The Blessings of the Past 10 Years

I have big news. On July 5th of this year, this blog is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Ten whole years! A decade of writing and taking pictures, of sharing experiences and immersing in foreign cultures, of falling in love with architecture and people and of other blogs.

What was a summer fling became a long-term commitment, which I never saw coming. In the beginning all I wanted to do was share the photos I took of the flowers in my garden since a few months earlier I had purchased a 4 megapixel digital camera with awesome lens. This was a major purchase then, you can imagine.

In the course of ten years of blogging, I have managed to travel overseas during my vacation time and holding a regular 9-5 job means the only traveling I can do is limited to the time I have a time off work, but I had managed to save up all my PTOs and travel to Asia and Europe and Central America and Africa.

Since it’s a major anniversary I am celebrating I would like to look back on the travels/places/experiences that made a impact on me.

I cannot decide whether to post a top ten of my travels or top ten of my favorite shots so I'll just enumerate 10 of most impactful shots with the stories behind them. They are randomly listed.


It all began with Paris. Being novice in traveling we set up lofty goals to visit Paris on a 6-hour layover despite the emphatic discouragement of the lady manning the information booth. Disregarding her advice, we "saw" Paris, ate croissant and drank coffee, photographed 3 major landmarks, lost hubby's wallet and spent a chunk of the 6 hours in a train station's police room calling credit cards to report lost of cards. But we survived and enjoyed the sights. It was our inititation by fire of traveling.

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2. Valley of Fire State Park

Nevada's first state park has beautiful otherworldly sceneries, incredible rock formations, awesome red rocks, indian petroglyphs and this happens to be my happy place. This is one of my most favorite places on Earth.

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3. Taj Mahal

Really who in this world would not be awed by this? The Taj Mahal was not in my top ten bucket list, if that is even possible, but it wasn't a priority. However, the minute I first laid eyes on her, tears rolled down my face. Tears of joy, of thanksgiving, of disbelief. I thought that the Taj Mahal (and the surrounding strutures) is so much better in person than on photos.

4. Tortuguero

Tortuguero (Costa Rica) is so memorable for so many different things. Here I watched a giant turtle lay eggs on the beach under the moonlight in total silence. The walk to the jungle and the cruise to the canals, being waken in the morning by monkeys jumping on the roof and enjoying a sip of coffee watching birds and butterflies. Another one of my most favorite places on earth.

5. Malta

The first time my jaw dropped on the floor at the sight of something beautiful was courtesy of Malta, via the Grand Harbor. The grandeur of arriving in Valletta on the boat is forever stamped in my brain. I must say that that moment was the first time I got breathless looking at something. The city of Valletta is an open air museum that needs to be revisited. Still topping my bucket list.

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6. Barcelona

On first sight, I fell hard for Barcelona. What's not to love? Beautiful architecture, scrumptious tapas, incredible art, walker friendly city. I have said before that if I could I would move to Barcelona (at least for part of the year).

7. Lisbon

Lisbon is like Barcelona's twin sister. They offer the same delights to the visitor - incredible architecture, stunning sights, mouth-watering dishes, gorgeous tiles. Another city I can imagine myself living.

8. Yosemite

Is there anyone here who has not heard of Yosemite and its charms? I cannot get enough of it.

9. Santorini

Santorini is one of those few places I've been that is more stunning in person than on all the photoshopped images online. The sheer beauty due to location is enough to satisfy the visitor.

10. Cancun

Whenever I think of beach getaway, I choose Cancun. Not only is it more pocketbook friendly, but there is so much culture to be had in Cancun. The locals are friendly, it's almost like America especially in the Hotel Zone. I stayed away from the Hotel Zone one time and have felt safe among the locals and enjoyed all the great food.

The problem with listing down only 10 is that many have been skipped. Mykonos for example is a charming place with all those alleys that seem to crisscross around the city. Also, Bali which I visited in January of this year was such a wonderful destination, full of culture, art and excellent food and I have not mentioned the beaches yet. However, i may have trouble sharing Bali because the external drive that contained all of my Bali photos have been corrupted and now I cannot access it. Help if someone has any inkling how to get the nearly 24,000 photos in that drive.

So many other destinations and experiences in the past decade that's worth mentioning but impossible to list them all here.

For my very first post I posted the flowers in my backyard here.



  1. Congratulations on 10 years and what a wonderful post with beautiful photographs. It has been a pleasure to vicariously visit the sights you have photographed.

  2. Oh my, what a wonderful collection of places and travel images! Congrats on your 10 year milestone. You made me look for when I started and it was in September, 2006, so I was not even aware that my 10th was also approaching. I did not get my first DSLR until 2008 so my first blogs were more narratives which evolved into photo blogs as I started carrying a camera. My travels have not been as extensive as yours, so my "top 10" may turn out to be my "only 10."

  3. Fabulous. You have covered entire length and breadth of the world.

  4. Wow! 10 years! I have to congratulate since I know the many ups and down of having a blog. Stories and posts like yours encourage me to keep traveling. I have a full time job too. Therefore, my travel time is limited to that. However, I use any free time to get out. Hope in ten years I can say I have been to wonderful places like you.

  5. Congratulations!
    Thanks for sharing at

  6. Hello, Congrats on your blog's anniversary. You have traveled to many beautiful places. Santorini looks beautiful and would be on my wish list. Awesome collection of photos. Looking forward to seeing more of your travels. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day and the week ahead!

  7. Congratulations! Your images are beautiful, and your travels are inspiring!

  8. Happy 10th Anniversary to your wonderful blog which is full of gorgeous pictures of places far and beyond anyone's imagination. But thanks to your blog, we bear witness to the beauty and charms these places offer. Cheers! Here's to more photographic blogging years to come. :)

  9. Absolutely gorgeous photos! Thank you so much for sharing, and I wish you a very Happy 10th Anniversary! :)

  10. You've been to some great places. Congratulations on your 10-year blogiversary!

  11. 10 years for anything now days is quite the feat!! Way to go! You sure have been blessed in seeing this great beautiful planet!

  12. Congratulations on your 10th Blog Anniversary! A great post here, with ten marvellous images!

  13. Wow - ten years of blogging is an achievement! Congrats!

  14. What a great idea to list 10 "top" spots in honor of your 10-year anniversary, Maria! Next February I will celebrate my 12th year of blogging, so you've just given me an idea. :)

  15. I will celebrate my 10th blog anniversary I think also this months. I have to check ! You made me think of it. I never regretted and am still so motivated as in the beginning. It's so nice to share photos and learn to know a lot of people all over the world although only virtually, but some of them I also met life. Your memory photos are beautiful, You have also been to many places. I love travelling too.

  16. What a wonderful post! Thank you!

  17. What a lovely collection.
    Happy tenth anniversary. So happy to have found your blog.

  18. Loved your recap!!! We've visited a few of the same places...but traveled to many more. My first love has been South particular Kruger National Park...then Galapagos Islands! My favorite European city....Budapest!!! Happy travels in the future!!!

  19. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your ten best vacation spots! But there is one that I wouldn't recommend in July or August - and that is the Valley of Fire. At one time I lived in Las Vegas and visited FOV several times - it is as hot as hades! Really rather dangerous to travel to in the summer. But it is awesome!! I'd like to try Lisbon or Barcelona next.


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