Karen and Colin

thetravelbugtribe

Karen and Colin



We were twotravelbugs but now we are five we have become the travelbug tribe! We hope to instil in our daughters our love of travel, of exploring, of discovering. We are full of ideas and excitement, just waiting for our chance to see more of the world and bring them along with us.

Feel free to read through some of our travels. Many of our adventures were before we discovered travelblog so you'll just have to ask us about those. We have grouped some of our blogs into 'trips', shown below. Click on the relevant tab to see where we went and what we thought. Otherwise there is a search feature, or you can just scroll through the blogs and browse. However you read them, enjoy! And please leave us some feedback, we love reading your comments.

Thanks for having a look at what we have been up to, and keep watching, who knows what past, present or future trip we'll add next.



Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Ito April 8th 2014

Our last few days in Japan were intended as a bit of R&R before heading home and back to work. We booked ourselves into a ryokan, albeit a hostel ryokan, with onsen right next to the river. We had one big day trip planned and a few other little things we’d found in the guide book Ito is a nice town, but I can see that piece of coast being packed in summer. We had the beach to ourselves, but it was chilly! Our hostel, K’s House Ito Onsen, was right in the middle of town, a short walk from the train and bus station. The railway was a small line going down the peninsula and certain trains were scenic ones, with the seats facing sideways out big picture windows to enjoy the view. The train ... read more
Jogasaki Coast
Around our room
On the train to Ito

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Matsumoto April 3rd 2014

Takayama We had planned two stops in the alps region. Due to hostels (again!) we could only stay one night in Takayama. There seemed like a lot to see and do in and around Takayama so it was a bit of a shame, but we had a lovely time there. It was also our first time in ‘real’ beds for a while! We had a family room with bunks. Our hostel was only a short walk from the two ‘traditional buildings preservation areas’ so our first afternoon was spent wandering around the Sanmachi-suji (district). We wandered a few streets of restored/preserved merchant shops and private houses. There were several sake breweries (breweries closed, shop open) and plenty of tourist type shops. It was lovely wandering around. The next morning we headed out again on foot starting ... read more
hot and cold drinks, snacks, ice cream
Matsumoto castle at night
the Alps

Asia » Japan » Nara » Nara March 30th 2014

Nara. We’d heard and read so much about Nara that we were really looking forward to having a look around. The people we stayed with in Asago, he had been to university in Nara and had given us all sorts of tips and suggestions of what to see. And we’d booked into what appeared to be quite a neat hostel. The first few days we were there were spent exploring Kyoto (see previous blog). We saw the street between the train station and supermarket and the hostel. We also went to see Kofukuji temple, but weren’t overly successful. It was another temple that was undergoing restoration / renovation and was totally covered. So of course when it came time to explore Nara properly, it rained. And rained and rained and rained. We’d actually been invited to ... read more
Daibutsu-den Hall, Todai-ji
The Daibutsu
Cherry blossoms in the rain

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto March 29th 2014

We only had two days to explore Kyoto, hardly enough time to get a feel for one of the highlight cities of our trip. And we had to find a balance to keep everyone happy. When planning this trip, it was Kyoto that threw us when we started looking at hostels. We just couldn’t find one with space for us. Or even a cheap hotel. I’m sure there was a hostel somewhere in Kyoto with a spare family room, we just couldn’t find it online. So we ended up booking a hostel in Nara, a 45 minute train ride away. And then went on to book the rest of the accommodation for the whole trip. Just because we, and thousands of others, had decided to go touring in cherry blossom season. Sigh. It was hard trying ... read more
The outer wall and moat of Nijo-jo
cherry blossom
Gion at night

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Asago March 26th 2014

Asago??? Takeda Castle??? Neither were mentioned in our guidebook. Not that we treat the guidebook as the holy grail of info, but if this castle was meant to be one of the must visit places, how come lonely planet haven't written about it yet? So how come we found out about Asago and its castle? We did a search through the Family Welcome group in Couch Surfing to see who was in Japan and where they were. We were finding it really hard to get a couch in any of the places we planned to visit – not only was it a busy season (cherry blossom) and we were looking in some popular places, but as a family of four with two young children, it seemed that people either didn't have the space to host us ... read more
Katrina in a kimono
Takeda Castle
Samaras turn

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Miyajima March 25th 2014

We took a day trip from Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima. It is meant to be one of Japan’s most visited places, though it wasn't somewhere we had heard of before coming here. We had however, seen photos of The O-Torii Gate, we just didn't realise where it was. Even way back in 1643, Miyajima was being described as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan. This was by a Confucian scholar, Shunsai Hayashi, who had written a book about his travels through Japan on foot. In 1996, World Cultural Heritage status was bestowed on part of the island including the O-Torii Gate, Itsukushima Shrine and the Mt Misen Forest. Mt Misen is the tallest peak on Miyajima at 535m. It is covered with primeval forest and has been considered sacred since 'ancient' ... read more
One of the many deer
O-Torii Gate at high tide
Heading for the ferry

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima March 23rd 2014

6thAugust 1945. The world took a step closer to the abyss. We went from one iconic image of Japan, Mt Fuji, to another, this one with an altogether different atmosphere. Hiroshima. 6th August 1945. The first atomic bomb was used in warfare. And we got to Hiroshima on yet another icon of Japan – the bullet train. It was a long day of travel for the girls. A bus from Kawaguchiko to Mishima. One bullet train, or shinkansen, from Mishima to Osaka. A second shinkansen from Osaka to Hiroshima. Then we took pity on them and took a taxi to the hostel instead of the tram. Or perhaps took pity on ourselves as the tram would have been hard work with two tired, grouchy kids and our bags. Which incidentally, we don't have many of. We ... read more
Shinkansen - bullet train
A-Bomb Dome on the mural
Our first shinkansen pulling into Mishima station

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji March 21st 2014

We started our Japan adventure with perhaps one of the most iconic images – Mt Fuji. And possibly one of the coldest places we could find! We landed late afternoon at Narita Airport and stayed the first night in an airport hotel. It was average. Large room (meant to be a triple but had two doubles and a single, plus a cot for Katrina), hot shower, double glazing and blackout curtains. But worn. We took their free shuttle back to the airport and joined the long queue to swap our Japan Rail (JR) Pass voucher for our pass. We were glad the kids woke early and we went back to the airport earlier than we'd planned! We took the new N'EX train into Shinjuku station, one of Tokyo's transit hubs. As with all the trains we'll ... read more
The forest around the cave
The tribe and the mountain
Our first train ride here

Asia » South Korea » Seoul December 2nd 2012

29th November - 3rd December 2012 Sitting here writing this several days after leaving Seoul in the warmth of my parents house, I am glad we are not in Seoul at the moment. The temps, according to the Telegraph, are highs of about -8C and lows 10C less than that. We thought it was cold enough when we were there with temps around freezing. But at least it was sunny and the humidity very low. We knew it was cold when the iced over puddles didn't even melt after a day in the sun! There was no frost or icy, slippery pavements, but no snow either (which there now is!) Getting into Seoul was easy enough but getting to the guest house was harder, we must have picked the only taxi driver in the city that ... read more
Around the Hanok Village
Freedom Bridge
Around the Hanok Village

Asia » South Korea » Gangwon-do » Seoraksan November 29th 2012

27-29thNovember 2012 Unless I go off an a tangent, this will be a quick blog. We didn't spend long in the Sokcho area and the weather was bad the one day we had to explore the national park. The only bad weather day we've had here so far! The scenery from Andong to Sokcho was stunning; mountains dusted with snow along with the rivers and valleys we've seen elsewhere, but the bus ride was marred by a grumpy bus driver. We had the front seats which we were happy about initially as it gave us more of a view out the front. That was before the driver started hassling us for the “noise” Samara was making. Every time she started talking or singing (she is into singing twinkle twinkle little star big time at the moment!) ... read more
Snowy landscape at the top of the cable car
On the bus to the national park
Dragon on a fabulously decorated gate in the park




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