A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

sunny 25 °C

Big Waves Bay beach

Big Waves Bay beach

Loic and I have been very pleasantly surprised at how much we love Hong Kong! I expected it to be another big city with subways, crowds, traffic and skyscrapers blocking our view of the sky. And yes, it is all those things, but there are so many beautiful nature areas, which we have been lucky to enjoy with excellent weather! Our first day, with only a few hours left in the day after traveling, we took the Star Ferry across the bay for a view of the skyline. In Kowloon, we walked along the promenade and ate a late lunch, returning home early and exhausted.
Nous arrivons a Hong Kong en milieu d'apres midi. On se surprends a apprecier cette ville, malgres les classiques metro, foules, traffic et gratte-ciel qu'une metropole de cette densite comporte. Sur les 3 prochains jours, nous avons eu un excellent temps, et avons decouvert les petits joyaux de verdures que cachent les iles de Hong Kong et de Lantau. Le premeir jour, nous posons nos sacs et traversons le detroit entre l'ile de Hong Kong et les territoires du Nord en Ferry. Petit retour dans l'histoire, avec un ferry qui rappelle les annees coloniales. On retrouvera la meme atmosphere avec les differents tram present a Hong Kong. A Kowloon (Nord/mainland) nous decouvrons la ville sur la promenade au bord de l'eau,mangeons un bout, et retournons a l'hotel epuises :)
Us and the skyline

Us and the skyline


Skyline of the city from the promenade

Skyline of the city from the promenade

Our first full day we stopped in Hong Kong Park, an amazing and huge park complete with fountains, an aviary, a zoo, and gardens, all free to the public. We took the tram up to Victoria Peak, and did a loop hike around the mountain, taking in the most amazing views of the skyline and islands. We hiked down the very steep mountain and arrived at the Ritz Carlton, home of Ozone, the world's highest bar, on the 118th floor, just as they opened. We could not have timed it more perfectly because even though we were the first to arrive, in less than 3 minutes all 20 or so seats with a view were occupied, and most people ended up drinking standing up. We stayed long enough to enjoy the most expensive mai tai's imaginable, and the Hong Kong sunset. Priceless!
Pour le second jour, nous traversons le parc de Hong Kong, un coin de verdure (en pente, tout est en pente sur l'ile) en plein milieu du quartier principal. Le park a des fontaines, un volieres d'oiseau colores, des jardins, et tout ca, accessible au public. Tres reposant. Nos continuons vers le Tramway qui nous amene en haut de la montagne Victoria (Peak Tram - 45 minutes de queue pour 8 minutes de tram :) ) et faisons le tour du pic sur le chemin de marche. Vue magnifique assuree ! Nous redescendons a pied (raide !) ves le centre ville, puis Kowloon de l'autre cote du detroit, pour remonter a 480 m et profiter de la vue du bar Ozone, le bar le plus eleve du monde ! Les Mai-Tais sont delicieux, et les barmans sont eds vrais pro. On y arrive a l'ouverture (17h -5) et avons la chance de pouvoir nous asseoir pres de la fenetre :) Merveilleux.
Fountains in Hong Kong Park

Fountains in Hong Kong Park


A pond in Hong Kong Park

A pond in Hong Kong Park


Loic made a friend in the aviary

Loic made a friend in the aviary


Tree with amazing root system on Victoria Peak

Tree with amazing root system on Victoria Peak


skyline

skyline


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View of the bay from Victoria Peak

View of the bay from Victoria Peak


view from Victoria Peak

view from Victoria Peak


A skyscraper up close

A skyscraper up close

Looking down from the 118th floor

Looking down from the 118th floor


Mai tai's at Ozone, the world's highest bar

Mai tai's at Ozone, the world's highest bar

Our second day we decided to hike one of Hong Kong's top 5 hikes, the Dragon's Trail. The trail takes about 4 hours and gives hikers the most astounding coastal views along the way, as well as a shady forest. The terrain reminded me of most trails in Albuquerque, only we were surrounded by lush greenery on every side. The best part of the hike is the Bay of Big Waves beach at the end, which we could not have enjoyed more than we did! It was hot, sunny, the water was warm, the beach was soft white sand, and the waves were perfect for jumping in.
Le troisieme jour, nous descendons d'aller dans l'est de l'ile pour suivre le chemin du Dragon. La marche d'environ 4h suit le sommet de la montagne, et rappelle les monts et vallees du dos d'un Dragon. La vue est imprenable des deux cotes de la montagne. Cela nous rappelle les chemins d'Albuquerque, mais en beaucoup plus vert :) Clou final, l'arrivee sur la plage "Des Grosses Vagues", un spot de surf local. Le sable est super, l'eau est superbe, le soleil est chaud. Un reve pour ce debut Novembre :)
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Dragon back trail

Dragon back trail


Dragon back trail

Dragon back trail


Coastal view

Coastal view


Big Waves Bay beach</p><p>Our last day in Hong Kong we took the 360 cable car to the world's largest seated Buddha!  On our way back, we rode the world's longest outdoor, covered escalator, 800 meters, which is really several escalators that take you through the hilliest part of the city and let you off at each street.  We returned to Hong Kong Park for ice cream and people watching, and discovered things we hadn't seen the first time, like a pond full of turtles and a waterfall.  Overall, despite the crowds, we loved Hong Kong <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' /><br />[i

Big Waves Bay beach

Our last day in Hong Kong we took the 360 cable car to the world's largest seated Buddha! On our way back, we rode the world's longest outdoor, covered escalator, 800 meters, which is really several escalators that take you through the hilliest part of the city and let you off at each street. We returned to Hong Kong Park for ice cream and people watching, and discovered things we hadn't seen the first time, like a pond full of turtles and a waterfall. Overall, despite the crowds, we loved Hong Kong :)
[i

Notre dernier jour a Hong Kong. L'avion est a 21h. Nous allons sur l'ile de Lantau (pres de l'aeroport) pour monter voir le plus large Bouddha assis du monde ! Le montee se fait en Telecabine (45 minutes de queue). Nous retournons au centre ville nous reposer dans les parcs, et nous apssons sur l'escalier mecanique le plus long du monde ( 800m), qui relie la tation Central au milieu (en altitude) de Hong Kong. On passe parmis les restau et bars a la mode. On retourne au parc pour une derniere glace, et regarder les gens :) On y decouvre une cascade et une mare a Tortue :)
Bref, malgre les foules, on a bien aime Hong Kong ![/i]

View from the cablecar

View from the cablecar

Inside the cablecar

Inside the cablecar


360 degree view inside the 360 cablecar

360 degree view inside the 360 cablecar


Us with the Buddha

Us with the Buddha


View of the mountains from the Buddha

View of the mountains from the Buddha


world's largest seated Buddha

world's largest seated Buddha


On the world's longest outdoor covered escalator

On the world's longest outdoor covered escalator


Waterfall in Hong Kong Park

Waterfall in Hong Kong Park


Even the turtles stack for lack of space!

Even the turtles stack for lack of space!


Loic inside the fountain in Hong Kong Park

Loic inside the fountain in Hong Kong Park


We always manage to stay in a hostel with a cat!

We always manage to stay in a hostel with a cat!

Posted by jillandloic 20:43 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (1)

Taipei and Hualien, Taiwan

overcast 26 °C

We arrived late afternoon in Taipei, Taiwan on Monday, and began our visit with some tasty street food. Ningxia night market was loaded with weird food-serving food carts, as well as games for kids, complete with tickets and prizes, making it seem like a Chucky Cheese right in the street.
Lundi 24 Octobre, nous arrivons a Taipei, Taiwan en milieu d'apres midi. Nous posons nos sacs a l'hotel et passons la fin de journee a visiter les alentours et plus particulierement le marche de nuit de Ningxia. Le marche de rue nous offre des dizaines de stands de nourriture diverses et varies (soupes d'oeuf de grenouille, poulpe frit, tofu marine, saucisses...) et nous nous regalons. Une partie du marche est dedie aux jeux d'adresses pour enfants (attrape un poisson rouge, chamboule-tout..). C'est tres mignon.

Mopeds are the transportation of choice, making Taipei a very noisy city

Mopeds are the transportation of choice, making Taipei a very noisy city


Amazing dinner choices

Amazing dinner choices


Night market speciality- breaded, deep fried squid stuffed cucumber

Night market speciality- breaded, deep fried squid stuffed cucumber


Games with tickets and prizes in the street

Games with tickets and prizes in the street


Oversized dumplings of leeks, pork or beef

Oversized dumplings of leeks, pork or beef


Dinner on the streets of Taipei

Dinner on the streets of Taipei

Our first day we visited Taipei 101, which was once the world's tallest building, and still has the fastest elevator. My favorite part was looking down the staircase at 91 flights of stairs! Because it was hot and humid (so much for Fall), we went straight to the Miniatures museum. It was amazing to see the doll house size replicas of things like the Rose Mansion in L.A, or stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, and all the detail that went into them.
Le jour suivant nous commencons par la visite de la plus haute tour de Taiwan, Taipei 101. Construite en 2004, la tour de 510m etait la haute du monde Jusqu'en 2010. La vue etait plutot impressionante, car c'est la seule tour dans la ville. Lais la pollution gache la vue. L'ingenierie est impressionante et on retiendra l'ascenceur si rapide (16m/s) qu'il faut decompresser les oreilles, et l'amortisseur harmonique dans les derniers etages. Nous sortons de la tour et prenons la chaleur humide a bras le corps. Nous nous refugions au musee des miniatures pour y echapper. Entre poupees, maison et scenes completes de contes, les miniatures et le talent et la minutie de leur createurs nous impressionnent.
Taipei 101

Taipei 101


91 flights of stairs!

91 flights of stairs!


Damper inside Taipei 101, moves up to 1.5meters to counterbalance movements of the building in strong winds

Damper inside Taipei 101, moves up to 1.5meters to counterbalance movements of the building in strong winds

Miniature of the Rose Mansion

Miniature of the Rose Mansion


Loic looking at a miniature room

Loic looking at a miniature room


Inside a miniature room|Vrai piece ou miniature ?

Inside a miniature room|Vrai piece ou miniature ?

We took a train to Yangmingshan national park, to do what I'm convinced is the steepest hike to the summit of Mt Qixing. It was very humid, but luckily at the top the air was cooler. We were very glad to end the day at Beitou public hot springs, a lovely spring with 7 or so pools, some of them filled with refreshing cold water.
Le second jour, nous prenons le metro+bus pour rejoindre (dans le traffic matinal) le parc national de Yangmingshan. Nous suivons le chemin vers le sommet Mont Qixing a 1120m, dans un trace assez violemment droit dans la difficulte :) Bref, nous meritons la vue du sommet, dans les nuages ou les emanations de souffres, et redescendons de l'autre cote, a travers les sources sulfurees. Nous finisssons la journee dans les bains publics/source d'eau chaude de Beitou, ou j'apprecie temporairement les 45 degres Celsius du bain le plus chaud parmis les 7 presents !
We rested about every 30 steps due to humidity, heat, and steepness

We rested about every 30 steps due to humidity, heat, and steepness


Top of Mt Qixing- too foggy for views of Taipei

Top of Mt Qixing- too foggy for views of Taipei


Smoke from sulfer hotsprings

Smoke from sulfer hotsprings


Cooler and drier at the top

Cooler and drier at the top


Beitou hot springs- check out the guy on the right

Beitou hot springs- check out the guy on the right

Friday we took a train to Hualien, Taiwan, the 2nd largest city and base for visiting Taroko National Park. We decided the best way to visit this area was Taiwanese style, on a moped. Loic was an awesome driver, even with a passenger! Our first day we drove through Taroko Gorge National Park Many of the trails were closed due to maintenance after the typhoon a few weeks ago, but we enjoyed the short trails along the river and stops at temples along the way nonetheless. The water was strikingly blue, until it reached the main river, and then became rock gray. On our way back to town we stopped at the Chingshui cliffs along the coast for a quick photo. That night we enjoyed the most amazing chimichangas and margaritas at Dos Tacos, or maybe, not having Mexican food for 5 months really makes you appreciate it!
Vendredi nous prenons le train pour Hualien, la seconde ville en taille, et le point d'acces pour le parc national de Taroko. Apres avoir marcher 30 minutes autour de l'hotel sans rien atteindre, nous acceptons les requis locaux et louons un scooter ( du genre de ceux qui vont vite et qui demandent un permis ) ! On rejoint le parc national sous un ciel menacant (il fera beau toute la journee au final) et nous heurtons a deux soucis. Le premier et l'interdiction de circuler dans la partie Nord du parc due a un festival de musique (youhou!), le second est la fermeture de la plupart des chemins du au passage recent de Nepartak, Meranti, et Megi, les vents turbulents locaux (Typhoon). Bref, on s'arrange et nous nous trouvons sur des chemins courts, pres de la riviere, dans les gorges des montagnes locales ( 3200m au sommet !). L'eau de riviere des affluents est d'un bleu turquoise presque suspicieux qui se perd dans le gris des eaux du flux principal. Tres bon contraste de couleurs. Sur notre chemin du retour, nous faisons un detour aux falaises de Ching-shui, qui se dressent dans l'est Taiwanais contre les vagues pacifiques. On finit la journee en beaute avec un bar a tacos et des margaritas :)
Scooten' it Taiwanese style

Scooten' it Taiwanese style

Narrow rope bridge

Narrow rope bridge


Taroko Gorge National Park

Taroko Gorge National Park


Taroko Gorge National Park

Taroko Gorge National Park


Temple in Taroko Gorge NP

Temple in Taroko Gorge NP


Chingshui cliffs along the coast

Chingshui cliffs along the coast


First Mexican food in 5 months!

First Mexican food in 5 months!

Our second day we did a short hike along the river to a waterfall, after learning that all of Mugua River Gorge was completely closed from typhoon damage (at least we weren't here during the typhoon!). Then we visited Liyu lake, perfect for a picnic or stroll through the park loaded with stone sculptures. The lake had paddle boats in the shapes of swans, dragons and whales, as well as kayaks, but being a cloudy, windy day, we opted to cycle around the lake on a tandem bicycle. After, we drove along part of the eastern coast to see the ocean, and stopped to see one of the largest Buddhas we've ever seen, with a great view of the ocean.
Le second jour, nous rejoignons la riviere Mugua, un peu au sud d'Hualien. Une fois arrive, le centre de tourisme nous explique dans un chinois parfait, que les chemins sont fermes. Nous suspectons nos amis N,M et M d'y avoir a faire. Apres un petit tour en scooter et a pied nous nous echappons a l'arrivee des premieres ondees (La mer est si proche.. la montagne aussi...) Nous arrivons au lac Liyu, qui serait parfait pour un pique nique. Nous y essayons, avec enthousiame, un bicycle tandem ! Le lac propose aussi la location de pedalo (aux formes diverses et varies) et de kayaks. A voir sous le soleil. Nous repartons pour un tour en scooter sur le front de mer, avec une vue magnifique sur l'ocean Pacifique, bleu-vert. Un petit tour au temple bouddhiste local nous offre un bouddha gigantesque qui surveille l'arrivee des Typhons. Fin de la journee au restaurant aux couleurs du mid-west Americain, burgers et frites !
Hike to a waterfall

Hike to a waterfall


Beautiful coastline, even on a cloudy day

Beautiful coastline, even on a cloudy day


Big Buddha!

Big Buddha!


View of the ocean from the Buddha

View of the ocean from the Buddha


Tandem biking around Lake Liyu

Tandem biking around Lake Liyu

Our last day in Hualien we took advantage of the sunny, hot weather and drove further down the coast for a beach day. Sadly, when we arrived at Jici beach, we discovered that the typhoon that hit Hualien last month washed away the beach, and the once gorgeous blue ocean was loaded with sand. We didn't give up, however, and found 2 patches of coastline where we could reach the water and even swim a little to cool off. And the beauty of driving up and down the coastline was worth the trip already. Tomorrow we take the train back to Taipei before flying off to Hong Kong.
Pour notre dernier jour a hualien, nous profitons du beau temps pour conduire le scooter plus haut sud, sur la cote. Nous arrivons a Jici beach resort, pour decouvrir que notre seance baignade sera annule en raison ... vous le devinez... du passage recent du Typhoon Megi le mois precedent. La plage de sable a disparu. L'ocean turquoise s'est transforme en ocean marron, rempli de sable (de la plage). On ne desespere pas, plus loin sur la cote, nous trouvons un petit village de pecheur, avec un peu de sable. Plouf plouf, on s'est baigne a Taiwan. La balade en scooter le long de l'ocean vaut le voyage, on ne regrette rien.
Demain retour a Taipei, Apres demain, Hong Kong.

Jici beach pre-typhoon

Jici beach pre-typhoon


Jici beach today

Jici beach today


Gorgeous coastline

Gorgeous coastline


Enjoying the ocean

Enjoying the ocean


A calm swimming spot

A calm swimming spot

Posted by jillandloic 23:52 Archived in Taiwan Comments (1)

Tokyo

sunny 17 °C

Hamarikyu park

Hamarikyu park

Friday we took the Shinkansen bullet train, which goes 300 km/hr, from Kyoto to Tokyo. We started our sightseeing across the bay with the Miraikan museum of emerging science. Though a bit of a let down, we did get to see a robot performance as well as some up to date, educational displays. We strolled past to take photos of the Fuji TV building, just for the architecture, and a mall which has a life size Gundam (robot from a movie) statue in the front. The waterfront was beautiful at night with views of the city lights, the rainbow bridge, a mini statue of liberty, and cruise boats. The parks along the bay were eerily silent, because though we passed many people, most of them were pokemon hunting on their phones. We returned back to our capsule hotel to find several guests hanging out in the lounge area in the provided chocolate brown pj's. Our capsule is cozy and we want to say a big thank you to our parents for their "short" genes. There are about 40 capsules on our floor, all of which are only closed by a curtain, allowing you to hear every sound anyone makes, but earplugs do the trick. Our luggage remains in the lobby since there is only room to sleep, and we get a small locker for valuables. The main drawback of the capsule hotel is having your luggage on one floor, the showers on a different floor, and your capsule on yet a third floor, so if you forget one thing in your luggage on your way to the shower, you spend a lot of time in the elevator!
Vendredi 21 Octobre, nous prenons le Shinkansen (super TGV japonais - 300 km/h) de Kyoto a Tokyo. On depose nos bagages a l'hotel et allons visiter le Miraikan, le musee des sciences emergentes. Grand batiment, un peu vide, mais vraiment a la pointe de l'information scientifique. Le robot ASIMO y est present, ainsi que pas mal de presentations sur la terre et les cataclysmes les plus presents dans l'esprit des japonais. Nous quittons le musee a la fermeture et passons devant le building FUJI TV (grosse boule integre au batiment) et ses galleries marchandes. Clou de la visite, le Gundam geant. La nuit tombe et nous nous baladons sur le front de mer, entoure de joueurs de Pokemon GO et statue de la liberte locale, avec une vue superbe sur Tokyo de nuit. Le parc de front de mer est noir de monde, mais silencieux. Phenomene Pokemon ?. Nous retournons a l'hotel pour prendre possession temporaire de notre capsule double. On y rentre facilement (merci les genes) et j'enfile le pijama marron fourni pour faire couleur locale. 2 etages de 40 capsules chacun. Chaque capsule se ferme par un rideau. Autant dire que les boules quies sont appreciees. Nous dormons au 5eme, la douche est au 3eme, les bagages au 2eme. Il vaut mieux ne rien oublier au risque de passer sa vie a visiter l'ascenseur !. Au passage, un jacusi 16 places et un sauna sont present, en alternance Homme (3pm-3am) et Femme(4am-2pm)

Gundam

Gundam


Sea side walk

Sea side walk


Tokyo by night

Tokyo by night


Our capsule

Our capsule

Tokyo is large and spread out, like New York City, so seeing just a few sights can eat up your day and wear out your feet, with an hour or so of transit time in between each. We began our morning in Yanaka, the Old City, looking at shops and restaurants before moving on to the Tokyo International Forum, a phenomenal building used for conferences and expos. We made a stop in the Kite museum, and ended our day on Omote-sando, a street lined with expensive retail stores but beautifully designed buildings. We, of course, were there for the latter. On our way out we passed through Shibuya's crossing, the world's (so they say) busiest intersection for pedestrians. For dinner we broke down and had french bread, french cheese, wine, and the closest thing to chocolate we could find here (they don't eat chocolate!) from the grocery store, as we needed a break from noodles and rice and unfamiliar tastes.
Tokyo est une grande metropole de plusieurs villes. Le metro est tres efficace, mais se deplacer peut prendre facilement la moitie de sa journee, a changer de site de gauche a droite. Bref nous passosn nos deux jours a Tokyo a visiter, marcher, marcher encore, et globalement avoir mal au pieds :) Nous commencons a Yanaka, la vieille ville, a regarder les boutiques et restaurants. Puis allons au forum international de Tokyo, au milieu des grattes ciels. Nous allons en suite visiter un petit musee du cerf-volant, et finissons la journee a Omote-sando, l'avenue des magasins de luxes. Au retour, nous passons par Shibuya, et son fameux passage pieton surpeuple. Nous rentrons epuises, et nous remettons avec une bonne bouteille et du fromage ! (et un peu de chocolat).

A park with weird white balls

A park with weird white balls


A gorgeous courtyard to enjoy with a coffee

A gorgeous courtyard to enjoy with a coffee


A cemetary

A cemetary


The old city

The old city


Shibuya crossing

Shibuya crossing


Kite museum

Kite museum


International forum

International forum


Architecture on Omote-sando

Architecture on Omote-sando

Our last day in Japan we visited the Parasitological museum, yes, a museum about parasites, but to be fair, they have a 27 ft tape worm I wanted to see, and it was free admission. Sadly, most information was not in English. We then walked through Hamarikyu garden/park along the bay, and went in search of the sculpture that most locals refer to as "the turd." I had a bit of a flash from the past at a Monchichi store, and discovered my $5 monkey from 1986 is selling for $65! Tomorrow we leave for Taiwan. We will miss Japan and the people, and hope to return again some day!
Dimanche, notre dernier jour au Japon. Nous visitons le musee des Parasites (interessant.) et son celebre ver solitaire de 8 metres de long. Bon l'entree est gratuite. Nous allons ensuite reposer nos ames au parc Hamariku, puis remontons a Asakusa pour voir ses rues marchandes ( Jill y redecouvre ses peluches des annees 80 - Monchichi) et le Temple Senso-ji. Nous passons aussi devant la tour Asahi (biere locale) et sa sculpture doree que les locaux surnomment affectueusement "la crotte" ! Bref nous quittons le Japon pour Taiwan le lendemain. Nous avons adore, et y reviendrons surement un jour !

27 ft 8.8 meter long tapeworm

27 ft 8.8 meter long tapeworm

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Hamarikyu park

Hamarikyu park


Hamarikyu park

Hamarikyu park

Monchichi's for $65!

Monchichi's for $65!


Senso-ji temple

Senso-ji temple


The sculpture known as the turd

The sculpture known as the turd

My favorite, of many, bad English translations

My favorite, of many, bad English translations

Posted by jillandloic 04:01 Archived in Japan Comments (4)

Kyoto. Japan

overcast 19 °C

Our trip to Japan began with a long subway ride with several connections (what did we ever do before googlemaps?), from the airport in Osaka. After dropping our bags at our guesthouse, we began sightseeing with Nijo Castle. Our first dinner was an entertaining experience. The meal itself was simple ramen noodles, with lots of green onion, but the excitement was when the chef poured hot oil onto the bowl setting off a fiery explosion (enjoy the video!). There were strict rules such as arms behind your back, lean back, and wear an apron. Even on a Monday night, we waited 45 minutes for a seat at the counter!
Nous commencons notre court sejour au Japon avec un transport en train d'Osaka a Kyoto (90 minutes). Merci Google maps pour les directions (mais comment nos ancetres vivaient-ils avant Internet !!). Nous deposons nos bagages a l'hotel et partons directement visiter le chateau Nijo. Notre premier diner au Japon fut une surprise de derniere minute au bout de la rue. Un bol de nouilles ramen dans son bouillon classique, avec un tas d'onions verts, et specialite du chef, un service enflamme afin de degager les aromes de l'onion ! (voir video). 45 minutes d'attente, meme un Lundi soir, pour profiter du spectacle !

View of Nijo castle from gardens

View of Nijo castle from gardens


Garden of Nijo castle

Garden of Nijo castle


Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle


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Imperial palace park

Imperial palace park

My Korean souvenir- chopsticks for kids and white people

My Korean souvenir- chopsticks for kids and white people


Flame cooked Ramen

Flame cooked Ramen

Our room

Our room


Beds in the hallway behind a curtain

Beds in the hallway behind a curtain

Our first full day in Kyoto was jam packed. We left at 8am and didn't return until 6pm! We started out our day at Tenryu-ji, a temple with an amazing zen garden. Then we walked through a beautiful bamboo forest, and through another park with a view of the Arashiyama mountains and a river. We visited the Golden temple and Ryoan-ji rock garden in the afternoon. Everywhere we walked we saw young people dressed in traditional kimonos and wooden sandals, sightseeing and taking pictures of one another. The highlight of the day was walking the street called Shimbashi, known as the most beautiful street in Asia, and seeing two Geishas! Modern Geisha's are professional dancers who train for 5 years and perform at very expensive dinner parties. Kyoto is where this tradition is the strongest, and we specifically visited this street for a sighting.
Notre premier vrai jour a Kyoto a ete tres productif. Journee de visites de 8 a 18 heures ! Nous commencons avec le jardin Zen du temple Tenryu-ji. Puis nous traversons la foret de Bambou et montons en haut de la colline pour apercevoir les montains Arashiyama et la riviere du coin. Nous arrivons dans la foulee au temple d'Or et le jardin au rocher de Ryoan-ji (toujours tres Zen). Nous croisons des (touristes? locaux?) japonais habilles en Kimono (30 EUR la journee) dans toutes les rues de Kyoto. Le poin d'orgue de la journee est la rue Shimbashi, la "plus belle rue d'Asie", et nous y croisons deux Geishas ! Les Geisha moderne sont des danseuses professionnels pour diners prives haut de gamme. Cinq annees de formation requises. Kyoto est l'endroit ou la tradition est la plus vivante.

I need a zen garden when I have a house!

I need a zen garden when I have a house!


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Arashiyama bamboo forest

Arashiyama bamboo forest


Japanese boat

Japanese boat

Golden temple

Golden temple


Inside a temple

Inside a temple


Ryoan-ji rock garden

Ryoan-ji rock garden

Shimbashi, most beautiful street in Asia

Shimbashi, most beautiful street in Asia


Typical Kyoto house and car

Typical Kyoto house and car

Don't touch the Geishas! (or do anything else)

Don't touch the Geishas! (or do anything else)


Geishas

Geishas

The next day we took a train to Kibune and Kerama, two small towns separated by a ridge, each with shrines, and a beautiful hiking path between them. When we arrived starved after hiking from the first town, we enjoyed our first traditional style meal, sitting on the floor, of noodles. In the afternoon we visited Fushimi-Inari-Taisha, yet another temple, or rather, a series of temples. In between them are a long tunnels made of a row of orange arches. On the way back we stopped to watch how fortune cookies are made and tasted some while they were still hot! We were planning on visiting an onsen, a traditional Japanese bath, heated by natural springs, but couldn't find a co-ed one. The idea of sitting around naked, not with each other but rather, male and female strangers, wasn't appealing.
Le jour suivant, nous prenons la direction de Kibune et Kerama a bord d'un train qui serpente la vallee, au nord de Kyoto. Au passage, les trains et tramways de Kyoto sont tres mignons et confortables. Et propres. Et calmes. Nous marchons de Kibune a Kerama, en passant par le haut de la montagne, et une dizaine de temples bouddistes. Affammes apres 45 mintues de marche, nous devorons un bol de nouilles (traditionnel) dans un restaurant typique, assis en tailleur. L'apres midi nous visitons le temple de Fushimi-Inari-Taisha. Enfin une serie de temples. En fait, un temple parmis ne serie de temples, dans la serie de temples que nos visiterons. Il y a beaucoup de temple bouddistes a Kyoto :). Entre les temples, se dressent un tunnel d'arches rouges. Tres impressionant. Sur le chemin du retour, nous degustons des confections locales (miaaam). Nous n'irons pas visiter d'Onsen apres tout, car nous n'en avons pas trouver de mixtes !

The hike between Kibune and Kerama

The hike between Kibune and Kerama


The steps to the temple of Kibune

The steps to the temple of Kibune


Japanese style lunch of noodles

Japanese style lunch of noodles

Fushimi-Inari

Fushimi-Inari


Fushimi-Inari

Fushimi-Inari


Fushimi-Inari

Fushimi-Inari


I love the school uniforms

I love the school uniforms

Fresh fortune cookies!

Fresh fortune cookies!

Our last day in Kyoto we rented bikes from our guesthouse and had a gorgeous weather day for biking. Many people bike in Japan and most bikes are basic but do the trick. Though there aren't bike lanes, the sidewalks are generally wide enough for bikes and pedestrians, and when they're not, we assume biking on the street is safe enough, as we didn't see a single helmet. We first biked through the Imperial Palace garden, a park full of shaded paths, and then biked half and walked half of the Path of Philosophy, a path along the river with artsy shops and restaurants. We walked along a few pedestrian streets with many shops offering samples of Japanese sweets and snacks, and endless souvenirs. We loved our time in Kyoto and wished we had more time to explore!
Pour notre dernier jour a Kyoto, nous nous deplacerons en velo. Beaucoup de locaux se deplacent en velo, et la ville de Kyoto est clairement parfaite (plate, securisee) pour ca. Bien que nous ne voyons pas de voie reserves aux velo, personnes ne porte un casque. On espere que cela signifie que les conducteurs sont gentils :). Nous traversons les jardins du palais Imperial (paisible) et arrivons au chemin du Philosophe a l'est de la ville. C'est une marche paisible de 30 minutes, sur la berge d'un ruisseau, a la rencontre d'echoppes et de peintres. Au final, nous avons adorer la ville de Kyoto, et souhaitons y passer plus de temps !

Biking along the river

Biking along the river


A cross between mini golf and croquet

A cross between mini golf and croquet


Path of Philosophy

Path of Philosophy

Kyoto main train station

Kyoto main train station

Posted by jillandloic 01:28 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Seoul and Busan, Korea

sunny 23 °C
View Adventures of a lifetime on jillandloic's travel map.

The trend of short jaunts to countries continues with Korea! We spent 2 days in Seoul, followed by a long bus ride, and 2 days in Busan, in the South. Seoul was a gorgeous city with lots of parks and sculptures, and was very easy to travel in. It also has a lot of westerners living in it, so it felt like it could be any big city in the States. During the day we toured Bukchon Hanok Village, a neighborhood of traditional Korean-style homes, a few of which you could walk inside of. We also toured Changdeokgung Palace and gardens, which were free that day! We ate a wonderful Korean barbecue and had way too much soju to drink with Loic's former co-worker from Paris, and several of his French ex-pat friends. The next day we toured the Dongdaemun design plaza loaded with sculptures, as well as a local food market. We also walked part of the old city wall, which is very well-preserved and right in the center of the city. The river that ran through the city had huge Koi fish and made for a few nice walks.
On continue avec des sejours courts avec Seoul, au nord de la Coree du Sud et Busan, au Sud de la Coree du Sud. Nous passons a Seoul le 12 et 13 Octobre. Ville moderne et metropole gigantesque, nous dormons a Itaewon dans le quartier a touriste. Le retour dans une ville moderne nous marque surtout par la facilite des transport publics et la proprete constante. Le premier jour nous visitons le quartier traditionnel de Bukchon Hanok, le Palais Changdeokgung et ses jardins, qui, heureux hasard etaient gratuits ce jour la ! Le soir nous sortons avec Julien, un ancien collegue de Loic qui vit a Seoul, et sommes introduit au "traditionnel" BBQ Coreen, arrose de beaucoup de Soju (liqueur a 20%) ! Le lendemain, apres un reveil tardif :) nous finissons une visite au pas tranquille de la place Dongdaemun et de sa boutique "design". Nous passons aussi au marche local, puis marchons sur une partie de l'ancien mur de garde (700 ans d'histoire). Nous finissons la journee avec une balade tranquille sur les berges du ruisseau qui coupe le centre ville (et qui heberge un nombre impressionnant de poissons Koi ).

Dinner with friends

Dinner with friends

Bukchon Hanok village

Bukchon Hanok village


Bukchon Hanok village

Bukchon Hanok village


Inside a Korean house

Inside a Korean house

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace


Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace

Eating lunch at a local market

Eating lunch at a local market


Gazebo

Gazebo


Old city wall

Old city wall


Hiking along city walls

Hiking along city walls

Cheonggycheon river

Cheonggycheon river


Cheonggycheon river walk

Cheonggycheon river walk

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Dongdaemun Design Plaza


Sculpture of an egg in design of a fingerprint- the start of life

Sculpture of an egg in design of a fingerprint- the start of life


Sculptures of flowers at Dongdaemun Plaza

Sculptures of flowers at Dongdaemun Plaza


A big luggage

A big luggage

In Busan, we started out with a gorgeous and popular, coastal hike in Igidae Park. We visited the Jagalchi fish market where you walk through and select your fish to be cooked right there for you, as well as the local night market, where we saw and tried many unique foods. Loic's favorite was the corndog (with a breading more like a doughnut) rolled in sugar and drizzled with ketchup, but we were most amazed watching the making of ice cream rolls (see video). We took advantage of the rainy weather on our second day in Busan, to rest and catch up on trip planning. We did, however, try a traditional Korean lunch.
Nous arrivons a Busan apres 5 heures de bus, nous arrivons de nuit. Le lendemain matin nous partons faire 2-3 heures de marche sur le front de mer du parc Igidae. Nous passons au marche aux poissons de Jagalchi, ou theoriquement, nous aurions pu choisir notre poisson ou fruit de mer dans son aquarium, pour le manger en suchi dans les 10 minutes a l'etage des restaurant. Nous finissons la journee au marche de nuit, a gouter au specialite locale. La mienne est un corndog au sucre+Ketchup. La presentation locale d'un glacier est impressionante (voir video). Le lendemain, on profite d'un jour pluvieux pour nous remettre des aventures passees et des heures de sommeil manquees. Poster un blog ou deux en retard. Dur la vie :) Nous finissons avec un restaurant traditionnel coreen, avec pleins de petits plats, et aucune traduction. Suspense, suspense au moment de gouter tout ca ! (J'ai adore)

Igidae park costal trail

Igidae park costal trail


Igidae park

Igidae park


Igidae park costal trail

Igidae park costal trail


Igidae park

Igidae park

Waterfront

Waterfront


Loic's favorite- corn dog with sugar and ketchup

Loic's favorite- corn dog with sugar and ketchup


The night market

The night market


Making of Ice cream

Making of Ice cream

Typical Korean lunch

Typical Korean lunch

Posted by jillandloic 00:39 Archived in South Korea Comments (2)

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