Page 23 of RENanDREW Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy May 1st 2010

Mongolia on my mind HE SAID... We left Seoul at 2pm and have been flying for three hours. We are directly over Mongolia at the moment, and I’m finding it hard to comprehend the magnitude of the landscape below. How individual men can rule such vast expanses of land with a populace so isolated by distance is difficult to imagine, but I am drawn to this place. Drawn to the isolation, contrast and space - I doubt solace can be found here (and nor should it be sought), but new and novel viewpoints surely can. Having just enjoyed another bibimbap, we’re settling in for the remaining eight and half hours to Rome... SHE SAID... Hot. Loud. Crowded. With a few screaming kids thrown in for good measure. It’s more like travelling on a regional bus than ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Seoul May 1st 2010

HE SAID... Our trip started at 3pm on April 30. We had worked frantically up until our 3pm deadline to leave, and then my Mum Aileen drove us to the airport. Aileen and Molly (Aileen’s red healer) had arrived the day before to look after the house and our pets. We arrived in Melbourne just after 7pm, dropped our bags at Eva and Roy’s (Ren’s parents) house and went out with them for a memorable meal at Sigiri - a fantastic Sri Lankan restaurant in Northcote, where we were joined by Ren’s brother Ralph. It was a regular Friday night buffet where everyone eats three times the amount they need, and we certainly kept up that tradition. We retired at 11pm and arose sleepily at 4am for a morning departure on Korean Air. We were finally ... read more
seoul airport
seoul airport

Europe » Italy April 30th 2010

A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine... ~ Italian Proverb Ciao people! Our Italian travels begin at long last. We can finally stop desktop travelling and now share some of our own Italian experiences! We have both been to Italy before - Andrew on a trip to Rome and Florence about 10 years ago, and I have been to Rome and the Lazio region a few times with my parents when I was young - so we are really looking forward to exploring Italy much further afield and also experiencing these places together this time. We are so glad that Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano and its ash cloud are behaving themselves and haven’t ruined our travel plans. We may be able to upload blogs in real time on this trip because an executive decision ... read more

Asia » Vietnam April 1st 2009

Choosing an appropriate time of year to visit Vietnam had been a much discussed and researched issue for us. The difficulty lay in the fact that Vietnam is a very long and narrow country and crosses numerous climatic zones - therefore if you wish to travel the length of the country it is unrealistic to expect ideal conditions everywhere. However I think we did really well by picking the month of March. We experienced good to fabulous weather conditions throughout the trip. Although the heavens did open up on our very last day there, and it made for a very wet and hazardous drive to Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport. And a very stormy flight home. Hmmm...yes...well...anyway... we are at the end of another truly amazing travel experience. We trekked through the northern ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Thuan » Mui Ne March 28th 2009

When planning this Vietnam trip, a beach break was a ‘must do’ for us both. After a bit of research, Mui Ne came up as a good combination of quaint old fishing village, fantastic beach and water (for Andrew) and resort r&r (for me). So off we headed to the Blue Ocean Resort in Mui Ne. I knew this was a resort town, but I really wasn’t prepared for the massive number of hotels and restaurants packed into a narrow beach strip. However the beach does meander for 10km so you could get out of the packed sections if you so wished. The Blue Ocean Resort is centrally located on the strip which made looking for a lunch and dinner spot quite easy. As it turned out our favourite choice was just across from our resort ... read more
our beach bungalow
bbq lobster dinner

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City March 26th 2009

...Crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels... and Cruising on the Mekong Delta... Saigonis home to about 6 million people and what seemed like 20 million motorbikes. It’s a bit of an assault on the senses after the quiet of country Vietnam. Our train arrived in Saigon at the ungodly hour of 4:30am, and while we waited for our rooms, we wandered down to the local park to watch Tai Chi being practiced…I was expecting deathly quiet, old world serenity and precision; however in this funky modern city, traditional Tai Chi was being practiced alongside open air aerobic style dance classes and nimble games of badminton. Love it. I started the day with a strong cup of gorgeous Ca Phe Sua Da (iced coffee with condensed milk), then we hopped on a bus for a day trip ... read more
cu chi tunnels
saigon market
saigon traffic

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Khanh Hoa » Nha Trang March 23rd 2009

Although long, the Reunification Express daytime train trip between Hoi An and Nha Trang was just beautiful, and the experience only got better as we approached Nha Trang...stunning mountains, shimmering white sand and sparkling sea... Andrew is in heaven! In some ways Nha Trang is a typical tourist town with leathery skinned westerners, and over-priced bars and restaurants serving more western than local food. I was not alone in finding the town a bit on the seedy side and not very appealing at all; however the beauty of the surrounding beaches and islands makes a trip here worthwhile. The group spent the best part of one day cruising the islands around Nha Trang, and I cannot express enough how much Andrew loved swimming and snorkelling in the sultry water of the South China Sea. Me? I ... read more
reclining buddha at long son pagoda
basket boats
island hopping

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An March 20th 2009

Hoi An is absolutely steeped in history - lined with old temples, crumbling mansions and ancient halls. It was a major river port in the 16th and 17th century but unlike other port towns I’ve been to, Hoi An is still essentially a charming traditional town. Like Hue, it’s been recently declared a World Heritage site, and again there is a lot of restoration work going on here. It is very obvious that we are heading south into hotter climate - just a few minutes after stepping outside the hotel this morning we were two sweaty little piggies. That being said, we still loved walking around. Hoi An is a tailoring and shopping mecca and I think we may have gone a little over the top. There are literally hundreds of tailors in Hoi An, as ... read more
tailors in old quarter
assembly hall of the fujian chinese
boats on thu bon river

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué March 18th 2009

As with our overnight train to Lao Cai, we had soft sleeper cabins on the overnight train to Hue. It was an identical set up of four bunks in the cabin which we shared with Anna and Henny, two German uni students who we really enjoyed chatting to about cross-cultural experiences when living and travelling in different lands; however it wasn’t very long before we all crashed for the rest of the journey. We arrived in Hue at 9am and almost at once we were endeared to Hue’s slow pace. Hue is dissected by the Perfume River, with the old town within the citadel on one side and the newer residences and restaurants on the other. Hue was the capital of the Nguyen emperors and was modelled on Beijing’s Forbidden City. While it is sad to ... read more
forbidden city complex
forbidden city complex
nunnery lunch

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay March 16th 2009

We started our morning with a sumptuous breakfast at KOTO, before beginning our drive north east to the World Heritage site of Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin (approx four hours). There was tangibly excitement running through the group as we had all heard such wonderful things about the jade water and its 2000 or so towering limestone peaks. We finally boarded our fabulous private sailing junk at the docks of Halong City (which is a horrible dive of a place) and were welcomed aboard with a seafood lunch while lazily cruising the bay. This place looks and feels exactly as captured in the film Indochine! Legend has it that Halong Bay was created when a dragon was sent by the gods to defend Vietnam from the invading Chinese, and it spat out jade stones ... read more
our junk
halong bay
halong bay

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