2016 – Another Year Gets Wrapped Up!

December 2016 ~ At home in Southern California

Ready for another great adventure!

Traveling the world – one place at a time…

Whew, I feel like I am sliding into home plate after a ninth inning Grand Slam. Our year was once again filled to the brim with exciting travel and memorable moments. We managed to squeeze in trips that involved 15 countries on five different continents!

Here is a breakdown of our trips for 2016: 

NORTH AMERICA – Hawaii (USA) and Mexico

Central Plaza

Central Plaza – Princess Cruise Los Angeles to Hawaii

We started our year off with a cruise out of Los Angeles to HAWAII. It was relaxing and allowed us to simply spend some quality time together without any of the hustle and bustle that often comes with trying to figure out when and where to be at any certain time.

Just FYI, you can click on “Hawaii” or any underlined text on this post to see all of the blog write-ups about that particular destination if you are curious to see more of what we did or experienced there.

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Black sand beach

Black sand beach – Maui, on the road to Hana

A stop over for the day in Ensenada, Mexico completed our cruise.

Clams on the grill

Clams on the grill at La Bufadora, Mexico

SOUTHEAST ASIA – Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam

With some last-minute changes, we headed off to Singapore in March.

The Supertrees at Gardens of the Bay

The Supertrees at Gardens of the Bay, Singapore

Loved Singapore! What a clean, beautiful city/country.

And then a little bit of a shock to the system to hop on another jet and head for CAMBODIA, struggling to lift itself out of third world status. Their recent violent history has left an open, sometimes festering wound.

Our 14-day “Best of Cambodia” with Intrepid Tours caught us by surprise. Since it was a last-minute add-on/replacement trip for our cancelled Princess Cruise, we were ill prepared and had done little-to-no research ahead of time. In all honesty, the times and logistics fit our needs, but we were not expecting much.

Itinerary for 14 Day Best of Cambodia tour

Itinerary for 14 Day Best of Cambodia tour

With great enthusiasm though I can say that we were VERY pleasantly surprised by how much we ended up enjoying both the itinerary and the country. Our visit to Angkor Wat was of course a highlight worth mentioning.

A few favorite shots from Cambodia:

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Back to Phnom Penh to meet up with our next tour with Gate 1, 15-day Cambodia and Vietnam. The first few days were a little duplicated with some additional time spent back at Angkor Wat.

Paper lanterns

Paper lanterns, Vietnam

VIETNAM

Gate 1 - 15 day Cambodia and Vietnam

Gate 1 – 15 day Cambodia and Vietnam

It would have been a much better destination if not for the abundance of MSG in their food. Tim had a difficult time and far too often ended up having allergic reactions which definitely put a damper on him enjoying the trip. Still we learned a lot, especially about the Vietnam/American War where many of my classmates were called to serve. A difficult time for both of our countries.

Standout moments include the town of Hue, a visit with the black teeth woman, Halong Bay, the Imperial Palace, green rice fields being planted by women wearing conical hats, men casting fishing nets, and friendly people.

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AFRICA – MOROCCO

Our next continent was Africa with a couple of weeks spent in MOROCCO. This was another Gate 1 trip called Moroccan Allure.

The route we will be taking on our journey around Morocco

The route we took on our journey around Morocco

From Fez to Marrakesh to the Sahara Desert to Casablanca and many places in between, what a colorful and magical country. I loved every moment there, but a couple of the highlights were riding camels and staying in a tent camp in the desert, plus wandering the marketplaces and winding, narrow alleyways of the old walled cities. The coastal artist community of Essaouira especially captured our hearts.

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EUROPE – Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands

Time for a return to Europe where we spent a few days on our own relaxing in a small Airbnb and exploring in Porto before joining another Gate 1 tour.

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Map showing our route through Portugal with our Gate 1 tour

Map showing our route through Portugal with our Gate 1 tour

PORTUGAL

As is often the case on guided tours, there is one highlight, UNESCO World Heritage Site, or gigantic cathedral after another and this was certainly no exception.

A few of the notable events on this tour included visits to the Stock Exchange, the Coimbra University Library, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, the Convent of Christ in Tomar, the unique Ossuary Chapel in Evora, the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon and the Church and Monastery of Santa Maria.

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SPAIN was next on our agenda to meet up with dear friends, Dick and Karen. Karen had just completed walking the 500 mile Camino which ends in Santiago de Compostela.

Having a celebratory drink together

Having a celebratory drink together

A train trip to Madrid followed where we spent a week and we did absolutely nothing but a visit to the Prado Museum and hibernate. Then home in Southern California for about six weeks before we once again packed our suitcases and headed back to Europe.

SWITZERLAND (and cutting across a corner of Italy)

We had been discussing and dreaming about a train trip in Europe for some time.

An opportunity came up for us to join friends on another Uniworld River Cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, and we jumped at it. So, since we would be embarking on the river boat in Switzerland, we decided it was the perfect chance to go early and take two weeks to travel the country by train.

This is the train route we are following from Zurich

This is the train route we took through Switzerland – except we went from Bern to Basel at the end

Zurich - Facade of the train station with triumphal arch dating back to 1871

Zürich – Facade of the train station with triumphal arch dating back to 1871

There is just no way I can use enough superlatives in describing Switzerland. It is clean, safe, efficient, excellent transportation system, politically neutral, kind helpful people, and some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. The only drawback is that it is expensive by US standards.

Back at the bottom now. Yep, this is our "Grand Tour" of Switzerland!

This is our “Grand Tour” of Switzerland!

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Next up was our Uniworld River Cruise – Legendary Rhine and Moselle

Uniworld River Queen

Uniworld River Queen

Departing out or Basel on the River Queen, we were pampered, spoiled and fed gourmet food for the next two weeks. One of the many perks of taking river cruises is everything is already included from lodging, transportation, tours, food and drinks, enrichment lectures and entertainment.

Route of our river cruise on the River Queen

Route of our river cruise on the River Queen

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SOUTH AMERICA ~ Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Arboreal Iguana

Arboreal Iguana, Guayaquil

Our travel year culminated with a trip to our 5th continent, South America. I was especially excited to see the animals on the Galapagos Islands and get up into the rain forest in Ecuador. Well, I got half of my wish anyway. The islands were amazing and a “once in a lifetime” type of experience.

15 Day Ecuador with 5 Day Western Galapagos Islands Itinerary - Gate 1

15 Day Ecuador with 5 Day Western Galapagos Islands Itinerary – Gate 1

Unfortunately Tim once again had problems with the local food having MSG and other Free Glutamic Acid ingredients, which kicked up his allergies and forced us to return home early. So, we did get to see Guayaquil on the mainland, as well as all the areas on the blue portion of the Galapagos Islands map. The rest of Ecuador will just have to wait.

But, and that is a mighty big “BUT”, we enjoyed what we did see immensely!

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Jubilation for being able to realize a life time dream of seeing the Galapagos Islands!

Jubilation for being able to realize a life time dream of seeing the Galapagos Islands!

Our year ended with us picking up our newest baby, a small 24 foot RV which we plan on getting to know as we explore more of the US and Canada in 2017, especially our National Parks.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for this amazing, exciting, sometimes exhausting, wonderful adventure that I am so blessed to share with my husband.  With the incredible advancements in technology, we are able to welcome our family, and both old and new friends, to follow along with us. Your warm comments, encouraging notes, and sometimes filling in the blanks or answering questions or making recommendations along the way, make this all the more rewarding.

As we wind down a year that has been one unlike any other, filled with many highs and a couple of low moments, we look forward to welcoming in 2017.

“Our wish for all mankind is that your dreams become reality, you are young enough to still get excited by little things, old enough to appreciate each new morning, and wise enough to look in the eyes of your loved ones and recognize just how blessed you truly are.” ~ Tim and Joanne Joseph, 2016

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
This entry was posted in Africa, Asia, Cambodia, Ecuador, Europe, France, Germany, Hawaii, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, Reflection, Singapore, South America, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United States, Vietnam and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to 2016 – Another Year Gets Wrapped Up!

  1. Sunith says:

    Wishing you both, the very best in life in the new year.

    Like

  2. mike alesko says:

    Great review. I’ve loved every one of your blogs. You’re a master at weaving the photos and your very interesting narratives. And you show us a great feel, respect and appreciation for the peoples and cultures you encounter. A great 2017 and more wondrous travels to you and Tim. Thanks so much for the gift of your Note From Abroad.

    Like

    • Mike, how I appreciate your loyally reading my often long and windy blogs. We have known each other for many years my friend, and receiving your kind comments and encouragement means a great deal, especially with your background “in the business”. Wishing you nothing but the BEST for 2017!

      Like

  3. WOW! It looks like you have had an amazing year! You are SO adventurous – I admire that 🙂 I have not been to all the places in your post – some of them look amazing. I had had the opportunity to cycle the road to Hana – so lovely!!

    I would love to know how you inserted the slide shows 🙂 They are fantastic!

    Looking forward to seeing your posts for 2017!

    Like

    • Boy oh boy, speaking of adventurous, cycling the road to Hana must have been amazing. On WordPress, then you insert your photos, you can create a gallery. One of the optional settings for your gallery shots is “slideshow”. Once your pictures are uploaded and selected it only takes a second to create. Very simple!

      Like

  4. Fabulous adventures you share in your terrific blog!

    Like

  5. Camie says:

    What a year full of amazing sites and experiences you’ll cherish forever. Wishing you another eventful year in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A glorious year of traveling Joanne and Tim. Thanks for having me along! –Curt

    Like

  7. John Love says:

    It was a great year! Great travels, and I didn’t get any blisters, sunburned, or anything!

    Like

  8. jmsabbagh says:

    Wonderful post .My Wife and took A cruise to Alaska last July. Amazing beauty. Happy New year.

    Like

  9. Merrill says:

    What a year! Anxious to hear what’s cooking for 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merrill, it was another fabulous year and we are both a bit overwhelmed to look back to realize all we managed to squeeze in. 2017 is shaping up to be mostly based in the USA and Canada while we explore in our new RV, but we do have a couple International trips in the works as well. Stay tuned…

      Like

  10. Keng says:

    Just reading your post made my travel itch started to surface again. Can’t wait to follow your RV adventure in the coming years. Happy New Year.

    Like

  11. ktkickass says:

    WOW!! That’s a lot of travelling in one year!!! Do you have a favourite?? Is there a place that you would go back time and time again?? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Both Tim and I feel that Switzerland wins by a landslide. It has everything we love, especially the natural beauty. It is clean, excellent transportation system, kind people, and so much more. The only drawback for us is that it is expensive compared to here in the USA. We would return in a heartbeat.

      Like

  12. Glenn Lamb says:

    Hello, only started following your travels recently and have enjoyed your blogs.
    You have some wonderful photos and I wondered what camera do you use and take on your travels. I have a Canon EOS D650 which I love but I find it can be too big and heavy so looking at alternatives.
    We also travel a lot and are packing up our house and heading off for an unspecified duration this April. You can follow our blog at http://www.lambiestravels.com
    Happy New Year to you both

    Like

  13. Gaye O'Brien says:

    Love your blog, we look forward to your RV experience. We are heading off to Mallacoota, a yearly event, in our 17 year old Caravan, alas no bathroom. This will be our 40th year, until last year we had no power. We are succumbering to old age and having a powered site this year,

    Like

  14. Terry says:

    You 2 are such a lovely couple and WOW such wonderful adventures this year. Have a Great New Years Eve and I toast to some wonderful trips for you in 2017. All my best.

    Like

  15. Kim Gorman says:

    Wow, what a year. Thanks for sharing it with us. Very inspirational. Happy New Year, and here’s to more adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What an amazing year you’ve had. I’ve been following along, but I really had no idea just how much you’d done until I saw it all laid out like this. May 2017 be all you could wish for!
    Alison

    Like

  17. What an awesome year of travel you’ve had. The number of places you’ve visited is mind-boggling. I enjoyed your recap. Best to you in 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. moragfgardner says:

    You have the most amazing travels! Wishing you all the best for 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Debra Kolkka says:

    Wow! What a wonderful year.

    Like

  20. Hello! Happy New Year! Wow, 2016 was a fabulous year for the two of you. You’ve gone to some of the countries I have on my ‘Bucket List’. It was great to see the pictures and read about them here. Thank you! Wishing you both another great year of travel and fun!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for your good wishes. This year the majority of our travels will be here in the USA, where we plan on concentrating on our National Parks, but we also have a couple International trips in the works as well. Hope you’ll follow along.

      Like

  21. lorriebowden says:

    Wow! Awesome! It was so much fun taking this trip with you 😉

    Like

  22. Samuel says:

    Wow, so many trips! Impressive, all the best for 2017 :p
    Just a question: how did you create those awesome maps?

    Like

    • Samuel, hello and welcome. Many of the maps on this post were from Gate 1, the tour company we use most often on our travels. There is also one from Intrepid Travel and one from Uniworld. They are borrowed from their websites to show where each of the tours went. The train trip in Switzerland is from Rick Steve’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Samuel says:

        Oh I’m disappointed, i thought you had found an awesome piece of software i could have used myself… thank you for your answer 🙂

        Like

  23. judycnorris says:

    A beautiful summary to what looks like a fabulous year of new adventures and travel. How you guys can keep up the energy I will never know. Thanks for letting me travel vicariously with you.

    Like

    • Judy, we did manage to squeeze a lot of amazing things into last year, but we also had to take some breaks along the way to get recharged. Still trying to find that perfect blend! We are really excited to do more road trips this year.

      Like

  24. Diane Taylor says:

    Love the Mark Twain quote – he is speaking to me. Fabulous photos. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. K E Garland says:

    I don’t think I said, “WOW” during anyone else’s blog post. This is an amazing feat! Happy New Year to you both and best of luck with this year.

    Like

    • So delighted that we produced a “wow” moment for you 😃 This year may not have as many International destinations, but we do plan on hitting the road soon and exploring some amazing places right here in our own backyard. Hope you will stick around and join us!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. What an amazing year. Thanks for the tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. J L Hunt says:

    Whoa…wonderful pics! Looks like you had an awesome time 🙂

    Like

  28. WOW. What a delightful travel experience, well more than that: an adventure. I never got to travel much. I did go to the shopping mall, however. Two years ago.

    Like

  29. What a fantastic year! Dream come true indeed! Have another great year in 2017! God bless and keep.

    Like

  30. lacasabloga says:

    Wow! My goal for the year is to get as much traveling done as you have. That’s amazing and truly inspirational. How do you afford to travel and move around so much? Hoping you will fill us with as much wanderlust and inspo this year as well.
    http://www.lacasabloga.com

    Like

    • We are very fortunate to be able to travel as much as we do, but there is really no magic formula. We both worked VERY hard for 40 years, lived relatively modest lives, invested in our future and are now retired. We sold our family home several years ago which further downsized our debt and expenses . All our hard work has now paid off and we are enjoying our retirement. There are many roads to the travel life – that just happens to be how we got there . Wishing you all the best and that all your travel dreams get realized as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lacasabloga says:

        Thank you, there is no better way than living the way you want by working hard to get there. I truly respect and admire that. Thank you for sharing your journeys and adventures with us.

        Liked by 1 person

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