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Travel-Stained Monthly Recap: May 2016

We started this month in spring, and ended it in summer. The last week hasn’t been very pleasant, with super polluted air and public health warnings, but overall I’d say this is one of the best springs I’ve ever experienced in Seoul. The dreaded hwangsa, or yellow dust, only covered the sky for a few days this month, and most of the time, it was clear, blue skies and bright, warm sunshine.

We took full advantage of the better than normal weather by spending as much time outside as possible. Sunset strolls by the Han River, coffees on patios and walks around the city took up much of our May.

Now though, temperatures are already climbing into the 30s and the humidity is on the rise. It’s just a matter of time before the monsoon rains and insane heat appear. Ugh. I have to say, summer is definitely not my favourite time of the year in Korea. Fortunately, we won’t have to suffer through it at all this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

More on that later…

EXPAT LIFE
Does life ever slow down? It sure doesn’t feel like it.

We had another super-busy month, with my parents rolling into town for a visit. My dad wasn’t here under very happy circumstances (getting treatment for slipped discs and chronic back pain), but my mom had a blast reconnecting with her newest granddaughter.

 
One big advantage of having grandma in town is free babysitting, and at her urging, hubby and I spent a night out at the Seoul Arts Centre, watching Riccardo Muti, of La Scala fame, conducting the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra playing symphonies by Schubert and Tchaikovsky. And despite Agri calling intermission, “halftime,” he was actually the one who knew who Riccardo Muti was, not me.

 
Muti was super-entertaining, so very Italian in his conducting, and a pleasure to watch. We followed the first real “date night,” we’ve had in awhile with chi-mek, a Korean institution (fried chicken and beer), of course. :p

This month, we also had a chance to meet up with bloggers Cheryl and Basil from Two Brown Feet, one of the blogs we follow. We started out meeting for brunch, but that quickly turned into an all-day affair, with a stroll around Garosugil, relaxing next to the Han River, and indulging in some Korean barbecue together.

Isn’t it wonderful when you meet complete “strangers,” and you feel like you’ve already known each other forever? ๐Ÿ™‚

RECOMMENDED POST
In celebration of our upcoming summer plans, and the meal I’ve wanted to eat for the last 4 years, the post I’m recommending is 7 Memorable Dining Experiences From Around the World. You can guess which dish I’ll be eating the moment I land. ๐Ÿ™‚

The post was written way back in 2013, just as we were heading to India near the end of our year-long RTW journey, and had the honour of being selected as the Wanderlust Travel Magazine Blog of the Week.

INSTAGRAM
In May, though most of our IG consisted of pics of our road trip around the southern part of the peninsula, as well as expat life in Seoul, the most popular photo was from Canada.

And I didn’t even take it.

It’s a pic my mom took of Lake Louise at half-melt. The colour of the water is unbelievable under normal circumstances (the sight of it caused Agri to propose to me immediately – haha), but this is truly nature at it’s absolute best.

 
COMING UP IN JUNE
In just 4 short days, we’ll be hopping on a plane bound for Roma, one of my most favourite cities on earth. It’s the first long-haul flight we’ll be taking with our suddenly super-active, unable to sit still, hands in everything, 8 month old, and it promises to be a doozy.

I’m praying and hoping that all the fabulous reviews I’ve read about traveling Korean Air with a baby turn out to be true, otherwise, it’s going to be a very long 11 hours. Whatever the case, you’ll be sure to read all about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

There’ll be lots of quality time with Nonna Vjollca, introducing Naia to her European family, revisiting favourite cities, eating gelato and hopefully exploring some new parts of a continent I have dearly missed.

Our “plans,” include a possible road trip around France to visit friends, beach time on a Greek island, and a big fat Albanian wedding, but our itinerary is, as yet, still mostly up in the air. Whatever we end up doing though, it’s sure to be a summer to remember…

What are your favourite places to visit in Europe? Any suggestions for where to go, what to see and what to do? Give us your tips in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sounds like you did a lot in Korea this May. I love how you say it – your parents rolling into town. It is like they brought their entourage along! ๐Ÿ˜€ Such a wonderful sunset you captured there, and good to hear you were able to go for a night out to see the orchestra. I do like to see the orchestra every now and then, and my favourite piece I’ve seen so far is Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

    Wonderful that you got to catch up with Cheryl and Basil. From their blog, they sound like very friendly people and I am sure all of you had a great time out together ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope you have a good time in Roma. I’ve never been to Europe, but hopefully one day. If you enjoy the company and stay safe, that will always make the trip memorable ๐Ÿ™‚

    June 4, 2016
    • We really enjoyed our night out at the orchestra, and definitely plan to go more often now. It was nice, cuz it felt like a real “date night,” – something that is sorely needed once you have kids! It’s always fun to meet the actual people behind the blogs that you read all the time, and even better when you get along great! We’re in Rome now, and so far it’s been food, food, food. I’m sure to gain some kilos while here.. :p

      June 11, 2016
  2. I think I would be not able to live for a long time in a city in China or its neighboring countries due to the often bad air there.
    This summer we have a few city trips planned here in Germany and in the end of July we will fly to Finland for two weeks to spend some time at my parents cottage and reconnect with some friends in Helsinki.
    Would have loved to go to some sunny place again, preferably in Greece but with our business we can’t stay away for too long/ need constant internet connection to be available for the customers

    June 4, 2016
    • We’ve been in Rome now for the last 5 days, and I can’t believe how clear and beautiful the air is. I think I’ve forgotten what clean air actually looks like after living in Asia for so long. Sigh. Your summer plans sound fantastic. We’re still a bit unplanned at the moment…kinda going day by day, but I’d love to get to a Greek island myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

      June 14, 2016
      • Everytime when I come back from a China holiday it feels so weird to be able to see so much into the distance and breath without problems ๐Ÿ™‚

        June 14, 2016
  3. I look forward to reading all about your summer in Europe, even as I come through your city in August …. SUCH a bummer on that timing! (By the way, I have lots of stuff booked now, thanks to your informative advice!)

    Have you guys been to Ljubljana? It is one of my favorite cities, and you’ll be fairly close to Slovenia. Just a thought since you have no firm plans … meanwhile, best of luck with Naia on the plane; I just know she’ll be good!

    June 5, 2016
    • Total bummer! but perhaps there will be another chance, somewhere, someday. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you have a wonderful time in Seoul, and feel free to message me again anytime, if you have more questions.

      I’ve never been to Slovenia, but a lot of bloggers talk about Ljubljana. I’d love to get somewhere we haven’t been before, but we’ll have to squeeze it in, in between all of Agri’s family commitments. And yes, Naia was amazing on the plane – lol, it was just afterwards in the hotel room where she had a meltdown for 30 minutes. Poor baby, she was so tired…but now she’s doing great. Got over jetlag in no time at all. As for her parents… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      June 14, 2016

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