ÉTAPE 6 : Vallée du feu & Parc de Zion

En remontant du Nord de Las Vegas vers les parcs nationaux rocheux, la route offre un véritable panorama de feu ( d’où le nom de Valley of fire).

Le paysage auparavant complètement désertique laisse maintenant place à des montagnes de roches. De la roche à perte de vue, partout …  mais ce n’est certainement pas n’importe quelle roche ! Une roche de plus de 150 millions d’années d’érosion qui a laissé des formes et couleurs inédites.

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Du rouge au violet en passant par l’ocre et le bleu, le résultat est spectaculaire. Le nom de cette partie du parc parle de lui même : The Rainbow vista (point de vue arc-en-ciel). Des montagnes multicolores en veux-tu, en voilà !

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La vallée du feu regorge de bien d’autres richesses puisqu’un peu plus loin se trouve le Silica Dome où les couleurs se ternissent mais n’en sont pas moins belles. Un dégradé de beige/marron sur fond de ciel bleu digne des plus beaux tableaux que peut nous offrir la nature.

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Alors que vous pensiez rester dans les paysages désertiques et rocheux du Névada la végétation reprends ses droits quelques kilomètres plus loin dans l’Utah avec le Zion Park. Un parc de 593 km² célèbre pour ses profonds canyons creusés par la rivière Virgin. Une faune et flore très largement développée au milieu de pierres vielles de plusieurs dizaines de millions d’années dans ce parc trop rapidement visité (faute d’avalanches de pierre du les petites routes de montagnes)…

Cette traversée du Nevada et arrivée dans l’Utah nous on amené à notre prochaine étape : ÉTAPE 7 : Encore plus de canyons 

 

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Getting into summer: the floral exhibition of Chantilly

Last week, I had some invitations to go into the park of the castle of Chantilly to see the floral exhibition that was taking place. In this rustic atmosphere, walking by the beautiful castle, you enter into the marvelous area of flowers (and its bees). From the peony to the rose you can really find any flower you want! Yes, this is an exhibition of flowers, but you can actually buy them which is the whole purpose of this place.

Because I’m not a big fan of buying flowers, by this sunny day I just decided to take some fresh air and take a walk in this park. Flowers aren’t everything you can find or buy, there is all the stuff you need for your garden like benches, sofas… From the most traditional atmosphere of plants/gardens to the Japanese ones, you’ll find your heart’s desire. This giant flower market is particularly enjoyable, on a lovely afternoon, because of the frame it’s taking place in. You are in the park of the beautiful castle of Chantilly, surrounded by its garden, water, sheep… You can only like this place!

Speaking of the castle, by buying the ticket to go to the floral exhibition you can visit the castle and its stables. Because I’m from this area, I’ve already seen the castle but never talk about it. So, now I think is the right timing. The castle of Chantilly is pretty nice, well maintained but I will not like is far from being the best in France. At some point into the castle you can find rooms looking like the castle of Versailles because of the golden walls. This is the rooms that I preferred, reminding me my history classes. Moreover, the library is impressive as a lover of books this room is nice to see. The rest of the Castle is made of a museum with a lot of paintings that you can admire. I know for facts that there are great paintings exposed, but because I don’t like that much this kind of art I cannot say more. The beauty of the castle, in my opinion, is its outside appearance. I like the fact that the castle is surrounded by water and made with an incredible architecture.

Just beside the castle, its stables are amazing. Chantilly is a city well known for its horse races, and this is why we call it the city of horses. However, the stables are reserved for dressage horses. In these stables, you’ll find the horses (obviously), the museum of the horse and the carousel where horses are performing. This day, we could watch a presentation made by the stables to explain how horses are functioning, the way they treat them and how they train them. Also, they are showing us some tricks but if you want to see a whole performance with music, lights and professionals you can go see the performances that are going on. I’ve actually seen few since I live nearby and wrote a post about one of them: Horse performance in a show!

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At the end of the day, this small package of things to do in the city of Chantilly is taking you back to an old time where can project yourself decades ago. A throw back in history that is available all year long (except for the floral exhibition open few times a year).

 

Useful information:

Paris>Chantilly:  25 minutes by train

Tickets for the floral exhibition+ castle+ stables : 20 euros for 1 adult, 12 euros for children

More info on : http://www.domainedechantilly.com/fr/journees-plantes/

STOP 3: Lakes discovered along the road trip

So here I am again, talking about my little adventures around my road trip in the US. So, yes I have to agree I have been gone for a while now. Indeed, I couldn’t write anything about my travels or even the things that I discovered in my own country because of my studies. I had to focus on my work to thus come back even stronger on this blog. This is why now I want to come back to my “serie” that I started few months ago to talk about this famous road trip on the West coast of the US that my family and I did.

Enough talking about my life! Let’s move on. So, after my Stop 2 at Yosemite  we took the road to another destination (that you’ll find out soon). After seeing the greenery of the park of Yosemite, lakes began to appear at the borders of the road. This is why we stopped to admire the first one called Mono Lake. The particularity of this lake is that it’s super salty and this is why within the years, the size of the lake is decreasing a lot (and also because of the pumping from the city of Los Angeles). Because of its high rate of salt, the ecosystem around this lake is really dense. There are a lot of species of fishes and also a lot of different birds. Even if the water looks amazing you don’t really want to go swim in it because of the alkali flies (which are little flies) and algae. The particularity of this lake is its calcareous concretions made up all around the lake. You can also take a walk around this weird lake. I would say that this lake is not a must to see, but if you’re traveling nearby it’s a great spot to stop by.

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The second lake we saw was the Mammoth lake. Mammoth lake is more like an area where you can ski in the winter and in the summer chill around the multiples lakes. This is the kind of place you go on summer to camp, fish and spend relaxing holidays. We just spent one night at this place, so we only saw few lakes and didn’t explore that much. Even if the experience was short, it was worthy and this is the kind of place you want to go to recharge.

 

After these few stops of lakes we ended up to our next destination: STEP 4: DEATH VALLEY

 

 

One day trip at Udo Island

After being for some days on Jeju island, my friends and I decided to visit Udo island (also really famous). To go to this island you should take the ferry from Jeju of about 10 minutes.

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Udo Island is a really small island that is really easy to visit in one day. To do the tour of it you could either take the bus, the bicycle or scooter. I rent a bicycle for the day ( 10 000 won, 9 dollars) and it was the best idea. With it, we could travel all around the island for the day by stopping at the spot we wanted to see.

The first stop we did was at the Hongjodangoe beach. Unfortenulatly, the weather was bad and the beach crowded but the water was extremely beautiful. It was amazing to see!

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From there we decided to do some speed boat to discover more about the island. The boat was really funny and we could appreciate the beauty of the island from the sea. (I have to admit I was pretty scared also).

 

After this stop, we decided to try one of the famous food of the island : the peanut ice cream. You can find some peanut ice cream all over the island and it’s really tasty!

Then, we took the road again to ride a bit more. After some kilometres, we decided to stop at a horse riding place for some of my friends. Udo Island is really famous for its horse rides but it’s more about doing a small tour near the stable than a real ride. In my opinion, it’s not worth it because of the path which is not that pretty. However, my friend that don’t have the chance to do some horse riding really enjoyed it.

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During the rest of our ride, we didn’t stop at some specific points but we preferred to ride until the end. Even if there were not vista point to see, the landscape was really beautiful. It’s the real countryside of Korea. You go into the wheat field, near the sea, in the meadow… A lot of different sceneries in one and only place!

 

To end this day we took back the ferry to Jeju (which leaves early, be careful to not being stuck on Udo island).We spent an amazing day on Udo which is full of many surprises.

Specialities of Jeju island

As I already mentioned  in my previous post :  Discovering the wonders of Jeju, this island is full of beautiful surprises. Even if it’s in Korea Jeju has some specialities that you can only find there (or almost). For example, the people living there speak Korean but they do have some different words and accent (such as Quebec and France).

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Another distinguish example in Jeju are the Dol Hareubang which are rock status (from volcanic rock most of the time). They are considered to be gods offering both protection and fertility. They are also placed outside gates in order to protect people against demons. Nowadays  Dol Hareubang are a symbol of the island. You can actually find some EVERYWHERE! There is also a lot of small rocks for souvenirs. The meaning today stayed as a symbol of fertility.

 

Another particularity of Jeju island is its food. First of all, they are some small oranges called Tangerines that are growing all over the place… You can buy some in supermarkets or other souvenir shops but the best place to buy some are in the street. You can buy some to street sellers and it will be cheaper and so much better.

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Tangerines taste like orange and clementine at the same time. I also really loved to drink Tangerines juice with the hot weather it’s perfect!

The other special food of Jeju is the black pork. The meal is really similar as the traditional Korean barbecue. You’re cooking the meat in the middle of the table but the meat is black pork. Black pork is really traditional from Jeju and if you have the chance to try it you should.

The meat has a particular taste from other pigs, it has a smoked taste. The only thing to know is that black pig is an expensive meal (for Korea). If you want to try this speciality you should first look at the different prices depending on restaurants.

 

So here some specialities of the beautiful Island of Jeju but of course there are a lot more to discover!

 

 

美しいですOsaka

 

Near Kyoto, Osaka is also a big city where you can spend some days there. However, I just
_DSC5327.jpgspent one day and tried to do the maximum during this beautiful day. So, the first thing that I did was the Osaka castle. It’s one of the most famous in Japan and it played a huge role during the 16th century. Nowadays, in the castle you can find a museum. The museum is starting from the last floor until the first floor and retraces the history of Japan. Moreover, at the last floor you can see a panoramic view of Osaka which is not that bad.

After this  stop in the castle, I decided to go in the city center where all the other famous places are. I walked into Den Den Town which is basically the electronic town of Osaka. However, there is not only electronic stuff there. You will find CD shops, manga shops, costume shops… Everything that you can imagine is there! I really enjoyed this place because of its variety of crazy stuff. There is also a lot of “free taxes” shops where you don’t pay the tax on the articles.

In Den Den Town you will find everything related to the crazy Japanese culture such as winning yogurt or chocolate bars into a machine game. The drinking machines are also decorated it give them a fancy look. You can find the costume of manga’s heroes and buy them (if you are courageous or crazy enough).

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Which is also surprising is the contrast of modernity and old objects. Indeed, you can find entire shops of old video games with old player station and on the other hand you’ll find extra modern shops with huge screens and the last game on the market.

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Before going to the last place that I wanted to see in Osaka I tried typical food from the city. I tried the Takoyaki which is basically some small balls with octopus inside. When I tried that, I didn’t know that some octopus was inside so I was really surprised and disgusted at the same time when I saw a tentacle coming out of the ball. Moreover, I took the plain version of balls but most of the Japanese people put some sauce on it like soy sauce.

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People who make these small balls are basically putting the dough into some half circle molds and when it’s starting to cook they turn it really quickly with chopsticks.

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So, the last thing I did in Osaka was going to see the beautiful and famous Dotonbori arcade. This huge street is full of restaurants, shops, crazy things… It’s a really beautiful avenue because of the outside of the buildings which are all full of lights and decorations.

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Hanging out there was really good and I was once again in the crowd of Japanese people. This place also gives you a lot to laugh about because of weird things such as pet’s clothes or restaurant where you can fish your fish to eat.

In one of the bridges of this long street, there is THE famous place that everyone saw on pictures. This is the place with the big screens and lighting. It was really a good time to spend time there and see the sunset.

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Busan: Gamchon village

Busan: second biggest city of South Korea is hiding a small treasure. 30 minutes away from the city center by taking a small bus through the mountains you are not in Busan anymore but in a small and colorful village. Basically, this is a place where all the houses are colorful, there is a lot of street art and you just feel good spending time there. When I went there it was raining and even though the show of all the colors was magical. I guess that going there on a sunny is ideal to appreciate the true beauty of the place.

 

In this village, there is a big road which is really easy to find from the bus station. From this point, you can observe all the colorful houses. In addition, some of the houses (a lot) are painted like real pieces of art. The walls are not forgotten as well, they are full of small decorations or full of painted wood which is giving a joyful atmosphere to the place. Because of this huge amount of things to look you can feel dizzy … but don’t worry that’s a good thing, it means there is a lot of beautiful things to see.

 

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As I mentioned just before there is a lot of street art in these small streets. The only thing you have to do is to find them and admire (or trying to understand). There is also a lot of good photo spots, in front of all the houses, with your lover and way more…

 

 

In the Gamchon village even if the big road is the most interesting one following small streets can be a great idea. You’ll go away from the crowd and discover some cute places that you didn’t expect to see.

 

 

In the main street, there is a lot of shops and restaurants. You can stop there to eat typical Korean food or buy souvenirs if you have the time. If you just want to walk around you can grab some Korean street snack (which is really various). This time, I tried the Korean pancake filled with cheese which was really good. However, I also tried the fried ice cream which was really strange and not that good… Korean pancakes are all over Korea but you can find different tastes from one part to another of Korea. Generally, the Korean pancakes are filled with red bean paste but in Busan you’ll find ice cream, cheese, sesame, meat or other things inside.

 

Gamcheon village:  a fresh air outside Busan to enjoy the beauty of colorful houses and discover another Korea.