It's taken me a while to get around to writing about my trip back to Europe a few weeks ago...but finally here it is!!
My one year anniversary with Seoul also marked a way overdue trip back to British soil to see family and friends and indulge in a few Euro joys such as bread, cheese and Cadbury's!! A year is such a LONG time to be away and not see people for but, in honesty time has whizzed by so quickly here that it didn't quite feel it had been so long. I was super excited to go back and see everyone and even do the simple things like be able to dye my hair without the fear of using Asian hair dye... a bit of shopping, grabbing a 'Boots Meal Deal', seeing that little 'veggie' symbol on menus, decent cake and not having to struggle with the lingo!!! It was lovely!!!
Actually the first thing I did when touching down in Heathrow before flying up North to Newcastle was sprint into WHSmiths and grab a packet of Salt and Vinegar Discos and a copy of 'Take a Break'!!!
After only being exposed to Asian culture for so long it was strange to suddenly be surrounded by voices that I could understand and not see the Korean quirks that I have become so accustomed to such as the old hand on the elbow when passing things or the occasional little bow of the head.
It was so nice to go back to visit!! My time in the UK was short-lived as I was headed off on a juicy Eurotrip with my family. So after a whistlestop visit of friends, family, new babies, Tescos, Topshop and the beach it was off to sunny Dubrovnik for some downtime and good coffee!!
We had rented a beautiful apartment in a 100 year old, traditional Croatian house in the little alleyways of Dubrovnik Old Town with this utterly GLORIOUS view!!! By far the best view I have ever woken up to in my life!!! One of my favorite parts of the day were the breakfasts on the terrace with these lovely blue skies!! Every morning would involve a trip to the local bakery to pick up warm bread and freshly baked burek- how I have missed decent baked goods here in Korea!!!
Totally made the most of the endless local produce and abundant supply of cheese!!!
Dubrovnik is totally dreamy, row upon row of orange rooftops, beautiful architecture and fascinating history. Totally fell in love with this place!!
During our holiday we also crossed the borders and traveled into Bosnia. I have been desperate to visit Bosnia for many years so was SUPER excited for this part of our trip!
We headed up to Mostar by way of Blagaj, Počitelj and Ston. It was by far one of the most awesome trips I have ever taken....beautiful mosques, wonderful rural landscapes, tiny villages and of course the famous super strength Bosnian coffee. It was such an interesting trip, especially to Mostar where so many of the buildings still bear the scars of the relatively recent shellings from the war. We had the most phenomenal guide, a lad called Dino, who was able to share so many stories from his personal experiences during the war involving him fleeing from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo with his Grandma. The best part of the trip was climbing to the top of the minaret of the Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque in a thunderstorm to cop a view of the Mostar Bridge!
We also took a trip over to Montenegro to visit Kotor and Perast which allowed us to see some beautiful views of misty mountains and lovely Boka Bay. The whole Balkan jaunt was one of my favourite ever adventures and of course sooo nice to spend time with my family after so long!!!
Lovely to have some European exposure to tide me over and to stock up on necessities such as Lavender Earl Grey teabags and a bit of veggie gravy!!! I also scooped up a whopper of a stash of Bosnia coffee and a beautiful brass ǆezva coffee pot to bring back to Korea with me!!
During the trip I also went to see Take That in concert, took a Sunday afternoon stroll along good old Tynemouth beach with my oldest chum, got to play boardgames with my little bro, meet the new Bell family cat called Ollie/ Nacho (no replacement for my dearest little lad, Tango of course...) enjoy a rainy British BBQ full of Quorn products, eat loads of extra mature cheddar, buy shoes without having to count in millimeters... such a magical trip!!!!
Obviously I was sad to bid farewell to home turf and everyone but, my consolation was that I got to return to a city that I love.
I'm excited be back in Seoul and looking forward to seeing what the upcoming year will bring.
This year I have vowed to see more of Korea and to learn more skills so I'm looking forward to putting these plans in action!!!
So I shall leave you with a parting shot of good old Tynemouth and a few snaps from my Balkan adventure!!!
Love and Burekkkk,