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Travel-Stained Monthly Recap: June 2016

After spoiling ourselves with a year long trip around the world in 2012, we slowed down our travel pace big-time. Long-term travel is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself, but it’s also incredibly exhausting. And we needed some time to recover, relax, be still, and get our wanderlust properly revved up again.

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Now 4 years have passed, and we’re finally ready to tackle another longer length adventure – this time with our newest little world wanderer in tow. Back in 2012, a carry-on backpack was enough to see me through 365 days of travel and 25 countries, but that sure isn’t the case now.

Oh my, but how things have changed. We now have to worry about carting around strollers and car seats, where the heck we’ll change her, what she’ll eat, and how late we’ll get into a city. All things that never entered my consciousness pre-baby.

Traveling with an 8 month old isn’t always easy, but so far, she’s doing amazingly well. Maybe even better than her parents. πŸ™‚

EXPAT LIFE
We only spent the first week of the month in Seoul and much of that week was used to madly prepare for our European summer. At this point, Korea and expat life there feels like a distant dream. However, there’s one thing that never fails to remind me of Korea.

The public washrooms in Italy don't look like this

The public washrooms in Italy don’t look like this

Every time I have to walk into a public restroom in Europe, and have that feeling of dread about what I’ll find around the corner (will it have toilet paper? a toilet seat? will it be filthy? will I have to pay? etc…etc…), I’m reminded of Seoul and it’s amazing public washrooms. Always clean, always fully stocked and always a pleasure to visit.

Is this TMI? Yeah. Probably… πŸ™‚

TRAVEL
We had a huge travel month, first landing in Rome, then visiting Strasbourg and Lyon in France, before sneaking in a few days in Cinque Terre, and circling back to Rome, where we currently are.

We ended up in Strasbourg because a friend of ours from Seoul lives there, and when you’re traveling long-term, free places to stay are always welcomed. And though Strasbourg was never on my travel radar, it’s safe to say that I kinda fell in love with the city and the whole region of Alsace in general.

I definitely could’ve spent a significant amount of time exploring the magnificent nature and adorable mountain villages of the area, not to mention eaten more of its delicious food, but the gastronomic city of Lyon beckoned.

Lyon is a city I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I saw an Anthony Bourdain episode of No Reservations about it, so it was incredible to finally have the opportunity to visit. And to eat! And that’s pretty much all we did for 5 days. Was it worth it? Um…yeah. I’m still drooling over the escargot I had at a bouchon in Vieux-Lyon.

After Lyon, we had 3 days to play with before we had to be back in Rome, so after going over all the possibilities, we finally settled on Cinque Terre. It took a staggering 12 hours and 5 separate trains to get there from Lyon, but it was so worth it. Though super-touristy, the Cinque Terre is just as heartbreakingly beautiful as you imagine it’ll be.

As for our traveling baby? While I was definitely wilting by the end of that insane travel day, she handled the whole thing like a champ. Maybe, just maybe, she likes being on the move?

We’ve still got a lot of travel ahead of us, but I’m hoping to get some posts written up about our experiences in Italy and France before the summer is up! Stay tuned.

RECOMMENDED POST
Are there certain things you usually pack when you travel? I sure do. My pac-safe purse, dental floss and a pair of slippers are just a few of the things that can usually be found in my suitcase, but probably the 1 thing I absolutely won’t leave home without is my toothbrush bear.

And even though this post is going on 5 years now, would you believe I still have the same, old trusty toothbrush bear. He has served me well indeed.

Is there anything you absolutely MUST have with you when you travel?

INSTAGRAM
When we’re on the road, I definitely update more regularly on IG than on any other medium. I’m currently posting pics from Strasbourg, but Lyon and Cinque Terre are coming up soon.

The most popular pic from Rome, was not of the Trevi Fountain, Trastevere or the Pantheon. No, it was of the surprisingly excellent Chinese food we ate there. Go figure.

 
And the runner-up…something a wee bit more “Roman”:

Roman rooftops 🌼❀️ #Rome #travel

A post shared by Shelley and Naia (@travelstained) on

 
The most popular pic from Strasbourg was from a little road trip we took to the mountains an hour’s drive from the city. This view was just one of the many reasons why I fell madly in love with Alsace.

Sure I'll accept this for my backyard 😍 #travel #france #VisitAlsace

A post shared by Shelley and Naia (@travelstained) on

 
And the delicious runner-up:

 
We’ll be continuing to post regularly on IG all summer long, so feel free to join us there.

COMING UP IN JULY
We’ll be continuing our travels in July by heading back to Albania – a country that is still relatively untouched by tourism (except for Italians on a beach break lol), but one that we’ve visited several times. We’ll be attending a big, fat Albanian wedding, introducing Naia to more of her European family, and maybe even taking a little side trip to destinations unknown.

You just never know… πŸ˜€

Do you have any big summer plans? What did you get up to in June?

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16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Haha the part about the public toilets reminds me just on what I fear each time in China: Will be there doors? Will be there actual dividing walls? Will it be just some holes in the ground with everybody just looking at each other while doing their business? And so on…it is a real nightmare in China

    July 6, 2016
    • India may be the only country I’ve visited that’s worst than China! There, you have to worry about a bunch of indian men peering over the stalls trying to take a peek. 😦 When I was traveling in China in 2008, there was an awful story going around about this blonde traveler who’d fallen into one of the holes in the ground in one of the villages while on a long-distance bus. The thought is enough to give you nightmares, isn’t it?

      July 7, 2016
      • The Indian toilet…So basically a Chinese toilet but with pervert factor? Doesn’t sound like a place to be for a woman :/

        July 7, 2016
        • Lol..caution is def required there, and some areas are worse than others. I felt more on guard in the north, but have traveled through the south with a female friend and felt very safe there…especially in Kerala region.

          July 8, 2016
  2. How wonderful that you manage to do so much travelling with such a young child! Cinque Terre is, as you say, heartstoppingly beautiful. I hope I can go there again before too long. πŸ™‚ Love that toothbrush bear. So cute. πŸ™‚

    July 6, 2016
    • She really makes it easy! Such a happy, relaxed baby…I think sometimes she handles all the traveling better than I do. πŸ™‚ I really could’ve used at least 2 or 3 more days in Cinque Terre, but I’m just happy we got to experience it at all. We really had to sneak it into our trip!

      July 7, 2016
  3. Sounds like a perfectly amazing month. I was wondering why you were in Strasbourg actually … but it does look pretty great! Go Naia Go – best traveling baby ever! πŸ™‚

    July 6, 2016
    • Strasbourg was such an unexpected pleasure! I felt a peace and calmness there that I haven’t felt in awhile. I was really sad to leave, and could’ve spent a whole month just hanging out there and exploring the rest of Alsace.

      July 7, 2016
  4. The baby looks so relaxed in all of the photos! Maybe she has caught the travel bug from the two of you πŸ˜‰ Love the water break photo. Both her and your hubby look like they are having so much fun!

    Haha, here in Australia toilets are relatively clean and dry but sometimes you do get the odd toilet that has no toilet paper and there is no hand sanitiser.

    Your toothbrush bear is so cute and is still looking good after five years! I can’t travel without one of my stuffed monkeys. I have a lot of them so when it comes to visiting a new place I have the agony of deciding which one to bring along. Usually it will be the one that can fit into my handbag. I know, a stuffed toy can be impractical on a trip but it will always, always be there to keep me company πŸ˜€

    July 6, 2016
    • Haha, in Italy I feel happy if there’s actually a toilet seat attached. For some reason, they are removed in a lot of places. Even in the woman’s washrooms…I’ve never quite understood why. I actually know a lot of people that travel with some kind of stuffed toy or “mascot,” and take pics of it wherever they are. It always reminds me of that scene from “Amelie,” where she has the garden gnome send postcards to her father from all over the world. So funny!

      July 7, 2016
  5. marriedwithmaps #

    Enjoyed reading your monthly recap! We are interested in the experiences of those traveling with babies/small children because that is hopefully in our future as well. We also miss Korea. So clean. So modern. We’d like to make it to Italy but the country’s a little expensive for us right now. And in response to what we did in June, here is a link to our own monthly recap: https://marriedwithmaps.com/2016/07/03/monthly-roundup-16-june-2016/

    July 7, 2016
    • We’ve been so lucky with our little one. Every baby is different I think, and we push her pretty hard, but so far, she’s been taking everything in stride. 5 train rides in a day once, and she was still smiling by the end. πŸ™‚

      Ohhh, Italy doesn’t have to be expensive at all. If you book early enough, there’s a ton of airbnb’s available at affordable prices, even in places like Rome. Eating can also be super affordable and fast food here is good and healthy. Amazing pizza and delicious sandwiches. Even a delicious plate of pasta can be had for under 8 euro in a lot of places. And so many things are free to see – the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, all the squares in Rome etc… and so worth your travel dollars. πŸ˜€

      July 8, 2016
      • marriedwithmaps #

        That is great. Hopefully it works out similarly for us. You can’t really do much to influence it, though!
        And that is also nice to hear! I guess we just need to start looking more in advance!

        July 8, 2016
  6. I’m very jealous! Looks like you’re having a great time, and the baby, too.
    I just chickened out of a long haul trip with my two little ones, hats off to you for making it work.

    July 12, 2016
    • We were nervous about the long-haul, but it wasn’t too bad and it’s definitely been worth the flight! How old are your little ones? I would definitely be hesitant about doing a trip like that with TWO of them. I mean, they could totally gang up on you… :p

      July 14, 2016
  7. They are just 3 and 11 months. They are a LOT of work so no downtime for anyone! Hope your trip continues well πŸ™‚

    July 15, 2016

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