Well, I didn’t intend to take a mini blogging break, but I guess I got swept up in the romance of summer in Europe. Instead of words and editing photos, my thoughts are of ice cream cones and cobbestone streets and outdoor cafes. I’m finding it hard to focus on blogging tasks when the weather is so beautiful and the town looks like a fairytale and there’s so much ice cream to be had. Whereas Asia made me want to stay indoors in the AC and create, Europe makes me want to explore and indulge in a carefree summer.
I may be getting ahead of myself! In case you haven’t been following on Facebook or Instagram, we arrived in Europe a little over a week ago! But let’s rewind back to the beginning of the month. And what a hell of a month it has been! June has shaped up to be one of the most active months we’ve had in quite a while. This is going to be a long one!
June 1 – 12: Shanghai, China
We started off June in Shanghai, where we continued our one-month stay. Shanghai has been one of my favorite cities ever.
I think if Asia is a completely new territory to you, then Shanghai is a great starting point. It’s one of the most international cities I’ve ever been to, and yet still retains the distinctive Asian feel in many areas. Almost anything is possible in Shanghai. There are super trendy and expensive dining options for a glamorous outing, but also dirt cheap hole-in-the-wall eateries where a meal will only set you back a couple of bucks. There’s truly something for everyone.
Exploring-wise, we didn’t do too much, but finally on our last weekend in the city, we took a trip to Wuhu, where my dad’s side of the family lives. Originally, we thought that we may stay for one night, just long enough to greet the family, but we ended up staying for three. I have already written about most of our Wuhu trip (including the best xiaolongbao I’ve ever had!), but I have yet to share the most memorable activity (and the reason for extending our stay). If you’re following me on Instagram, I already gave a sneak-peek!
I received the professional pictures about a week ago, and I cannot wait to share them on this blog!
June 12 – 14: Shantou + Chaozhou, China
We made a quick 2 night stop in Shantou, a tiny city in Southern China, for the sole purpose of meeting D’s overseas contractors. This little side trip cost us quite a bit extra (as the flights in & out of it weren’t cheap), but we both felt that visiting them was the right thing to do. We weren’t too sure what to expect out of the weekend. We thought we’d just get in, have a meal together, and get out. Instead, we experienced a weekend of good sightseeing, good local food, and even better company.
If anything, these 2 months of traveling in China has taught me how absolutely amazing Chinese hospitality is. We were blown away by their generosity. Not only did they treat us to both lunch and dinner, they escorted us around Chaozhou (and it was incredibly hot + humid that day, I might add!) so that we could see the historical sites. It makes my heart swell with joy to remember.
And with that, we ended our 2 months in mainland China. Next up:
June 14 – 23: Hong Kong
On our way to Thailand back in October, we had a long layover in Hong Kong and we took the opportunity to explore the city for a few hours. I must admit that I didn’t really like Hong Kong then. I was a Southeast Asia virgin at that point and Hong Kong seemed chaotic and dirty (and the huge cockroaches freaked me out).
This time, with several months of travel through Asia under my belt, I was able to see Hong Kong through new, more experienced eyes. At first, I didn’t love it still, but with every passing day, the city grew on me more and more. And by the end, I had fallen in love with the chaos.
I think there’s not another place quite like Hong Kong. My first impression of the city was that everyone lives on top of each other. City blocks are just crammed full with residential skyscrapers, each one with hundreds of units stacked together like Lego blocks. And indeed, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world!
So, one of the biggest reasons for coming here is definitely food related (what else is new?). While I’m not too crazy about it, D is a huge fan of Cantonese cuisine and was set on converting me into a lover.
Did I like it? I love the roast meats and noodles (and the milk tea!), but I found myself desperately missing the punchy flavors of mainland Chinese cuisine. :P
After Hong Kong, we finally said goodbye to Asia after a long eight months here and flew to…
June 23 – 30: Warsaw, Poland
Back in September, I wrote a post 5 Destinations to Revisit, and I listed Warsaw as one of them. I never imagined that I would actually get to revisit one of them so soon!
Of course when we decided to spend the summer in Europe, we had to put Warsaw on the itinerary to see D’s Polish side of the family. And it also helps that we get to stay in a large beautiful restored mansion when we visit! We stayed here for a week, slowly recovering from jetlag, spending time with his family, playing with dogs, and enjoying home cooked meals. Not gonna lie… it was hard to leave.
But it’s okay because next, we were going to Wroclaw, one of my favorite cities in the world!
What’s going on in July
I’m absolutely delighted to be back here in Wroclaw. We’ve already eaten at Pierogarnia a few times, but this time, we’re making a point to try different restaurants. :)
Next, we’re making a quick 2-night stop in Krakow before flying to Lyon, France, where we will settle down for the next four weeks. I’m so excited to visit the gastronomical capital of France!
Doing this re-cap is only serving to remind me how behind I am with blogging. There’s SO much I want to share. I really hate when too much time has passed between the event and the post. (Ideally, I’d love to be able to post everyday, but I know that will never happen). Well, I hear that the temperature is dreadfully hot in Lyon (into the 100F’s!), so perhaps I will be spending more time indoors, and soon it will be back to regular posts. :)
How was your June? What are your plans for July?
Oh! And if you’re in the U.S., Happy 4th of July!