Simple Things

The past seven weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve been traveling and working non-stop. When I’m not working, I’m checking out new places or planning my next adventure. I’m not complaining. I love it. But I haven’t had a lot of time to write or even just chill. A day here and there, but for the most part it’s been go, go, go!

I decided to go through some of my photos and plan my next blog post since I have a few-hours-long shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) ride back to Tokyo. While scrolling through hundreds of photos, I found this one. I captured this in Korea a few weeks ago while exploring a market with some new friends. We stopped to buy some soju (a very delicious Korean liquor), and I saw this beautiful flowering tree.

I HAD to stop to admire it. The tiny brightly colored blooms made me smile. Maybe it was a combination of the fantastic weather (blue skies and sunshine), great company and vibrant atmosphere. But on this day, I definitely stopped to smell whatever these baby blossoms are and enjoy the simple things in life. I’d like to think that I do a good job of appreciating the little things, but finding this photo today reminded me that it’s something I need make sure I do as often as possible. Sometimes those are things that bring us the most joy. 💕

Buildings & Bake Shops in Daegu

I stumbled upon this building while exploring the streets of Daegu, South Korea. I was desperately searching for something to satisfy my sweet tooth when I saw it. It was love at first sight. Everything was perfect, from the vibrant azure trim to the gigantic windows, little wreaths hanging on the doors, and the scooter parked in the front. The design is spectacular. It looks old, but new at the same time. The light fixtures and flower boxes give it a charming, warm and inviting appearance. And to make a great thing even better, it’s a bakery! I stepped inside and was welcomed with the intoxicating smells of freshly-made espresso, sugary confections, and just-out-of-oven bread. The shop had enough of cakes, tarts, and snacks to satisfy any craving. I devoured a chocolate croissant and a cappuccino. Both were very tasty.

This little bake shop is just a few blocks (maybe three) from the most popular area of downtown Daegu. Le Pouldu (that’s what it’s called) is still surrounded by stores, restaurants, and coffee shops, just not on the main street. It’s just across the road from an ABC Mart and next to T World (for directions click here). If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend it. It’s got a cozy atmosphere and the baked goods are DELICIOUS. And there are savory items too if you’re not into sweets.

Charming Jinhae

My recent adventures in South Korea took me to Jinhae, a charming, small-ish city along the southeastern coast of the Korean Peninsula. I went to Jinhae to experience what the city is most famous for: its Cherry Blossom Festival (a full post on that is coming very soon). But while roaming the streets aimlessly searching for sustenance in the early morning, feeling starved and sleepy, we stumbled across these tracks. I wondered where they lead and whether trains still barrel through this quiet part of town. I never found out.

They’re just railroad tracks. Maybe it’s the way the trees line the path or the color of the light on the trees or just the excitement I felt being some place new, but I found it beautiful. I still do. Ordinary, but so lovely.

Enlightenment

One of my favorite things to do while traveling through Asia is to visit temples. There’s just something so calming and therapeutic about it for me. I recently went to Thailand, and while visiting one of many temples my friend snapped this photo of me admiring the buddhas. I was so lost in the moment. I was captivated by the details of the building and the symbolism of each sculpture. This was truly an inspiring temple and experience. ❤

Summertime Dreaming

One of the best parts about visiting Okinawa is island hopping. There are quite a few isles that surround (and are part of) the main archipelago, Okinawa Honto. Some you have to access by ferry or plane, but Kouri Island you can access by car. A bridge connects it to the main island, making it an easy day trip if you rent (or have) a car. The water is the most beautiful shade of cerulean, the sand is smooth and almost white and the waves are gentle. It’s the perfect place to relax.

Kouri Island is tiny, with an area of only about three kilometers. But it’s a great place to spend the day. It has three magnificent beaches, a few cafes, food trucks, and restaurants, a handful of hotels and an ocean tower where you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the island and its adjoining bridge.

This photo was taken at Kouri Beach. I couldn’t wait the extra few minutes it takes to get to Tinu Beach (our final beach destination) to put my feet in the ocean. So we pulled over in the first parking area from the bridge, jumped out of the car and headed straight to the water. It is one of my favorite days. ❤

 

Pike Place

It was four years ago, almost exactly. I stopped in Washington for a few days to visit family before moving across the globe to Japan. My sister lived near (but not in) Seattle, and during my very short trip, she brought me here. Pike Place Market. Home of fresh flowers, even fresher seafood and some the freshest dairy products I’ve ever had the chance to sample and purchase. I fell in love. Not only is this one of the biggest (and best) farmers’ markets I’ve been to, but it’s also one of the loveliest. It overlooks the deep blue waters of Elliot Bay and boasts a bunch of restaurants, shops, and art vendors. The MarketFront is a newer addition to Pike Place and the view from there is splendid.

I’ve gone back to Pike Place several times since my first trip. This picture was from my most recent visit. I took a lot of cool photos that day, but none of them say Pike Place louder than this one. The sign is iconic. ❤

Learn more about all the cool things the market has to offer here.

Golden Waters

Nature is an incredible thing. It never ceases to amaze me. I witnessed these beautiful golden waters when I visited the Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan. The cascade of gold liquid is caused by the metal deposits in the old gold mine that the water flows through. The contrast of the brilliant, yellow elixir gushing through the greenery in hills is stunning. It streams all the way down the mountain to the sea, where the blonde water meets the turquoise ocean. But it doesn’t mix; the gold is on one side and blue on the other. They call it the Yingyang Sea.

While striking, this metallic water is extremely toxic. You’re not supposed to drink it or even touch it. Honestly, for me, just looking at it was more than enough. 😉

Neon Lights

Signs illuminate so much of Tokyo. Streets in Shinjuku, Akihabara, Roppongi and pretty much most any other major neighborhood in the city are littered with bright lights, placards, and ads. But I really love the glow of this particular street. The vibrant, gleaming cerulean and fuschia and pretty fonts fit the vibe of this district perfectly. Harajuku is known for being quirky, trendy, artsy and super fun. Takeshita Street is especially popular with the younger crowd, and its shops, style, and atmosphere make that evident. The narrow road is almost always crowded with energetic teens and tourists shopping and eating. I can almost smell the sweet, sugary crepes through the photo.

Castles and Fairytales

Today’s sunshine and warm weather have me feeling super excited about spring! Sandals, shorts, cherry blossoms… I can’t wait. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to during allergy season is Hirosaki Castle. The three-story, centuries-old structure is located in Hirosaki Park, in the Aomori prefecture, Japan. This is such a cool place to visit in the springtime. There are cherry blossom trees everywhere, making this already stunning and picturesque spot even more magnificent.

I went to Hirosaki Castle for my friend Jackie’s wedding. Jackie and Jerrod professed their undying love and commitment to one another under thousands of delicate, tiny, pink petals floating on branches and through the air with this marvelous structure in the background. A faint floral scent drifted. It was magical… like a fairytale. I hope Jackie and Jerrod’s life together is like one, too. ❤ ❤ ❤