In 1945, the first atomic bomb in history was dropped on Hiroshima. The destructive power of the bomb obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius. Since then, great efforts have been taken to rebuild the city. Maybe it’s something embedded in our psyche that gives us a desire to go somewhere where such great destruction occurred because, like so many others, Dan and I wanted to experience the city. We caught a morning train from Osaka and booked one night in a hostel. In retrospect, we could have day tripped, although the change of scenery, not to mention upgraded accommodation was a nice change.
Kyoto, one of Japan’s most famous tourist destinations, was at the top of our list for places to visit in Japan. Everyone who has visited Kyoto will tell you that the city deserves more than a single day. And while that is true, when we looked at booking accommodation in Kyoto, we were out of luck. We looked about a month in advance (thinking we were getting ahead of the game) and booking.com was almost 100% sold out! We managed to find a few hotels and upscale guesthouse but nothing for under $100 CAD a night, which was way over our budget. I guess we should have expected inflated prices and full occupancy given we were travelling in the busiest time of year – cherry blossom season. When we found a private room in Osaka, a 30 minute train away, for only $40 CAD a night we really couldn’t justify the stay in Kyoto. And that’s how we ended up with one day to see and explore as much of Kyoto as possible. Continue reading
A temple stay was one of the things I was looking forward to most in Korea; which brings us back to the fact that disappointment is most prevalent when expectations are high. We had made our reservation through templestay, an organization in Korea that opens up several Korean temples to foreigners to “experience the life of Buddhist practitioners at traditional temples.”
After almost a week in Seoul we headed south and spent two nights in Gyeongju, the last capital of the Silla Kingdom. The city is often referred to as ‘the largest outdoor museum in the world‘ and its history dates back thousands of years to the start of the Silla Kingdom in 57 BC. A vast number of ruins and archaeological sites from the almost 1000 years of Silla heritage remain in the city. The Gyeongju Historic Areas were designated as a World Heritage Site in 2000 and encompass the ruins of temples and palaces, outdoor pagodas and statuary, and other cultural artifacts left by the Silla Kingdom. The historical treasures the city holds play a large roll in drawing over 6 million tourists a year to the city, including 750,000 foreigners per year. Continue reading
The Taj Mahal is on almost every travellers must-see list. It’s one of the world’s most celebrated structures and one of the Seven New Wonders of the World – and deservingly so. Its design, as well as shear size, are majestic and breathtaking. Continue reading
It’s been less than two weeks since we left Europe for Asia, and yet it feels like a lifetime ago. That could possibly be because we’re in Varanasi, India which is a whole world different than Europe. Having had enough of the sensory overload from the city, we’re hiding in a café drinking coffee (made with filtered water) and reflecting on our 100 days in Europe. Continue reading
Our last stop in Turkey was Selçuk which we chose mainly for it’s proximity to the ancient city of Ephesus. We also read that it’s only a short bus ride from Şirince, a neighbouring town famous for its wines. We spent four nights in Selçuk (you only really need two) because we wanted to relax before our overnight flight to Dubai followed by another overflight flight to India three days later. Continue reading
The village of Pamukkale, which translates to “cotton castle,” was where we headed to after Cappadocia. After our amazing time awing at the stunning landscape of Cappadocia, I didn’t think anything else could match up to it. However, Pamukkale was so unique in it’s own way that I believe it’s one of the most beautiful natural sites in the world. It’s much smaller than Cappadocia and you really only need one full day to enjoy the natural beauty it offers. Continue reading