Visiting the Yellow Mountain

Happy November 1st from China! I can’t believe Halloween is over and we’re entering the Thanksgiving and Christmas season already. Taylor and I have a lot of exciting trips coming up during the next few weeks, so be on the lookout for those posts! In the meantime, here’s a short post about our trip to the Yellow Mountain a few weekends ago. 🙂

Taylor and I had been itching to take a small trip somewhere new in China, and we thought it was the perfect time to visit the popular Yellow Mountain. We’d heard great things from other expects and Nanjing locals who’d visited in the past, and they said we’d really enjoy it. With the temperatures dropping and the changing leaves, we thought it would be the perfect time to head to the mountains for a weekend together! Facetune_21-10-2019-15-19-43

We took a train to Huangshan (3 hours) and then caught a bus (45 minutes) to the bottom of Huangshan Mountain (yellow mountain). Our total trip took about 4 hours, and it was simple to get there. Once we got off the bus, we grabbed some water and waited for our hotel shuttle. We stayed at the Huangshan Mountain Resort and Spa, and it was perfect! It was situated in the mountains and near the park we’d be visiting the following morning. This was the beautiful view from our hotel balcony! We could even see the stars at night, which I’ve never actually seen in China before. IMG_1846.jpgUntitled design

After visiting the Purple Mountain last year (why are all the mountains named after colors?), I assumed the Yellow Mountain would be comparable in layout and difficulty. I was VERY wrong. While the Purple Mountain is pretty flat and easy to get from one point to the next, the Yellow Mountain is literally one hike after the other. If you’re a big hiker, you’d love something like this! We took the sky car 10 minutes up the mountain, where we were met by A LOT of people and A LOT of stairs.IMG_1850.jpgIMG_1852 We found out the hard way that there are not flat surfaces on the Yellow Mountain, rather a bunch of staircases. The views were incredible from the top though! You could see nothing but mountains. I’m so happy we got to see it on a clear day!DSC_6476DSC_6492DSC_6494DSC_6487

I wanted to add the photo below because it really puts things into perspective. There are people who live on the mountain and their only job is carry the food from one point to the other… and some of those stair cases are STEEP. I was tired just carrying myself, I couldn’t imagine carrying food for the restaurants and hotels. If you ever find yourself complaining about your job, just remember this. DSC_6483

When Taylor and I were looking at the map, I told him the only thing I didn’t want to do was climb the highest peak in the park. I just didn’t have the energy to climb that amount of stairs and it looked terrifying. Long story short, we got our location on the map wrong and ended up climbing the highest peak unintentionally. The staircase path was extremely narrow and there were so many people that we couldn’t turn back once we realized we were going up the mountain instead of around it…DSC_6516DSC_6537.jpg*smiling through the painDSC_6529DSC_6532

This was one of the scariest and most high intensity hikes I’ve ever done in my life. Thankfully, the view made it worth it at the top. Also, aren’t these photos beautiful? Thank you Taylor for taking the camera because I couldn’t breathe and take photos at the same time. Ha! 🙂DSC_6508DSC_6554

There was a hotel at the top of one of the peaks and I’m still trying to figure out how guests are supposed to get to it…DSC_6550-2

We sat at the top of the peak for about 30 minutes, because neither of us wanted to move another inch. While we were up there, we decided to call it a day and head back down the other side. Neither of us had the energy to climb anymore stairs, and we were getting hungry. Thankfully, the decent down was 10x easier than the climb up. DSC_6513DSC_6559

We picked a great time to visit the Yellow Mountain because the weather was cool, the sky was clear, and there weren’t as many people as there could’ve been. Don’t get me wrong, there were a ton of people there, but it could’ve been so much worse during a peak travel time. Taylor and I would like to visit the Yellow Mountain again, because while we were there all day, we didn’t even see half of it! At the end of the day, my apple watch said I’d climbed 100 sets of stairs, and I couldn’t imagine seeing even more in one day.

We packed up and headed home the next morning, and we were really impressed with our weekend getaway to the mountains! 🙂

 

Summer 19′ – Home, Waco, and MLB

Hey there!

Long time no see! I took a bit of a blog hiatus this spring and summer, because Taylor and I were busy and I was soaking up every second in America with our friends and family. The two of us were hopping all over the place this summer, so it’s a bit confusing to keep up with. Here’s a breakdown of what went down during our crazy summer vacation!

I started my time in South Carolina for a bachelorette party in Charleston. IMG_0049Untitled design-5

…and I spent a lot of quality time time with Maybelle! She’s living her best life with her grandma on the farm. ❤ Untitled design-4img_1238.jpg

Afterwards, I flew to Lancaster for 6 weeks. Thankfully, my parents let me invade their space for a majority of the summer. 🙂 IMG_0394.jpgUntitled design-3IMG_0308IMG_0946img_0177.jpg

I went to my best friend Katie’s beautiful wedding and watched her marry her soulmate, Jon. I was also reunited with my best college gals! This night was filled with loads of dancing and reminiscing, which is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I left the wedding feeling so much joy for Katie and Jon, and thankful for sweet friendships that the Lord blessed me with years ago.  IMG_0269Untitled designIMG_0234

For a long weekend in July, I flew to Waco with Lindsey and Lacie for a girls trip to Magnolia! We chose the perfect time to visit, because it was the annual warehouse sale weekend. The sales were so good that Lacie and I had to buy an additional checked bag to get all our things home. Ha! If you want a separate post on Waco, let me know. DSC_6096.jpgUntitled design-2.jpgimg_0614.jpgIMG_0464

After the Waco trip, I flew back to Lancaster for the last half of my time there. During the time, I celebrated my dad’s birthday, my 27th birthday, welcomed my best friend Grace’s new baby boy into the world, and enjoyed my final days in my adolescent home. My parent are selling their beautiful home in a few weeks and building something much more manageable within a few minutes away. I’m excited for the change, but it’s always bitter sweet saying goodbye to a place you’ve known as home for so long. DSC_6118.jpgimg_0988.jpgimg_0406.jpgUntitled design-7IMG_0439

At the end of those 6 weeks in Lancaster, I flew back to South Carolina to meet Taylor and the China MLB team! They were playing in a few tournaments here in the States, and stopped at Taylor’s house for a team cookout! This was one of the coolest days of my life. It was surreal to have both of our worlds come together.DSC_6191_1DSC_6178.jpgIMG_1098DSC_6169DSC_6180

Taylor and I spent the next two weeks in South Carolina jumping between family and watching the China MLB team play in America!IMG_1185Untitled design-6

At the end of August, we parted ways again and I headed to Seattle for a cruise to Alaska and Taylor headed to LA for a mini vacation with the MLB staff. I will write a separate post about my Alaska trip! 🙂

At the very end of August, we flew back to China! 🙂

A Little Bit of Nothing

Hello there!

It’s been awhile seen I’ve sat down and written anything on the blog. I last wrote about our short trip to Xi’an, but that was weeks ago! I haven’t written anything since then because nothings been happening over here on our side of the world! We have a busy month up ahead, so I thought I’d throw together an update on the little bit of nothingness going on right now.IMG_8957IMG_9167.jpgIt was a struggle trying to come up with a list of things we’ve been doing, because we haven’t been doing anything fun or unique! Here’s 3 random things that have happened since we got back from Xi’an:

1. Taylor traveled to a neighboring city to work at a baseball tournament. There wasn’t much to do in the city he was in, so I stayed behind in Nanjing for a few days by myself. I met up with him at the end of his trip. Untitled design-2IMG_9069.JPG1

2. While Taylor was away, I planned a surprise birthday party for him! He turns 25 this month, but we’ll be traveling so we celebrated early. All our China friends met at KTV (karaoke) and we had a blast celebrating Taylor! ❤ IMG_9147img_9127.jpg

3. I started working again! I’m freelancing for a company that I’ve worked with in the past. I’m so thankful to have something of my own to do!2As I said, we haven’t been doing much over here! We’ve been working hard and preparing for a busy summer. Other than that, we’re alive and well. 🙂 We leave for Phoenix next week, where Taylor will be working with extended spring training for two weeks. While we’re in the states during that time, I’m flying to Chicago for 3 days to meet up with family! At the end of two weeks in the states, we’ll fly back to China together for one month. Then, I’ll fly back to the states at the end of June for the summer. I’ll be bouncing around between PA and SC! IMG_9180Our upcoming plans are a bit confusing, but I’m excited to be in the states for the summer! Stay tuned for some photos of our upcoming trips. 🙂

Thank’s for following along!

 

Terra-cotta Soldiers in Xi’an

Good Morning,

We FINALLY went to see the terra-cotta soldiers in Xi’an! This has been on our bucket list since we moved to China, and we finally made it happen last week.Untitled designIMG_8716IMG_8717Like most of our trips these days, we booked it on a whim. We rode the bullet train from Nanjing to Xi’an on Tuesday morning at 9am, and arrived in Xi’an at 2:30pm. We had the option to fly for the same price (faster too), but we wanted to see the scenery along the way. Also, I was over the whole airport and airplane thing at the moment. I feel like we’re constantly on planes, and I just wanted to take a relaxing ride.DSC_5665DSC_5659Once we arrived in Xi’an, we took the subway to our hotel. We stayed at a brand new Holiday Inn Express and had no complaints. It was located downtown within the city wall and only cost $60 for one night!IMG_8720 After dropping our bags off in our room, we immediately walked to the city wall. The wall was huge, so we rented a tandem bike to get around the whole thing. This was so much easier than trying to walk only a portion of it. It also created a ton of fun memories! Taylor and I laughed the whole way around that wall. 🙂 DSC_5666IMG_8724DSC_5668DSC_5664IMG_8782Untitled design-2IMG_8768IMG_8835IMG_8799IMG_8828-2img_8845.jpgAfter completing the full loop of the wall, we walked to the Muslim market. There’s a pretty big Muslim community in Xi’an, so you have to see the market if you’re visiting the area. We stopped for snacks along the way. 2IMG_8865.jpg3For dinner that night, we ate at an Italian restaurant called Isola del Nord, which was a short walk from our hotel. It was very difficult to find, but worth it! The food was a great way to end our day. IMG_8875

The next day, we were up bright and early to see the terra-cotta soldiers! The soldiers are actually located an hour outside the city and there are a couple ways to get there. You can take the public bus or a Didi (chinese uber). We opted for the bus, which was the cheapest ($2 per person).Untitled design-3This was one of the most fascinating things we’ve seen and learned about in China. The exhibit has 3 major pits that display the terra-cotta figures. What’s even crazier, is that they weren’t discovered until the 70’s!! Pit 1, the largest, was discovered in March 1974. Pit 2 was found the following month, and pit 3 wasn’t found until that June! They were discovered by some farmers who were trying to dig a well for water. While they were digging, they found a few pottery pieces, which lead to the finding of the terra-cotta army. I don’t know about you, but I would love to know what was going through those farmer’s minds on that day. Obviously, they lost their land. :/ DSC_56782DSC_5679The soldiers were created by Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, who was preparing an army for his after-life. He never recorded anything about his hidden army, because he wanted it to be left undisturbed. (This seemed like a whole lot of preparations for an after-life to me.) What’s fascinating, was that each soldier was hand-crafted differently. There are no two alike. DSC_5691DSC_5675IMG_8918To this day, they’re still uncovering pieces and putting soldiers back together. Uncovering something of this magnitude takes a lot of caution and time. While there are large working areas set up, it’s rare to actually see someone working in the pits. I assume they work at night when the site is closed. I can’t imagine how creepy that would be! Legend says that if you listen closely, you can hear the soldiers talking to one another. 😉 DSC_5740DSC_5742IMG_8921DSC_5736DSC_5718DSC_57131IMG_8915Once we were done walking through all the exhibits, we took the bus to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda back in Xi’an. DSC_5754.jpgThis is a Buddhist pagoda that was built in the year 652 during the Tang Dynasty. Instead of entering the pagoda, we just walked through the park surrounding it. It was a beautiful day! DSC_5751.jpgBefore heading to our train, we grabbed coffee at a Starbucks Reserve and walked around the Muslim market one more time. IMG_8931Untitled designIMG_8939.jpgInstead of paying for a hotel another night and then taking the bullet train back to Nanjing, we booked tickets on an overnight slow train. Taylor has been begging me to do this since we arrived in China, and I finally caved. I will say, I was pleasantly surprised with our soft-sleeper experience. Here’s a little general knowledge about overnight trains in China:

There are 3 classes: Hard, Soft, and Deluxe.

Hard: 6 bunks per room, no door, squatty potty bathroom, and the cheapest.

Soft: 4 bunks per room, a locked door, seating area outside, western toilet, extra sinks, pillow, slippers, bedding. (this is the one we selected) – see photo below.

Deluxe: 2 beds per room, a locked door, seating, western toilet, private, pillow, slippers, bedding, and most expensive.

IMG_8946IMG_8947We started off in separate rooms because we purchased tickets so late, but ended up in a room together after I got sick and someone kindly offered to switch with us. Although it’s nothing glamorous, we were more than comfortable for the whole journey. The total trip took us 12 hours. We left the station at 7pm and arrived in Nanjing at 7am. Taking this train made Taylor super happy. 🙂 IMG_8950We arrived back in Nanjing well rested with a full day ahead of us! I see more sleeper-trains in our future. 🙂

Would you stay on an overnight train?

xoxo

Oahu, Hawaii – Days 3 & 4

Welcome back!

Did you read about our first two days in Hawaii? You should! 🙂 Just click the link HERE. Taylor and I had a blast driving around Oaha the first two days together, but we had an even better time on the 3rd and 4th day!

We started our 3rd day the same way we started every other day…in the car. On this day, we were heading to the North Shore! On our way North, we stopped at the Aloha Stadium and walked around their flea market. The market is held every Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and I truly believe it’s the best market for all gifts and souvenirs. You’ll also find the prices way better than anywhere in the city. If you can make it out, I’d highly recommend it. It’s $1 per person.IMG_8056They also offer tours of the stadium now! This was perfect for Tay and I. A little football and a little shopping. 🙂 IMG_8060.jpg2Once we were done, we finished the beautiful drive to the North Shore. The nice thing about Hawaii, is that it’s very easy to drive all over the island! Our stomachs were grumbling at this point, so we stopped for brunch at Cafe Haleiwa. This was such a sweet, locally owned place. I ordered their huevos rancheros with a cold brew latte and Taylor had their french toast! Both were amazing. IMG_8071.jpg1IMG_8074After stuffing our stomachs, Taylor told me that he wanted to stop at Turtle Beach. After complaining about how I didn’t want to stop because there wouldn’t be any actual turtles, I was proven very wrong. There were so many sea turtles floating in the ocean and it was really special to see them! I couldn’t get any good photos, but you can see the shadow of some in the picture above. Pictures would never do it justice anyway. You just have to be there. I switched over to metal straws last year to help save our sea turtles, so this was such a special moment. I’m glad he made me get out of the car. ❤ IMG_8073We continued our drive along the coast, and found a beach to rest on. The North Shore is famous for it’s massive waves, so we sat and watched the incredibly talented surfers. The waves were actually so big that nobody could even touch the water unless they were professional surfers. Not that I minded anyway, I wouldn’t dream of getting into waves that size. For some reason I didn’t capture any pictures of the big waves. I guess I was too mesmerized. LOLIMG_8072.jpgIMG_8109.jpgFor lunch, Taylor ordered a BBQ chicken platter from Winna Chicken and I ordered the garlic shrimp from Giovannis. (*peep the new hawaiian shirt 😉 ) IMG_8112.jpgNot to be dramatic or anything, but this was the best shrimp I’ve ever had in my life. ever. I’m still dreaming about it. I discovered all the amazing reviews of this place online and it not disappointed. We took our lunch and sat in the park overlooking the water. IMG_8113IMG_8117IMG_8119For a sweet treat, we split a Hawaiian ice. When in Hawaii right?! Untitled designWe were having the best time together!IMG_81101After stuffing our bellies with delicious food, we drove back to the apartment and showered off before watching the sunset on Ala Moana beach. A sunset in Hawaii is one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see in life. The colors are stunning and everything is perfect. IMG_8136IMG_8125Travel the World in Style-2IMG_8142.jpg

The next day was sadly our last day in Hawaii. To start the day, we woke up early and drove to Diamond Head. I completed this hike on my last trip to Hawaii and enjoyed it so much that I knew Taylor would love it too! It was a much nicer day this time around. IMG_8155IMG_8156Untitled design-3IMG_8151 Unfortunately, parking was full by the time we got there (around 9:30am) so we had to park a half mile away. Just keep this in mind if you plan on driving. I wouldn’t recommend going anytime later than 10am. When we were on the way off the mountain, there was a line of people trying to get up and it was extremely crowded.IMG_8168We chose to eat lunch at Waikiki Brewing Company after our hike. We ordered some nachos and the bratwurst sandwich. This was a really cool place and the service was awesome!IMG_8172.jpgUntitled design-4The rest of our day was spent shopping downtown and packing our bags for our return to China. 😦 IMG_8192This view didn’t make leaving any easier. Tay said he loved his first trip to Hawaii, and we’re already planning our next visit! Although we were only visiting for a few days, we had a blast driving around the coast and enjoying each other’s company. Trips like this are always my favorite.

Thank’s for reading!

xoxo

Oahu, Hawaii – Days 1 & 2

Aloha!

I’m so excited to write this blog post, because it’s about a trip to one of my favorite places in the world! Hawaii! This is my 3rd time visiting Oahu, and it never gets old. I was recently there in July for a week, so you can read about that relaxing trip HERE. Although this was my 3rd time visiting the beautiful island, it was my first time traveling there with someone!IMG_7991.JPGLet’s start from the beginning shall we? Taylor and I decided to visit Hawaii last week because it’s: a) a place I love and b) one of the only states he hasn’t been to yet. Airline tickets typically range around $700-$800 round trip from America, but we snagged tickets for only $400 round trip from China. We flew from Nanjing to Shanghai to Honolulu. The Shanghai to Honolulu flight was only 8 hours, and wasn’t full. Before boarding, we asked the attendant at the gate to change our seats to single rows by ourselves in the back, so we could lay down. Untitled design-2It was important for us to sleep on our flight, because we arrived in Honolulu at 8am and hit the ground running. After going through customs, we picked up our rental car and drove to my cousin’s apartment. She was away for work, so she let us stay at her place for the week. We’re so thankful! We changed into our swimsuits and started driving up the east coast. IMG_7957IMG_7992img_7978.jpgIMG_8012Untitled design-5After stopping at several lookout points and absorbing the beautiful views around us, we stopped for lunch at Kona Brewing Company on the harbor. We shared a few appetizers and enjoyed the warm weather. We ordered chicken wings, pepperoni rolls, and seafood soup to split. The soup was okay, but everything else was wonderful! This is a great spot to stop at if you’re in the area. Untitled designOnce our stomachs were full, we hopped back in the car and continued driving. img_8015.jpgIMG_8017How cute was our car? 🙂 If you’re visiting Oahu and looking for a less touristy beach, I’d recommend driving to Waimanalo Beach. It’s in a residential neighborhood, and there’s always free street parking. I think the sand and water are nicer too. IMG_2067-2DSC_0013-2We also stopped at Halona Blowhole Lookout so we could experience that small beach too. IMG_80011IMG_7999Untitled design-3After a day in the sun, we ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in Ala Moana, and then headed to bed. We were exhausted from a full day of traveling and exploring! (Just as a reference, Hawaii is 18 hours behind China.)IMG_80204

On our second day, we got dressed and packed our bathing suits for the road. Our first stop of the day was Pearl Harbor. We drove up the west coast and arrived at Pearl Harbor within 30 minutes. This is somewhere you absolutely need to visit if you find yourself in Honolulu. DSC_5625DSC_5614DSC_5628I visited this National Park during my first visit to Hawaii, but I was only 17. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to go back, because I didn’t fully grasp what I was learning the first time. They were doing renovations on the Arizona Memorial, so unfortunately we weren’t able to walk through it. However, the boat drove us around and it was free of charge. I really appreciated this. DSC_5608DSC_5621DSC_5610After a morning of learning and remembering, we got into the car and kept driving up the west coast. We stopped for a quick lunch at Island Plantation. This is a locally owned place and they had a great lunch menu! Untitled design-4The west coast of Oahu was really cool! The mountains were stunning, and it felt like we’d transported to a completely different island. The weather was cloudy and stormier, but we had a great time. IMG_8035IMG_80512.jpgLater that evening, when the sun began to set, we drove back to Waikiki and ate dinner at OMG Tacos. This place was sooooooo good. It’s very similar to Chipotle, and it was exactly what we needed after a long day. This would be a great lunch spot if you’re staying in Waikiki. IMG_8055.jpg

After eating, we went back to the apartment and called it a night. I hope you enjoyed reading about our first two days in Hawaii. The second half of our trip will be up soon! Make sure you’re following A World of Crazy for notifications about the next post.

xoxo