Love Letters to Budapest, Myanmar, Nairobi, and Mallorca

This post is part of a series of love letters written by travel bloggers and expats about their favorite places around the world. Read more here!

Love Letter to Budapest

from Cris from LooknWalk

Oh, Budapest, how do I love thee!

It was love at first…mention. When I was a little girl, my late grandma talked about her trip to Budapest and how much she loved the city. I couldn’t wait to go.

And I did. The first time in 2007 and it was love at first sight. It was as if I already knew her, with the Danube splitting the city into two parts: Buda and Pest. It was as if she also knew me. With the help of my best friend (now husband), I discovered amazing hidden places which made me love her even more.

And since then I’ve returned so many times. Oh, Budapest, how do I love your bridges spanning over the Danube, your large boulevards, and your quirky squares. I’ve always gasped at the beauty of Castle Hill and the views from the Citadella. To make it even more special? You’ve been amazing to me on my birthday trips and my wedding anniversary trips. And the gems you hide near you were just as lovely: Szentendre is small, charming, and a jewel that deserves to be loved.

Oh, Budapest, how much do I treasure thee and all the memories I’ve made. So many kisses, so many walks hand in hand. So many blog posts, photos, and videos. And you still have so much to share. With each new trip, I discover more and more special places. Shall we dance the tango when we meet up next time?

Love Letter to Myanmar

from Julie at Insatiable Travel

My Dearest Myanmar,

I’m writing to tell you how much I adore you. Even though we have parted ways, I have never forgotten you because you hold a piece of my heart and have changed my life for the better.  

You came into my life when I was lost and helped me find my strength. Helping to restore my faith in myself as well as in humanity. The beautiful people within your borders showed me love without boundaries. Making me realize that we are all just people and we shall always show love to each other despite our differences. I have learned from you a lesson of resilience and the joys that stem from a simpler kind of life. 

The shockingly untouched natural beauty of your countryside and the deep blues of your southern archipelago will forever be seared in my mind.

Seeing your temples and experiencing the selflessness of your faith has changed my perspective in my own life.  Your ancient temples of Bagan have stood the test of time and war and somehow are even more beautiful today.

When I was welcomed into the homes of your relentlessly loving people in countless communities, my heart exploded. No one has ever loved me so completely and blindly. I had nothing to give, yet you gave me so much even though you have so little. You never asked for anything in return, you just wanted to see me happy and cared for. 

The dodgy and dangerous trips you transported me on made me realize that I must have faith in the process and live life more on the edge. You have made me see that it’s not at all about the destination, but it’s everything about the journey. 

Thank you for loving me, sharing your faith and restoring mine, feeding me before you fed yourself, letting me touch your beautiful soil and leave my footprints, for telling me your stories and listening to mine.  

Last of all, thank you for being you, with your endless smiles, your ability to conquer stereotypes and stigmas, for breaking down barriers and opening yourself up to others, and your endless love.

It’s never goodbye, it’s see you later.

With more love than I can express,

Love Letter to Nairobi

from Nadine at The Expat Mummy

I arrived in Nairobi in the dead of night.   We drove to Karen, a settlement on the outskirts of the city. Though dark and winding roads, past Karen Blixen’s house to a forbidding colonial house.  As I sat outside in the warm air enjoying my first taste of Dawa, I heard the screeching of a rock hyrax. It’s noise so fearful I was paralysed.  This is Africa; I thought, the Africa of Livingston, and the Great White Hunter but more importantly the Africa of a thousand tribes, man-eating lions and vast undiscovered wilderness. I was afraid. How can I live here? How can this wild place ever feel like home?

18 months later the Rock Hyraxes lull me to sleep.  I am comforted by their noise because I know it means I am in Kenya. Nairobi to me has become home and more. The wild and weird, which so frightened me at first, have become the things I love the most.  Kenya, I love you for your animals, never restrained by fences or walls.  Lions wandering the streets where I live, Hyenas cruising the garden. Giraffes poking their heads of the wall as I drive my kids to school, where cricket is stopped because there is a warthog on the field.   Your tribes, their inimitable differences, the proud bearing of the Maasai, the broad grins of the Lao. Your food. It’s spice and smell. Your streets awash with dust and cows and brightly woven crafts on every corner. Your warmth both from the sun and the people who live here. You are extraordinary and unique and untamable and every day I wake up and you are mine.  I am so lucky to live in a world where man and nature still coexist in harmony.  I am so lucky to live in Kenya.

Love Letter to Mallorca

from Clare at Epic Road Rides

Mallorca is an island that has a special place in my heart.

When my husband first suggested visiting I was skeptical. I had an idea in my head that Mallorca was full of grotty high-rise beach apartments and drunk, lager-swilling tourists staggering along beach fronts.

(To be fair, there is some truth behind that reputation – but fortunately this kind of scene is pretty much contained to certain resorts in the Palma Bay area. This keeps the rest of the island blissfully free of such behavior.)

Hire a car and head north from Palma airport, up into the stunning Serra Tramuntana mountains and it’s hard not to fall in love with this incredible island. The Serra Tramuntana stretch from the northwest tip of the island down to the southwest tip. They’re a jagged range of grey, craggy mountains that run parallel with the sea.

Within this mountain paradise, you find beautiful towns such as Sóller, Deià and Valldemossa. They’re immaculate, chocolate box towns full of creamy stone buildings, incredible restaurants and wonderful vistas out to sea.

Mallorca is at its busiest during the summer months when families occupy the beaches and beachfront hotels. However, we love to visit when the island is a bit quieter and less hot. Our favourite time of year is Spring. Admittedly that’s partly because we’re cyclists, and we love the fact the roads are quiet—but cycling or not, you’ll adore the blossom on the trees, lambs in the fields and the usually settled, warm weather. It’s a slice of peaceful serenity.