Page 4 of JenniferInternational Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Beijing October 18th 2013

Beijing was the perfect city to begin our trip. It was, in many ways, the China I came to see: dense history, fantastic sights, good food, wonderful temples, interesting architecture. After a day exploring Beijing you're never left with with any doubt that you've been anywhere but ensconced within the Middle Kingdom, unlike certain other Chinese cities which can lure your imagination away to more global and less rooted modern metropolises. Every day there's so much to see, much more than is possible for a short-term traveler, and every day you work for it. Despite the city having a modern metro, plenty of free and accessible toilets, and more English than I had hoped for, every day was a bit of a struggle, and sometimes more than a bit. True, it's a very large city, and ... read more
Peking International Youth Hostel
History of Nanluogu Xiang
Coal cart

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China October 17th 2013

The "original" Great Wall was begun more that 2000 years ago, appearing in chunks interspersed with natural defenses. In various stages of disrepair, the current wall is most restored - and visited - in the areas around Beijing. The 3-km long wall at Mutianyu is famed for its Ming-era guard towers and excellent views, accessible but not overrun with crowds. What can I say that's original about the Great Wall? It was magnificent, and we had a great time. The views were incredible, despite a bit of haze. It was easily accessible by public bus, at around $2.50 per person for the two-and-a-half hour journey, and we didn't even have to fight the crowds. In fact, it was our most peaceful day yet. After a half-day of walking up and up the stone steps my legs ... read more
First glimpse of Great Wall
Clement inside one of the watchtowers
Great Wall at Mutianyu

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai October 22nd 2011

So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked. - Mark Twain It's true. We arrived in the early morning on the last train of our journey, and made our way to a little hotel to drop our bags and get washed up. First stop was the Gateway of India, built to commemorate the 1911 royal visit of King George V and completed in 1924. Most impressive, despite the aggressive touts who lie in wait outside. From here we bought our boat tickets to Elephanta Island. A pleasant if toasty ride across filthy seas with a good view of Mumbai city until you got a ... read more
Gateway of India
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Gateway of India
Mumbai skyline

Asia » India » Goa October 21st 2011

We arrived in Goa in the afternoon after a flight from Kolkata, transiting in Mumbai. The last leg of our trip was supposed to be one of the most relaxing but getting up at 5:00 am to catch our flight made for a long day and we were a little done in. It was refreshing to be in such a lush and tropical environment and to experience the lovely town of Panjim. Our hotel, Panjim Inn, was beautiful and the staff quite helpful and professional. Definitely recommended. After a tasty lunch of Goan specialties accompanied by feni at Viva Panjim - one of Clement's highlights of the trip - we spent the afternoon walking about the town and visited the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. In the evening we went on a river ... read more
Mandovi River
Panjim touism building
Tradional Goan Dancing

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata October 18th 2011

I’m glad I went, and I’m glad I never have to go back. - Mark Twain on Calcutta (Kolkata) I expected to feel this way about Kolkata but didn't. Many travelers report being overwhelmed by the humanity, the squalor, the poverty. Certainly Kolkata has all these things, but in comparison to the other places we visited I found it relatively tidy and orderly, with many people employed looking out for the tourists and their fellow Kolkatans, in the streets as well as in the museums. It reminded me a bit of Mumbai, although quieter and more spread out, at least in terms of the sights. It's a city I'd like to return to and experience again, as two days certainly wasn't enough here. We began our stay at the Broadway Hotel, a nice place with pleasant ... read more
Victoria Memorial
Kali Temple
Mullik Ghat flower market

Asia » India » West Bengal » Darjeeling October 16th 2011

The railway journey up the mountain is forty miles, and it takes eight hours to make it. It is so wild and interesting and exciting and enchanting that it ought to take a week. As for the vegetation, it is a museum. The jungle seemed to contain samples of every rare and curious tree and bush that we had ever seen or heard of. I think, that the globe must have been supplied with the trees and vines and shrubs that it holds precious… The road is infinitely and charmingly crooked. It goes winding in and out under lofty cliffs that are smothered in vines and foliage, and around the edges of bottomless chasms; and all the way one glides by files of picturesque natives, some carrying burdens up, others going down from their work in ... read more
...through tea plantations...
...into the misty mountains.
Train station at Kurseong

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi October 13th 2011

The bad hearts are there, but I believe that they are in a small, poor minority. One thing is sure: They are much the most interesting people in the world--and the nearest to being incomprehensible. At the very least they are the hardest to account for. Their character and their history, their customs and their religion, confront you with riddles at every turn--riddles which are a trifle more perplexing after they are explained than they were before. , it makes our own religious enthusiasm seem pale and cold. - Mark Twain Varanasi was quite a sensory overload. An active, alive, and holy place, everyone we talked to before and during our travels had strong feelings about the city, both for and against. We both really wanted to experience it, to enjoy it, to allow it to ... read more
Ganges at dawn
Ghat on the Ganges
Ghat on the Ganges

Asia » India » Madhya Pradesh » Khajuraho October 11th 2011

*Warning: Images may be considered NSFW.* Another early arrival. We dropped our bags at a little spot recommended by the very nice Keralan couple at Ayur Arogyam, a fabulous - but pricey - ayurvedic massage place recommended by everyone. The hotel was only a spot to rest our heads and not particularly recommended, although staff were helpful. We stayed only for the day. Another train out late this evening to Varanasi. The temples for which Khajuraho is famous for are breathtaking, and it's even more amazing to think that many of them originally arose from a lake, now long gone. Most of the 85 temples - 25 of which now remain - were built between 950 to 1050 CE and remained in use for quite a while afterwards. Khajaraho's isolation helped preserve the temples from the ... read more
Temple detail
Varaha Shrine
Varaha Shrine

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra October 10th 2011

Henceforth, let the inhabitants of the world be divided into two classes - them as has seen the Taj Mahal, and them as hasn't. - Edward Lear (1874) We arrived at Hotel Sidhartha in the late hours after a relatively short train ride from Delhi. Another rather nondescript place to stay, although nicer than Delhi, extremely central, and with friendly and helpful management. Very tired. I'm beginning to come down with a wee bit of a cold, brought on no doubt by the lack of sleep we've been getting and the excess of pollution. Sleep. Got up in the early hours to catch the Taj Mahal at its finest, and before it became overrun with tourists. A good plan - we arrived within minutes of leaving the hotel, no lines, touts made an attempt at us ... read more
Jennifer and Clement at the Taj Mahal
The river Yamuna behind the Taj Mahal
Jennifer and Clement at Gateway to Taj Mahal

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » Delhi October 9th 2011

First class is certainly the way to travel. Last night we had our own compartment on the train to New Delhi, with a door that locked and an attendant available should we need anything. The bathroom was still down the hall. We would have enjoyed it more if we hadn't been so exhausted. At least we slept well! When we arrived at 5 am it was already hot. I don't typically sweat much in the Kentucky summer heat, but I was melting when we arrived in this city, and the sun wasn't even up yet. We found an auto-rickshaw to our hotel, Amax Inn, and although I took some photos it wasn't much to write home about. A decent room, air-conditioning and a fan, our own bathroom. Sleep! By the time we made it up we ... read more
Red Fort
Red Fort
Red Fort detail

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