Photo of the Day(s): Summer Palace & Peking Duck

Saw an amazing sunset at The Summer Palace in Beijing yesterday.  And then ate some amazing duck for dinner today. 

   
  

Photo of the Day(s)

Spotty wifi the past two days. Spent yesterday traveling from Beijing to Xi’an and did an amazing local food tour then visited the Terra Cotta Warriors today. 

   
 

Photo of the Day: Forbidden City

Wow this place was insanely beautiful.  

   

Photo of the Day: Great Wall of China 

Spent 5 hours hiking the Jianku to Mutianyu Great Wall of China.  

 

Photo of the (yester)Day: Donghuamen Night Market

After a long flight and long wait in customs, arrived to rain in Beijing. Enjoyed eating street food and calling it a night. No fried critters here though.  

  

Photo of the Day: Beijing bound 

  

Planning: Beijing

To plan our fall trip, we knew we wanted to go to Asia as our only trip to Asia was Thailand back in 2012. All we did was make a list of ten Asian cities we wanted to visit, picked a random week in October, and then searched for plane tickets. We had made the decision whichever plane ticket was cheapest was the city we would visit. We scored tickets for Beijing for under $600. Tokyo came in as second cheapest at a little over $600. Though if you read further on about the Visa requirements, we might have just picked Tokyo if we knew how much we were going to spend in Visa fees to visit China. So Beijing it was and we bought some guidebooks. After doing some research, we realized we could also fit in a short visit to Xi’an to see the Terra Cotta Warriors by taking a bullet train one way and an overnight sleeper train back.

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Iceland Day 2: Northern Lake Myvatn

I swear this will be the last post from our second day in Iceland. We literally saw so much this day it’s crazy. We didn’t feel rushed at any of the sights except for maybe at the end of the day while at Krafla. But to fit all this in in one day is almost crazy. I guess that’s why most people recommend not doing the Ring Road Trip in 8 days. But hey, we kept busy and we enjoyed every minute of day two! Our final stops around Lake Myvatn for the day were past the Namaskard Pass.

Our first and main stop was Namafjall or Hverir. The area is known for its mud pots and fumaroles, hence the strong sulfur smell lingering about. We walked around the low lying area just near the car park, however there are longer paths that will go up onto higher ground into the hills. We walked around for maybe twenty minutes around the steaming pots and were more than satisfied with what we experienced, though both of us have been to Yellowstone National Park so it wasn’t the first time we had seen a similar setting. This was pretty magical though with all the colors and the hills in the background. I personally enjoyed this better than what I remember of Yellowstone’s mud pots (granted I was only a freshman in high school then). I also don’t think Yellowstone lets you get quite as close to the mud pots.

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Iceland Day 2: Eastern Lake Myvatn

After finishing our brief stop at non-Hofdi, we drove the short distance north to Dimmuborgir. Fitting in with other volcanic formations around Lake Myvatn, Dimmuborgir is known for its unique lava pillars. The name Dimmuborgir translates to Dark Castles, which when looking at the piles of lava you can definitely imagine that dark lava castles once stood there. The area itself was formed over 2300 years ago from a volcanic eruption and as the lava flowed over the lake it caused the water to boil and the resulting vapors flowed up through the lava, resulting in the lava pillars we see today.

There are several paths you can follow at the Dimmuborgir area. We chose the longest route that only visited the Dimmuborgir area, called the Church Route. It is a 2.3km hike and everywhere we read said to plan about 1 hour to do the walk. It didn’t take us quite that long, maybe 45-50 minutes or so including plenty of time for taking pictures. It’s an easy walk and you don’t really need much more than sneakers to do the walk. There are also several smaller loops (15-20 minutes) if you just want to get a feel for the area, but don’t want to commit to the longer walk and also even longer walks that will take you from Dimmuborgir to other nearby sights, including Hverfjall (about 2 hours).

Dimmuborgir

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In Memory

IMG_0664This post is for my precious 15 year old lab, Sammy, who we had to put to sleep today. She could have kept on living as she was so resilient and strong. But it was so hard to watch her struggle with her arthritis and her recent lack of bladder control. In the end we made the decision to end her suffering as we knew she was only living for us. Knowing we are making the right choice, doesn’t make it any easier. Her spirit and smile was contagious it was impossible to be sad around her or to get mad at her.  I will forever miss how much she loved eating tuna or her favorite treats, mint cookies or espresso beans. I will miss our morning walks and bedtime snuggles. Watching Harry Potter will never be the same as no matter what she was doing, as soon as we put in the DVD she instantly laid down to watch. She loved watching football and was as big Buckeye and Dawg Pound fan as me. She has been my best friend since the day my parent’s dog gave birth to her and I picked her out of the litter. She was as close to perfection as you can ask. Her only fault, she wasn’t able to live forever. She will be forever loved and forever missed.

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