2013 was an amazing year. I don’t know if any other year will every compare, considering it was a year of great change. I lived in three different cities, visited 11 cities in nine countries, graduated from my MBA program, found a job that I love and relocated to Shanghai. I fully recognize that I probably will never travel that much in my life ever again. I definitely cherish every single moment of 2013. However, I’m excited for what 2014 will bring and for new Shanghai adventures.
It’s too difficult to rank my favorite moments of 2013, but I did want to capture 10 of my favorites (brought to you by the lens of my iPhone 4 and Instagram).
1. Invalides (Paris, France)
I had just moved out of the suburbs of France and into Paris. After having a lovely brunch on a cold, snowy day, the Métro broke down and I had to walk home. What started out as a inconvenience, turned into an absolutely stunning walk and I got to capture this gorgeous shot of Invalides (which never would have happened if the Métro worked!).
2. Burj Khalifa (Dubai, UAE)
It was my first trip to the Middle East and Dubai was such an eye-opening experience. I learned so much about the local culture and was also just stunned with the entire city. Everything was so opulent and it was more than I could have ever imagined. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world and I loved the way it was lit up at night with its own sparkling lights like the Eiffel Tower.
3. Château de Chenonceau (Loire Valley, France)
I felt like I was on the set of Downton Abbey while wondering the vast halls and gardens during my Loire Valley Châteaux tour. It made me feel like a Pretty, Pretty Princess. The Loire Valley is definitely worth visiting and I personally enjoy it a lot more than visiting the palace in Versailles.
4. Victoria Harbor (Hong Kong)
Who doesn’t love a giant, 6-story inflatable rubber duck? It was awesome to be in Hong Kong the same time as this wandering art installation from Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman.
5. Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France)
This was the night I found out that I was accepted for an amazing opportunity in Hong Kong and that I would be leaving the wonderful City of Light. It was such mixed emotions for me as I was excited to go to Hong Kong, but I was so sad to leave Paris earlier than anticipated. I took this photo right before hopping on the Métro. It wasn’t until afterward that I realized that I had captured a picture perfect “stolen moment” of a couple in love. I feel like this picture captured the true essence of l’amour and my own love affair with Paris.
6. Gardens of the Musée Rodin (Paris, France)
Honestly, the Musée Rodin is my favorite museum in Paris– more specifically the gardens in the museum. Why deal with the huge crowds at the Louvre or Musée D’Orsay when you can pay 1 euro to explore the grounds at the Rodin Museum? The gardens are filled with Rodin’s sculptures (notice the Thinker) and you can bring your own picnic lunch while you enjoy the view of Invalides and the Eiffel Tower.
7. Piazza della Repubblica (Florence, Italy)
As much as I love Paris, Italy definitely competes for a spot in my heart. How can you beat fabulous food (mmm… spaghetti alla bottarga), rich, buttery gelato, friendly people and beautiful architecture? Even though I was only in Florence for one night (and it was raining), I fully took advantage of everything Italy has to offer.
8. Alleyway in Central (Hong Kong)
One of my favorite casual restaurants in Hong Kong is MANA and I make a point of going every time I’m in the city. I always pass by this alleyway full of random knick-knacks. I love the juxtaposition of having a local woman climb the steep streets while being surrounded by touristy trinkets.
9. The Bund (Shanghai, China)
I had just moved to Shanghai from Hong Kong for a new job. This was taken my second week in Shanghai after having dinner with a friend. I was sitting in my taxi and admiring the beautiful lit up view of the Bund. Then, it hit me. Shanghai is now my city and my new home. This photo captures the moment that I felt like I had finally arrived.
10. Avenue de la Motte-Picquet (Paris, France)
I will never forget my apartment in Paris. I absolutely adored it and it was the most magical place in the world for me. I had the best view of Invalides and a cute patio with red furniture. It was literally what every girl dreams of when living the Parisian life. Nothing will ever beat having breakfast on my patio with fresh viennoiseries from the local boulangerie down the street, complete with Kusmi tea and mimosas. This is my definition of a perfect moment.
If you enjoyed my pictures, feel free to follow my adventures on Instagram at rbjello.