Pages Navigation Menu

Travelog

This travelog is a snapshot of our more major trips throughout the years. To avoid making this too long, we’ve excluded day trips and weekend trips, but we’ll still be blogging about those under this tag. Let us know if you are particularly interested in hearing more about any of the trips below!

Gap Year 14/15: Honeymoon Edition

It’s been a big year.

We had extremely busy bursts of work. We caught up with visiting family and friends. We took short trips across different parts of Australia, from the Granite Belt in Queensland to Kakadu National Park in Darwin. We even flew to New Zealand – not just to travel, but to tie the knot on the spectacularly snowy Mt Cook.

It’s now September, two months since the wedding, and we’re finally off on our honeymoon! After some post-wedding celebrations in Hong Kong and Santiago, we’ve hit the road and headed south, weaving between Chile and Argentina until we reached Ushuaia. There were some incredible adventures along the way, not least being an unforgettable trip to Antarctica.

As mentioned in this post, we’re planning not to plan overly much, though we do have a rough idea of where we’d like to go between now and July 2015. The best part about having time is that we’re far more flexible than usual. We’re both curious to see how everything plays out.

Stay tuned for more posts to come, and feel free to also follow our Facebook page for more frequent updates and plenty of bonus photos!

Entries: Gap Year 14/15: Honeymoon Edition (with segments in Patagonia, Antarctica, Scandinavia and Australia)

IMG_6270 IMG_6314 IMG_5968 IMG_6063 Cobblestone beach, gentoo penguins and spectacularly icy views at Cuverville Island Everyone out on deck during the crossing of the Lemaire Channel

Cameras: Canon EOS 5D MkII, Sony Cybershot DSC RX100

Lenses: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM

Hiking in the Japanese Alps (and Fuji)

After Tasmania in 2012, we thought we’d try a multi-day hike where we wouldn’t need to carry our own tent, food or cooking equipment. The Japanese Alps seemed like the perfect choice, with its fantastic hut system and multi-course meals in the middle of the wilderness. What we didn’t expect was that we’d spend half the week hiking through a typhoon – but nor did we foresee how much more we’d enjoy the sunshine when it returned, and how quickly we’d fall in love with the dry rooms in the huts.

Entries: Japan 2013

     Japan, 2013

Cameras: Canon EOS 5D MkII

Lenses: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM

Hiking in Tasmania

In December 2012, we headed off on our first weeklong hike: the Overland Track in Tasmania. It was an interesting trek with a few unexpected twists and turns, not least due to the weather (sleet, hail and snow in summer) and food poisoning, but the experience was all the more memorable as a result. We were then joined by Angel’s family on a campervan trip involving plenty of scenic hikes, delicious food, and evenings of laughter over cards and wine.

Entries: Tasmania 2012

     

Cameras: Canon EOS 5D MkII

Lenses: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM

Tibet, Nepal and the Himalayas

In April 2012, we visited the Himalayas with Bruno’s parents. The trip started with a two-night train ride from Shanghai to Lhasa and continued overland through Tibet, with stopovers at palaces, monasteries, various ruins and the much-anticipated Everest Base Camp. We then continued over the border to the Nepali side and spent a week romping through jungles on elephants, ducking past vehicles in crowded markets, and enjoying the freedom to eat and drink to our hearts’ content in the altititude-free cities. All in all, an eye-opening and memorable trip.

Entries: Himalayas 2012

   Hawks

Cameras: Canon EOS 5D MkII, Canon EOS 500D

Lenses: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Holidaying in Japan

This was not our first time in Japan, nor will it be our last. Tokyo 2012 was meant to be a reunion with a number of friends from our year as exchange students. For several days, we gleefully rediscovered our favourite ramenya, izakaya and konbini. Our university campus was as beautiful and nostalgia-inducing as ever. We then bid our friends farewell and continued up to Sapporo for several days of sheer indulgence in the freshness, cheapness and abundance of sashimi that no other Japanese region offers. We saw snow fall by the sea, soaked away our worries in private onsens, and left with vows to return for a longer period next time.

IMG_5619 IMG_5984 IMG_6042

Camera: Canon EOS 5D MkII

Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM 

Road-tripping in New Zealand

This three-week road trip took us through the best of New Zealand’s north and south islands. Chaotic weather aside, we packed in as much as we could, from scuba diving to skydiving, from heli-biking (down to the Pelennor Fields) to glacier hiking. We discovered a love of Kiwi wineries and would heartily recommend the bed and breakfasts to anyone.

Fox Glacier, New Zealand New Zealand, 2011 DSC_3644

Cameras: Nikon D300s, Canon EOS 500D

Lenses: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II, AF-S 50mm f/1.4G, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM 

Diving in Cairns, Australia

The Christmas season is always an expensive time to travel, so we were excited to find a relatively affordable five-day “live on board” scuba diving course for that period. What we hadn’t counted on was the cyclone that would be stirring up the oceans and reefs while we learned the ropes, that we would spend our nights trying not to get tossed off our beds (fellow students were not so lucky and actually did roll off a few times), or that the rains would be so cold and the waves so stormy that it would be both calmer and warmer under the surface than above it. Needless to say, the Great Barrier Reef was an adventure that summer and our open water licenses felt quite well-deserved.

DSC_7813 DSC_7327 xxx

Cameras: Sony DSC W200 (with underwater casing), Nikon D300s, Canon EOS 500D

Lenses: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II, Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro

Hiking in the Whitsundays, Australia

Ah, the Whitsundays Great Walk. It was our first overnight hike and having decided to squeeze it into two days instead of spreading it over three, we found that we were both quite glad to reach the finish line – not least because we hadn’t counted on dragging a heavy, damaged backpack through the rain and the mud. Bruno ultimately triumphed, but the hike taught us a valuable lesson about camping gear for road trips versus camping gear for hikes. We soaked our muscles in a much-needed spa, then spent our last day – the first sunny day of the week – on a jetski safari, breezing past pristine coastlines and crashing over waves at an exhilarating 100km/h.

DSC_1898 DSC_2207 DSC_1852

Cameras: Nikon D300s, Canon EOS 500D

Lenses: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM, Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G, Canon 18-55mm, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro 

Holidaying in Hong Kong and Macau

For both of us, Hong Kong has become familiar territory, but despite that – or perhaps because of it – we never find never enough time to taste everything on our to-eat list. From street food in back alleys to costly degustations at world-class restaurants, it felt like our time there was one huge extended meal with brief breaks for visiting family and friends. As always, we only managed to scrape the surface, but we still enjoyed ourselves greatly in the process.

DSC_4658 DSC_3878 DSC_3573

Cameras: Nikon D300s, Canon EOS 500D

Lenses: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM, Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro 

Backpacking through southern Argentina

The Chilean Patagonia already felt like the end of the world but this trip through Argentina took us even further south – to Ushuaia, the southernmost civilian city in the world. We sailed the Beagle Channel, hiked in Tierra del Fuego National Park, and did a number of day hikes and tours to glaciers near both Ushuaia and El Calafate. We were even offered an 80% discount on a cruise ship just about to depart to Antarctica – but being unable to say “yes” due to work commitments and pre-booked flights, we instead settled for some Antarctica t-shirts and vowed to make the trip another day. Currently, it is scoped for 2014 – 2015.

DSC_0066 DSC_0742 DSC_0171

Camera: Nikon D40x

Lenses: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II , Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM 

Hiking in Torres del Paine, Chile

How we miss the Chilean Patagonia – the untamable clouds, the ever-changing weather, the blues of the lakes and seas and skies. For the entire trip, it felt like we had been teleported inside a photoshopped panorama shot taken at the end of the world where winds regularly blew at over 100km/h and the days stretched on forever. The most magical day was our hike to the base camp at Torres del Paine, with snowflakes dancing gently around us for the entire 5h ascent, then settling over the landscape in a soft blanket of white so as to transform our return journey into a winter wonderland. Our evenings would be spent relaxing and taking in the views from our beautiful lodge while sipping some of the best pisco sour to be found in Chile. We both dream of returning someday soon.

 DSC_0603 DSC_0227  DSC_0202 Chile, 2009

Camera: Nikon D40x

Lenses: Nikkor AF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM 

Driving through Chile - the beach to the Andes in 2h

Despite being considered a less popular part of the Chilean coast, Punta de Tralca delighted us with its playground of scalable boulders and a stark, fiery sunset. We perched on some jutting rocks and watched as the sun sank beneath the horizons, then made the two-hour drive up to the Andes where we settled in for a cozy night and a magnificent sunrise. It was a spontaneous trip made on a whim, but we both felt tremendously lucky to be in a country where it was possible at all.

DSC_0694 DSC_0266 Chile, 2009

Camera: Nikon D40x

Lenses: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM 

Backpacking through Peru

Iconic, romantic Peru. There was a definite charm and nostalgia to cities like Cuzco, which was still lined with colonial architecture and back alleyways. Having had our original plans disrupted by altitude sickness at the start of the trip, we  opted to take a bus from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes via Santa Teresa rather than doing the full Inca Trail. As it turns out, that may or may not have been a wise decision – we spent most of the day holding on for our dear lives as the van sped along the winding, one-way road with its sharp turns and blind corners. We thought it was worth it when we finally caught sight of the famed Machu Picchu and even managed to secure two of the limited permits to climb the neighbouring Wayna Picchu for a better view.

Peru, 2009 Peru, 2009 DSC_0794

Cameras: Nikon D40x

Lenses: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM 

Holidaying in Iguassu Falls and Sao Paulo

The (relatively) cool month of August was a lovely time to visit the falls in Iguazu. Both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides were filled with birds, butterflies and ever-curious coatis, and the jet boat ride left us both drenched and laughing. We then spent a few days in Sao Paulo with Bruno’s father and extended family, enjoying the lively street markets, the icy caipirinhas and the buffet-style rodizios (mountains of meat impaled on swords and carried around to the tables by the waiters, who would slice off as many servings as their hungry customers desired).

DSC_0009 DSC_1000 DSC_0395

Camera: Nikon D40x

Lenses: Nikkor AF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM 

Backpacking through northern Chile and Bolivia

There were several lessons we learned during this trip. One, never mess around with altitude. Two, avoid even steamed vegetables in extremely remote and dinghy places. And three, if you must eat llama, opt for overdone rather than underdone. The fact that we had the time of our lives despite altitude sickness, food poisoning and an eventual emergency evacuation by air is a testimony to the beauty of the Chilean and Bolivian altiplano, with their endless stretches of desert, salt flats and cerulean skies.

Chile, 2009 Bolivia, 2009 Chile, 2009 DSC_1248 DSC_0112 Chile, 2009

Camera: Nikon D40x

Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM 

Road-tripping in Tasmania, Australia

Our nine-day road trip in Tasmania passed in a blink. Along with three other friends, we rented a car and went from one beautiful site to another, hiking by day and setting up camp by night. Our itinerary included Freycinet Peninsula and quite a few National Parks – Tasman, Seven Rivers, Cradle Mountain, Mt Field and a few others in between. For those of us who were newer to the hiking scene, this trip was a true test of our stamina, particularly on the day when we covered over 32km of tracks that alternated relentlessly between uphill and downhill segments. Our tiredness and satisfaction at the end of each day only made the campfire-cooked meals more delicious and the cheerful company more enjoyable.

DSC09758 DSC09774 DSC09513

Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC W200 

Hiking in Tokyo, Japan

The very first time we hiked together, it was at Mt Mitake, just a few hours east of Tokyo by train. We had fun rock-hopping, chatting with the friendly locals at their shops full of omiyage, and marvelling at the seemingly effortless way some of the Japanese hikers navigated their way in miniskirts, stockings and high-heeled boots. The bento boxes at the station were some of the best I had ever tasted. We then followed up with a second trip to the Mitake Shosenkyo Gorge in Yamagata, where a tram took us to the start of our hike and a hearty shabu shabu was waiting for us when we returned. All in all, we found it lovely to spend some time away from the concrete jungle that is Tokyo and to enjoy the natural greenery in its surrounds.

  

Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC W200 

Future travel plans

Our list of travel plans is endless and ever-changing, but on the short-term horizon is a round-the-world trip (for which we are taking a year off under the guise of a honeymoon). The highlights will be an extended road trip from Santiago, Chile to the Chilean and Argentine Patagonian region, with a cruise to Antarctica if we can manage it, followed by a period in the Andes. We’ll then head off to northern Europe and spend some time in Scandinavia, before squeezing in some time in other parts of Europe returning through either Asia or the US. Afterwards, depending on how much time we have left, we’ll do some driving around Australia.

Other ideas scattered more tentatively over the next decade include:

  • Kilimanjaro and other parts of Africa
  • Trans-Siberian, Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Manchurian railway trip, with a stop in Harbin during the Ice Festival
  • Road trip around the US and Canada (this will tentatively be our next year off, so it’s a few years away yet)
  • Eating our heart out in western Europe
  • Arctic circle / Norwegian Fjords cruise
  • Some tropical all-inclusive getaway with diving opportunities
  • Egypt, Jordan and the surrounds, depending on the political situation

Photography note

Back when we started, we both owned point-and-shoots and snapped away without any attention to shutter speeds, apertures or ISO settings.

We slowly pulled ourselves onto the DSLR bandwagon as the years went by, and after several upgrades, we now have a camera kit that should keep us both happy for the foreseeable future. Yes, it is far bigger, heavier and pricier, but the results are stunning and we learn more about photography with every trip. Our general approach is to have a DSLR and a point-and-shoot whenever we travel, just to cover all our bases.

We’ve included notes about the camera gear for every trip here, half as a reference point for ourselves and half for other photography nerds who might be curious. Refer to the fine print under the thumbnails for the details.