51. York Minster

UK: York Minster, York

For the rest of the country, ‘The North’ doesn’t get a look in past the hub of Manchester. If the North East is ever on TV, images of chimneys, Geordie Shore and smog portray the region as if it’s been stuck in the mines for decades in an industrial black hole where we all get smashed and eat pies to get over the grimness. Well…as my mum says, let’s let everyone believe that.

York Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe and takes pride of place in this historical centre. Having been away for so long, when I revisited it was like being a tourist in my own country. Filled to the brim with quaint tea shops and an alley which inspired J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley, York and the minster is really a must see.

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50. Hanoi

Vietnam: Old Quarter, Hanoi

Hanoi stole my heart. A little rough around the edges but with plentiful charm where European and Asian architecture merge. Hanoi is still a working city, making the place feel somewhat more dynamic and raw. This city, particularly around the bustling streets of the Old Quarter is so fun to get lost in.

Here are some of my favourites from Vietnam’s capital.

49. Baltic Centre

UK: Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

2 months later. Emptied my apartment, said goodbye to beautiful Busan and set off on a month of traveling around Thailand and Vietnam. Now I’m back in the UK and reverse culture shock is real. It’s a strange thing being able to understand everything around you, queuing up in an orderly fashion and ordering tea without having to ask for milk.

These British nuances are both comforting but after two years feels like taking a giant step backwards. Nothing has really changed at home which is in some ways nice and also strange. I feel like so much has happened for me in those 2 years and yet it feels almost like time has stood still at home.

Now my blog will be taking a different turn. I used my camera for the first time in Korea and explored some wonderful countries. Now it’s time to explore my own turf as a tourist and get snapping.

This picture is from the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. It’s a landmark of the North East region and commonly mistaken for being in Newcastle. It’s actually just a walk across the Gateshead Millennium bridge – a width of the Tyne away from Newcastle ‘toon.’

48. Kep

Cambodia: Crab Market, Kep

Sometimes on vacation, there are just things that happen which you simply can’t plan. I was in Kampot and got sick for about 2 days, recovering just in time for our next move to Koh Rong. However, the night before we were meant to embark my friend messaged saying half of the people were getting very sick on the island and it had effected her too!

After having only just recovered we decided to stay safe swapping the white sands of Koh Rong for the nearby sleepy town of Kep. Now, Kep is a tiny place. There really wasn’t much to do, but it was just what I needed. Our days were spent swimming, whizzing round on tuk-tuks and watching sunsets.

The food here is the real star of the show. In Kep, I had THE best amok. I also chomped down on its famed crab, looking over the water towards Vietnam as the sun set. I mean, it was a real breath of fresh air away from the cities. Who’d have thought this place which I overlooked would end up being my favourite part of Cambodia.

46. Tomb Raider

Cambodia: Siem Reap

Hello! I’m currently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Winter break has arrived and the weather is hot hot hot. The past few days have been spent in Siem Reap. When I was a kid I really wanted to go on ITV’s ‘Jungle Run’ and visiting these temples made me feel like I should have been gathering ruby monkeys. We hired a tuk-tuk, heading to Angkor Wat for sunrise (it was cloudy ㅠㅠ) then onto more. Having gotten up at 4am I think I was too tired to really appreciate it by the fifth one. However these historic monuments are amazing, particularly Bayon and smaller ones such as this one.

Postcards from New Year: Korean Style

New Year: Korean Style

New Year is usually characterised by a terrible hangover, wallowing in self-pity, drinking copious amounts of tea and watching Disney movies.

Whilst Koreans are known for their love of a good party (Korea drinks on average 14 shots a week), NY is celebrated slightly differently. The idea is to get up very early (or stay out very late) and watch the first sunrise of the year. For our final NY in Busan we welcomed in 2017, Korean style.

New Years Eve was spent revisiting Bujeon market, eating bibimbap then indulging in some noraebang (karaoke). The UK was still doing the countdown when we woke up to incredible views over Busan’s Gwangalli bridge. I really enjoyed the Korean way of celebrating New Year, I felt so much more proactive for January 1st although I couldn’t imagine doing it in Blighty’s miserable weather. It’s hard to believe I can now say to friends and family, ‘see you this year.’ I’ve become so used to being so far, detached even, to the goings on of life at home. Soon I’ll be leaving Korea and the sunrise was a great welcome to the new year as well as a sentimental goodbye to this amazing city.

새해 복 많이 받으세요 – Happy New Year

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40. Street Art in PNU

Korea: PNU, Busan

Last Monday it was my school’s birthday so I got the day off. Woop! The weekends move far too quickly so it was nice to have the extra day. I headed to Busan National University (PNU) and walked down Oncheoncheon (Oncheonjang river) back around towards my house. PNU is a great area and is perhaps my favourite place in the city. It resembles the buzz of Seomyeon and Kyungsung University but on a smaller and manageable scale. The weather was mild, it was a beautiful sunny day so on the way I snapped some of the street pieces you can see in this area.

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32. Seongsan Ilchulbong

Korea: Seongsan Ilchulbong, Jeju Island

Close to October last year I took a trip to Jeju Island the ‘Hawaii of Korea.’ One afternoon I was looking forward to seeing the Haenyeo; female divers who gather various things from the sea without any underwater equipment. When I turned up to catch these ladies in action, there was not a single mermaid to be seen. So, whilst I was upset to miss out on this unique part of Jeju, the ajumma pictured below soon caught my eye. She was quite popular with a number of customers gathered around watching as she cut up a live octopus. It must be the freshest fish around.

30. Gamcheon Culture Village

Korea: Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan

Gamcheon Culture Village has been heralded as the ‘Rio’ of Busan. With its brightly cultured buildings and quirky little cafe’s with pieces of street art, its a popular and unique destination here. Whilst there are some staple pieces, everytime I return there is always something new. On this occasion two girls were creating an illusion painting with angel wings.

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29. Kawabatadori

Japan: Kawabatadori, Fukuoka

I’m not a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe. I see her quoted all over the shop but to be honest I’ve never really understood the appeal of being a ‘diva.’ Just seems like an excuse to justify acting like a douche. However, I can’t deny that she is certainly an icon of her time. Here she is in Fukuoka, Japan on the shutter blinds of a shop after everything closed.