Cora, the Explorer

 
21Sept
2013

Traveller Routine

So, it is time for a new blog entry. Well, even as a traveller you start to develop an every day routine - you get up,  explore the city and do some sightseeing or sometimes you go for a tour or excursion and try some new sports or activities you've never done before. You meet up with new friends you met at the hostel or the bus and get something to drink or to eat... 

I love it. At the same time, there are things like planning the further itinerary and maybe looking for some cheap flights or the best offer by bus or train, do the laundry, and so on. It is a great rhythm we developped and I enjoy every single minute I am out here exploring the world. 

Still a few words about our adventures and experiences.

China was very .......... different from what I expeted. True, the sights, the scenery and the nature as far as we can tell are fantastic and there is much more to explore next time I'll visit China. Especially Hangzhou and its surroundings were incredible and I would have loved to stay longer if it hadn't rained non-stop. Generally I think we rushed through China so we couldn't really have a look beyond the first impression and image you get of the country. So nice you aclimated to the Chinese culture and get to know the coutry and the people I am pretty sure it is a great and fascinating. For what I've seen duyring the weeks I've travelled through China: it seems to be far less balanced and relaxed as one might think but rather very hectic and loud. 

I've walked the streets of Shanghai early in the morning just after sunrise and instead of rushing people and busy traffic I watched the elders doing tai chi, fishermen setting out in the dust which still lay above the river and people just sitting in the streets, having breakfast or plazing a Chinese game... an almost corny but very beautiful and picturesque scenery. I have tp admit, that was more like the China I expected...

Now in the South, travelling through Vietnam and Laos was less hectic - thats my impression at least, but might just be that the Asian way is already kind of familiar now. While Laos actually is the inventor of slowness - this country is so chilled, so relaxed and seems to be just "happy", Vietnam is still much busier and louder - yet equally beautiful. There is a saying about SE Asia we heard which sums up everything: The Vietnamese people plant the rice, people from Thailand water it and the people from Laos watch it grow...

I just love the Laos way of living and might just adopt it :P - So in case I won't write again soon, I might just lie in the hammock in Laos. But here's a tipp: Anna is much more reliable in terms of her travel blog - if you are interested in more stories about our trip, I would recommend you to also check her blog as well: www.lebenstraum.auslandsblog.de

That's more than enough for now - the world is calling.
Bye and talk to you soon. 

18August
2013

Ich lebe noch!!!

Hello everyone waiting for my new blog entry - I AM STILL ALIVE :)

I know I promissed to keep you updated often as possible and tell you about my travels regularly, but it turns out we are out and about almost all the time living great adventures and I honestly can't be bothered to sit down for long and type in all the fantastic stories I can tell already, when I could also just go outside and experience some more Lachend. Well, now since my blog seems to be the only means of contact to the world outside china, I thought I should at least let you know that I am fine and have a splendid time. I don't want to bore you with endless blog entries, but every time I postponed blogging, the stories I want to share with you just accumulate and I don't know where to start and which story to tell.
 
Once again, I promise I'll keep you posted - and soon you can at least read a summary of the trip to Russia (I wanted to do a picture summery, but you don't believe how complicated and time consuming it is to upload pictures....)
That has to do for now,
Cora
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Hallo an alle, die hier auf einen neuen Blockeintrag von mir warten - ICH LEBE NOCH
Hier auch noch ein paar Zeilen auf Deutsch. Ich weiss ich halte mich nicht ganz an mein Versprechen mich regelmassig zu melden, aber ich gelobe Besserung! Es ist nur einfach so viel verlockender unterwegs zu sein und die Geschichten zu erleben als am Computer zu sitzen und die fur euch interessantesten (!?) abzutippen - schliesslich moechte ich ja auch niemanden mit endlosen Geschichten langweilen. Auf der anderen Seite jagt ein Abenteuer das nachste und ich weiss gar nicht wirklich wo ich anfangen soll ohne in endlose Romane zu verfallen.
Da mein Blog einer der wenigen verbleibenden Kontaktmoglichkeiten zur Welt ausserhalb Chinas darstellt, habe ich mich jetzt doch entschlossen hinzusetzen und zu schreiben.
 
Sobald das mit den Bildern funktionieren sollte werde ich auch noch eine Zusammenfassung zu Russland geben, und mich fortan haufiger mal melden.  
Soviel fur jetzt - bis bald :)
16August
2013

Pictures say more than 1000 words

just to say one word: FANTASTIC!!! 

Visiting Russia was the absolutely correct decission and I am sure that one day I'll come back. We had an awesome time and we visited so many beautiful places. 

St Petersburg is a very young and lively city and absolutely worth visiting. The spirit of the old tsars and the attempt to make it a gate towards Western Europe is clearly  visible. Once we overcame some obstacles in the beginning (such as finding the hostel since the entrance was hidden for passers-by), we had all the time to explore the attractions and the beautz of the city, go for walks in the parks, Mini-Petersburgvisit Cathedrals and exhibitins or just relax at one of the many beautiful places enjoying live and a delicious picknick.

Einkauf am Food Market... ...furs Picknick...    ... an der Neva

We could have easily spend more time in St Petersburg, but the rest of the world was still calling, so next we purchased the train ticket to Mockba. Speaking Russian fluently (Zunge raus) it was no prolem to get the ticket. No, honestly - what a hassle to "dance" and "perform" in front of an counter to make the people understand what you want. Yet, 2 clever girls on tour produce great ideas, so I "painted" in kyrillic the information we required et voila - we were successful and had an adventurous night ahead of us. 

So... Moscow. The way we managed to travel to Moscow was quite funny - in the very small beds in an overcrowded train accompanied by thousands of Russians who all just kept saying the same thing over and over again speaking louder every time when they realise we don't understand a world. But luckily one of the travellers knew a bit of German and helped us greatly - even afterwards when we were trying to figure out our way to get to the hostel (after having everything written in Russian AND English in St Petersburg it was quite a surprise to only have everything in Russian in Moscow. Even though we figured out most of the letters and the pronounciations it is still difficult to read). I love MoscowAnyways, Moscow is great.  And we have been to all the spectecular places you know from pictures or TV and actually have seen them all close up Lachend

                 Red square  St Basil cathedral Lenin MausoleumKremlCathedrale

As there is no better way to getting to know a place than to just get lost, we were wandering around until late night...

NachtspaziergangNachtspaziergang  Nachtspaziergang  

Even though the hostel was ... well, lets just say needs some getting used to, we made great new friends there and went out to explore the city all together - Anna, Victoria from Canada, Kendra from UK and Monique from Germany and myself. 

However, Saturday our group parted as Kendra took the Transibirian Train to Yekaterinenburg and Irkutsk, Victoria and Monique stayed in Moscow and Anna and I flew to Irkutsk. And yes, I am really sad that I didn't do the Transib, but flying was actually much cheaper and with my very limited budget that is definitely something I have to incorporate when planning to move on. Well, I just have to do it some other time going all the way by train Lächelnd  Domodedovo Airport flying to Irkutsk

Saying something about Ikrutsk is simple - it is enough to just stay there for a day or so as it is not as interesting as the places before. What made that destination special was our host. We were lucky getting offered a couch to crash on through couchsurfing and Ann was the best host - making food, even baking cakes all the time, always worried about us being ok, showing us around and she even recommended to go to Letvyanka just for one day but rather to go to Olbxoh - the biggest island in the Lake Baikal - for some more days. 

landmark of Irkutsk

Letvyanka is a very nice but VERY small place directly at the lake. Its a perfect place for hiking, but not so much for swimming - the water is icy cold!!! 

               Fantastic scenery and place to go hiking Freezing water Lunch Housing in Letvyanka Relaxing at the beach

As I said Olbxoh is the biggest Island in lake Baikal - and in order to get there we had to take an about 6 hours bus ride in a very old and ramshackle bus.

  our vehicle for the 6h bus tourbus tour...constantly interrupted by cows crossing the

Though uncomfortable we had a great time, an excellent view and a fantastic time at the island itself. We rented a tent and slept directly at the beach and even swam in the lake (they say will lengthen your life for about 25 years). So, here I stop talking and just show you some more pictures from our trip, camping adventure and our own fire:

Waiting for the ferry cliffs Lake Baikal Accommodations in Olbxoh Rituals... beautiful beaches  (Hitch-) Hiking 10km with our backpacks to the next town ... ...luckily I brougt my good walking boots  Camping in Siberia!!! What were Russia without Vodka ... getting invited to drink a bottle of vodka in the restaurant Sunset :) cliffs WE MADE FIRERelaxing at the fire Keeping warm during Siberian nights  

03August
2013

JABONAH! Sä Jabonah

Day X! - Finally Anna and I start our adventure. This is probably the last blog entry I am writing while I am still in Germany (which won't be that much longer anyway). In about 4 Stunden und 43 Minuten is departure time. We will leave behind all the troubles, obstacles and difficulties that we encountered during the last weeks and we will now enjoy the excitement, the thrill and the above all the appeal of the foreign, the exotic and the unknown :) It has been quite a hassle to tick off each and every item on my to-do lists - to get all documents in time, have relevant vaccination (since there is currently a shortage in the supply of some of the vaccines, as well as lack of money and time, I'll have to survive with the once I got); even so, the thrill of anticipation was unstoppable. My backpack has been waiting to be picked up and hurl into adventures; and so was I (and my dog sensed there was something going on as well, so he decided that he wants to join :) ). And now, once again, I am so proud to announce that the time of waiting has finally come to an end. Sä Jabonah! ___________________________________________________________________ Jabonah heisst eigentlich nur "gehen", natürlich nicht zu Fuss, weil in der Mongolei niemand zu Fuss geht, solange er reiten kann. Es heisst "aufbrechen", oder: "Jetzt geht die Reise los"; und weil nichts schöner ist als eine Reise tun, freut sich jedermann, wenn "JABONAH" gerufen wird.“ (Aus "Großer Tiger & Christian" von Fritz Mühlenweg)
16Juli
2013

The Travel Bug

First of all HELLO, it’s me, Cora. Like many others before I have been infected by an unstoppable and insatiable wanderlust. Thus giving my itching feet what they need – namely wonderful adventures, new experiences and fantastic travels to distant and (yet) unknown countries – I decided to travel around the world; starting towards the East, beyond the horizon so far until eventually I’ll come back home from the West.

Well… here we are – my travel buddy and very best friend ANNA and I will head off to explore the natural, cultural and art treasures of Russia first - in only about 2,5 weeks time. Everything is happening so fast; I don’t really know where to start… but I will be back soon telling you about the troubles of preparations and arrangements, about the intensifying excitement, about the sensational experiences, etc.

My dear friends – I already know I will miss you so much and I really want you to be part of our stirring adventures, so I promise I will do my very best to keep you updated. However, since I don’t want to spend too much time at the computer – plus I first need to get out there, travel and experience something to share with you anyway – I probably won’t be able to keep you posted each and every day. Yet, please get in touch with me on email, facebook, the contact form or just comment on my blog – I will be so happy and thankful for hearing from you as well J

Btw: many thanks to Alex who gave me the nickname - Cora, the Explorer. I thought it might be a good name for my blog.

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Ich werde mir Mühe geben den Blog für Alle zu schreiben und daher die Einträge in Englisch und Deutsch verfassen – weiß aber nicht ob ich immer die Zeit hierfür haben werde; schließlich möchte ich meine Zeit nicht vor dem Computer verbringen und muss sowieso zunächst etwas erleben bevor ich darüber berichten kann.

Aber erst einmal HALLO, ich bin’s, die Cora. Wie viele Andere vor mir auch bin ich infiziert worden mit dem unersättlichen und nicht aufzuhaltenden Durst nach Reisen. Drum habe ich beschlossen meiner Wanderlust Abhilfe zu schaffen und zwar mithilfe von aufregenden Abenteuern, neuen Erfahrungen auf fantastischen Reisen zu fernen und mir (noch) unbekannten Ländern – im Rahmen meiner Weltreise.  

Tja… und hier sind wir jetzt – meine Reisebegleitung und weltbeste ANNA und ich machen uns in nun mehr nur 2,5 Wochen zu allererst auf, die Kunst-, Kultur- und Naturschätze Russlands zu erkunden. Die Zeit rennt und die Ereignisse überschlagen sich inzwischen förmlich. Daher bin ich mir gar nicht sicher, wo ich eigentlich anfangen soll zu erzählen... jedenfalls werde ich mich ganz bald wieder melden und von den Schwierigkeiten und Hindernissen der Vorbereitungszeit, dem immer stärker werdenden Lampenfieber, den legendären Ereignissen,... etc. berichten.   

Liebe Freunde – ich weiß jetzt schon: ich werde euch sehr vermissen und möchte euch gerne an meinem Lebenstraum teilhaben lassen. Daher verspreche euch hier möglichst regelmäßig auf dem Laufenden zu halten und Emails und Nachrichten gerne etc. zu beantworten. Allerdings werde ich ohne Laptop oder Internetverbindung in irgendeiner Form reisen und bin auf den Zugang zu Internetcafés hier und da angewiesen. Es kann also auch mal etwas länger dauern bis ich antworte. Bitte schreibt mir oder kommentiert trotzdem – ich werde mich riesig über Nachrichten von euch freuen!