It doesn’t quite feel like a whole two months has happened. We’re still learning to take things slow, and not try to cram too much into our days. The last week we spent exploring Beijing and it was the first time my body demanded lie ins several days in a row. Either tiredness has finally caught up with me or the Great Wall at Mutianyu last Friday really took it out of me! Oh and one day was around 38 degrees, very thankful our hostel room had working air-con then. We had to give in a little and buy a treat from our hostel bar which did “western food”…
Today is Day 64
Yesterday we arrived at Tai’an in Shandong Province at a hostel which includes Yorkshire tea – perfect. Tai’an is the city at the bottom of Mount Tai, or Taishan. Having a lazy day before we leave tonight at 10pm for a night walk up the ~1500 metre high mountain. It’s traditional to climb at night to be at the peak for sunrise, which tomorrow will be around 5am. Alternatively you can get the bus up instead of walking the 6000 or so steps and even stay in the hotel at the top, but where’s the fun in that?
The internet in China is limited and many sites are blocked by the government. It’s a bit frustrating at times but now we have a VPN working (most locals use them too) we can climb the Great Firewall of China and access Google, upload our photos, etc. However, some hostels (like in Beijing) the internet itself is so slow the VPN does not work. You have to excuse our lack of updating the blog as often as we’d like to. In a week we take a ferry from Qingdao to Icheon for Seoul, South Korea. We are looking forward to reaching the country with one of the best internet speeds in the world – but it will be sad to leave China, especially the amazing, cheap food.
Our plan to volunteer ourselves around is starting to take shape! Using the website workaway, we have agreed to help out working at a hostel in the Nampodong area of Busan, South Korea for a month starting in June and in August we will spend a month at a holiday resort on the southern island of Shikoku in Japan, helping the owners to create an organic garden, summer house and of course chat in English to the mostly Japanese guests.
It will be very nice to have the same bed for more than a week and hopefully it’ll be a good way to get a feel of these countries. The main reason we wanted to travel was to spend time in Japan, to learn about the culture and language by living there. We had intended to quickly pass through South Korea but as we know very little about it, why not spend a month getting to know it and the people!
Our current plan for July is to get ourselves JapanRail passes which allow us almost unlimited travel through the four main islands of Japan. We don’t have an exact plan yet but we are looking forward to it nonetheless. Mischa is most looking forward to visiting all the onsens whereas I’m looking into how possible it is to walk or cycle the Nakasendo Way. It’s only 332 miles, but maybe it’s a little optimistic…