Trans-Mongolian Express: Ulaanbaatar to Beijing

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Traveling through the Gobi Desert

Our last journey by train – Ulaanbaatar to Beijing! This time we traveled through the beautiful Gobi Desert. We had great timing because it was cold and rainy when we woke up in our ger. And after spending almost a week in nature, we were ready to be back in a big city!

The downside to this part of the trip was border control. I really think we were busy almost 6 hours. First our train was checked by Mongolian border control and then again by the Chinese. That means checking passports and visas, as well as checking our room and luggage to make sure nothing was leaving or entering another border illegally. And to top it all off, the wheels had to be changed before we could enter China (our train car was literally lifted with us inside to take the wheels off and put new ones on). All of this in the middle of the night…

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Dinant, Belgium May 2014

View of Dinant from the other side of the Meuse River

View of Dinant from the Meuse River

My parents have already seen a lot of the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium, so this trip we ventured toward the south into Wallonia. Dinant, Belgium is located at the beginning of the Ardennes on the Meuse River. I searched for city trips within Wallonia and after seeing a photo of the beautiful cathedral, citadel, and river, I wanted to find out more information. Dinant is most famously known as being the home of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone and would be 200 years old this year, and regional cuisine such as the couques de Dinant, Europe’s hardest cookie, and the flamiche, a type of quiche served with a glass of Burgundy, as well as Leffe beer. So we decided to check it out!

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New York Day 6, September 2013

Taking the Subway to Lower Manhattan, to the Financial District

Taking the Subway to Lower Manhattan, to the Financial District

Friday, Day 6, was a really fun day! Koen and I started with the Financial District, seeing Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange before having a delicious lunch at the Shake Shack. After our burgers, fries, and milkshakes, we walked off the calories along the Brooklyn Bridge enjoying the sun and clear skies. After walking to Brooklyn, we took the subway to Midtown because on Fridays from 4 to 8PM, the Moma is free! There is so much wonderful art at the Moma, and I could take photos, so there will be another post dedicated to the Museum of Modern Art. Afterwards, we headed back to Chinatown and induldged in cupcakes from Molly’s Cupcakes in Greenwich Village.

 

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New York Day 5, September 2013

Walking through Chinatown to Greenwich village - so NYC to me with the fire escapes

Walking through Chinatown to Greenwich village – so NYC to me with the fire escapes

Day 5 included a delicious lunch at the Spotted Pig, a picnic in Washington Square Park, and a walk through the Flat Iron District and Union Square. As you can see by the photos, we were really lucky with the warm, sunny weather!

 

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New York City Day 4, September 2013

Breakfast in Bryant Park

Breakfast in Bryant Park

This was my parents’ last day in New York. We had to part after breakfast, because they had tickets for the afternoon matches at the US Open. So we grabbed breakfast sandwiches from a street vendor to eat in Bryant Park. Afterwards we visited the New York Public Library, then met up with Christine and had lunch at the first pizzeria in America. Day 4 is also the day we transitioned from staying in Midtown with my parents to Chinatown with Christina!

 

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New York City Day 2, September 2013

Walking through Midtown, on our way to eat real New York bagels

Walking through Midtown, on our way to eat real New York bagels

Day 2 was a busy one! First bagels at Ess-a-bagel, and then exploring Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Fashion Avenue, the Garment District, the Highline, and then the US Open – my birthday present from my parents!

 

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Amsterdam, Netherlands May 2013

Rembrandtplein

Rembrandtplein, the Night Watch in 3D

This my last May travel post! At the end of my parents’ visit, they decided to spend a couple of days in Amsterdam. Because I had the day off and my parents had a lot of luggage, I took the train with them and spent a few hours enjoying the beautiful weather and a few sites in Amsterdam with my Mom and Dad.  I have always considered Amsterdam one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, so I loved being able to walk along the canals, buy tulips, and eat poffertjes with my parents!

 

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Delft, Netherlands May 2013

In Delft!

In Delft, with the Oude Kerk in view!

Ever since Koen and I have been together, almost 8 years ago, my mother has been dying to make a day trip to Delft in the Netherlands. Now we’ve finally made it happen! Delft is a picture perfect Dutch city known for it’s blue and white china and the painter Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring). We enjoyed a wonderful day walking along the canals, lunch at ‘t Vermeertje, exploring De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft, the only remaining factory of the 32 earthenware factories that were established in Delft during the 17th century), and sampling the awardwinning Dutch pannenkoeken (pancakes) from Stads-Koffyhuis.

 

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The Hague, Netherlands May 2013

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Family photo at the Hofvijver!

Since I have met Koen, I have always wanted to visit The Hague! For one reason or another, every plan we’ve made to visit has fallen through…until now! The Hague is such a beautiful city, and I can’t wait to go back. There is so much still to see! With my parent in May, we were able to see the city, but next time I’ll be going to the Escher Museum, Peace Palace, and Mauritshuis (if it’s open!).

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