Two Years of Travel in Pictures: Julie’s favourite photos of our trip (Latvia to Thailand)

When we were thinking about wrapping up our two years of travel it seemed like a good idea to have a round up of our favourite photos. To speed up the process we decided to each go through the photos that we took and compile our own selections. It hadn’t really occurred to me how long it would take to just physically look through the 42,485 photos that I had saved, never mind decide which 50 or so were the best. It was a lot of fun though and we found ourselves frequently stopping to share a photo and ask “remember this?”

I’d say that the most photogenic countries we visited were Mongolia for stunning landscapes, Bangladesh for its friendly people, Japan for its culture, and Uzbekistan for a mix of buildings and people as well as phenomenal weather (a bit of sunshine can make the difference between an OK photo and a good one).

It quickly became obvious that I wouldn’t be able to whittle my favourites down to 50, so here is the first of three long instalments…

20130326-104743.jpgThe reconstructed House of the Blackheads on our first evening in Riga, Latvia

Dried fish in Riga's marketA display of dried fish in Riga’s amazing covered market

20130326-105509.jpgPickled vegetables are a big part of the food culture in the Baltics and Russia and we got quite a taste for them. This stall is in Riga’s market

4Evangelic Lutheran Church in Sigulda, Latvia

5Sibelius monument detail on a grey and rainy morning in Helsinki, Finland

6One of the domes of the Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg, Russia

20130418-223439.jpgSt Petersburg’s Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood was one of my favourite sights in Russia, and the interior was just as spectacular as the exterior

8Cadets stand guard at the statue of the Motherland at Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery in St Petersburg where 420,000 victims of the Siege of Leningrad are buried

Fountains at PeterhofLooking through the Grand Cascade at Peterhof

Domes at PeterhofI loved the onion domes on the Russian Orthodox churches and these gold ones at Peterhof are particularly striking

Russian dollsNot buying myself a Russian doll is a small regret from my time in Russia though I probably would have been sick of carrying it very quickly!

Tsar Cannon in the KremlinThe huge Tsar-Cannon in Cathedral Square at the Moscow Kremlin has supposedly only ever been fired once

20130515-110123.jpgKomsomolskaya metro station in Moscow

Icon, Sergiev PosadAn icon and candles in the monastery in Sergiev Posad, part of Russia’s Golden Ring

River Yenisey in KrasnoyarskLooking up the River Yenisey in Krasnoyarsk

20130610-084624.jpgAs we moved into Siberian Russia, the landscapes got noticeably bigger and heavily forested. The view from the Stolby Nature Reserve near Krasnoyarsk seemed to go on forever

Snowy mountains above BaikalskoeSnowy mountains above the small village of Baikalskoe on the northern shores of Lake Baikal

Buryat sacred tree on Olkhon IslandThe Buryat people of Siberia practice animism, this sacred tree on Olkhon Island is tied with offering scarves

19On our first evening staying at Nikita’s Homestead on Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal we watched a spectacular sunset

Rotten boat, Olkhon IslandA dilapidated old boat lies on the lakeshore in the north of Olkhon Island

20130701-211903.jpgLooking along the length of the train as we leave Russia

Monastery door handlesDoor handles at Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Young monks in UlaanbaatarYoung monks carrying a milk churn through Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar

Sunset at Erdene Zuu monasterySunset at Erdene Zuu monastery in Kharkhorin

Oogii our Gobi Desert guideOogii, the guide on our 9 day tour to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia

Tsagaan SuvragaA thunderstorm swept through as we arrived Tsagaan Suvraga in Mongolia, leaving us with moody skies and sunlight with which to admire the eerie looking rock formations

Mongolian roadA typical road in Mongolia stretching off into the distance with no other man made feature in sight

GersMore than half of the Mongolian population still live in gers

20130728-220113.jpgA huge full moon rising over the Gobi desert in Mongolia

Chinggis the dogThis dog decided to accompany us on a walk through Terelj National Park in eastern Mongolia. In honour of the great khaan we called him Chinggis!

Ovoo in eastern MongoliaOvoos, small cairns of rocks, are commonly found beside roads in Mongolia. Passing travellers add a rock to pray for a safe journey

20130829-085144.jpgActually this photo was taken on Andrew’s camera but I snuck it in as it always makes me smile. We found this public artwork in Beijing’s 798 District

Great WallChina’s Great Wall seen through a window in one of the towers of the Jinshanling section

Pingyao city wallIt was great to have my parents visit us for two weeks in China and I love this photo of them walking along Pingyao’s city wall

20130914-225210.jpgAt the City God Temple in Pingyao we happened upon a play performed twice daily

20130914-225222.jpgTemple visitors in China try to throw a coin into the pot for good luck

Terracotta warriors Pit 1The scale of Pit 1 at the Tomb of the Terracotta Warriors near Xi’an took my breath away

Bell tower, Xi'anBell tower in Xi’an – we never saw the bell, but judging by the size of the tower it must be pretty big!

20130911-100943.jpgI would happily have spent hours watching the pandas at the breeding centre that we visited near Xi’an

Busker in YinchuanI don’t have many people photos from China, largely being too intimidated by the crowds I think, but I’m glad I stopped to ask this busker in Yinchuan if i could take his photo

Temple building at Summer PalaceSide building near the Temple of Buddhist Virtue and view down to Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace in Beijing

Star Ferry in Hong Kong harbourThe Star Ferry which crosses Hong Kong’s harbour has a distinctly retro look

20130919-143608.jpgHong Kong’s skyline is justifiably famous. Every evening at 8pm there is a free light show

Mong Kok bird marketThe Mong Kok area of Hong Kong is famous for its markets including song birds which locals keep as pets

Incense coilA burning incense coil hangs from the ceiling in one of Hong Kong’s temples

Spring rollsWe found the world’s best spring rolls in a small restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam

Umbrellas in Sa PaWe joined a very rainy walk to some local villages along with an entourage of local ladies selling crafts during our stay in Sa Pa in northern Vietnam

Bathroom near Sa PaDuring a homestay visit near Sa Pa we took a traditional herbal bath in the house of the sister of our host family

20131018-160509.jpgAndrew having the first of many street-side haircuts, this one was in Hanoi

20131018-160155.jpgThere are far more varieties of noodles than I ever dreamed of for sale in Vietnam

Vietnam Museum of EthnologyOur friend Jo visited us for the first time in Vietnam. I was trying to brighten this photo which we took at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and really liked the effect I got by changing it to black and white

Ha Long Bay cruiseOne of our fellow daytrippers diving off the boat during our cruise around Ha Long Bay from Cat Ba Island

Silk lantern maker in Hoi AnA lady making silk lanterns at a craft shop in Hoi An

Wooden masks on a wall in Hoi An, VietnamWooden masks on a wall in Hoi An, Vietnam

Market display in Hoi AnGarlic and chillis are frequently used in Vietnamese cuisine

Shopper in Cai Rang floating marketThe floating market at Cai Rang was fascinating and we loved watching the locals’ standing up rowing technique

20131111-210141.jpgVietnamese boats have eyes…

Crabs for saleCrabs for sale at the Cai Rang land market

Bacon the Vietnamese pigBacon, the pet pig at Nguyen Shack homestay made very cute grunting noises when we scratched his back

MartiniOur trip was occasionally glamorous… To celebrate an incredible two weeks travelling through Vietnam with Jo we had cocktails in the rooftop bar of the Sheraton Hotel

Electric wires in Phnom PenhWe really felt for the guys who have to fix any faults with the electrical systems in China and Southeast Asia. This tangle was above the streets in Phnom Penh.

20131125-125238.jpgThe atrocities committed at the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh during Pol Pot’s regime defy belief

Rush hour in Phnom PenhRush hour in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as seen from the back seat of a tuk-tuk

Playing pool in Phnom PenhAndrew breaking the pool balls in a bar on street 172, Phnom Penh

Rice fields near KampotPalm trees and rice paddies near Kampot, Cambodia

Calf near KampotA curious calf near Kampot, Cambodia

20131206-110943.jpgA man paddling across to collect a box from the boat we took from Battambang to Siem Reap

Sunrise at Angkor WatIt was worth getting up at 4am to see the sky slowly turning pink behind the iconic towers of Angkor Wat

Temple detail, CambodiaStone carving detail at Preah Khan temple, Angkor

Tree roots at Ta SomTree roots engulfing a gate at Ta Som temple near Siem Reap

Lizard, CambodiaA Changeable Lizard in the undergrowth at Bakong temple, Roluos Group, near Siem Reap

Bicycling boysThese Cambodian boys thought it would be a hoot to chase after our tuk-tuk on their bikes when we drove past!

Pad ThaiPad Thai was one of our favourite Thai street food meals

Buddha statue detail at Wat PhoBuddha statue detail covered with offerings of flowers and gold leaf at Wat Pho, Bangkok

Buddha statue, Chiang MaiBuddha statue at Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

Buddhist monks, Chiang MaiReal monks checking out the spookily lifelike fibreglass models of their venerated predecessors at Wat Pha Singh, Chiang Mai

Street art eyeStreet art in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monk collecting almsA young monk collecting alms at the annual alms-giving to 10,000 monks in Chiang Mai

New Year lanternsLanterns floating above the moat beside Chalyaphum Road in Chiang Mai to wish for good fortune in the New Year

Butcher's stallA butcher’s stall at the Tonlamyai market in Chiang Mai

Wat Prathat Doi SuthepWat Prathat Doi Suthep stands on a hilltop overlooking Chiang Mai and is notable for the amount of gold covering its monuments

White Temple, Chiang RaiThe intricate White Temple near Chiang Rai is full of popular culture references as well as traditional Buddhist iconography

Bundles of herbsBundles of herbs for sale in the market near the cookery class we took in Chiang Mai

20140208-144418.jpgWith my elephant Bunjun on our day as elephant owners

Stalagmite in a caveStalagmite in Mueng On Cave, north of Chiang Mai

20140304-064238.jpgBuddha at Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai

Elephant chedi detailImages of elephants are everywhere in Thailand, including surrounding this chedi at Wat Sorasak, Sukhothai

Grand Palace, BangkokThe impressive Grand Palace in Bangkok

Chinatown shopA shop in Bangkok’s Chinatown

Footsteps on Long Beach, Koh LantaFootsteps on Long Beach, Koh Lanta

Boat detailI especially liked this boat detail that I spotted in Koh Lanta’s Old Town as it looks like a J – I assume it’s actually a Thai letter

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