My Top Ten Adventures of 2013!
2013 was a great year for traveling. Not only did I get to see some fantastic places in Korea, but I also enjoyed quite a few trips abroad. Here are the top 10 places, here and abroad, that I saw in 2013. What a year!
1. Fukuoka, Japan: We started off the year with a trip to Fukuoka, Japan in February. It seems as the end of winter nears we always start to get a little cabin fever, not that we live in a cabin, or that we completely hibernate all winter, but we just need to get away. I had been to Fukuoka before, as had my husband, but this time was different, it wasn’t a visa run for me or a busy concert schedule for him, it was just us and Fukuoka. We ate at the yatai stalls and had some delicious food, I’ll never forget the roe stuffed chicken. We visited temples, castle ruins and really just enjoyed some couple time away in a city with the cleanest streets around and some of the nicest people.
2. Bongwonsa Temple: Later in February, after we’d returned from Japan, I was out for a hike on a nearby mountain. It was too icy to hike up on my usual path, so I took a path around instead of up and came upon Bongwonsa Temple. I had no idea it was there. It is one of the most beautiful temples I’ve seen in Korea. The main hall is immense and so is the Buddha statue inside and after finding it in the winter and learning more about it, I was excited to return again for the Yeonsangjae Ritual performed there once a year. The temple was one of my favorite finds of the year… and I hadn’t even been looking for it.3. Sydney, Australia: Next up was my sister’s wedding, or should I say first wedding, ceremony in Sydney, Australia. Neither Jae-oo nor I had been there yet and as excited as we were, we were disappointed that it was the middle of the semester for me and we’d only be able to stay for a long weekend. Our first trip to Australia and it was to be for a weekend? It just didn’t seem right. Luckily, with the use of a night plane and my usual get up and go attitude, we got to see a lot of Sydney and the best part was welcoming a new member into our family.
4. Gangneung, Korea: Summer came and of course visions of beaches and waves crashing on the shores danced in my head. But where or where should I go? My friend and I headed to Gangneung, Korea, upon her suggestion, and found a spectacular beach there, some delicious salt water tofu and even a gramophone museum. What could be better?
5. Cheorwan DMZ, Korea: Later that summer the monsoon rains weren’t letting up, but that didn’t stop me from getting away once again. I’d never been to the DMZ and decided if I was going to go, I wanted to head to Cheorwan instead of the more common path most tourists take. It took us a couple hours to get there and the tour itself ended up being pretty long as well, but it was worth it. Driving through roadblocks in a taxi with a guide to show us the mine fields surrounding us, the buildings with bullet holes that were never rebuilt and the tunnels that the North Koreans tried to invade through was intense and amazing.
6. Krabi, Thailand: August came, and I was not ready for the summer to be on its way out just yet. Even though I’d been enjoying the sights in Korea, I was itching to go abroad again. I packed my bags and headed to Krabi, Thailand to visit a friend who calls the place home now. I hadn’t been to the south of Thailand yet and boy was I in love with the place by the time that I left. I was only there for a short two weeks, but what I did see of Krabi Town, Railay and Khao Sok National Park was breathtaking.7. Geoje-do: Back to Korea and come September the Korean Tourism Organization invited some of the Worldwide Korean Bloggers on a trip to Sancheong-gun and Geoje-do. It was my first press tour and I was stoked because I’d never been to either place. We were treated to some of the best foods in the area and got to see the sights in a small group of press and diplomats. The sights included some beautiful flower covered mountains, karsts jutting up from the sea and Oedo Island.
8. Dayton, Ohio: In October, my sister was celebrating her second wedding ceremony, this time in my hometown in Ohio. Though it was not some place new for me, I love getting to see my whole family, all 70 or so of us, together and for a party no less. Dancing, drinks, lots of delicious food and merriment abounded for the week that we were there.
9. Cheongsong, Korea: November came with another invite from the Korean Tourism Organization. This time they were taking interested parties to Cheongsong for the Apple Festival and some beautiful fall foliage views. It just so happened I had already planned to head down to the Apple Festival and was excited to hop onto the KTO train for another trip where I’d see beautiful views, partake in fun activities and not have to worry about any of the transportation.
10. Busan, Korea: I wrapped up the year with some friends visiting from the States. I was out and about for 12 days straight. We visited places around Seoul, ate lots of food and also took a trip down to Busan to see Taejongdae. We had some wonderful weather down there and that wrapped my year of traveling and sights.