Emma was asked to present on the topic of "Where Have You Been" last week. It was PechaKucha style night, where anyone with some travel photos can add them to the slide show for the night.
She was pretty happy to cull her shots down to around 100 for the whole trip, but was then asked to get it down further to 25...which is basically one shot for each country of our entire trip! It wasn't an easy task, with so many stories to tell, but here's her 25 favourite shots from 12 months of travel.
1. Block 61, New Belgrade, Serbia. We went there to experience the severity of socialist architecture in Serbia, a recipe that you'd expect would be bound for disaster. But somehow despite the crumbling neglected public domain, it still felt vibrant with people of all ages out and about, playing sports, going for walks and socialising with neighbours. And it makes for a pretty epic, Blade Runner-esque landscape.
Click below to see the rest!
3. Meteora, Greece. We didn't spend long in Greece, but we had one key destination in mind, and that was the spectacular cliff top monasteries in Meteora.
After walking around in the hot sun all day, we were rewarded with a pretty amazing sunset, which turned the valley turned into a garden of Eden paradise. Was a long walk back down in the dark though!
4. Cappadocia, Turkey. We were in Turkey for around 6 weeks, but a massive highlight was 5 days in Cappadocia, spent roaming and exploring incredible rock formations and abandoned fairy chimneys.
5. Hoshap Castle, Eastern Turkey. The further we went East in Turkey, the better it got. The landscape's became more dry and desolate, the people amazingly interestingly and welcoming, and the travel harder but more rewarding.
6. Dogubeyazit, Eastern Turkey. The jewel of the East, Ishak Pasa Sarayi Palace, set in the majestic landscape just outside of Dogubeyazit.
7. Svaneti, Georgia. We spent 3 days riding horses through the mountainous villages of Svaneti, and felt like we'd stepped back in time.
One of the most unique things about the villages in Svaneti are the little towers on all the houses which are still standing from feudal times, where they were used for protection from attacking neighbours.
8. Volgograd, Russia. After spending the better part of a day trying to cross the Russian/Georgian border, and an 13 hour overnight bus through some pretty dodgey parts of Southern Russia where we were constantly pulled over for security checks, we had a few hours to spend in Volgograd before jumping on our next overnight train to Moscow, so we made a beeline for the magnificent war memorial 'The Motherland Calls'.
She is absolutely epic, a massive powerful woman on top of a hill, surrounded by many more evocative soviet sculptures. The contrast to our previous country, Georgia couldn't have been bigger.
9. Moscow, Russia. Russia is full of a lot of epic sights, and this Monument to the Conquers of Space definitely fits the bill! Its at the VDNKh park in the north east of Moscow. We had a couple of days exploring beautiful Moscow before jumping on the Trans-Mongolian train for a four day journey across the biggest country in the world.
10. Mongolia. Speaking of contrast...this one was a pretty big one too. From the epic sights of Russia we arrived in Mongolia around a week later. Its a country of endless skies and endless landscapes, where you can drive for days and only see a handful of people. We spent 16 days in this little Russian van with a couple of other travellers, exploring this wonderful country from north to south.
11. Khongoryn Els sand dunes, Mongolia. A major highlight of everyone's trip to Mongolia has to be the Khongoryn Els sand dunes in the Gobi. It took around an hour to make the climb of 300m to the top for a spectacular sunset, and we flew back down in around 10 minutes.
12. Tsagaan Suvarga Cliffs, Mongolia. And from there it just kept getting better. We begged our guide to take us back to these spectacular cliffs twice, once for sunset and up again in the morning for sunrise, and it was definitely worth the extra trip. Standing on the edge of the Tsagaan Suvarga cliffs is like being at the end of the world, looking out over an endless eroded plateau.
13. Longi Rice Terraces, China. Next stop China, for a whirlwind month trying to pack in as much of this incredible country as possible. We spent most of it in the Guanxi and Yunnan provinces, and had a couple of days exploring the Longi Rice terraces just in time to see the them awash in a beautiful golden glow before harvest.
14. Yangshuo, China. We had a mission for Yangshuo... Find this view. With just a couple of two screen-capped photos of it, we managed to find someone who put a rough X on a map, and took off on a treasure hunt on our little scooter.
After hours of riding through landscapes filled with hundreds of very similar karst mountains, we were just about ready to give up. We turned the scooter around and rode through yet another tiny village, when I decided to ask just one more local by showing them the photo (of course they spoke no English). They saw it and seemed to instantly recognise it, and waved vigorously towards one particular mountain about 1km away.
As the light was about to disappear we gave it a shot, and scrambled up a half built path, climbed up some boulders and scraped our way through a lot of prickly bushes to emerge at this stunning view. We were so excited we managed to find it, and standing on top of the mountain looking down on it was amazingly surreal.
15. Tiger Leaping Gorge, China. A spectacular view on the 2 day Tiger Leaping Gorge hike on the Jinsha River in China. There are two options for seeing the gorge, one is to drive in the lower road in big tour buses, check it out for a couple of hours and drive back. The other is to spend a couple of days walking the high route along the top of the valley and spend some time enjoying the beautiful landscapes. Pretty much all the locals choose the first option, meaning we managed to escape the general hordes of tourists that you encounter basically everywhere in China!
16. Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal. After 11 days of hiking, we finally reached 'the view' of Mount Everest (the perfectly shaped illuminated one on the left), from Kala Patthar at 5644m. Our 18 days of trekking around the Sagarmartha National Park was an incredible experience. Challenging, exhausting, beautiful and incredibly rewarding. We'd do it all again in a heartbeat.
17. Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal. Watching the clouds roll up the valley from Kala Patthar. Every day they came up the valleys at 3pm like clockwork. By this altitude though we were well and truly above them. Its an incredible thought that the top of Everest is another 3km straight up from where we were standing.
18. Varanasi, India. Heading south from Nepal, we crossed the border to India and spent a few days exploring the holy city of Varanasi. Hectic, smelly, crowded, vibrant, incredible Varanasi, and probably the most Indian of all Indian cities.
I took this shot early one morning as we were headed out on a boat for sunrise on the river Ganges, looking back over the main burning Ghat, Manikarnika.
Hindu cremations occur 24 hours a day here, and are attended by male members of the deceases family. Daily parades of bodies steam through the streets, wrapped in gold and orange fabric and trailed by their family, before they are brought here and cremated over stacks of huge piles of fire wood.
19. Nongriat, India. We're pretty sure we found heaven on earth when we visited the tiny village of Nongriat in the North Eastern States of India.
These amazing structures have been patiently created over hundreds of years by the Khasi villagers, who are are still making new ones today.
20. Mingun, Myanmar. Myanmar was probably one of the most photogenic countries we visited, with the beaming faces of all the beautiful locals, incredible temples and ancient ruins.
We had loads of fun hanging around with these two mini monks we met at Mingun, an old capital of Myanmar. Most boys in Myanmar spend at least a year in a monastery as a coming of age, so there are plenty of super cute mini-monks all over the country.
21. Inle Lake, Myanmar. A local boy paddling through the shallow 'streets' in a small village on Inle Lake. Its totally a normal way of life around here to have boats instead of cars or bikes, with all the houses on stilts and floating gardens to grow vegetables in.
22. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After being away from big cities for so long, we we really enjoyed the luxuries of Singapore.
Pete found us an amazing spot for viewing the KL skyline.... Literally just up a residential apartment block, so we spent a few hours just lingering outside someone's door waiting for the sun to go down. While we were there, a massive thunder storm just happened to roll in to add some drama to the show.
23. Gardens By The Bay, Singapore. As a Landscape Architect, Gardens By The Bay were pretty much the main reason why I wanted to go to Singapore and I was massively excited to finally get there. I've been looking at photos of this massive project for years, and visiting was no disappointment. It's a beautifully lush site and we happily wasted away hours here. Walking under the huge epiphyte tree structures is kind of like stepping into a pre-historic landscape.
24. Mt Bromo, Indonesia. Our last country before landing on home soil. We spent 2 weeks on what basically turned out to be a volcano tour of Java, waking up every morning well before sunrise to hike to epic spots for sunrise, and escaping the monsoonal downpours in the afternoons.
This shot is of the beautiful Mount Bromo (the smoking one at the back), and the stunning Tengger Massif with some crazy land formations. Bromo is one of the most active volcanoes in Java, with its latest eruption just last November lasting 3 months.
25. Ormiston Gorge, Australia. Back home soil! The last two weeks of our travels were spent driving across our own beautiful country, and exploring the red centre. One of our favourite spots along the way was here at Ormiston Gorge early one morning. There was no one around, and the water was so incredibly still swimming in it was like swimming in the clouds.
EMMA & PETE
We're just two Aussie's who met in London, married in Prague and travelled overland back to Australia.