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My travels in 2019 – a retrospective in photography

My travels in 2019, why this title? Because I can’t find a better way to celebrate last year, since traveling is almost like breathing for me.

It is the way I find to escape from an often ugly reality, to decompress from the work stress, to know new places, feel new smells, taste new flavors, meet new people.

Traveling solo can be daunting to many people, and here on my site I have a couple of posts that can help you start your solo travel journey, trust me I have been in your shoes (https://heelsandspices.com/2018/06/solo-traveling-how-to-start/ https://heelsandspices.com/2018/05/being-a-solo-traveler-and-a-woman-overcoming-the-fear-of-flying/ ).

Believe me, it can sound terrifying leaving our comfort zone, daring to fly out of our cozy nest, and dare traveling. But nothing will make you feel more powerful or stronger than breaking your boundaries, your limits, conquering your fears, and traveling to places that were in your dreams for years and years.

My travels in 2019 are a true reflection of that. I traveled to places I never imagined. I broke ties, I demolished dogmas, fears. I traveled alone to places I did not speak the language, and I did not know if they would speak English enough to make myself understandable.

Of course I learned a few basic words and sentences in Slovenian and Croatian, because I make a point of doing that to every country I travel.

Nothing opens more doors and puts a smile on people’s faces, than seeing a foreigner interested enough in their country, to make an effort and learn their language.

As far as Italian goes, I can now communicate easily in Italian, and I understand it quite well now; just because I love Italy so much, I decided to study Italian (as I did with English, French and Spanish in the past).

Enough talking? I guess so. Now I leave you with a beautiful collection of my travels in 2019. I hope you enjoy, and if you do, or have any questions, just leave it in the comments, and visit my facebook page and Instagram! I really appreciate building a community!

December 2018/January 2019

End of December I was quite worn out after a busy and stressful year. In my family the tradition is to spend Christmas together and for New Year’s each one goes wherever he/she wants to. I decided to book three places. Tomjachu Bush Retreat from 28 Dec to 1 Jan, Loerie’s call in Nelspruit for the 1st, and then Torburnlea from the 2nd to the 4th of January. I wrote about them in previous posts, just check it out, it is worth reading.

April – Amalfi Coast and Gulf of Napoli

I had dream for years with the Amalfi Coast, but I had only seen it in movies and read in books. Finally I went there, and it was all and more than what I expected and imagined. Every single town is beautiful and the views are among the best I have ever seen.

Florence, Tuscany and Lucca

As I told you in my last post about Florence, Florence is a growing and endless love, so there I went again, and this time took a day to go to the beautiful Lucca, easily reached by train from Florence. One day for Lucca is tight but doable.

April – Bologna, Ravenna and Modena

My first time in Italy I landed in Bologna, but only had 3 hours there. I left promising to get back there soon. There I was in April, and also took the time to visit the beautiful Ravenna ( (I had the best olive oil of my life there at Ristorante Al Passatore, close to Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo) and Modena. In Modena I tasted the real Balsamic Vinegar – oh my, I will never be able to have the ones I used to. I bought a 25 year Balsamic Vinegar, costed 50 Euro, but is 100% worth it.

You will probably hear people raving about Ravenna as it has an impressive number of UNESCO sites, and stunning mosaics and beautiful basilicas, but Modena was the one that captured my heart and soul. What a great vibe and amazing food , not to mention the Ferrari and Lamborghini (I do love cars), the churches, the market, the gardens. Modena is really a gem

May – Rome and Orvieto, Lisbon

Roma, la mia bella Roma, mi amore, la città eterna. I simply cannot miss my favorite place in Italy. I also visited Orvieto in Umbria, and was enchanted.

May – South Africa, Mpumalanga

As I wrote in previous posts, South Africa is so close to where I live, that I travel there often (check recent posts). This time I went to Malelane for a relaxing weekend.

June – Nacala (Mozambique) and Malelane, Hazyview and Nelspruit (South Africa)

Nacala is a town in Northern Mozambique, I went there for work, but took some time to visit it.

Then after returning it was my birthday and I went with my son to South Africa for a relaxing 4 days visiting Malelane, Kruger Park, Hazyview and Nelspruit (https://heelsandspices.com/2019/12/lets-talk-malelane-and-kruger-park/)

September – Milan, Mantova (Italy), Slovenia

This time I took some non paid leave to add to my 2-week holidays, as I needed to sort some family matters in Portugal. Before that I spent 17 days in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. I visited the beautiful Mantova in Italy, from where I took a bus to Slovenia. Slovenia is mind blowing. Neat, organized, clean, green, everyone speaks English, I literally fell in love with it

October – Rovinj and Plitivce lakes (Croatia), Venice, Bassano del Grappa, Padova, Florence (yes, again) and Rome (and yes again)

After Slovenia I went to Croatia, and visited lovely Rovinj, and the stunning Plitvice Lakes, a place that all of us should visit one day – it is breathtaking.

From Croatia I took the bus to Venice, visited the beautiful Bassano del Grappa, Padova (the city of one of the most beautiful frescoes I have ever seen) , spent 3 days in Florence where I met a friend from Brazil, and then headed to my beloved Rome, where I besides my favorite places, I also took the time to visit what I call “unexpected Rome” – the places off the beaten path that people so often miss