Built over 1,000 years ago, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is perhaps the most famous, historical area of the city. It certainly seems to attract the most tourists, particularly around Hoan Kiem lake, where you can catch Hanoian’s exercising every morning and evening. We live just a 15 minute walk away from the Old Quarter and go there often, mainly to eat in our favourite cafes or pick up some groceries from one of the delicious French-style bakeries.
When planning our Vietnam itinerary we never thought of stopping off at a beachy place. Vietnam and beaches never really seemed to go together in our minds but it turns out the country has it all: over 3,000 Kilometres of coastline, highlands with mountains that saw snow this last winter, beautiful countryside and scorching, bustling cities. So, we left Hoi An on a Vietnamese 'VIP' sleeper bus to explore the beaches of Mũi Né.
One of the best ways to catch a glimpse of life in Asia is to take a ride in a tuk tuk. As your driver speeds dangerously and weaves through stationary traffic you’ll experience the true sights, sounds and smells of Asia. It’s likely that you’ll be assaulted with the smell of exhaust fumes, rubbish rotting in the sun, meat cooking on open fires, incense and fruits from market stalls; your ears will be filled with the sounds of beeping horns, the calls of market sellers, the thrum of music from nearby shops, monks chanting, the crowing of roosters and the barks of stray dogs.
We've been challenged by fellow travel blogger Heidi from Wagoners Abroad to take part in this year's Capture the Colour competition. The task is to choose our travel photos which best capture the colours red, blue, green, yellow and white. We've taken over 7,000 pictures during the last six months on the road so Andrew and I ended up arguing quite a bit over which ones to choose - after much deliberation though, here are the shots we went for.
We’ve seen some spectacular beauty so far on our travels; in New Zealand we encountered towering volcanoes and sparkling emerald pools on the Tongariro Crossing; vast shimmering lakes surrounded by cloud-capped mountains in Queenstown and patchwork fields studded by lush rolling hills in Golden Bay. In Indonesia we were again awed by huge fiery volcanoes when we visited Mount Batur and Bromo and hit paradise when we washed up on the golden beaches of the Gili Islands. None of these sights, however, prepared us for the extreme beauty we discovered when we travelled through the Ifugao and Mountain provinces of the Philippines.
Since we’ve been on the road we’ve taken thousands of photos and hours of video footage in an effort to capture forever our amazing journey. One of the ways we like to store and share our travel images is through Pinterest, so we were pretty excited when they asked us to join the Pin it Forward UK campagin and spread the word about how Pinterest works.
One of the most incredible things about Australia is without a doubt its animals. From iconic kangaroos to cute koalas, spiky echidnas and colourful birds, meeting these Aussie beasts was one of the highlights of our time down-under - here are some of our best pictures of Australian animals.
Everyone tells you not to plan too far in advance when you travel. Of course, when planning our trip we completely ignored this advice and scheduled our New Zealand itinerary in precise detail before we left London. It’s only now that we’re actually on the road that we realise how important it is to be flexible; as I type this we’re sat in Taupo, which has the hugest lake in Australasia, plenty of cute bars and cafes and a relaxed atmosphere – as soon as we arrived on a random afternoon trip we loved it and wanted to stay. Luckily we were able to check out of our extremely average hostel in smelly Rotorua and head back here, despite our rigid itinerary.
I grew-up in Wales, my parents still live in the same house and when I speak to my siblings we always refer to it as ‘home’; even though we haven’t permanently lived there for years. Whenever I think of Wales or go back there it invokes happy childhood memories of having no responsibilities and playing football until dusk. All that changed when I moved to Bristol for University and then on to London to become a teacher. Although I haven’t lived in Wales since, I will always think of it as my childhood home and would recommend visiting.