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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review: 2014

Happy New Year Y'all! 

I can't believe today is the last day of 2014. Where has the time gone?!? Matt and I were so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel a lot this year, and I thought this would be a great time to recap our year. 

At the start of this year I posted a list of travel destinations we wished to go to this year, and I am happy to say we got to a lot of them. 

{2014 Travel List: Kyoto, Japan ~ Osaka, Japan ~ Boseong Tea Fields, Korea ~ Cherry Blossom Festival, Korea ~ Jeju Island, Korea ~ Taipei, Taiwan ~ Philippines ~ Thailand ~ Cambodia ~ Vietnam ~ Tokyo, Japan} 6 out of 11 isn't so bad. We will be hitting up the tea fields, Thailand and hopefully Jeju before we leave in May. Taiwan and The Philippines will just have to wait till we move back to Asia. 

Here is our year in review- 

We started the year out right by traveling to Kyoto and Osaka, Japan in January and February. We fell in love with Kyoto and wish we could make a return trip. We hope to get back to Japan and spend a long time exploring the wonderful country. We loved the food- the city- and the people. 

In February, we spent a weekend up in Seoul and had a fun time exploring some of the famous palaces in the city. 

March we met up with some friends and explored Incheon. We walked along the board walk- explored Chinatown and had a lot of fun. 

April took us down to Busan and Jinhae for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Busan has to be my favorite part of Korea- I loved seeing the ocean and walking in the sand. 

In May we really stepped out of our comfort zone and traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia. While this was on our travel list- it wasn't high on the list. But man am I glad the ticket prices were so low and we chose this place over The Philippines. We fell in love with Cambodia. This is another place I would easily travel to again, and I might even be convinced to live there- that's how much I loved it. 

My dad also visited during May. During his visit we explored Korea a bit more. We went back to the DMZ. Took a trip to the Imperial War Memorial where Matt got to see the name of his Great Uncle Tetsuo who died in the Korean War. 

For my birthday in June- we took a trip to Tokyo, Japan. We visited Tokyo Disneyland and ate our way through the park. It was so much fun. We also spent a little time in the city and enjoyed wandering around. 

A bit of July and August was spent cruising along Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. This was a place that grabbed us as well. We loved it. We took in a performance at the famous Hanoi Opera House. We ate wonderful seafood watching the sunset on Ha Long Bay. And had a wonderful time. 

September we took a trip to the steppes of Mongolia. We slept in a ger- held a hawk- rode a horse- and had a blast. Oh Mongolia- we love you. I could live here as well. 

October, November, and December did not include any international travel, but we did continue to explore Korea. We love Korea more each day. While we are excited to be going home and starting this new chapter of getting our graduate degrees under our belts- we can't wait to return to Korea. {And yes- that's a subtle hint that we are already looking at ways to return.} 

October we took a trip to Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park. We went on a few hikes and took in the Fall colors. November we celebrated our 4th anniversary (which I've yet to talk about) and we visited the Seoul Lantern Festival. 

We celebrated Christmas in our tiny apartment and enjoyed our last Christmas in Korea. 
We especially loved looking at the ornaments we collected throughout our travels. 

And that's basically our year all wrapped up. 

We flew around 27,000 miles this year. 
Our passports are filling up quickly. 
Our wanderlust is completely sparked with no signs of slowing down. 
We had a blast and can't wait to see the adventures of 2105. 

Happy New Year's Eve Y'all! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Terelj National Park: Mongolia

Happy Tuesday Y'all! 

On the second day of our tour through the steppes of Mongolia- we stayed in Terelj National Park. This is known as the birthplace of Chinggis Khan. And it was so beautiful. 

I love how colorful the houses are in Mongolia. Fun Fact: The different colored roofs signify the different tribes that exist in the country. They paint them so if you are traveling you will always have a way to know where you can stay. Our guide, Jangar, comes from the red houses and our driver, Nanna, the blue. 

People were always dressing us up and making us take pictures- but we secretly loved it. 

Turtle Rock- legend this is the rock that lead to Chinggis using the turtle as a symbol for his government- which you can still see all throughout the country. 

And that's a bit of Terlj National Park- amazing right! While we were here we stayed in a ger again- which was just as amazing. And we learned how to play the traditional ankle bone shooting game. 

We loved our time in Mongolia and look forward to making another trip soon. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Seoraksan: Bronze Buddha and Sinheungsa Tempe

Happy Monday Y'all. 

Here are a few pictures from our trip to Seoraksan. While it was packed when we were there because of the holiday- we still had a good time. 

The normal three hour bus ride was six hours because of all the holiday traffic, so this trip didn't start out on the greatest foot. However, Saturday morning we woke up early and tried to start the day with a good attitude. We got to see a lot within our short time in the park, and this bronze buddha was one of my favorite parts. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Genghis Khan Statue: Mongolia {Travel Tuesday}

Happy Christmas Eve Eve Y'all! 

I hope most of you are getting some rest before the big holiday. Matt and I have to work tomorrow (boo), but we are looking forward to having Christmas off to be together. 

I wanted to take a break from the last minute Christmas stuff I have to do and share one other pretty cool thing we got to see in Mongolia. 

This Genghis Khan statue is 131 feet and 3 inches tall- which is the tallest statue of its kind. 

It is located on the Tuul River where legend says he found a golden whip. The statue is pointed east towards his birthplace. 

You can walk up to the head of the horse and the view is pretty cool, and you get a good close up of Genghis' face.  There is also a museum located in the visitors center. 

Outside- there is guy that has a hawk and a vulture that you can hold and snap some pictures for a small price. 

{How creepy is this?} 

This was a pretty cool stop has our tour wrapped up. They are adding new stuff to this museum and statue, so I am sure it will just get better and better.