“Remember that time when we had websites?” Josh joked a few minutes ago.
So here we are in Savannah, Georgia, taking a break from everything else for a few hours to sit at our laptops so we can each write a post. And since we’re already two weeks into October, I figured my update from last month is long overdue.
And what a month it was! Perhaps after seeing what I got up to all month, you’ll forgive me for not finding time to publish any posts during my travels!
Josh and I spent the first day of September saying goodbye to everything and everyone that we had gotten to know during our year in Indonesia.
The very next day, we woke up early and boarded a plane to Hong Kong. The Grand Adventure Home was beginning! Our flight was uneventful, and we eagerly arrived that night in the bustling neighborhood of Mong Kok, where the neon lights made it feel like it was daytime as we walked through the streets to our apartment.
Hong Kong and Macau
I have plenty of posts coming up eventually about why Hong Kong is the best place in the world. Josh and I were stunned at how amazing our time there was. We marveled at the clear city skyline view from the harbor, reveled in the nature and history of the islands, enjoyed such Buddhist delights as vegetarian lunch buffets and beautiful temples, and so much more.
Our adventures in Hong Kong included pirates, pink dolphins, and then a whole lot of Mickey Mouse as we finished off our trip with several days in Disney Land.
Macau was just as wonderful. Though Josh and I don’t gamble, we enjoyed soaking up the luxury of the casinos, especially at the Venetian. Having been to the Venetian in Las Vegas, I knew what to expect, but that didn’t make it any less magical wandering along the Grand Canal shops. I love anything that sticks to a theme!
Aside from the casinos, there was plenty of great history in Macau that Josh and I dug into for as long as we could stand the heat. The culture left behind from Portuguese colonization was unexpected but interesting.
Feeling that our time in Hong Kong was far too short, Josh and I boarded the plane for London. Late at night, after a full day of travel, we made it to our hostel, where my friend Molly was waiting for us. She and I spent the next day giving Josh a taster tour of the city, since it was his first time. We enjoyed sunrise from Hyde Park, sipped tea as we walked along Portobello Road Market, and walked through Kensington Palace Gardens on our way to the Museum Quarter. We had a quick picnic before exploring the V&A, Natural History, and Science Museums.
Waving goodbye to London for now, we all hopped on a bus to Birmingham, and Molly took us to her house. Josh and I spent the next several days recovering from jet lag. We had just enough time to catch up with Molly and see a few of my favorite sights from when I lived in Birmingham before we were back on the bus to London.
This time, I had a blast showing Josh all of the other sites we’d missed the first day. The late summer weather was spectacular as we traipsed around the city for several days, trying to take it all in. We got into the tourist spirit as we took photos in phone boxes, skipped along the Thames to admire Parliament and Big Ben from every possible angle, and dined on vegan “fish” and chips.
As for our favorite activity in London, we discovered a little place called Holland Park. The ecological center at this park organized a “bat walk,” which involved a journey through the park at dusk with bat detectors and a bat expert. (A few days prior, he had been dealing with bats in the attic of Buckingham Palace!) For anybody who’s new here, I love bats. This event was amazing, and we enjoyed the park so much that we went back the next morning so we could spend more time there!
Next up was a bus to Wales so we could stop in Cardiff. Having only spent about a day there before, I let Josh be my guide, as it had been his second home for a year. We toured Cardiff Castle, walked along Cardiff Bay, met up with one of his close friends for an afternoon, and watched silly British TV in our hotel room when we were too wimpy to go out in the blustery weather.
Finally, it was back to Birmingham for two more days. Feeling less jet-lagged this time, we saw more of the city, from the Bullring Mall and Markets to the observatory deck of the newly-built library.
With just less than 24 hours to spend in Reykjavik, conditions weren’t ideal for in-depth exploration. Nonetheless, Josh and I enjoyed the chilly weather, an evening walk along the bay, a walk through the town to see the big iconic church, and the scenic bus ride through the exotic countryside.
No trip is without its flaws, and we finally hit a bump in the road after touching down in the US. With a 24-hour layover in DC, we were supposed to have just enough time for a little sightseeing and lunch at my favorite restaurant.
Unfortunately, there was nowhere at or near the airport to store our luggage and by this point in our journey, we had accumulated so much stuff that there was no way we’d be able to lug our oversized bags on buses into the city. After being turned down at a nearby hotel that internet forums had assured us would store our bags, we had no choice but to drag ourselves and our suitcases back to the airport and spend the night there.
After a day at Dulles Airport, we finally arrived in Cincinnati. We had a day to spend with friends and to enjoy Cincinnati from as many angles as possible. Then a day further north in beautiful, autumnal rural Ohio at my dad’s house. Finally, Josh and I ended September at my grandparents lake house, which has always been my favorite place to relax.
We didn’t have much time before our next adventure began, but more on that in the next monthly update!