Road-tripping from Colorado to Washington…and back again

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As I mentioned in my previous post, our Christmas in Washington was awesome!
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On our drive up to Washington, we decided to take a different route than the one that we took when we first arrived in Colorado. We thought that it was too much of a risk to drive through Montana and northern Idaho with the snowy weather and mountain passes. So this time around we drove north in to Wyoming, then west into Utah, then into Idaho and Oregon and finally crossing north in to Washington.

It was a long 2 day drive, but the views were absolutely incredible!
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We’ve both decided that even from the small part of Utah that we got to see, that it looks like a beautiful state and we wouldn’t mind moving there! We also stopped in Boise Idaho for a short while and decided that it looked like a cool city with a beautiful backdrop of foothills.
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Below are some photos that we took during our road trip.

I hope you enjoy them 🙂
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A Day Trip To Vail

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Last week, I was feeling pretty down about the job hunt so myself and Jason decided to take a day trip to Vail, CO. So I’m sure most of you have heard of Vail before but if not then it’s a big ski resort in the mountains about an hour and a half away from Denver.
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The drive to Vail is absolutely beautiful, we passed some other smaller ski resorts such as Brekenridge and the scenery was just breathtaking!
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Once we arrived we found a parking lot (which was shockingly expensive, $20 for 2 hours parking!)

We got Willy and walked around the town.
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It’s an absolutely beautiful town, it’s so clean with beautiful German inspired buildings everywhere.
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There was a beautiful skating rink and small local stores everywhere.

It was such a great way to spend a day and it has made me so excited for the thousands of other small towns in the mountains that myself and Jason have yet to explore!
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The place that I want to go the most is Telluride. They have an awesome Bluegrass festival in the summer and unfortunately the tickets went on release last Friday and are almost sold out (being unemployed makes it impossible to afford it right now) But I’m sure that this time next year I’ll be more than prepared to get some tickets!

How about you? What’s your favorite Colorado town?
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Remembering An Australian Roadtrip

1930182_1167379596140_5000781_nThere are some adventures that I took when I was younger that I would love to take again now. I have become a completely different person that travels with a different purpose than I had back then. Before, I absolutely hated hiking, thanks to mountainous Korea, now I love it. Before I loved to party…these days sitting somewhere in the serene nature is absolutely perfect for me.

Australia is one of those countries that I feel would be much more special for me at this stage of my life than it was 6 years ago. Australia is a beautiful country. Although I don’t think that I truly appreciated its beauty when I spent 6 weeks travelling the East coast.

There were many reasons for this:

1. Despite popular belief…It gets cold in Australia.1930182_1167379196130_3490687_n

We arrived in to Melbourne near the end of August. It was cold…like a winters day in Ireland. Nobody had ever let me in on this awful secret that the Aussies keep. Australia gets bloody cold!

Myself and my friend Louise only had one pair of jeans each and one hoodie.  We were also staying in an awful hostel that was freezing inside!1930182_1150791941459_3003379_n

Our first few nights camping were also freezing.1930182_1167380236156_4988317_n

If I ever have a chance to get back to Australia, I’ll definitely pack more appropriate clothing.

2. Australia is expensive!

One of the hardest things to get used to was the difference in the cost of living between South East Asia and Australia.

We went from having delicious food in restaurants every day and staying in nice clean private rooms to having to cook every night and spend more on one bed in a big dorm room that we did on an entire room in Asia.

Next time I get to Australia, I’ll make sure to treat it as a destination in itself.

3. The final reason that Australia was tough was because we were camping.

We rented a car and a tent for our roadtrip. I think Grainne today would appreciate it so much more than 24 year old Grainne did. It was incredibly isolating and after travelling together for over 3 months my relationship with Louise was getting a bit tense (our relationship is better than ever now!).

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But having said all of that I still had a wonderful time and some beautiful memories. I can’t wait to go back at some stage in my life!

Is there anywhere that you have been to that you would love to go back to at a different stage in your life?

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Exploring the Causeway Coastal Route

Ireland summer 2012 365I can’t believe that I haven’t written more posts about Ireland!

I feel incredibly lucky to be able to call myself Irish and to have grown up in Ireland. Jason has had the privilege of visiting Ireland three times. His first trip to Ireland was so busy. I wanted him to see as much of the country as possible so we were being massive tourists!Ireland summer 2012 423

One of the places that we went to was Northern Ireland. I’m quite embarrassed to say that I had never ventured up to Northern Ireland until 2011, when my sister moved to Belfast. I have been to visit her twice now and I can honestly say that if I ever move back to Ireland Belfast would be a strong contender as the place that I’d live. It is a beautiful city with low crime and beautiful buildings (But I’ll talk about that in another post).Ireland summer 2012 342

Another amazing thing about Belfast is that it is the beginning of the Causeway Coastal Route, a beautiful drive up to the Giants Causeway. My sisters boyfriend had a day off while we were visiting so myself, Jason and Neil jumped in to the car and headed north.Ireland summer 2012 375

Our first stop of the day was at Carrickfergus castle.Ireland summer 2012 358

It’s a beautifully maintained castle that is based on the sea. It was quite gloomy when we arrived but that just added to the atmosphere.Ireland summer 2012 351

Afterwards, we drove along the coast, stopping to watch a seal on some rocks and for some lunch at a pub.Ireland summer 2012 374

Our next stop was at the Carrick-a-Reid rope bridge.Ireland summer 2012 432

The views around this area are absolutely breathtaking. It is the Ireland that people dream about. The clouds cleared and the sun shone bright for us while we were here.Ireland summer 2012 403

The water is so clear and it makes you want to just jump in.Ireland summer 2012 413

Ireland summer 2012 404Once we had taken in the views and crossed the bridge, we were off for the final, and most famous stop of the day, the Giants Causeway.Ireland summer 2012 457

The Giants Causeway is named so because Irish folklore tells us that the the giant, Fionn McCumhaill had to cross the sea from Northern Ireland to Scotland to try to fight another giant. The columns that you now see are supposed to be the remains from a causeway that he made to cross the sea. Hence the name The Giant’s Causeway. Ireland summer 2012 439

The Giants Causeway itself is unbelievably beautiful and definitely deserves the attention that it gets.Ireland summer 2012 451

We had an incredible time on this day trip and I’d highly recommend adding Northern Ireland and the Giants Causeway to your Irish itinerary.Ireland summer 2012 466

How to get there: From Dublin, there are plenty of trains, leaving almost hourly. You can also drive there, which takes about two hours. There are plenty of Giants Causeway tours available in Belfast if you don’t have a car to get there.Ireland summer 2012 395Ireland summer 2012 371

Daytrip to Damyang Bamboo Forest

IMG_7516Recently we’ve been on holidays from school so myself, Jason and our friend Ian decided to take a road trip. We were trying to decided where to go as the typical winter destinations are all up north (where the snow falls) which was too far to go just on a day trip.

A couple of months ago I had made a list of all of the places that I’ve wanted to visit before we leave Korea (It’s a loooong list!) After looking through it we decided that most places were best if visited during Spring or Summer except for the Damyang Bamboo Forest.

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Damyang is a small city in the East coast province of Jeollanam-do. It took us about three hours to get there. When we were nearly there Jason had realized that about halfway through he had gotten out to take off his coat and he had left his wallet on the roof! We all thought this was the day ruined but by some miracle the wallet had actually gotten stuck on the spoiler and was sitting there when we looked!

Once we arrived we spent a short time at the Bamboo museum (we didn’t go inside). In the back of the museum there is a small bamboo forest (we had a fear that it may have been what we had come to see, luckily it wasn’t!)IMG_7511

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Enjoying the playground at the museum (a bamboo see-saw)

 

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A beautiful pond in the back area of the museum.

 

Afterwards we headed to the actual bamboo forest and had a delicious lunch before venturing in.

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So many sides!!!!
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Our main food; delicious marinated pork!

 

Korea can be quite strange when it comes to dogs. They weren’t too happy about Willy going in to the forest (leashed up!) and made us promise that we would keep him in our arms for the entire time. Of course we didn’t but we kept him on a tight leash. (it is a forest after all!)

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My sweet little family.

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Unfortunately while we were eating our delicious lunch the sun went away and it became quite cloudy. But it was a beautiful forest even if it was impossible to get a good photo! There were quite a few paths to take so we managed to get away from the crowds.

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After visiting the forest we took a walk along the river nearby. For some reason it felt like I was walking by the river near my home in Ireland. Maybe it was the gloomy weather or how quiet and peaceful it was but it was a nice feeling.

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We were all wrecked after our day and we still had the three hour drive home to do so we decided to go home. After leaving we noticed an area that had some restaurants and coffee shops and decided to grab a coffee before leaving. Luckily for us it was actually the area where the Metasequoia Road is.

Metasequoia Road is a road that has been used in many Korean movies and dramas. It is a beautiful path that has Metasequoia trees for as far as the eye can see. Even though they were bare at this time of the year it was still beautiful! I can’t imagine how beautiful it is during Summer or Autumn.

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After our brief detour to Metasequoia Road it was finally time to go home.

Damyang is a beautiful area that definitely has a lot of things for people to do. If you plan on making a weekend trip out of it then I would reccommend adding the Boseong green tea fields also as they are only about an hours drive away.

Here are some more photos from our time in Damyang:

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2014 The Best Parts

2014 was a great year for myself and Jason! Here are a few of the memories that stick out in my head:
We got to go to Ireland twice in one year! 
This was so wonderful for me. Since we’ll be moving to America next year I know that I won’t be able to visit my family as often as I have while in Korea. The first trip was taken a couple of days after Christmas and happened because my sister won a free return flight to Ireland for me in a competition! Myself and Jason were just newly engaged (on Christmas day last year) and kept it a secret until we arrived in to Cork airport. It was so nice to be home in Ireland during the winter (although I forgot how dark it gets) and we spent our entire time drinking champagne and celebrating with the people that I love most!
I got to bring my nieces and nephews to the panto.
I love Ireland so much!

We got a car and were able to take some fun road trips.

 

Right before Willys surgeries we realised that we would need a car since the surgeon was located in Haeundae in Busan which is about an hour and a half away from us. Having the car allowed us the freedom to take trips and not worry about if Willy will be allowed on the bus or having to find a sitter for him. Now he gets to come on all of our adventures with us!
Jason and Willy on one of our adventures!
The beauty! As you can see Willy loves
to chill in it.

 

Our puppy had a surgery to help him take adventures again.

 

When we rescued Willy his front paws turned inwards. This didn’t cause him any pain in the beginning but we gradually started to notice that he couldn’t walk for long distances. It got to its worst point when I brought him for a hike and he just layed down after about 15 minutes and couldn’t go on. Since then we found a specialist orthopedic surgeon who managed to remove Willys joints completely (they were what was causing the problem) and replace them with some of his stem cells, cow bone and blood. Amazingly his body grew new bones where his joints were and he can now do everything that every other dog can do.
This was Willy in the vets office after his second surgery.
His first walk after being stuck in doors for about 6 months!

We got married!

 

What can I say, it was an incredible day and a day that we won’t forget for a long time to come. To read about our wedding day click here!
Happy, happy, happy!

 We signed our last contracts in Korea.

 

In September we signed our final contracts in Korea (we hope!) So that means that as of the end of August our time here in Korea will come to an end. We are both excited about what new adventures America will have in store for us.

 We became debt free.

 

This actually only happened at the beginning of December. It was such a great feeling to pay off our final debt and know that when we move to America, whatever money we have will be ours! I cut up my Irish credit card also. We have both learned to live modestly while here in Korea and are hoping to bring that lifestyle with us to America. Which means no more loans unless it’s for a house!
We bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate becoming debt free.
I hope you all had a great 2014 and an even better 2015! Merry Christmas everyone!
I got to see this lovely lady twice in one year!
Willy is back to hiking like a pro!
Just after arriving in Ireland and surprising
my family with our engagement!

Beautiful Baenaegol

Last weekend our friend Derek invited us on a little road trip around Yangsang countryside with him and his girlfriend. With the weather being so beautiful we could hardly refuse. So we set off for an eye-opening day.

The drive to Yangsan itself was quite frustrating as we were stuck in traffic on the highway…not the best way to spend a Saturday. But once we met up with Derek we quickly got off of the busy roads and in to the countryside. I have to say that this area was probably the most beautiful area that I’ve been to in Korea!

Our first stop was at Gayajinsa which is a beautiful temple area along the Nakdong river. There were quite a few people cycling on the beautiful bicycle path along the river there. We went to meet Dereks two friends who had found a beautiful secluded little sandy beach area along the river. We spent some time just relaxing there and chatting before moving on to our next spot.

The beautiful Nakdong river.
Myself and Jason enjoying the beautiful sun!
Amy testing out the traditional swing at Gayajin

After leaving the beautiful riverside behind it was time to head to Baenaegol. Baenaegol is a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains on either side. It is filled with apple orchards, temples and pensions (Korean B&B’s) It’s a hugely popular place for Koreans to go during the summertime as it stays a bit cooler there than in other place in Korea and well it’s absolutely beautiful there!

We had to drive over some beautiful mountain passes there and myself and Jason were both in awe at how beautiful the area was and how we had never even known about it before today!
After driving for a while we decided to stop off for lunch at a small family owned restaurant. We ordered some Samgyetang (Korean chicken soup). We were told that it would take about an hour to prepare but luckily for us they were situated right on a beautiful river so we were able to relax on the river bank while waiting.
It was the perfect day!

The river beside the restaurant
Jason and Willy walking along the beautiful river
Derek and Amy
A man and his dog.
I’m so lucky to have married him!
Me and Wil…

We enjoyed the peacefulness of Baenaegol so much that we decided to try and book in to a Pension next March with some friends to celebrate Jason’s 30th. So without a doubt we’ll definitely be back to this little slice of Korean heaven!

Enjoying the sunshine.
We got to witness this beautiful sunset on our way home.