series of pretty big changes in our lives and we’ve also been able to tick quite a few things off our 100 Things List along the way.

Apologies for making this blog in to a bit of a list but hey, I’m an Accountant – you should feel lucky you’re not getting this in a spread sheet.

January 

  • On the 1st of January we were waking up in our little flat in Pipitea street with Courtney and Emily (Dayna’s sister(/my future sister-in-law) and her buddy) to hit the road for our last awesome road trip in NZ.
Huka Falls

Huka Falls with Courtney and Emily

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

  • After coming home from our road trip we then had to pack up all our things to move out to my Mum’s place to save money and enjoy spending time with her while we were still in the same country.
View from Mum's

And our view every morning was a bonus too

February

  • We gave notice at our jobs in NZ then started the long, excruciating process of selling, packing or throwing away all of our possessions.

Packing

March

  • Finally got me a full driving licence (…a few months after finally getting a restricted driving licence)…better late than never right?  And got busy doing all the things we were going to miss doing in Wellington (like climbing Mt Kau Kau).
Mt Kau Kau

Mt Kau Kau

April

Matt and his Dad - Caroline Bay

Caroline Bay

Scared

Marina Bay Sands – Singapore

Marina Bay at night

Marina Bay at night

May

Lime juice

Our new favourite drink

At Sky bar

Petronas Towers from Sky Bar – Kuala Lumpur

Cheese!

Trekking in Sapa – Vietnam

Sunset Boat

Halong Bay – Vietnam

Lanterns

Lanterns in Hoi An – Vietnam

Me and Mr Chinh

Easy Rider tour to Marble Mountain

Dayna drinking weasel's poop coffee

Drinking Weasel poop coffee in Dalat – Vietnam

Matt on the Boat

Enjoying the 40 degree celsius heat in the Mekong Delta – Vietnam

48.  Swim in Ha Long Bay

Favourite photo

June

Biking around Angkor

Biking around Angkor, Siem Reap – Cambodia

Dayna having a moment at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat – Cambodia

Me at Maya Beach

Maya Beach – Thailand

Walking along the beach

Kata Beach, Phuket – Thailand

12.  See a sunrise over Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

46.  Go snorkeling in the open water in Thailand

Matt Snorkeling

July

Boo wearing a suit.

Adjusting to a suit after 2 months of shorts and jandals was rough…

Mouties

Hockey

Canada Day in Trafalgar Square

August

After

Our new home

Thames and London Eye

Matt pretending to feed a squirrel

One of the best perks of living in London – the Squirrels!

Not a football fan, but tonight was so much fun!

Gold medal match, USA vs Japan

Matt, me, and Jono

Roman Baths in Bath

Us

September

Florence

61.  Take cheesy photos by the leaning tower of Pisa

Holding it up

45.  Eat Gelato in Italy

Gelatissimo

30.  Go paintballing

Macho (wo)men

October

Old Roman structure

Reims – France

After we got engaged

Where we got engaged

It's just so shiny!

39.  Drink Champagne in Champagne, France

Mumm tasting

November

Travelled to Edinburgh for the All Blacks, Ireland (well I did anyway) and then Norway.

All Blacks game

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Enjoying a pint of Guiness

Completing another travel cliche – drinking a Guiness in Dublin

43.  Visit the Arctic

Sunrise @ Malagen Brygger

Sunrise at Malagen Brygger

Our survival suits

Our Artic survival suits

36.  See the Northern Lights

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December

  • Went to Hertfordshire for my Christmas party, went to some concerts (Ben Folds Five and Florence and the Machine) and had an Orphans Christmas (our first one where we were both away from our families at the same time).

Us

That was amazing!

Florence and The Machine

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So, 8 new countries visited, 9 things ticked off our 100 Things List, 1 international move, 1 engagement.  Not bad 2012, not bad.  Next year is looking pretty good too but I’ll leave it to Dayna to tell you all about our plans sometime soon…

Happy New Year everyone!