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! 🙂

 

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

Getting Lost on Purple Mountain

Hello!

I hope ya’ll had a great week!! In my last post, I talked about how we visited a local park in Nanjing on our Monday afternoon off. Well today’s post is all about what we did the very next day! If you didn’t know, our weekends are Monday’s and Tuesday’s rather than the typical Saturday’s and Sunday’s. We wanted to spend our Tuesday afternoon casually exploring Purple Mountain. This is a famous area in Nanjing because you can hike, walk through the botanical gardens, or see the Xiaoling tomb of the first Ming emperor. What was supposed to be a casual hike up and down the mountain with a little exploration in the middle, turned into an all day hike trying to get off the dang mountain. I started the day recording our “small” adventure, but called it quits on filming after we were lost and confused and everything turned into a hot mess.

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When hiking the mountain you have three options. You can take the stairs straight up, walk along a winding road, or get inside a cable car. We chose to take the stairs because we wanted to hike it. After huffing and puffing for 45 minutes all the way up, we sat and looked out at our city below to catch our breath.

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When we were done soaking in the foggy view, we began walking down off the mountain together. The map showed a path that connected the mountain to the botanical gardens and Mausoleum down below, so we set out to find it. After walking a mile straight downhill, we came to a gated dead end. We had to turn around and walk uphill another mile. This just kept happening. I’m not kidding when I say it took us HOURS to get up and down this mountain. The paths were not labeled correctly and the maps weren’t accurate. #china

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My muscles are still aching!! Once we finally made it down off the mountain, we took a taxi to the gardens and Mausoleum. Turns out, it was a lot further than we thought it would be.

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It’s believed that the emperor is buried somewhere in this amazing courtyard.

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The Purple Mountain park was closing at 6pm that day, so we only had about an hour to walk around and explore. Thankfully, this meant it wasn’t overcrowded. Truth be told, I don’t know if I could’ve explored any longer than that anyways because I was so exhausted. We drove straight to dinner afterwards because we were starving and ready for bed. I don’t think we’ll be hiking Purple Mountain again anytime soon. 🙂

Thank’s for reading! xoxo

Viareggio/Cinque Terre/Pisa

Our next stop on our European adventure was a cluster of small cities! Originally, we were only supposed to visit Viareggio because it was a small beach town in Italy that Taylor wanted to see. We thought it would be a great halfway point in our journey, and we’d get the chance to chill out for two days. BUT THEN Taylor found out that Cinque Terre was a close train ride and Pisa was right around the corner, and our plans to relax were quickly changed. sigh.

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We arrived in Viareggio late afternoon, checked into our Airbnb and walked across the street to the beach for a few hours. It was a little chilly and the clouds were dark, but thankfully it didn’t rain! Viareggio is a small beach town that a lot of local Italians visit during the year, not so much a tourist destination. There was a fantastic pier that overlooked the sunset and it was so beautiful!

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When we woke up the next morning it was pouring, and Taylor bought train tickets to Cinque Terre. Thankfully, the sun was shining by the time we arrived! Cinque Terre isn’t actually just one destination, it’s a whole cluster of towns within one area. We visited the city of Vernazza, which I believe is one of the most popular. After being there, I can see why.

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You can take a super short “hike” (10 minutes one way) up to the famous view of Vernazza. It looks just like a postcard.

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We arrived in Vernazza around lunchtime, so we searched for a place to eat before swimming. We decided to eat on the top of this mountain that overlooked the water. It wasn’t the best Italian food we ate, but the view was incredible. You should go here for drinks if you’re in the area!

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I wanted to swim really bad, so that’s what we did! 🙂 I can’t stay away from water! I’ll be shocked if we don’t own a home by a body of water in the future.

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Before heading back to Viareggio, we stopped at Manarola, which is just a neighboring small town in Cinque Terre. We didn’t spend much time here because we had a train to catch, but we bought a bottle of wine as a souvenir that we’re planning on opening later in life.

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The last thing we saw this day, was the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was about a two hour train ride from Cinque Terre, but in the same direction of Viareggio. There is literally nothing else in the city of Pisa except for this tower, so please don’t book a weeks’s vacation to Pisa. LOL 😉

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I didn’t want to be that person who stuck their hand out to hold the Leaning Tower, but I felt like I’d regret it later on if I didn’t!

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That ended our time on the coast of Italy! I adored Cinque Terre, and I really want to return to spend more time seeing all the towns. I think we could easily spend a few more days there in the future! Our last stop is Rome! Thank’s for following along this far. Please don’t forget to read the beginning of our journey!

Zurich, Lugano, Lake Como, Venice, Florence 

A Week in Hawaii!

Hello everyone! Or should I say Aloha!?

I think I have some explaining to do. Technically, I’m still supposed to be in China right now. However, you know nothing ever goes as planned, so here I am! Let me catch you up on what’s been happening. 🙂 Grab a snack while I try and explain!

We landed in Tianjin very late at night after leaving Hong Kong. Things started going south as soon as we started driving to the hotel. We had to drive over an hour to the hotel that was literally in the middle of nowhere. Literally. It was dark and everything was covered by fog, making the building (can I even call it a hotel?) we pulled up to super eerie. Nobody was at the desk when we walked in, but there were people sleeping on some couches in the lobby. Once these people woke up and realized we were there, they handed us a key to a hotel room. My stomach dropped as soon as we entered. All I wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep, but the room was horrifying. I’m not going to go into detail, but just trust me on this. We tried to find a different hotel the next morning, but there was nothing else around. Taylor and I were both feeling anxious and uncomfortable. This says A LOT, because Taylor isn’t hard to please. When we went to the baseball field where Taylor and I would be spending most of our time, I realized there was no wifi and very little cell service. I know this sounds so high maintenance, but I depend on internet for work.

By the end of the day, Taylor had decided that he was going to stay the full four weeks and finish the job. I really admire this about him. He could’ve went back to Nanjing where he was more comfortable, but instead he stayed so he could work harder and make a difference. Staying wasn’t an option for me. I could’ve probably stuck it out a week, but definitely not a whole month! Taylor knew I couldn’t stay either, so he researched flights and booked a one way flight to Hawaii for me.

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Things could be worse right? 🙂

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I had no plans for my time in Hawaii, except to relax and take a break. We’ve been GO GO GO in China for the past two months, so it was refreshing to return to something comfortable. There’s no better place to chill than in Hawaii! My wonderful cousin lives in Hawaii, and I was able to visit her 8 years ago too. I’m so thankful she took me in for a week!

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As I mentioned above, I really wanted to spend my time relaxing and that’s exactly what I did. Besides working (I love working remotely!), I went to the beach, did some hiking, and ate an abundance of açaí bowls and drank plenty of Kona coffee!

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I didn’t get the chance to hike Diamond Head the last time I was here, so I was eager to do it this time. The views make this easy hike super worth it!

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I also got to hike Moana Falls! It was super wet and muddy, so keep that in mind if you decide to do this yourself.

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My week in Hawaii was a bunch of eat, sleep, beach and repeat. I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing time!

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Thank’s for following along! I’ll keep you updated on Taylor soon!

Visiting Anji – Bamboo Park

It’s Wednesday, and we’re back from our weekend trip to Anji! The MLB had their annual conference for all their employees, which turned out to be a relaxing weekend away for us! If you missed my last post, I said that they typically have the conference in Shanghai. However, they wanted to get everyone out of the city and into the country this year. I’m so glad they chose Anji! This is a place we probably wouldn’t have traveled to on our own, but it was beautiful!

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All three MLB offices met in Wuxi, then took a 2.5 hour bus ride to the JW Marriott! Honestly, this was one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in! It was situated on a huge golf course and there were surrounding views of the mountains. I was very impressed with the location and service here! Everything was so laid back.

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Taylor had a meeting all day on Monday, so I decided to go out and explore on my own! This was HUGE for me. I’m not one to go out in a place I don’t know, especially where I can’t speak the language. I figured I’d learn to explore on my own at some point during our time here, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this soon. The hotel recommended the Bamboo Park, so I got in a taxi and set out! Fun fact: Anji is known for their abundance of bamboo.

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The Bamboo Park was a 20 minute drive from our hotel. I had the concierge tell my taxi driver where I wanted to go. As you can imagine, the forest was out in the middle of nowhere. As soon as we parked, it began pouring, thundering, and lightening. My taxi driver was also trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t understand. I still have no idea what he was trying to tell me. Thankfully, I packed an umbrella though!!

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Despite the rain, it was beautiful! There were very few people there and it was fun to walk around on my own. The Anji Bamboo Park is the largest bamboo garden in the world! There are supposedly over 300 different types of bamboo here! I hiked up a mountain to the treehouse overlook, and it was breathtaking! It was so hot and humid, plus probably the most exercise I’ve done since being here, so as you can imagine I was sweating! After the hike, I just wondered around taking pictures.

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I’m really pleased with myself for getting out by myself. However, I wouldn’t recommend the Bamboo Park if you’re looking for a way to spend your entire day. I think I paid like $10 to enter the park, but the hike was the only thing to do. When I looked online it said there was a panda house, tea house, a lake, and a lot more. The tea house was being rebuilt and the lake was actually a small pond (or I couldn’t find it). It was fun to see all the bamboo and the stunning views, but I wouldn’t pay $10 to go on a hike when I can do that for free on my own time.

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Overall, Anji was a beautiful part of China! The other people we work with mentioned going back here for another short weekend. It was beautiful and a nice escape from the city life!

Stay tuned for my monthly recap post! 🙂