6 memorials that made an impact on us

Posted on Updated on

The world has had a tumultuous history. Along with all the beautiful landscapes, the amazing architectural feats, and incredible people and stories that have been… the world has had its fair share of heartache and heartbreak and gut wrenching stories of war and/or natural disasters. Memorials are sometimes set up to mark the lives lost. We always find these memorials very haunting and moving.

But memorials are not only for sad events, they also mark important people and events. In this post, we’ve rounded up the memorials that we have visited that made an impact on us. Not that any of the others were less notable or less important, we particularly wanted to share these 6.

And in no particular order,

1. The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, we’ve previously shared a photo essay of it and still get goosebumps thinking about this place. The information around its history is a little hazy but in essence it is a memorial to lives lost. The number of crosses erected in this place is unknown but is estimated to be around 100,000. We’ve never seen anywhere else quite like it.


2. The Memorial Cenotaph framing the peace flame and the A-Bomb Dome as part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan. The park itself is dedicated to Hiroshima, the first city ever to suffer a nuclear attack, in memory of the victims.

The A-Bomb dome that you can see in the distance, is what remains of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. This building was at the centre of the where the bomb exploded. IMG_1111

3. In 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch in New Zealand, killing 185 people. This is a temporary art installation commemorating the lives lost on that February day. There was 185 different chairs painted white, each marking one of the lives lost.  IMG_1179

4. Seeing the one in Christchurch, reminded us immediately of the one we saw in Krakow, Poland. Thirty-three chairs on deportation site, each one representing the 1,000 Jewish victims of the Krakow Ghetto during World War II. IMG_1578

5. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, USA is something we had only ever seen in TV shows and movies. This statue is probably one of the most notable things that we wanted to see during our visit to DC and it certainly did not disappoint. Honouring the 16th President of the USA, it stands at about 5.8 meters. The walls inside the monument are inscribed with Lincoln’s inaugural speech and Gettysburg speech. IMG_3256

6. And possibly the most significant one for us as Australians was the Memorial by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli in Turkey.

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
– Ataturk, 1934


What memorial have you visited that made an impact on you? 


guest post: what are the benefits of an escorted china tour?

Posted on Updated on

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post contributed by Mediabuzzer. The views and opinions expressed in the post is that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Wise Monkeys Abroad.
Image by Josephine Lim via Flickr
Image by Josephine Lim via Flickr

The value of an organised, escorted tour through China is worth more than just peace of mind. It can translate into cost savings, making new friends for life, and perhaps one of the most important commodities we have: TIME.

There are too many benefits of a tailor-made China tour for us to list here and they are not difficult to articulate –let me assure you!

  1. Break the Language Barrier

China is a vast country with a variety of different language dialects which make up its diverse culture, and navigating them is no easy task if you are unfamiliar with them. Organising a custom escorted China tour will provide you with the sort of local backup one needs to manoeuvre on their journey.

  1. Get Your Papers Sorted

An escorted China tour company will assist you with obtaining the required paperwork you need to visit the country. Take a lot of the guesswork out of obtaining visas with the help of your tour company and spend more time doing what is important to you without the headaches that come with navigating visa requirements.

  1. Save Money

Organised tours will allow you to get bulk pricing on a number of destinations from hotels, resorts, attractions, and even food discounts at popular restaurants. Do not pay regular prices at places you travel to when you book your journey through a reputable tour company.

  1. Save Time

Escorted China tours 2016 will also help you book everything to your specification, from hotels to restaurants, just by answering their basic questions. A tour company will be able to string together your travel experience based on your preferences and open doors that you may not be able to open all on your own.

No waiting in long queues for tickets or meals. With an organised China tour operator, all of these tasks will be completed in advance of your journey so you can focus on enjoying yourself.

  1. Learn History

A popular China tour company will be able to hold your hand and walk you through every location you visit explaining all of the cultural nuances and historical significance as you go along. They are typically able to offer both entertaining and educational commentary every step of the way.

  1. Don’t Play the Fool 

With as diverse a culture as China’s, there are bound to be many ethnic and etiquette-related ways you might slip up if you are on your own however an accredited China tour facilitator will keep you in the loop as you go along.

  1. Avoid Tourist Traps 

Reputation is everything to a tour company and because they are always trying to attract more business due to the competition that comes with the job title, they’re going to treat you right by making sure that you are safe and that you do not get taken advantage of.

A tour company will ensure that you spend your money with other companies that are reputable and have your absolute best interests at heart, every single time.

buddhist cave art in the yungang grottoes

Posted on

With Le back into full-time work, time has just been slipping away. It has been over six months since we returned from our last overseas trip and we just are getting edgy to plan our next one.

At the moment, we have a few short local getaways planned but we are hoping for an overseas trip at some point for 2-3 weeks at the end of the year. We’ll see how it pans out.

In the meantime, let’s go down memory lane for a little bit. We thought we would look back on a UNESCO site that we visited back in 2012….

It was April 2012, and we were in China. We were rather unaware that it was still going to be COLD…. So very very cold!

The day we went to Yungang Grottoes it was absolutely freezing and windy. We can recall so clearly how we had the hoods of our windbreakers pulled tightly over our “beanied” heads, our scarves wrapped around our necks and up around our faces… just enough to reveal our eyes.


The cold air was slicing through us despite our multiple layers…

But walking around the grottoes in that cold air was worth it! It was worth every teeth chatter, it was worth every shiver, it was worth the sting on our cheeks from the wind.

Before arriving at the caves, we walk down a path with tall majestic carved columns, then over a bridge with the frozen lake below.


We had no idea what we were in for…


There are more than 250 caves and more than 50 000 carved statues of all shapes and sizes. Impossible to see them all in the time we had there.

IMG_7106 IMG_7093

The sizes of the statues vary from tiny to massive – some are inside the caves while others are outside.

IMG_7073 IMG_7091 IMG_7094 IMG_7095 IMG_7096 IMG_7101 IMG_7099 IMG_7065 IMG_7067

The level of detail on the carvings was mindboggling. And to think this artwork dates back to the 5th and 6th Century, it had us in complete awe.

IMG_7092 IMG_7086

The visit to these grottoes was definitely an experience to remember for many reasons. By the end of that day, our cheeks were frozen solid!


Yungang Grottoes was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 2001.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit our unofficial bucket list


weekly photo challenge: blur

Posted on

Most of our photos that are blurry, we delete straight away. So this challenge was hard for us but we managed to find one of the Xi’an wall.


Do you keep photos that are blurred?

Have a great weekend!

Feel free to drop us a line here.