Black Sand Beach | Vik, Iceland

One of the places I was most excited to see in Iceland was the black sand beach and basalt columns in Vik. When you research Iceland, the most common things that come up are waterfalls and black sand beaches. Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted there. 

Road tripping around Iceland is the best way to see the island, but it's easy to miss a few things. They only have one main highway that circles the entire country. It's easy to miss a few places if you're not paying attention, which happened to us. I thought that the basalt columns was further east, but in reality we were only a five minute drive away after this spot. It's okay though, Markus and I were still able to take some wonderful photos and explore a little bit of the black sand beach!

Monkey Park Iwatayama | Kyoto, Japan

When Markus and I visited the Philippines, one of our biggest regrets was missing the tarsiers in Bohol. We decided that if we had a chance to see exotic animals, we would take it. Markus is a huge fan of animals. He loves them and even knows random facts for heaps of animals. As soon as he knew that we were traveling to Japan, Markus requested that we see the snow monkeys. I readily agreed, but I was worried that since it was summer, we wouldn't be able to see them. The most famous spot for snow monkeys is Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano, but we weren't traveling in that direction. Thankfully, Kyoto has Iwatayama Monkey Park and they are open year round. 

The park is located on a mountain, so you have to hike quite a bit to get there. The day that we visited was so hot that the park gave us plastic bags of ice. At first, I thought it was kinda strange. Although after 20 minutes of hiking, it was a lifesaver. After about 30-40 minutes, we finally reached the top and monkey paradise. It was pretty awesome seeing so many in one spot. My favorite thing was feeding time and seeing them chase a guy tossing out food. It was both cool and scary. Imagine seeing about 30 monkeys running toward you, definitley terrifying. Either way, it was a great time and I'm glad that Markus was able to finally have his monkey experience.

Calton Hill | Edinburgh, Scotland

This week, I was catching up with our dear British friends, James and Ari. We met them while we were teaching ESL in South Korea. When they left Korea we were so sad that Markus made a video. We loved them so much that we even planned to visit them in the fall of 2012 and tour the UK together. When we were catching up earlier this week, they told me they were going to Edinburgh for the weekend. It reminded me of our trip and that I still had heaps of photos to post. The first of which are from my favorite place in Edinburgh, Calton Hill. As I was going through and editing photos, I was really sad. It's been two years since we've seen James and Ari. We've visited some amazing places in South Korea and the UK. Hopefully, we'll be able to reunite again one day in the States and go on more adventures!