2017, our year in review
At this time of the year I like to reflect on some of the highlights of our travels in 2017. Looking through our photos gives me ideas to begin new plans for the coming year.
We’ve had a great year for travel venturing to 7 new places visited and 5 favourites revisited. Not bad considering we both work fulltime to pay for our travel. It’s been a mix of travel to some amazing places and lots of fun at home. And there were lots of photos along the way.
Our year began with one of our favourite things, Street Art. Grand Lane in Perth is a passageway used as a creative canvas in the city. We frequently visit to see the latest additions of some very talented artists.
We are proud of the fact Perth was listed as a must-see destination of 2017 and also one of the top 50 destinations to visit in 2017 with special mention of two of our favourite places, Elizabeth Quay and TWR, the lobby cocktail bar at Crown Towers.
As part of a collaboration we wrote about our favourite overseas travel spot and where to celebrate the Lunar New Year. We were also included in a post on Travel blogger couples who redefine #couple goals and Aussie travel bloggers you need to be following.
We also got to finally meet fellow bloggers Michele and Ron Legge, from Legging It. It was a very warm 35 degree February day and we spent it wandering around one of our favourite places, Fremantle. Typical in this area we opted end the day with a feed of fish n chips. I wrote about our day in Fremantle on the blog.
We contributed to a collaboration about oversized or undressed statues.
March was a time for family reflection. First our 7th wedding anniversary had me writing a post about my travel partner through life.
The following week was a very sad time for our family when my 80 year old Mums’ twin sister sadly lost her battle with cancer.
Later in the month was a nice surprise, a visit from my son, who lives in Newman, 1194Km’s (741 miles) away or a long 13 hour drive. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at one of our local pubs together and it reminded me of the times we had holidaying in Margaret River when he was a child, so I wrote about the little foodies’ paradise a few hours south of Perth.
And it was back to Fremantle again, this time to meet up with Charles and Paula from Sydney Expert to explore some wonderful street art and enjoy an Italian rooftop meal.
Steve also did a wonderful job of changing the website over to https and wrote a post to assist others with the process.
We contributed to collaborations on cruising, rare passport stamps from around the world, most beautiful palaces, castles and forts from around the world and cats we’ve stumbled across in our travels. We were also featured as Highly commended travel blogger
It was again street art for April as we drove around the suburbs for the day snapping some incredible art. We wrote about Perth’s streets of colour and wrote a post to share some fun facts of Perth and Western Australia.
Despite a little rain, it was a day of great happiness when my brother got married and we welcomed my lovely Taiwanese sister-in-law into the family.
Preparing for our upcoming cruise had me writing about the difference in River Cruising and what it’s all about. As we were including Japan in our cruise I also wrote about Planning for a trip to Japan.
A Hole in my Shoe was listed as one of the 50 Best Travel blogs of 2017
Our cruising magazines arrived, but this is the last time we’ll be reading about the brand new Majestic Princess as within a few weeks we would be boarding and cruising the Silk Road.
But before we were off it was time for a lovely dinner at our favourite restaurant, Padbury’s to celebrate Steve’s birthday.
Knowing we were going to be away over a month and without internet for a large part of the trip we wanted to keep people coming to our site, so prepared our first collaboration post. We put a call out to our fellow bloggers for them to contribute on amazing train stations from around the world. The response was so great we had enough content to split it into a second and third part and the collaboration was a huge success.
June 15 we headed to the Perth departure lounge for the first time in 2017 and later arrived in Changi, Singapore for a few days relaxation before we set sail on the brand new Majestic Princess.
In Singapore I got my wings and went to the Jurong Bird Park and for the first time saw pink flamingos, I was ecstatic. And of course, who could resist the urge to stop off at the Raffles for a cheeky Singapore Sling or two?
Our first port was a familiar place, Bangkok and after two train rides and a long boat ride along the Chao Praya River we arrive at Chinatown, a maze of narrow side streets full of local life. Right on the busy road food stalls are setup everywhere, between shops, street stalls and markets.
The next stop was Ho Chi Minh city where we were met by Best Price Tours who took us on a private tour of Ho Chi Minh city and filled our day with enthusiasm as we saw some beautiful French architecture, enjoyed exotic food, recalled memories of war and learnt about the culture of the people.
We then made our way to a new place, Xiamen, the gateway to China. Then Hong Kong with its iconic skyline, picturesque harbour and beautiful ding ding trams. We visited the lavish incense filled Man Mo Temple and explored Hong Kong for a couple of days.
We then made our way to the bustling yet peaceful Taiwan where we ended the month.
Midpoint of the cruise saw me with a glass half full. Our first stop for July was Yokohama where we visited Yamashita Park and saw the girl with the red show statue, a Japanese nursery rhyme and tribute to a girl who travelled to US with a foreigner before spending time in China Town.
After a night of rolling seas and a July 4th balloon drop onboard we awoke to grey skies and a rainy day in Osaka. Not sure now how to best utilise our time to be back onboard by 3.30 so we caught the bullet train from Osaka to Kyoto and spend time exploring Nijo Castle.
Next it was on to Incheon in South Korea where we spent the day exploring local life and Korean street food at Sinpo Markets. These traditional markets offer the best combination of cheap, freshly made and delicious regional cuisine. Fishcakes, soybean curd, dumplings and the famous signature dish, sweet, spicy, crispy fried chicken (dakgangjeong).
Our final stop was Shanghai, Paris of the Orient and what a surprise this city was. We had planned 4 days here post cruise, but I seriously wished I had planned longer. We stayed on Nanjing Road, a short distance from the Bund. We had a giggle at the tip given by the hotel. “Dear Ladies/Gentlemen, Welcome to Shanghai. Please never follow any stranger to the bar, tea house, KTV and massage parlor for consumption so as to have a happy holiday in Shanghai. We wish you all the best.” We were blown away by the first class performance of Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe at the Shanghai Centre Theatre. They made these acts look easy peasy with their juggling, balancing, plate spinning and graceful acrobatics.
We were disappointed to leave, but excited about our next stop. We decided on a few days in Kuala Lumpur before returning back to Perth on a new airline for us, Malindo Air.
We somehow managed to come back from our trip well under budget so rewarded ourselves with new cameras. After a lot of research I opted for the Sony Mirrorless ILCE-6000 and Steve purchased the Sony Mirrorless ILCE-7M2. We’d been wanting them for a while and would have been nice to have for our travels, but there is always next time. We put the cameras to good use and spent heaps of time photographing in the garden and exploring some awesome street art, this time in and around Victoria Park.
We contributed to a collaboration on street art around the world.
We again caught up with Ron and Michele, this time a meal in South Perth and afternoon tea by the river.
For my birthday I was spoilt with things I really love. A bright, colourful print from Anya Brock, one of my favourite artists of one of my favourite things from our trip, pink flamingos. He also knows of my love of shoes and got me some Jimmy Choo Illicit perfume.
Later in the month we spent a relaxing afternoon watching the swans in a local park getting familiar with our new cameras. We also went to the Pioneer Cemetery and took some photos.
And with our feet still itchy from our last travel we quickly booked a trip to Bali to escape the winter chills.
Steve was so lucky and I was counting my blessings to still have him with me as he’d been involved in a four car accident on his way to work. Fortunately he was not seriously injured, but the verdict for his car was different. All four vehicles involved were written off.
And with no time to spare we are off on our little spontaneous jaunt to Bali working with some great hotels after relaxing at a new hotel, Anvaya.
Despite having been to Bali many times before we still always find places new to us to explore. One was Taman Festival which we photographed and wrote about. We also went to Taman Tirtagangga and Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery.
October was a quiet month for us. Halloween inspired me to write about the haunted places in Perth. But mostly I laid low while Steve was busy preparing his 2017 Christmas lights display.
We contributed in a collaboration for Halloween on Spooky Places around the world.
We joined a walking photography tour around the city which turned out to be a lot of fun. Sadly while on the walk we noticed the incredible wall we’d discovered in a carpark earlier in the year had been demolished, in the name of progress and wrote a post about the death of street art in Perth.
The following day we again met up with Michele and Ron, this time at Jarrahdale pub for lunch, followed by afternoon tea at Serpentine Dam.
This month saw us at two more family events, first the funeral of my last surviving uncle. The next was extremely happy occasion, the engagement of my only niece and a fun evening for us all to celebrate.
I also finally decided on which vehicle I wanted as it was time to upgrade. I purchased a Mazda CX3 sTouring zoom zoom.
We contributed in collaborations on where to stay in Bali for first timers, best places to go, Germany in winter and how to enjoy the best Christmas market breaks in Europe and were featured as one of the Bloggers that will inspire you to explore the world.
Steve enjoyed having a break from driving to work and back each day as he’d had been using public transport since his vehicle was written off. But he was also enjoying driving my new car and happy with the service I received from Parkland Mazda decided to bite the bullet and buy himself a Mazda CX5 Grand Touring.
In an attempt to help people decide what to wear on a cruise I wrote a post How to dress to impress on a cruise and getting in the spirit of Christmas and reminiscing about our 2015 visit to Europe I also wrote a post about the magic of the European Christmas markets.
All the pre Christmas celebrations take place and the best of all was my work Gala held again at Crown Towers. We booked a night there and got an upgrade to a studio room. The theme this year is Havana nights so Steve had been creative making me a headpiece which was en pointe.
We enjoyed a quiet Christmas with our families and Christmas night took our cameras and went into the city to capture some of the Christmas lights.
New year, new plans, new goals, new horizons. So what’s coming in 2018 for A Hole in my Shoe? Hopefully much better photos now I’m learning how to use my new camera. We are looking at the opportunity of returning to Europe for another chance of a White Christmas or a trip to the Balkans and UK so stay posted and see which way we go.
Thank you for all your support, encouragement and comments throughout 2017.
What did you enjoy on the blog this year and what would you like to see us write about more of in 2018? Have you set yourself any goals to achieve in 2018 you’d like to share with us?
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