A Night in Hong Kong!

Last weekend, Taylor and I completed our second visa run to Hong Kong! I went into a lot more detail about what a “visa run” is and why we need to take them in the first Hong Kong post I wrote! You can read that HERE.

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The two of us headed to the Nanjing airport on Monday afternoon, and landed in Hong Kong around 5pm. We took a taxi immediately to our hotel, The Rosedale, and dropped off our luggage before heading to dinner. We were starving and craving Outback Steakhouse! The only time we can eat here is when we’re visiting Hong Kong. We would normally never eat at a chain restaurant while traveling, but when you live in China, you take any sliver of home you can get. ❤

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After a long day of traveling, we headed straight to bed and rested for an early morning of exploration! Taylor’s company only pays for a one night (two day) stay out of the country when we need to take our visa runs, so we squeeze everything we can into that time! We woke up bright and early, walked to Starbucks for coffee, then took the hotel bus downtown.

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We spent the entire day walking along the harbor, flying the drone, and shopping (Christmas is right around the corner)!

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When we were ready for lunch, we returned to White Beard’s Fish n Chips across the harbor. We ate here last time and loved it so much! Taylor ordered their lemon garlic fish and I got their fish bites!

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We always love traveling to Hong Kong, even if it’s just for one night. The weather is always perfect, there’s a huge western influence, and there’s so much beauty! We’ve only been twice now, but there’s still so much we want to see and do here! We can’t wait to return.

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On another note, WE RETURN TO AMERICA this week!! We’re both ecstatic, and can’t wait to see all our friends and family! Thank’s for reading! xoxo

Chinese National Day

Happy Chinese National Week!

October 1st was the official National Day of the Peoples Republic of China, and the country has been celebrating all week long! Every year, the country shuts down in order to celebrate together. The holiday occurs right after the Mid-Autumn Festival, but every few years the two holidays blend together and the celebration lasts a few days longer. We got lucky because this is what happened this year!

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Like the rest of the country, Taylor has been off for the whole week. We were debating on traveling somewhere cool, but we opted for staying in Nanjing to chill out. We just got back from Europe and we have a few trips planned in the near future. Our Chinese friends said traveling around the country at this time is absolute chaos anyway, and they recommended we stay in the city. We were happy to oblige! 🙂

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Our week has been filled with a lot of relaxing and some sightseeing around Nanjing. We’ve been talking about walking the city wall since we arrived, so we knew this was the perfect time to go!

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We paid 60 RMB total for the two of us to walk along the historical wall, which is 10 USD. Totally worth it!

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The Nanjing city wall took 28 years to construct and was finalized in 1366!!  Incase you’re wondering, that’s 410 years before America was founded!

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We couldn’t have picked a better day to explore the city wall. The air quality varies day by day here, and we really lucked out with clear skies! This city is so beautiful, especially when you can see the surrounding mountains in the distance.

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The good thing about living in Nanjing, is that it’s a very up-and-coming city. Most people who live here didn’t actually grow up here. During Chinese National Week, most families leave Nanjing to return to their hometowns. Because of this, the city wall wasn’t overcrowded and we could take our time.

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Below the wall is a huge park, which we visited during our first week living in China. It’s crazy how different I felt on this day compared to then.

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I filmed our day walking along the wall and some more about our day, and you can watch it on my YouTube channel HERE!

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Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with all our adventures! 🙂

Florence, Italy

Taylor and I are officially back in China, so that can only mean one thing. Our Italian blog posts are nearing the end! If you missed the first few posts, you can read them all here:

Zurich, Lugano, Lake Como, Venice 

The fifth city we visited was Florence! After we packed our bags up in Venice, we took another train and rode to our next destination. We really enjoyed taking the trains everywhere in Europe. It’s so much easier and cheaper than flying. Florence is located in central Italy, within Tuscany.

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I’d say that Florence is known for architecture and food. It’s here where we ate the best Italian food of our lives.

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The man behind all the travel plans. 🙂 I’d be lost without him…literally. He puts so much effort into planning our adventures together.

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If I’m being honest, Florence wasn’t my favorite city that we visited during our European adventure. We were still coming off a high of visiting Lake Como and Venice, and Florence was just okay in my book. I’m not dying to go back, and I really don’t know if I’d make an effort to return. I’m glad we came, but I wouldn’t spend more than two nights here. Like I said before, the food was INCREDIBLE, but that was the highlight of visiting Florence.

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When visiting Florence, you NEED NEED NEED to eat at ZaZa’s. This place was so incredible that we ate there TWICE. This is unheard of for us. The even crazier thing about this place, is that it’s ranked in the 200’s on Trip Advisor for some reason?? I guess there’s just so many places to eat in Florence that the competition is hard. The lasagna was the best I’ve ever eaten and so was the homemade gnocchi. Seriously. You have to eat here.

We also stumbled across a unique wine shop one night called DiVino. You purchase the bottle size you’d like (or glass) and they’d fill it up with whatever local wine they had available. The first time we went, we purchased a standard 750ml bottle and filled it with cabernet. Our total was 4.50 euro and the wine was delicious! We returned the next day and it was only 3 euro since we already had the bottle! Such a genius idea!

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I felt so uninspired to take photos here. I’m not sure if it was because taking photos of architecture isn’t my thing, or that museums are difficult to photograph, or if everything looked the same. Maybe I’m crazy? If you’ve travelled all over Italy, let me know your thoughts on Florence, because I’m really curious. I don’t want to hate on Florence because we really did have a good time. If art history, architecture, and good food are you’re thing then you’d probably love this city!

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If you do find yourself in Florence, you need to walk through the gardens overlooking the city! The view gives you an incredible lookout for miles!

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The second thing you need to do is go and see the David statue, which was created in 1873! One thing to note is that there’s the real, authentic David, and then there’s a mock David. Please make sure you go see the real one, and not the fake! You can find the beautiful marble statue in the Accademia Gallery. The replica is in the Piazza della Signoria.

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With an abundance of museums in Florence, your time there can get expensive! When we were deciding which museums to purchase tickets for, we both agreed that that Museo Galileo would be the most interesting. Taylor is all about science and navigation, so this was absolutely perfect! 🙂 Tickets were 10 euro each, and it took us about an hour to see everything. We had the best time looking at all the early maps and scientific inventions!

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That’s it for our time in Florence! Next stop, the beach!

Venice, Italy

Good Morning!

Today’s post is all about exploring the streets of Venice, Italy! If you missed the first 3 cities, click the links to catch up!

Part 1: Zurich

Part 2: Lugano

Part 3: Lake Como

After spending two nights on Lake Como, we boarded another train and headed to Venice. The train ride took two hours and once we arrived, we started searching for our Airbnb.

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Venice is EXACTLY like the pictures you see. There are no cars, only boats as a means of transportation. Venice is where you see all the famous gondola photos. There are cobblestone streets and a lot of bridges, so keep that in mind if you’re carrying luggage. This was a really rough & long walk for us, since we had to drag our suitcases up and down stairs, cobblestone streets, and weaving through a ton of tourists. It was worth it though, because our Airbnb was in the heart of Venice. (I’ll be writing specifically about all of our Airbnb’s in a separate post.)

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We chose not to do a gondola ride during our time in Venice. Although it’s the famous thing to do here, neither of us were just dying to do it. Incase you’re wondering, it’s 80euro ($92) to ride before 7pm and 100euro ($115) after! That is per boat, not per person. I’m assuming you’ll have to tip the man too, so bare that in mind. If it’s a dream of yours to ride the gondola, then I think it will be worth every penny for you. It looked like a lot of fun!

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Venice is like a maze. There are so many different streets and alleys that you never really know where you are! It’s super easy to get lost. However, each alley has something unique and charming about it!…. or a dead end

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The weather was beautiful the whole time we were visiting. However, with the sunlight reflecting off the water and an abundance of tourists around, it was HOT. I think this was the hottest city we visited during our trip. Even at the end of August, Venice was packed!

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We had a great time walking through the alleys and taking in the beauty of Venice! It actually feels unreal being there. If you visit, I’d highly suggest getting out of the tourist area and visiting the residential area. It was way less crowded and perfect if you’re looking to take photos without hundreds of people standing in the background.

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Although we didn’t take a long romantic gondola ride, we did ride a gondola across the river. This was so much easier than climbing all the bridges! It was also only 2euro per person. If you know Tay’s love for saving money you could have guessed we took the 2 euro ride.

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Before we left the city we grabbed some pasta to go for the train ride, It was wonderful and super cheap!

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Venice was seriously beautiful. If you’re planning a trip to Italy and not sure which cities to visit, add Venice to your list.

**I do have a few remarks about Venice that I need to put out there. First, there’s not much to do. There’s a few historical landmarks and of course the famous gondola ride, but other than that it’s a city for wandering. My second remark is for all the woman out there. This entire city is one big maze and a bunch of paths and alleys. With that being said, this is a place where it would be easy to find yourself in a sticky situation if you’re not paying attention or alone. I never felt uncomfortable or in danger while here, but I was also with a man and he knew what he was doing. I never see anything about this when it comes to Venice, but I think it’s worth mentioning! Think smart, pay attention, and always follow your gut!

My next post will be all about Florence! Stay tuned! 🙂

Lake Como, Italy

Another day, another great destination to write about!

If you missed the first two parts in our European Adventure click the links below to catch up!

Part 1: Zurich

Part 2: Lugano

 

Today is part 3, which is all about Lake Como, Italy! Taylor and I were already coming off a high from being in Lugano, Switzerland, and Lake Como did not disappoint! This is another place we’d really like to go back to one day. The lake is so massive, and there’s various towns surrounding it. We visited during a beautiful time because the weather was transitioning to fall, and the tourism was minimum.

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We bought full-day ferry tickets and really enjoyed it. We’d recommend this to anyone interested in visiting Lake Como, because it’s an easy way to see everything surrounding the lake! We hopped on the ferry in Como, and traveled 2 hours north to the town of Bellagio. It took a whopping 2 hours and we were only halfway up the lake! Isn’t that crazy?! We took pictures and shared a bottle of wine along the way.

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We saw so many beautiful hotels and homes! What an amazing place to live!

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Once we got off the ferry, we walked through all the narrow streets together. It was so neat to be in an old town that was built into the mountain.

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We decided to eat lunch in Bellagio, before heading to the next town. One of the biggest tips of advice I can give while traveling, is to try and find a restaurant that isn’t around a huge tourist attraction or where a lot of tourists are coming and going (aka a ferry dock). Not that these places are bad, but they’re usually tourist traps. I’d much rather spend money on a cozy mom and pop shop! It’s places like these where you have the best memories.

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We both ordered pasta and wine, and it was exactly what we were looking for!

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After Bellagio, we hopped on the ferry again and sailed to Varenna next! Since we already ate, we just walked around and shopped.

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After seeing everything we wanted to see, we loaded onto the ferry again and visited Menaggio. At this point we were pretty tired, and this was my least favorite town of the three. The views were pretty by the lake, but there wasn’t much going on elsewhere. It was very residential.

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We had to take the ferry 2 hours back to Como, so we were ready for dinner when we de-boarded the boat! We decided to eat at a local pizza place called Pomodorino and it was perfect. We were seated outside, and there were massive umbrellas and some walls to block the wind. We each ordered pizza because that was what they were known for, and we were very impressed!

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Before catching our train the next day, we got up early and bought tickets for the funicolare. It went straight up to the top of the mountain, where we had amazing views of Como below. It was only a few euros per person, and we had a great time. I’d recommend getting there early!

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Lake Como treated us well. Next stop, Venice!

 

Lugano, Switzerland

Good Morning!

I’m so excited about today’s post! This is the second part in our European adventure, so if you missed the first part you can read it HERE. I don’t know about y’all, but I had never heard of Lugano, Switzerland before this trip. Taylor found it on the map while we were planning our itinerary and told me that he really wanted to stop here. I was hesitant at first, but I’m so thankful that we made time for this incredible city. We took the train out of Zurich, and rode 2 hours through the Swiss Alps to get here.

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It was BEAUTIFUL. If you’re wanting to visit Switzerland and have some time to spare between the major cities, I’d highly recommend Lugano. In fact, I enjoyed it more than Zurich! There was so much charm and it was the perfect escape.

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There was so much to see and do here! You could hike, eat, walk around the streets, swim, ride a boat, etc. Taylor and I were talking about how we could see ourselves bringing our kids here one day because it seemed like the perfect place for a family vacation. If it wasn’t so far away, we’d own a vacation home here!

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Literally. This was the neatest little town in Switzerland.

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During our first afternoon in Lugano, we decided to swim in the lake! Swimming in this beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by the Swiss Alps was incredible. If you find yourself here during the summer, this is a must! We paid 4 Franc a piece and rented one chair for 5 Franc. Not bad for a fun and relaxing afternoon. (Side note: the water was surprisingly warm. I thought it would be cooler.)

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On our second day, we spent the morning walking around the water until we hopped on a bus to our next destination…. but the bus never came (more on this later).

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**I do want to quickly mention that Switzerland is a very, VERY expensive country. I’m not sure why, but you will pay a whole lot of money for accommodations and food here. Thankfully, Taylor and I weren’t too picky with our lodging arrangements. However, there’s really no way around paying for food. You will pay an absurd amount of money for food and drink in Switzerland. Just keep this in mind if you’re planning a trip.

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Like I said, We were supposed to take a bus from Lugano to Lake Como, but as we were waiting (in the pouring rain) we received a notification saying our bus would be 4 hours late!! We improvised by taking the train instead. 🙂

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Next stop, Lake Como!