February was our most packed month yet. We started the month cruising in the tropical Galapagos and ended it watching the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
- Countries visited: Ecuador, USA, South Korea
- Cities visited: Puerto Ayora, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seoul, Pyeongchang
- Hotels/Hostels/Home Rentals/Pensions stayed at: 7
- Cruises taken: 1
Cruising on the Nemo!
When we decided to go to the Galapagos we intended to be entirely land based focusing on day trips from various islands. Then while we were in the planning stages the manager of Llullu Llama introduced us to his friend who owned a travel agency. It just so happened that she had a few last minute deals available on short cruises around the islands that perfectly lined up with our travel dates so we decided to jump on it. That’s how we found ourselves onboard the Nemo II, a 20 person capacity catamaran for 3 days.
Much of the Galapagos is only accessible when accompanied by a registered guide so with the Nemo we were able to travel in between islands quickly and see places we wouldn’t have been able to see on our own. On our three day cruise we made two stops a day on three different islands and learned a ton about the birds, plants, and land animals. But our favorite part was the travel time between activities lounging on the boat and chatting with our new friends.
When we decided to go from South America to Asia we looked at a variety of different flight options and were surprised to learn that the cheapest way was to stop over in LA. So we decided to make a long weekend of it to relax in a familiar place and catch up with our families. We booked a cute little bungalow in Long Beach a block from the beach and spent the weekend eating delicious home cooked meals and girl scout cookies, drinking great Central Coast wine, taking windy beach walks, and spending time with the people we love. It was a perfect reset from our months of traveling to just be for a few days.
We also spent our last day in LA at Disneyland with my sister and Jeff’s family. Jeff hadn’t been since he was a kid so we had a ton of fun running from ride to ride, working the fast pass system and hanging out on the lesser known rides.
Getting to Know Seoul
Before planning to go to the Olympics we had already wanted to visit Seoul. We have friends who had been and loved it, so we were excited to see the place for ourselves. We absolutely fell in love as well. From the stellar museums and palaces, to the modern subway and skyline, to the incredible food, we loved it all.
We made an effort to get out and explore a different area every single day we were there. Usually when we’re in a city for over a week we spend a day or two hanging out a cafe working on the blog or reading and we almost always end up at the same restaurant more than once. In Seoul we never took a “day off” and we never visited the same restaurant twice (except for a street food vendor with the best hand held, stuffed pancakes, eaten as a snack while standing on the sidewalk). Each neighborhood had its own unique feel and we had a great time exploring as many different ones as we could. We’ll have a full post on everything we did and ate in Seoul soon.
Becoming Winter Olympic People
I am an olympic fanatic. I watch them every two years without fail, but I have to admit, I’ve always considered myself more of a Summer Olympics person. I swam and (briefly) ran track as a kid and generally have more knowledge about Summer sports. But, I can boldly say, Not Anymore! The Winter Olympics are incredible.
We had tickets to three events, freestyle skiing, men’s hockey (Canada vs. South Korea) and curling (the bronze metal match which ended up being Canada vs. Switzerland).
I have only skied once in my life, but I loved it. Regrettably it was four years ago and I haven’t been back on a mountain since, but my ideal life would definitely revolve around a yearly ski trip if I could make it happen. So I was overwhelmingly impressed with the slope sports that were all about whizzing down the mountain at high speeds or flying 30 meters into the air. Our freestyle skiing event was at night so we endured subfreezing temps and a bitter windchill to watch, but the 90 minutes we were there absolutely flew by. The organizing committee did a great job of hyping up the energy during the event so when someone wasn’t skiing they played upbeat music and the announcers made jokes or told stories. One of my favorite parts of the whole event was the way the DJ timed the music to the skier’s jump. He did a great job of playing music that would build up as the skier was going down the slope and then would time the landing with the beat dropping in the song. It upped the intensity of the jump and made the landings so exciting (especially when they were done well).
We both also got really into the ice sports loving both the the high energy of hockey and the technicalities of curling. We had incredible, almost front row seats to both events which put us right in the action but we basically didn’t know any of the rules of either sport. Luckily we were sitting near people during both events who explained some of the rules so we were able to keep up.
Where to next? Tokyo!
We just arrived in Tokyo where Jeff is attending the try! Swift conference over the next few days. We are spending two weeks here in Tokyo with a few day trips planned to places outside the city and then are hoping to travel south to see some of the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. We’re looking forward to warming temps and the promise of spring here in Japan over the next month.
As always, thanks for following along!