Travel year 2017 has been exiting for a number of reasons. Firstly, we started DINKgo – Travel Stories Worth Sharing travel blog in February this year together with the social media channels.
Secondly, we visited a bunch of totally new destinations that had been on our list for quite some time. The third reason for exitement is that we got to see & experience thrilling things in places very familiar to us. You have adventures everywhere if you are willing to jump in.
Our first ever Travel Awards listing is a way of highlighting memorable places and moments. We have named “Best” and “Bubbling Under” for each category. Our categories for this year:
- Best Bar Snack
- Best Sweet Treat
- Best Event
- Best Flashback Moments
- Best Attraction
- Best Nature’s Wonder
- Best Hotel
- Best City Break
- Best Rendez-Vous
- Best New Cruise Port
- Best New Destination
Best Bar Snack: Cinnebar, Wynn Macau
Near the Wynn Macau entrance you’ll find Cinnebar. The indoor/outdoor lobby bar has the beautiful, playful colors and luxurious materials (like genuine onyx) Steve Wynn establishments are known for. The bar serves Asian-inspired cocktails and a fine selection of drinks to all tastes. But what really made the cocktail experience special were the house made, smoked tuna sticks served along with some nuts and other more traditional bar snacks.
The delicious, smoked tuna sticks are, according to the bar staff, prepared by the sushi wizards of the awarded Mizumi restaurant. We stopped by twice during our visit in Macau before having a dinner at the Italian restaurant Ristorante Il Teatro.
Bubbling under: The Embassy Bar of Ambasciatori Palace Hotel
This is a classic, elegant lobby bar that serves tasty hazel nuts, walnuts and pistachios. Late afternoons, during Happy Hour they also serve aperitivo such as small sandwich bites, Parmeggiano, prociutto, olives and so on. We had a fantastic “La Dolce Vita” stay at this hotel in August.
Best Sweet Treat: Portuguese Egg Tart, Macau
The Portuguese Egg Tarts we got to taste in Macau. We’ve never been to Portugal, but as you may know, Macau used to be under the Portuguese rule for a long period. Hence, many culinary specialities you’d find in Portugal can be found here as well.
Sweet, warm custard filling together with the flaky crust and the crème brûlée like topping. Ahh, what a bliss. They say the Macau version is a little different from what you’d get in Portugal. Hard to say, but these were the best sweet treats we’ve tasted this year!
Bubbling under: Il Tartufo Tre Scalini, Piazza Navona, Rome
This über sweet chocolate ice cream treat of the Tre Scalini cafe has been around since 1940’s and is a chocolate lovers dream come true.
Best Event: Oktoberfest, Berlin
Oktoberfest in Berlin was a fun day and night experience in late September. Evening time our taxi took us to the Höfbrau Haus (original is in Munich) to witness real oompah bands playing, people dancing on tables wearing Lederhosen and Dirndls, waiters carrying endless Steins and plates piled with Pretzels, Bratwurst, Knödel, pork, Sauerkraut and other Bavarian specialities.
Daytime we went to Alexanderplatz where you’d have an indoor/outdoor Oktoberfest experience. Vendors selling handicrafts, food & drinks. We enjoyed some currywurst and beer & bought original Oktoberfest clothing.
Bubbling under: The “Paint The Night” nighttime spectacular at the Disneyland Hong Kong
Some may say the nightly parade is not an event, but it has enough framing features that we think it is an individual event each night. Loved Disney characters, exeptional light art on and around floats, music that makes you want to dance along. Pure Disney magic.
Best Flashback Moments: Southfork Ranch, Dallas, Texas
Our memories of JR and the Ewing clan are still vivid and well, after spending half a day at the Southfork Ranch in April we remember Dallas even better.
The ranch that was mainly used for the outdoor filming (insides of the house were built to a studio) has brought the globally known series to life in many ways. Read about our Southfork experience: What’s Up, Southfork Ranch?
Bubbling Under: Las Vegas Neon Museum
We are thankful for the people who decided to start saving and preserving the neon signs of casinos, hotels and other establishments in Las Vegas and those who have made the Neon Museum possible.
The stories and the cultural history they bring to visitors of Sin City is invaluable. Many of the signs are part of our travel history, as well. We made a tour in November.
Best Attraction: NASA Space Center, Houston
NASA Space Center in Houston was definitely something we had wanted to visit for a long time. It offers exhibitions, interactive experiences and even that we have been to other NASA facilities as well we found & learned many new things. The possibility of joining a tour to the Building 9, The Vehicle Mock-Up Facility was a highlight of this visit for us. From the catwalk high above you can see scientists, astronauts and engineers actually working: testing equipment, robots and vehicles different ways.
Our post about Houston: Houston will make you wanna return
Bubbling under: Colosseum, Rome
That arena has seen a lot. It keeps your mind racing, thinking about all those ancient audiences, events, vendors, workers, slaves. How lucky we are to be able to have a connection to our past this way.
Best Nature’s Wonder: Valley Of Fire
Valley of Fire outside Las Vegas in Nevada is just out of this world! The mysterious, red formations that rise from the earth in different sizes and shapes take your breath away. It takes about an our from Las Vegas to drive here and at the park entrance you’ll receive a map showing all the main formations. We went this November and the weather was not too hot or cold, avoid the summer heat. We returned by the side of Lake Mead via Henderson and you’ll have numerous exceptional photo opps through out your drive as the earth changes.
Bubbling under: The Arch at the Southernmost point of Baja California.
We saw the famed rock arch from the deck of our cruise ship, but it was impressive with the high waves rolling through and around it.
Best Hotel: Marriott Marquis, Houston
We must admit we were lured by the Texas shaped lazy river when booking, but got so much more. The location is delightful, the service beyond any expectations, the interiors beautiful and the number of bars & restaurant superb. Check out our post 5 Things To Love about Marriott Marquis Houston.
Bubbling under: Mira Moon, Hong Kong
The most awarded boutique hotel in Hong Kong is a dream come true for design enthousiasts. The traditional Eastern flare is combined with quirky, modern design. A lot of character, fun details. Attentive and friendly staff, good location. We wrote a blog post about Mira Moon, read it here.
Best City Break: Rome
We wanted to spend some summer vacation days in an European city in August and as we checked our available days, available flights that have both an optimal flight time and price, we came up with Rome.
We stayed at Hotel Ambasciatori Palace, located on the legendary Via Veneto. Finding Dolce Vita in Rome is not hard, flaneuring hand in hand through the streets, squares and alleys, enjoying long lunches and dinners at the trattorias, sipping cooling drinks at the terraces.
Bubbling under: Helsinki
We visit our capital less often than many big cities abroad. In January we booked one night at the Seurahuone in Helsinki, just next to the Railway Station. Well preserved, over 180 years old classic makes you feel you are abroad, maybe in Paris. We dined, did some bar hoppingand visited antique stores.
Best Rendez-Vous: New Orleans
Big Easy mesmerized the first time we visited ten years ago and it was about the time to return. And it felt like coming home. There’s music everywhere, unique food scene, fun bars, excellent sightseeing options. The atmosphere is pure magic. The never lefts are people who came and well, never left. What to do in NOLA? Check this out: 4 Must Things to do in New Orleans
Bubbling under: Las Vegas
Well, Vegas is always a good idea and we return every year. There’s always something new to experience and in addition to gaming, the amount of entertainment, restaurants and shopping within Strip and Downtown – nothing compares to it.
Best New Cruise Port: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
We cruised from Los Angeles on Carnival Miracle and had three Mexican ports. This time we found Puerto Vallarta the most fascinating one. The long beach boulevard with shops, restaurants, statues. The lovely old town with cobble stone streets and alleys making you curious. Smells, sounds, tastes and rhytm that makes you want to stay.
Bubbling under: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
We could definitely return to Cabo, take a boat to see the Arch and Lovers Beach, go beyond Cabo to learn more about the Penisula’s unique nature, enjoy fresh seafood, soak in the sun, party ’till dawn. We wrote about Cabo here.
Best New Destination: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is truly enchanting. The combo of the ancient traditions and the ultra modern is filled with wonder and surprises. Safe, clean, efficient. Magical, superstitious, many faced. Would return any day.
Bubbling under: Macau
To finally experience this gaming mecca was a dream come true for us, the Las Vegas connoisseurs. We were not sure what to expect and were surprised in many ways. In Hong Kong you have the history of British rule, here it’s Portugal. Next to the mega casinos you’ll find both rich Chinese and Portuguese history. Read about our casino experiences and our tips for Macau.