It’s December 31st, 2022 and I just realized that I haven’t written a single blogpost all year!!! I couldn’t let the year end without writing at least one post, so here I am on the eve of a new year reporting on an unforgettable 2022.
What a year for travel 2022 was! Even though, it started with cancelling our first trip because of an expired passport fiasco and second trip because of getting Covid; we bounced back with some amazing back to back trips. From visiting my baby niece in Toronto, wedding reception in Vancouver, Hawaii for a weekend, girls trip to Napa, to exploring Greece- Athens, Meteora and Santorini- and Istanbul in Turkey; we ended the year with the best trip of the year- with the entire family (the only time we were all together this year)- in none other than India. Here are some highlights:
- Toronto, Canada- meeting my favorite baby human (my baby niece) for the first time. Niagara falls and seeing all the fall foliage on my second trip to Toronto in October.
- Vancouver, Canada- seeing all my extended family and all the Indian wedding reception fun. Staying at our favorite hotel in Vancouver- Fairmont Pacific Rim. Walking by the seawall to Stanley Park and doing all the touristy things at Robson square, a quick day trip to Whistler for some tubing and hiking, Granville Island for some good eats.
- Oahu, Hawaii- This trip was a very impromptu trip because when your husband says he has a business meeting in Hawaii, you turn that into business/family trip because how could you not! We drove around in a jeep exploring some new spots, ate some teppanyaki, boys did some snorkeling and I enjoyed my beach time. It was the perfect weekend!
- Napa Valley, Northern California- Last year, my three best girl friends- Meleah, Carmina, Tracey- and I went on our first trip together to Costa Rica (check my blogpost on Costa Rica) and it was a blast. I don’t think any one of us knew exactly how easygoing all four of us are together until that trip. So, of course, we had to plan another trip and boy was this trip fun in a completely different way. Where Costa Rica was a little rugged (we had scorpions for roommate and wild monkeys visiting each night, we were swimming with poisonous snakes- okay maybe not intentionally but a poisonous snake was in close vicinity while we were having a good ole time in the middle of the ocean- okay maybe not middle of the ocean but pretty close :)). Napa was a far departure from that- we had one of the best culinary experiences of our life at French Laundry (thanks to my friend Tracey who made it happen for us), met with The Thomas Keller in his kitchen- once in a lifetime experience! Went for some amazing wine tasting at local wineries, also to beautiful RH restaurant in Yountville and The Farm– where food just kept coming and we just kept eating (it was shocking how I was still able to fit in the clothes I took with me, given all the food and wine we had). This girls’ trip was one for the books for all its ‘bouginess’ and five star experience!
- Athens/Meteora/Santorini, Greece- After postponing this trip once due to Covid, for some reason I wasn’t expecting to be as charmed and blown away by it as I was! I know I know, people always ask why wouldn’t I expect much from Greece- my reasoning is this- I have been to other European countries with much better economy and infrastructure and knowing that Greece is not as economically stable, I didn’t expect it to be the same as those countries. But let me tell you that what Greece lacks in its economic stability and infrastructure, it more than makes up for it in its cultural history and food! From Parthenon to Plaka area- ah the sites are endless. From fava to shawarma- the food choices are countless. From mountains to ocean, the views are unforgettable. Thanks to our friends Sweta and Seema’s recommendation- we decided to go to this lesser known region of Meteora (4 hour train ride from Athens). Meteora is known for its centuries old monasteries built on mountain tops/rock formations, some of these monasteries took upto 300 hundred years to build! But to witness them in person is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. They are as glorious to view as they are peaceful to visit. Our last stop in Greece was Santorini- and all you hear about this place is true- it’s scenic, it’s touristy, it has some amazing sunset views (Oia in Santorini has been voted to have the best sunset views, according to NatGeo) and beautiful resorts. We stayed in one of the most luxurious hotels- Katikies Garden– I have ever stayed at with huge private patio with jacuzzi! And of course, we went for some olive oil tasting while in Santorini. We celebrated my husband’s birthday at the cutest little restaurant- known for its farm to table menu and olive oil pairing- Panigyri. Every dish was paired with a different kind of olive oil- every dish was flavorful and everything tasted so fresh, even the cocktails!
- Istanbul, Turkey- Old Istanbul is where we stayed for the last two days of our trip on our way back to United States. It was old and chaotic and exciting with so much going on everywhere. From traffic to all the site seeing, there were people and street hawkers everywhere- reminded me of India a little bit. We got a tour guide for Hagia Sophia- one of the oldest mosques (it was turned into a mosque from being a church and was also a museum for a while)- has so much history, just like every street corner of Istanbul. We saw a random rock structure on the side of the road that was fenced in and then read the description on it that said that that spot was considered center of the world for the longest time. We visited an underground museum, which was probably my favorite of everything I saw in Turkey. We visited The Grand Bazaar- where vendors were selling fake Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. at every corner 🙂 We did buy a very luxurious silk threaded rug that Turkey is so well known for. Apparently, the designs of the rugs are determined by the region in which the rugs are handmade by women- they too has a very colorful history just like everything in Turkey. I don’t think our trip to Turkey would have been complete without trying some Turkish ice cream in its full entertainment serving glory.
- India- Last but not the least, my favorite trip of the year was India, where we all flew in to celebrate my cousin’s wedding and see my grandma after five long years. We all stayed at the same hotel- Taj Vivanta in Surajkund– and had good food all day long starting with lavish breakfast buffet to equally lavish dinners at a relative’s house or some amazing restaurant. To my knowledge, there is no better country for vegetarians than India. Of course I’m biased, so it’s not a shocker that my favorite cuisine is Indian. Food in India from a street corner store to beautiful restaurant- all tastes amazing to me. It’s a blast of flavors and spices. Every region of India has its own micro cuisine- equally amazing and authentic in its flavor and history. Speaking of regions, we explored Jaipur, one of the oldest structured cities in India. It’s a city of palaces and forts- each with its own rich history. We stayed at the luxurious Leela Palace, Jaipur– with its unmatched service that went above and beyond our every expectation.
If you have read my other blogposts, I’m sure you’re wondering how my reading is going. I met my goal of reading 50 books in 2021 but to be honest, there was very little of the books that I actually retained. So, this year I decided to read slow- to process and absorb more than I did last year. I read only 37 books but I enjoyed them all. My absolute favorite this year was, Celeste Ng’s ‘Our Missing Hearts’– without giving away too much, I feel it’s timely and hence a little scary in that sense.
Running has been slow this year in quantity but so enriching and fulfilling in quality (kinda like my reading). I’m part of a run group that I absolutely adore and friends that inspire me everyday. Mindi and Ana- you two are the reason for all my early morning weekend runs and for my consistency in working out.
I’m so grateful for 2022- for all the memories and personal growth. Hoping to make more cherished memories in 2023.
I wish you all a Very Happy and Healthy 2023; and as one of our cab drivers in Meteora said to us when we were leaving- Enjoy everyday!