3. Songshan, China
China is such a huge country, so naturally there’s more than one leg/legs picture I’d taken within its vastness.
Looking back on this particular photo marks an important moment to me – I’d originally traveled with a friend from home and our friendship had been fraying for a while, since before we left actually.
It is a shame and in some ways I do miss him, but I remember thinking at this moment I was ready to travel alone.
We had an argument about Songshan and how to get to it, we were stone cold silent in the cable cars up and didn’t speak a word to each other. In the heat, which was still so intense, I perched on this spot to relax and hydrate.
He was behind me with Chinese tourist vendors, trying to sell him the ‘iconic’ karate swords (as Songshan is also home to the famous Shaolin Temple.)
The vendors had taken pictures of him holding the swords in a mortal kombat-type pose, a photo I wouldn’t see until he deleted me on facebook and that was left as his profile picture.
Looking around the mountains, their peacefulness was soothing and refreshing, particularly compared to the hustle and bustle in Shanghai. I wouldn’t have another moment like this until the next picture was taken, and when I had separated from my now former travel buddy.
2. Shanghai, China
Taken on my first full day in the most populated city in the world, Shanghai. I travelled on the bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai the previous afternoon – cutting 819 miles (1,318 km) into just under 5 hours.
Both boarding and alighting felt as security tight and precise as an airport, unlike the slower trains I was to take around China after this.
Finally arriving at the hostel – aka bed – I woke up to my first full day exceeding 40 degrees and the most intense heat I’ve ever experienced. So hot, the marble blocks around this area burned my skin when sitting on them (I was wearing shorts!) before being shortly ushered off and away from them by security officers, who seemingly came out of nowhere. Sitting upon the extended wooden arms of these marble blocks were allowed though. But still burnt.
My travel buddy I was with at the time and I went to meet a German friend, we had met at our hostel back in Beijing.
Walking around Shanghai in this heat was exhausting, the air was thick and I felt slimy with sweat (not my most attractive sentence.)
We walked down Nanjing Road, before settling down around this spot on The Bund, heat weary, just staring over at Pudong for an hour or two.
1. Moscow, Russia.
Flicking back through pictures from traveling with a heavy heart, I began to notice similar pictures I’d taken of my legs/feet in very different parts of the world.
Here I am at the start of my travels, a few days in, sitting on a bench next to a busy road in Moscow, drinking a Baltika beer. Four friends surrounded me and we were all chatting, cheerfully and generally relaxing.
I remember thinking my journey had only just begun and hearing of my friend’s travel stories at the time, I was almost giddy with a nervous excitement for what was to come. I hadn’t realised yet how finding good company (as these friends were only holidaying and going back to England shortly) isn’t easy to find, there can be long waits between, much like traveling itself, to get to one place to another, long hours staring outside a coach, train, plane window before you arrive in a new destination.
I was yet to learn when you find that place you really love, or that random person you really get on with, makes it the more memorable when you do. Oh and that purple and grey bag to my right; that will only last a few months before falling to pieces. Thanks Mountain Warehouse!