Travelling before starting at CCCU – part 4

For the final two months of our travel experience, we have been exploring the beautiful and crazy countries of Vietnam and Japan.

Firstly, I am going to talk about Vietnam. We arrived in Hanoi with no idea what to expect. The only thing we had heard about Vietnam was that it was a beautiful country once you escaped the big cities. This was incredibly accurate. Sadly for us, no one warned us about the many taxi scammers at the airport and we ended paying for a ridiculously overpriced taxi. Although, for westerners money is not a problem in Vietnam! We stayed in 4 star hotels and went out for big dinners every night on something as little as £10 a day! After a life of hostels for the previous 4 nights this was pretty amazing.

So after staying in Hanoi for a couple of days (and bartering for a lot of gifts to take home) we headed to the quieter parts of Vietnam. We visited Nihn Bihn, Cat Ba Island, Monkey Island and Halong Bay. Each place was absolutely breath-taking. The way that the rocks emerged from the water was so beautiful, we took lots of day cruises as we just could not get enough of it!

Then in vast contrast to Vietnam, the final destination that we visited was Japan. This was an incredible culture shock for me and Adam. Although Vietnam was very poor in places, the vast majority of people could communicate to us in English therefore Adam and I began to learn just how lucky we were to have English as our first language.

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But in Japan, this was not the case. Even though the Japanese people are so kind and helpful most of them spoke English as well as we spoke Japanese. Ordering food is incredibly hard, we just had to point at the food we wanted and hoped it came out okay! So getting the Metro to our first hostel in Tokyo was possibly one of the scariest experiences we have had since we have been away.

But we soon got used to the incredible promptness of the brilliant public transport system they have in Japan, we got around Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto with ease. We visited many incredible castles and temples and we were fortunate enough to be in Japan during early April, which is Cherry blossom season. This was absolutely stunning.

The cherry blossoms are unlike anything you have ever seen before, I cannot express in words just how breath-taking they are. Adam and I lapped up the Japanese culture. We took Calligraphy classes, sushi making classes, karate classes, we even spent a day wear Japanese kimonos! and went to many museums and bars. We also visited Mount Fuji which was spectacular!

It was very strange that back home I have been teased for years about being small and in Japan I was one of the tallest women there! But sadly like all incredible experiences this one drew to an end and one the 1st of May, we began our long journey home.

Although incredibly excited to see family and friends and tell them some of our amazing stories we felt a little sad to be leaving are independent carefree (and work free!!) lifestyle behind, now we are looking onwards and upwards! Although I highly recommend a year out to experience the culture of new places I’m looking forward to starting my next adventure, starting Canterbury Christ church University in September.

Where is Gaby right now?

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