Happy New Year!
We have been taking our time settling in back home and taking full advantage of the holidays (because we were due for a vacation), but with the new year, I thought I’d take a quick look back and share with you some of the most memorable moments of the year (in order of occurrence).
Hiking Monte Pasubio [Vicenza, Italy]
The Monte Pasubio tunnels are an important part of Italian history that Moreno just happens to be super interested in (WW1). He wanted to hike them when we heard about them last time we were in Italy, and this year while I stayed sniffling in bed, he ventured off and checked it off his Italy bucketlist.
First wildlife sightings [Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa]
Pilanesberg was just a couple hours outside of Johannesburg and was our first experience seeing all these animals in the wild. It was surreal to see them not in their own designated zones like in a zoo, instead there were zebras hanging out with wildebeest while ostriches ran around and we never quite got over feeling like we were in a movie.
Tracking our first cheetah [Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa]
It’s one thing to spot a lazy lion chillin’ under a tree when there’s already three other vehicles parked taking photos and giving away its position, and a whole other to watch other animals’ behaviour and patiently track and wait for a cheetah to appear. Suffice it to say we were very proud of ourselves.
Getting blown away at Cape Diaz [Luderitz, Namibia]
Moreno took a video of me standing on top of this lookout at Cape Diaz on the Atlantic coast trying to explain just how windy it was while holding on to one of the pillars and to my hood. I can tell you it was so windy you can’t actually hear anything.
Seeing (and getting charged by) elephants in the wild [Damaraland, Namibia]
Not necessarily a pleasant moment, but a memorable one nonetheless. Seeing elephants in the wild was probably one of my most vivid African dreams, and Moreno getting charged by one while I hid in the bushes definitely delivered.
Skydiving [Swakopmund, Namibia]
Probably the funnest experience of the whole trip, we tandem skydived for my birthday to a backdrop of ocean and desert. Definitely made up for not bungee jumping!
Whitewater rafting [Victoria Falls, Zambia]
We were a bit hesitant about doing the whitewater rafting at Vic Falls but in the end were wishing we had signed up for the full day! Even the flipping over was a thrill – and helped us cool off from the Zambian midday heat.
Canoe Trip [Lower Zambezi, Zambia]
When we post the video of the elephant that sloshed over to us (a good three or less meters away) you’ll be able to imagine how absolutely magnificent, and absolutely terrifying, they truly are.
Bush camping [Lower Zambezi, Zambia]
An experience in its own right, camping on a small island on the Zambezi River with a group of great people and hearing all the wildlife around was heart pounding and one of those experiences where we caught ourselves thinking, “life is good.”
Snorkelling with whale sharks [Tofo, Mozambique]
Snorkelling in Tofo was particularly amazing because somewhere along the line I had developed a fear of such things…snorkeling, deep water – it wasn’t my favourite situation to be in. But throughout our trip we had done enough little things that by the time our ocean safari guide yelled, “Whale shark! Jump!” I jumped in that water with the rest of them :D
Getting pampered at Rosendal Winery & Wellness Retreat [Robertson, South Africa]
Perhaps not as exhilarating as some of the other things on the list but we wished we had more time at this winery and spa anyway. The food was delicious, the wine was free, the spa treatments were sooooo relaxing, and we walked around as if on a lavender filled cloud 9 the whole time. Perfect for settling down a bit before coming home.
And that’s it. Well, actually, there’s a lot of things that could’ve made the list. Some of the top ones were actually meeting up with friends in Germany and Italy, and my whole family being together (for the first time ever) in Poland.
And just because we couldn’t fit them in here, stay tuned for a post on our favourite places of 2014, coming up next!