Top 2016 moments – closing the year

From what I read there are not too many who would say there are many top 2016 moments and it seems 2016 was not the year for many. We had a few lows, but nothing that for us would constitute as really bad in closing the year.

We were reflecting on our year and what better way to do so than review the events on social media.

Terror attacks, Zika Virus, Brexit, Syria, Trump, the Orlando massacre, record extreme temperatures, earthquake in Italy and the passing of many stars. From Prince to David Bowie, Muhammad Ali to Arnold Palmer, Alan Rickman to Gene Wilder, Fidel Castro to Nancy Reagan, Florence Henderson to Debbie Reynolds, the events of 2016 were certainly unrelenting.

Thinking about all the trauma during the year piqued my interest. Do we just notice negative happenings more these days because of the high levels of social media connectivity?

But what about the some stories that made us smile and warmed our hearts? So I began scouring through our own Facebook and Instagram. What better way to reflect than to revisit the events and comments on those moments that were newsworthy for us.

We started our New Year’s celebrations early with breakfast on the last day of 2015 at New York Café in Budapest. “A great way to start our New Year’s Eve celebrations, breakfast”

It was freezing cold, but the sun was out and we spent the day out and about in Budapest. We ventured up to Fisherman’s Bastion and also saw the beautiful Matthias Church. Next, a must see memorial in Budapest, the Shoes on Danube. A most moving memorial, 60 pairs of shoes set on the banks of Danube and a haunting reminder of the atrocity mankind is capable of.

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31 December – Back to our hotel it was time to get ready for the New Year’s eve celebrations, a gala dinner and show at our hotel. “Start of the Budapest New Year celebration dinner” ???

What an amazing evening, a gala dinner and show at our hotel. Beautiful food, free flowing drinks and entertainment including opera, can can and traditional Hungarian song and dance. Great service and a wonderful way to bring in the year.

Novotel Budapest Centrum thank you so much for a fabulous stay and a very impressive start to 2016. The quality of the food and presentation of the meal was excellent, as was the service from all the staff. Thank you for making our New Year’s Eve a special memory.

“Wishing all our family and friends a Happy New Year. This year, like most years, has seen some ups and downs with some sad times with the loss of loved ones. It has also been another amazing year for us with travel and we are currently coming to the end of our time in Europe. Well it didn’t snow for us, but we’ve had a great time and best of all was sharing this wonderful experience together. So as we raise our glass to farewell 2015 and cheer in 2016 here in Budapest. We will make a wish for a brighter, happier year and good health to you all. Happy New Year xx”

As I said it was bitterly cold, down to minus 11 during our time in Budapest. Despite the cold Budapest will always remain one of our all time favourite cities and we wrote a post to reflect this. But seriously, wouldn’t you think it would be cold enough for just a little snow?

2 January – Farewell Budapest, for us it is a slow train to Belgrade… but we hope to one day be back.

We cleared two checkpoints along the train trip and got two unique stamps in my passport, Kelebia and Subotica. We are not sure how we survived the 8hr train journey without toilets or the usual restaurant car, (lucky we had our complimentary chocolates we’d been stashing).  After a long train trip we finally arrived at the Belgrade train station… and it’s SNOWING. So off we go to check out the city at night and feel the snow on our faces. We’re loving Belgrade.

First impressions of Belgrade? It’s a very pretty city, very clean, a lot bigger than I expected… and did I mention it was snowing! We finally got what we wished for, it is snowing, but does it have to feel like -16 lol  ❄️☃ Did they say feels like -16?? Oh boy, here goes!

Our last day in Europe, and just as we arrived in Belgrade a snow flurry started and despite -18c wouldn’t miss capturing the experience and taking a few photos. For me it was magical only for a short while. Steve went out for at least 2 hours to recapture his British childhood memories, but was sad he never got a photo of himself being a snow angel.

We wrote a post about our last day in Europe after 6 weeks in search of snow after we arrived home.

When we arrived in Belgrade a little snow flurry had just started, this is the scene the following day as we were leaving.

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4 January   traveling to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from Belgrade Airport Departures with Steve Baker.

“Ready for the flight on the first leg of our return trip home and a 10 hour stopover at Abu Dhabi. As we sit at Belgrade Airport waiting for the first leg of our flight home after our European trip we are already thinking, planning our next adventure. Where is on your radar for 2016?”

Finally, we have arrived home safely after a long delay, minus 1 case (mine of course).  Sadly after humping these two cases from Australia through France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Rep, Hungary and Serbia the two became one somewhere between Abu Dhabi and Perth. Yup Etihad Airways are searching for our missing case and we should have some good news within 24-48hrs, fingers crossed. Have you had luggage go missing in transit and what was the outcome?

6 January   What a nice surprise this morning to see we made number 37 on this list that Anne from Pretraveller has compiled. We look forward to following some of these great Aussie/Kiwi blogs.

16 January – “Had a knock at the door a little while ago and guess who was there? This cheeky little case that wasn’t ready to come home with me. Seems it decided to take an impromptu post vacay trip to London and decided to come back and join us on the arvo flight today. Welcome home you weary well travelled case. Hmm I rather it were me who took a trip to London.”

23 January  Talk about extremes in temperature! “What’s the weather like where you are? Today it is mid 30’s Celsius here in Perth, but a few weeks ago we were in Belgrade and it looked like this… and was -18c”

In January we also posted about the Christmas markets in Europe and put together a YouTube clip and a post for Australia Day

28 January   feeling optimistic. “So, for those of you unaware it seems to my surprise I had a heart attack and have been in hospital last 24hrs. Awaiting an angiogram to see if I need a stent or bypass surgery. So next 24hrs will bring me these answers. Thank you to my husband and son for being with me today xx”

I certainly felt the love and had over 90 messages from my friends wishing me well, a speedy recovery and glad it didn’t happen while we were still overseas, as was I. Next day I was feeling thankful. The Angio revealed I had a 99% blockage so thanks to my newly inserted stent and the care of some doctors and nurses in the CCU at Fiona Stanley I should good as new now.

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29 January  Woo hoo home sweet home tomorrow. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and well wishes over the last few days, I really appreciated reading all your messages. I am now home with enough pills to make me jingle when I walk and with a bit more rest should be as good as new before I know it.

Next it was a trip to Melbourne for the Military Tattoo with my elderly Mum. Due to some bad news regarding the health of her twin I accompanied Mum to Melbourne for four days. We had a lovely time. Having just come out of hospital I promised the Doctor I’d take it easy. Together we enjoyed a river cruise, a beautiful dinner at the Windsor hotel and saw a surprise parade for Chinese New Year.

The famous pipes, drums, fiddles and bugles from around the world authentically recreated all the sights, sounds and atmosphere of one of the world’s greatest events, the Military Tattoo in Melbourne . The best meal we had in Melbourne was at the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Windsor. Entree was Leatherwood honey roasted quail, almond cream, chopped broccoli and freekeh salad. And our visit coincided with Chinese New Year and we were lucky enough to join the celebrations as the city came to life for Chinese New Year in Melbourne.

16 Feb We love cruising and were very excited to be asked to write a piece for Webjet along with some top bloggers about our favourite cruise destination.

February we were blessed to celebrate the 17th birthday ofour beautiful old girl… our dog, Sado.

Married to Steve Baker for 5 years Five years ago today I married my best friend and today, like that day I couldn’t be happier. It hasn’t all been bliss but I truly treasure our lives together. Who knows where life’s adventures will take us, but I know we’ll be walking the same roads together. From the moment we met I knew you were someone who is truly unique and special and I am blessed for all the love and happiness that you have given me. Happy Anniversary Steve xxx

Who knows where life’s adventures will take us, but I know we’ll be walking the same roads together.

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16 Mar How do you take care of your home and pets when you’re on vacation? Would you consider a housesitter? Here are our reasons why a housesitter works best for us.

24 Mar Harmony Day, a day to be proud and come together and show that cultural diversity and living in harmony is something to celebrate. Did you participate in a Harmony Day event?

27 March Today is a milestone for A Hole in my Shoe, two years ago we launched our blog and began this exciting journey. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us along the way. Our blog evolved from an idea which has provided us great satisfaction and hopefully some inspiration to our readers to travel and see that it is never too late change direction.

9 Apr Imagine eating Asian inspired dishes from tasty hawker stalls and drinking a selection of Australia’s best wines and beers served from pop up bars in a bespoke outdoor festival setting. Add a bright and beautiful newly developed location and you have all the ingredients for Perth’s Night Noodle Markets.

23 Apr and Jo from Frugal First Class Travel reminded me of a post I wrote

25 Apr Anzac Day is a very special day in Australia and New Zealand, seen as a day to honour and reflect upon the service and sacrifice of our Diggers. 101 years ago our first troops landed at Gallipoli, my Grandfather was one of them. When he landed he was a young man, fulfilling his greatest honour, serving our country and was just as fascinated with travel then as I am today.

30 Apr Had a nice day at the Perth Garden Festival and patience paid off, instead of buying The Garden Gurus Garden Guide, Steve won the book. These bright red flowers could be straight from May Gibbs’ Gumnut Babies book.

We had an amazing breakfast at Padburys Restaurant, selecting from the dishes on the new Winter Breakfast menu. Who doesn’t love a long leisurely breakfast? The fragrant aroma of good coffee, gooey eggs or perhaps something sweet.

So happy, my photo of Buttermilk pancake stack with lemon curd, honeycomb, meringue and coconut got shared by BreakfastinPerth on Instagram and got over 1000 likes.

22 May We are happy to be part of this list, proof you don’t have to quit your job to travel and blog.

6 Jun Flights booked  ✔️ Hotel booked  ✔️ Housesitter booked  ✔️ Our Bali wintervention is finally sorted  ? ? ? ?⛱ ?
 
11 June · That time we wrote for Webjet about our favourite cruise destination

 was  travelling to Bali with Steve Baker from Perth International Airport Terminal 1.

15 June Coffee first  ☕️, cocktails later ⛱ ? ?

Bali is a very sacred island with a unique culture, ornate temples, special ceremonies… and Kuta

15 June · Kuta, Indonesia · feeling relaxed with Steve Baker at Ramayana Resort & Spa. Arrived, home for the next 10 days

Kuta may be full of hustle and bustle but there is also lots of evidence of the spiritual side of Bali with time taken for blessings to the Gods three times a day. Beautiful Canang Sari made by Balinese women can be found at temples, shrines and on the the streets.

I went for a stroll to Kuta beach before dinner and was greeted with a beautiful Bali sunset.

22 June · Badung, Indonesia · Lemongrass Thai Restaurant – Restaurant Kuta – Having another lazy day in Bali, time for lunch

25 June · Kuta, Indonesia · at Ramayana Resort & Spa. We are back in Bali and two years later still eating at many of the same places, one we loved that much we are staying there

15 July · Guildford · Date night at our favourite Guildford restaurants. We had the most amazing meal at Padburys Restaurant last night. Not only did each meal look spectacular it tasted delicious. Doesn’t this just make your mouth water?

17 July · We joined Contented Traveller and some of the best travel writers to bring you 50 Must Try Foods from Around the World

20 July · Really happy with this: We moved from 509 to 72 #travel1k Top 1000+ Travel Blogs in 3 weeks

30 July · With the Rio Olympic Games just around the corner we were invited by Webjet.com.au to write about our favourite Olympic Host City. 120 years of Olympics gave us quite a list to choose from, read the post to see which city was our favourite.

 5 August · Our beautiful old girl Sado is 17 and a half so sleeps a lot now, but she does it in her stylish animal print bed  ?  ? ?

13 August · Fremantle · Jen Seligmann at San Churro Fremantle. Time for dessert after an awesome dinner with fellow travel bloggers who are in Perth on a break from travelling around Australia

So we met the lovely Jen & Mick from The Trusted Traveller last night at Sandrino Cafe Pizzeria Fremantle and had an amazing meal of Barbequed Seafood, Seafood Risotto and Duck Ravioli with a few drinks, laughs and lots of travel talk, followed with a yummy dessert and hot chocolate at San Churro Fremantle. We had a great night and was a pleasure to meet you both.

25 August · Steve Baker shared a video to your Timeline.

Can we, can we, ah ah ah, please please please pretty please

We have found our next ship to sail on… just got to work out which itinerary and when. What an amazing ship Princess Cruises

7 September · It’s with such a heavy heart tonight that we farewelled our beautiful old girl, Sado. Seventeen and half years old is such a great innings, but she was tired and it was time to go. We were blessed with such a beautiful sweet soul. Goodnight little girl, you will be missed xx

I am so grateful for so many years with our beautiful girl, her unconditional love and the joy she bought us cannot be measured. And who knows, maybe 2017 may be the right time to bring a new furbaby into our lives. No matter how cute, no pooch will ever replace our beautiful Sado, but might help to fill some of the void she has left in our hearts. And there is nothing better than to walk through the door after a busy day at the office to be greeted by someone so excited to see you that their tail wags.

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9 September · We had a lovely evening last night meeting Lyn & David from The Travelling Lindfields at Christina’s Restaurant in Vic Park. It was a pleasure to meet you both and nice to enjoy a meal with some great travel banter.

15 September ·What are your favorite monuments around Europe? Do you prefer to visit mainstream landmarks or stumble across hidden gems that typify local European architecture? We were part of this great collaboration of 20 Amazing European Monuments put together by A Brit and A Southerner

17 Sept Springtime in Araluen, nothing tops a warm spring day admiring the sea of tulips at Araluen Botanic Park Have you been to Araluen?

19 September · A Hole in my Shoe has achieved another milestone today, thanks each and every one of you. We now have 3,000 wonderful people following our page. Cheers!

20 September · Woot woot, all booked to go back again next month… bring it on!

26 Sept It was three years ago today that we set sail to a new adventure and new friendships!  ? Three years ago it was tapas, flamenco and churros in Barcelona. Rosalyn, Kerryn and Laura do you all remember what we were doing one year ago today? Arriving at the cruise port in Barcelona ready to board the Royal Princess, a little anxious due to problems from her previous voyage Mykonos. But all was good and I made some lifelong friends onboard.

28 Sept Just had my first negative comment on my blog today, on a post written because I was sick of reading comments just like the one a fellow blogger wrote. Check it out, see if you agree and leave me a comment with your opinion.

4 October 2016 · Wow 6 years ago, who’d have thought one little question could change our lives so much. Thank you to my wonderful Husband for asking me to spend the rest of my life with you, love you so much

traveling to Bali from Perth International Airport – Departure with Steve Baker.

‘Ere we go ‘ere we go. We had an early start to the day to board our Garuda Indonesia flight and arrived in Bali. Let the fun begin. ⛱ ?

So this is how my day started today, almost feels like home — at Ramayana Resort & Spa

12 October · Ground Zero, Bali Memorial.. Today’s priority was to pay our respects to those who lost their lives in the Bali bombing, so off to the Bali Memorial

14 October · Today we went to Kintamani, tasted Kopi Luwak, visited the Butterfly farm and an amazing waterfall, enjoying our time in Bali #wonderfulindonesia

28 October · Devdan, remarkable aerial acrobatics, a fusion of traditional and modern dance and a perfect way to learn about Indonesian culture.

30 October · We still think back to our time onboard the brand new Royal Princess sailing the Grand Mediterranean. Now we are booked on the yet to be completed Majestic Princess sailing for 21 days in Asia from Singapore to Shanghai.

6 November · Had a lovely day in the city checking out the Cow Parade ?

10 November · Cowaramup · was eating breakfast at Cowtown Classic Cafe’

10 November · Margaret River · checked in to The Grove Experience  ???

10 November · Metricup · at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery ??? Coz a meal without wine is breakfast

10 November near Margaret River · We had a great day in Margaret River, sampled some lovely wines and another day tomorrow to enjoy before we head back home.

11 November · at Fonti Farm Dairy Factory Yum yum cheese

 11 November · Wilyabrup · eating tapas with Steve Baker and Elizabeth Eames at Rustico at Hay Shed Hill – Margaret River.????

Had a great two days in Margaret River, but we have to head home, more fun to be had this weekend in Perth

12 November · Perth —  attending an event with Steve Baker and Elizabeth Eames at Perth Town Hall.

New Post: Complementing the Cow Parade is the inaugural Festival Fromage, a celebration of all things cheese – Stinky cheese, gooey cheese and yummy cheese with some wine, yes please!

 3 December  · Check out these awesome European destinations to include in your 2017 travels suggested by fellow bloggers, there’s even a suggestion from us.

We ventured into to the city to see if the newly opened Elizabeth Quay had changed the face of Perth and if the developers created a a crowd pleaser

Get a mooo’ve on, today is the last day to get your dose of all things cow and be udderly delighted following the herd. Last call to join the moo’vement cowspotting at the Cow Parade in City of Perth

9 Dec – Sadly 3 Dec my Uncle passed away after a long battle and today was his funeral. It was a time to gather with family and reflect on his life. We heard stories of him growing up in difficult wartimes in Austria, and his early days arriving in Perth. He was a man who was larger than life and will be sadly missed and always remembered. As we said Auf Wiedersehen everyone was asked to join in and sing Edelweiss and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

10 December  · So yesterday I had a one on one tutorial session for the Canva App with the one and only Cliff Obrecht, co-founder and COO of Canva.

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10 December · Very proud to receive another accolade for our blog A Hole in my Shoe. We’ve been listed #4 in the Top 50+ Travel Blogs of 2016 by HelloTravel

16 December · Perth · at Crown Towers Perth – Simply stunning, just checked into our river view room

Here’s the link if anyone wants to check out our review of our first stay in a six star hotel

To all my family and friends near and far I wish you a Merry Christmas and a relaxing and safe New Year, here’s hoping 2017 is filled with peace, happiness and love  ?❄??☃️?

And so ends 2016. Just how will we top 2017? We’re not sure what we could do to outdo last year with NYE in Budapest and snow in Belgrade but we’re sure gonna try. We have no plans until June when we’ll be heading to Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Osaka, Incheon and Shanghai. And we’re already researching a trip to UK in 2018 which will include a cruise. We are looking forward to relaxing and enjoying some down time on the ocean.

Thank you for being here with us, for reading our articles, leaving your comments and supporting us throughout the year. Your feedback is so appreciated and we hope you’ll continue to join us as our armchair travel companion throughout 2017. We plan to go to new places where we’ll try new food and meet new people. But when we are not travelling abroad you’ll find us right here, bringing the best Perth has to offer to your front door.


Now another year is done and dusted. As you can see we had some top 2016 moments and a few lows, but that’s part of the experience, right? Has 2016 been a good or bad year for you? What are your plans for the coming year?

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5 Responses

  1. What a year you’ve had and congratulations for all your accolades. I wish we had seen snow this year too. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  2. Looks like 2016 was overall a good year for you. I am sorry to hear about our heart attack and your uncle’s passing. My husband visits Hungary twice a year and always times it to avoid cold. Snow would be so much fun to see, though. Congrats on the accolades. Wishing you a most excellent 2017.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Traveling Near and Far in 2016My Profile

  3. what a great year! happy 2017! #mondayescapes
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…2016 on the Red Phone Box travelsMy Profile

  4. Kate Teng says:

    It’s so cool that you got to have a one on one tutorial with Canva’s Cliff Obrecht! Your graphics are definitely looking amazing. Keep it up!

  5. What a year! Can’t wait to visit Budapest this coming spring and will use some of your recommendations. Sorry to hear about the heart attack but it didn’t slow you down much! May the coming year be even more adventurous! #weekendwanderlust

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