Donghuamen Night Market (China Day 1)

We arrived in Beijing late afternoon around 3:30-4pm. Upon arriving in the customs area, it was like mass chaos. Another large plane must have arrived shortly before us because I’ve never seen a customs area more crowded and unorganized. There were lines everywhere and nothing was well marked. Eventually once all the Chinese nationals were through the Customs guards signaled for us to move into one of those lines. We got through, but it took almost an hour and then we had to go find our bags and get money out of the ATM.

We had booked at the Red Wall Garden hotel. Because we booked directly with them and were staying three nights, we received a free airport pickup. Let me just say, even if the hotel had been horrible, the free pickup would have been worth every penny. Communicating with taxi drivers in China was one of the hardest aspects of our trip. They don’t really speak English and even with having an address and directions in Chinese from the hotels, it was trying at other parts in the trip. I can’t imagine having to deal with that after a long flight. But the hotel was amazing and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. The hotel staff was incredibly helpful in answering any questions we had and made some good recommendations and advice for our time in Beijing.

After checking in and freshening up, we headed out in the misty drizzle for some dinner. We wandered around the Wangfujing Street area first. Wangfujing is a huge shopping street in Beijing. It’s full of malls and chain stores with restaurants scattered about. It’s a popular street with locals and tourists alike. We eventually made our way to Donghuamen Night Market, which runs off the main street Wangfujing. Donghuamen Night Market (while mostly for tourists) is a long street full of street food.

Donghuamen Night Market

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Iceland: Wrap Up

After finally having covered every single aspect of our Iceland trip… We packed a TON into 8 days, I am finally getting around to writing my so-called wrap up where I offer my advice on what we did right and wrong and whatever else I feel will help others in planning a trip to Iceland. You can read a quick summary of our favorites sights and quick thoughts we had when just returning here. These wrap ups are more of a planning tool than what we liked best, but taking a quick look at our summary offers a good overview on our highlights as well as looking back at my pre-trip planning post.

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Icelandic Cuisine

As we travel more and more, one of our biggest things we plan around is food. We love trying the local food and have begun putting in plenty of research ahead of time on restaurants to try and local traditional dishes to seek out. We do enjoy walking around and choosing restaurants at random based on menus and atmosphere, but after having some big misses on our travels,  we now usually have a list of restaurants to look for that have good reviews and then decide when we arrive where we want to eat. We also usually plan one big, nicer dinner (typically the last night of our trip, though not always) at a high rated restaurant that we reserve ahead of time.

Because of this and the fast growing foodie culture, I’m going to do a food wrap up of sorts on places we ate and dishes we tried while on our travels.

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Iceland Day 8: Reykjavik

Our plane home didn’t leave until 5pm so we had a good half day to spend in Reykjavik before we had to leave for the airport. We didn’t really have much on the agenda planned for the day. We basically spent it wandering around and seeing more of the city.

Since we were staying right next to Hallgrimskirkja, we stopped by again in the morning and it was nice seeing the church without the hordes of crowds from the previous evening when we stopped by. The church itself was closed so we didn’t go back inside, but just got to enjoy the architecture of the church in relative peace.

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