Happy New Year! This is another new year for everyone, but it is slightly different. We’ve got 24 hours more than the past 3 years! Now I’m filing up my 2019 memories and share with you the best places to visit in 2020!
2020 starts a new circle of the Chinese zodiac. This year’s zodiac animal is Rat, which is in the first place of the whole 12 Chinese zodiac circle! In China, the rat is not necessarily a negative thing. Instead, in Zodiac, it means intelligent and fast-acting.
I and Luigi had a very nice New Year’s Eve home party with our friends in Rome. We stayed as late as 4 am and slept over 50% of our 2020’s first day – I called it “A bad start”!
Looking back in 2019, I’ve got routine trips to Asia for work and family. However, I’ve been successfully combined a few short trips in Europe and even hit another new country on my list! Moving to Rome finally enables me to explore this eternal city. It is all about digging the history and the local culture, walking around in the neighborhoods and knowing new people in Rome. All the stories I would like to share with you in 2020.
This is a list contains full of my best or most impressive memories of 2019. I’ve got some places to be re-visited. And maybe, it could be the best places to visit for your 2020 calendar.
China is too big for a single trip. As the biggest oriental country, it is definitely on the list of best places to visit!
I always have a complicated feeling about my own country. Every time I go back, I’m impressed by the great changes in the cities. The way how people are making their lives impresses me as well. I do enjoy the rich Chinese dining culture and the chic western style bars to hang out with my friends in the big Chinese cities. On the other side, I feel pity that a lot of beautiful natural landscapes and the most precious local culture are fading away as the compromise of rapid economic development.
Shenzhen and Guangzhou
I went to Shenzhen and Guangzhou with Luigi in Feb. Both cities were the quick stops of our business trip between Hong Kong and Shanghai. We had really great food there and it was my first time to see the stunning financial center of Shenzhen city – Impressive!
I’ve been back home a few times last year. Unfortunately, I could stay for a few days each time, which was even not enough to catch up with all my friends. I haven’t visited many new areas in Shanghai since 8 years ago when I left for studying in Hong Kong! The West Bund was a “dead” area with all abandoned factories and warehouses 10 years ago. A few years ago it was renovated to a super chic and fashionable zone that frequently hosts shows and events of fashion, design, and art.
In Shanghai, I never succeed to lose any weight, not only because there is plenty of traditional Chinese food, but also the chic western dining concepts by the big expat community in the city. French Concession zone is always on my list if I want a slow morning or a lazy afternoon.
I was back from Beijing recently. It is a business trip which didn’t allow me to tourist around. No Forbidden City nor the Great Wall, instead, I had a Beijing duck “hunting” with my business partner.
A quick stop in Hong Kong normally means a quick shopping of J-beauty or K-beauty and snacking around in the most crowded zones for the local street foods.
If you are a foodie, check out these 2 local food options:
Pasta in the tomato-based soup as breakfast: It is strange but it is the most common breakfast for every single Hongkonger. They normally order a set with pasta soup, eggs (prepared in different ways) and a Hong Kong style bun to start their over 10-hour daily schedule.
The biggest highlight of 2019 is the short trip to Malta. It was our first time there! The most impressive experience is visiting the National War Museum inside the St.Elmo Fortress. We literally spent the whole afternoon on Malta’s heroic history!
A few special mentionings of Malta’s amazing places are Victorian Era Baths at Font Ghadir, St.Peter’s Pol at Marsaxlokk and Blue Lagoon of Gozo Island.
Related reading for more best places to visit in Malta:
In June, we spent a short weekend in London for a British wedding. Taking the chance, we booked a tour of Stonehenge, Bath and Windsor Castle.
Surprisingly, I liked Bath more than the other two. The most possible reason is I am so much into the history of Roman Empires and there is Roman Bath Museum there! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to explore London city – no Big Ben, no Buckingham Palace, no London Eye, no Tower Bridge… so it is the perfect excuse for us to put London on our 2020 bucket list!
Italy is never lack of the best places to visit.
I’m happy that I’ve checked out some new places in Italy, from the north to the middle (probably I shall plan something more about the south in 2020)! Especially in the north, where I learned more about Italians and how different Italians’ local culture is from one town to another.
We went to Treviso area two times in the summer. In the mountain, we drove through many cute towns that stand right at the foot of the green mountains. Rome has a purely white color tone. Orange and yellow is the color tone of Tuscany. Treviso’s color tone reminds me a lot of Germany.
We’ve got an adventure by crossing the historic tunnel (Passo San Baldo). Also, we discovered the Instagrammable Ostia, drunk tons of Prosecco in the area and took a whole SPA afternoon in the beautiful Castle Brando.
Related reading for more best places to visit in Treviso:
Parma surprised me a lot during my first visit in early May. I thought it as another normal Italian city, with lay-back and classic atmosphere. On the opposite, its streets were so vivid and crowded in the early afternoon hours when I visited the city. The city center was full of “dressed-up” people no matter the ages or the generation.
We didn’t let go of our stomach either, because the famous Italian cold cuts you could name would be from Parma, for example, Parma Ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Of course, we’ve taken our chance to eat a lot of Gnoccho Fritto, which is not well-known to the tourists, but definitely “a great deal” in the north Italian yummy bible.
Last year’s Tuscany trip was a bit different from previous years. We skipped the hills and medieval cities. We went to the seaside. Yes, you might feel weird about the “seaside in Tuscany” as we all know Tuscany as “Under The Tuscany Sun”. The area is called Albinia, where a few small towns are on the narrow land stretching out to the sea. We planned our visit in the off-season, which promised us a quiet, relaxing and cheap weekend escape. We simply lied on the beach, read books, “got burn” and “over-ate”.
Related reading: 1 Day Itinerary Of Tuscany Seaside
No joking, I mean to put Rome here, as one of my memorable destinations. In fact, we moved to Rome in late October. With the big business trip to China and a couple of weekend trips in Europe, I haven’t got a chance to explore Rome.
So far, I’ve visited a few museums, some interesting but non-tourist-occupied neighborhoods. In November, I was a Chinese tourist with my friend from Shanghai. I’ve talked about Rome in my blog, but I feel there are tons of things I can blog in 2020.
We went back to Germany at a high frequency in last year. After living in Rome’s “chaos”, we missed German’s cold fresh air, the sharp architecture, and the super organized vibe, also the German food! So, it is not surprising that I add some German cities on this list of the best places to visit.
In September, we went to Hamburg, where was already winter like now in Rome. I was so happy about our hotel choice, 25 Hours, which had tons of interesting designs and creative ideas.
Another interesting experience we had there, was the chocolate museum. We’ve learned the trading of cacao, the chocolate making in the museum. There was a small section to let you create your own chocolate. Like a kid, we tried to “load” as much stuff as possible on the bar.
Eating and drinking are my greatest memories of Dusseldorf. We went there twice in 2019 and We were two times in the “trap” of our lovely German friends who the experts of the fine wine and the yummy food!
The recent trip there was before Christmas, and we actually aimed at the Christmas market. We were so impressed by those Christmas “camp” in different colors. The stands were back to back and occupied almost every inch of the city center. Probably, the only one Christmas market you cannot miss is German’s. It was just so big fun!
I hope you enjoy this 2019 round-up, and currently, I haven’t made my mind of 2020’s travel plan. So, let me know if you have any suggestions for me.
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