A Travellerspoint blog

April 2017

The hills are alive with the sound of music!


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If you haven't guessed the next city we visited based on this entry title.. we probably can't be friends. The Sound of Music was a favourite of mine growing up. So a visit to Salzburg was... pretty amazing!
The hotel we stayed in was a quaint place in the countryside..
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Clearly happy about these views!!
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And clearly happy about the Wiener schnitzel.. (well for me.. veggie dumplings for that veggie sister of mine) ..

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We saw most of the sights through a Sound of Music bike tour..

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Through the city streets..

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Up to great viewpoints from Maria's abbey..

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To various film set locations..

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Through the countryside..

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Smiling all the way..

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We also enjoyed some more time wandering through the beautiful springtime flowers..

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And loving the city views..

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Not a day went by that some song from the musical wasn't stuck it my head! It was glorious.

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Posted by elliehirch 04:30 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Stopover in Strasbourg


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A quick train ride away from Paris and we stopped for a couple days in the dreamy town of Strasbourg. Enjoyed a lot of time wandering between adorable, colorful houses..

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River views not to be missed..

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Special favourite was our afternoon napping spot...

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The trussed roofs and streets of Petite France were absolutely adorable...

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Last activity was a visit to the huge gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg..

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Beautiful inside and out and home to a huge astronomical clock..

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Despite Maddie's protests for climbing anything more after the Montmartre steps and Arc de Triomphe in Paris, I managed to convince her to tackle the 300+ steps to these beautiful views..

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Another busy couple days, still managing smiles by the end!
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Posted by elliehirch 03:31 Archived in France Comments (1)

Paris in the Spring


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My 8 month adventure can definitely be called a round the world trip. Landing in Paris was the fourth and final continent of my journey. I met Maddie for her first trip outside of North America to tour around the city of love. We had a jam packed three days because I wanted to make sure I could show her all the highlights!
From Notre Dame,

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To the locks of love,

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Views on the Seine,

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The Louvre,

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And Basilica Sacre Coer,

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To the Moulin Rouge,

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Views from the Arc de Triomphe,

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And of course... the Eiffel!!

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My favourite thing about being back in Paris this time was the season. Spring looks good on this city!

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We took a bus tour,

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We wandered the streets,

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And we even managed to see the Tower sparkle every night. Without a doubt it was Maddie's favourite thing. Making it totally worth it for me to visit the city a second time to share in all her excitement.

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A highlight for me was a visit to L'Orangerie, my favourite gallery of impressionist art and Monet's water lilies..

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We also spent a day at the Chateau Versailles..

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Seeing the palace for the second time I was no less impressed with the grandeur and I enjoyed a second opportunity to marvel at the extravagance in the details..

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We finished the trip off with a walk and picnic in the gardens.. not a bad lunch spot!!

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While I can't say I had ever planned to make a second trip to the capital of France, it started our sister trip off right! Busy, beautiful and...... fun. (I couldn't come up with another 'b' word to complete the alliteration :) )

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Posted by elliehirch 13:03 Archived in France Comments (1)

Thai #2


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So... I returned to Thailand for round 2 starting in Chiang Mai. After the unexpected difficulties encountered in Laos, I decided to console myself by starting with my #1 anticipated activity in Asia... Elephant sanctuary!! OMG. AMAZING. My love for elephants was uncontainable. I hugged them. I fed them. I bathed them. I tried not to cry the whole time. Magical.

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Seeing how happy the elephants were out in nature, being fed and cared for made my heart feel so big.

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This little guy above, Dumbo, kept reaching in my bag before I could even pull out a banana! He was literally the cutest animal I've ever met. I wish he would fit in my suitcase back to Canada.
Getting a couple hugs definitely made my day..

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And the mud bath and subsequent river shower were probably the most fun I've ever had with animals..

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Ok, just a couple more of these beautiful creatures..

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After eating so much in Vietnam and learning about their cuisine, I figured it would basically be a crime not to do the same in Thailand. Spent the day in an outdoor kitchen in the cutest garden..

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So if anyone wants some Thai curry when I get home... hit me up!

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Also.. couldn't forget to visit one more Buddhist temple..

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My next city was the small, hippy, chill town of Pai. I loved my time there.
Took in a beautiful sunset at the canyon (not quite a 'grand canyon' but it'll do)..

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The White Buddha..

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And a great viewpoint..

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All accessed by scooter. My new favourite form of transportation.. look how happy I am!..

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Aaaaand now.. the last spot in Thailand and Asia!!! Chiang Rai.
First the interesting design and detail of the White Temple (Wat Rhong Khun)..

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And buildings and art of the Black House (Baan Dam) ...

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The beauty of the Choui Fong tea fields...

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Green tea everything!!

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And the colours of the Maeh Fah Luang garden.

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Orchids to die for!

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Not a bad bit of sightseeing to finish off the Southeast Asia exploration. The relaxing and beautiful days were just what the doctor ordered.
So, I left Thailand and Asia with a happy heart, still dreaming of elephant kisses but ready for the final chapter.. 3 weeks in Europe with my favourite sister.

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Posted by elliehirch 13:52 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Laos


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So, Laos. I wish I had a long, exciting, redemptive blog post about Laos. I wish I could write about the beautiful places and fun adventures. But set backs appear to be a part of my time in Southeast Asia. I intended to visit Luang Prabang and then head off for a bucket list adventure.. three days ziplining, hiking and sleeping in a treehouse on a tour called the Gibbon Experience. Until I arrived in Luang Prabang to find an email saying that all tours had been cancelled for the next week due to an accident. This was hard to take. I'd actually rearranged so many plans just to make it in time for the tour I had booked. First, I had a minor pity party with others whose tours had been cancelled. Then I counted myself lucky when I heard the tours were cancelled due to a death, not just an accident. I spent my time exploring Luang Prabang before heading to northern Thailand early. So here's my short tale of what I did in Laos...
First, exploring the Kuang Si waterfalls...

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Enjoying a hike up to a great view..

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The amazing pools..

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And a swim in the beautiful blue water...

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Then a bike ride all around the city. Enjoying views of the Mekong..

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A visit to the temple at the Royal palace..

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Climbing the stairs at Phou Si Mountain for a great view ..

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And a stop at the UXO visitors center for some quick learning about the cluster bombs dropped on Laos during the Vietnam war. Once again realizing how much I can learn about the countries I visit. I found the bombs and flower display outside particularly striking...

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So there you have it. Laos seems like an incredibly interesting, quiet, friendly country. I am sad that my experience was tainted. But I'm also happy to be able to spend extra days exploring the north of Thailand. Getting good at finding those silver linings!!

Posted by elliehirch 09:06 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

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