Footnote and photos

Here are some photos of our stay in Colombia.  It was searingly hot and muggy so we spent most of our time in the sea or in our air conditioned room in Santa Marta.  Really stunningly beautiful in Tayrona national park (where we slept in hammocks within earshot of the surf) and a vibrant slightly edgy culture in Santa Marta city.  We had quite a challenging time in Colombia: dealing with the climate/insects, I managed to get a cold and Archie had severe diarrhoea on the night we were supposed to fly to Lima.  Cue a whole day trying to sort out new flights and me a hysterical exhausted red faced gringa (not a pretty sight) after 4 hours in an airline office/clinic and 4 hours on the phone.  We could have just bought fresh flights at top dollar and then claimed insurance, but I decided to dig my heels in and it worked…eventually…

To end our holiday on a positive note, I booked one night in a five star hotel in Lima.  Archie now thinks that this is definitely the way forward and he took himself off to breakfast alone in his fluffy white bathrobe and slippers ‘looking like Noel Coward’ in my dad’s words.  We could not meet up with our Peruvian friends from Lima as we had to turn tail and get back to the airport, but will stay in touch and hope to get back to explore more of Peru and Colombia.  I was mightily relieved to bring my boy home safe and sound and am now being looked after by my parents (I too have the dreaded tummy troubles).  Archie is enjoying time with his dad and recovering, though he is still on a South American schedule!

Thanks for reading our blog and commenting, it has been lovely way to stay in touch.  Catch up soon, Becky xx

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Vaccation Finally!!!

Archie: blog (dictated to Becky)

In Tayrona in Colombia we got to stay in really posh hammocks with mosquito nets and all that..the fish was amazing at the restaurant and so was the beef and chips and the ham and cheese toasties!

The white beaches had palm trees hanging over, and coconuts everywhere…not drinking them but we liked eating them. Lovely blue wavy see-through seas!  Lots of women in bikinis…a good thing…

I had a luxury horseride on the way there and mum arrives there half an hour later than me…I am just looking at ice creams on the menu.  on the way back she decides that walking is hot sweaty and horrible so unforunately I was looking at her horse`s butt the whole time.

In the jungle we saw the biggest rodents we had probably ever seen, approximately the size of a giant guinea pig (cuy in Spanish) with long legs.  Lizards, gekkos everywhere, mosquitos…

In Lima we are staying at a very posh hotel, five stars, very expensive, not exactly cheap but a treat at the end.  It has a swimming pool, gym and internet centre we are using right now…it is amazing here.  Unfortunately we had to check out at twelve!

Cannot wait to see everyone, coming back to South America soon hopefully.  Peru and Colombia were my favorite countries because there area loads of things we did not explore, just the beachs and Macchu Picchu.

Good bye everyone!

{photos to follow….}

 

groovian peruvian

Well, you will be sorry to hear that Archie is too tired to blog today as he has spent the day cavorting in the Caribbean near Santa Marta in Colombia.  We are finally ‘on holiday’ in his words and he has perked up after a couple of weeks of being quite homesick.  It is blazing hot here, tomorrow we go to Tayrona National Park with pristine beaches backed by rainforest, a real tropical paradise.  We missed our flight here as our connection in Bogota coincided with the homecoming of the national football team so complete gridlock!  We had spent the night with a lovely local family whose daughter was on our flight from Lima to Bogota so all in all a sweet experience!834

We had a brief day at Lake Titicaca, touring a couple of islands, a little contrived but a glimpse into local culture.  The lake is spectacularly beautiful and remarkable and the home cooked trout delicious.

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Cusco was our base for nearly a week, lapping up the architecture, fine food and handicrafts.  We were in the city for Inti Raymi, the sun festival, really vibrant and moving.  Archie had his first (and second) massage, we spent a day with a lovely Peruvian family who we met on their holidays in the Sacred Valley and of coure…Macchu Picchu.  I was skeptical as I feared a big anti-climax and bigger crowds but it is a truly magical place…not only the structures but the sheer majesty of the setting.  We took the train (the alternative is trekking in) which was wonderful.

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641From Cusco to Ica on the coast via endless switchbacks over the course of a night.  Archie was violently ill in my lap so an unpleasant journey all round.  Near Ica we stayed in Huacachina, another Archie paradise with crepes, pool, sunshine, dune buggying and sand boarding.  The dunes were just incredible, and we also visited the national park of Paracas where it NEVER rains.  Sadly we could not visit the sea lion colonies by boat but the coastline and bird life were dramatic, our second glimpse of flamingos – which apparently inspired the red and white Peruvian flag.

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In Lima we met our friends Karla, Daniel and Matthieu who live in the city.  We had met them at Macchu Picchu, and they took us for a day at the zoo.  We hope to see them again before flying home, as well as the family we met in the Sacred Valley.  The Peruvian people are really hospitable and we loved out time there, so much more to explore next time…

We will try to do one more post after our Colombia adventure. Excuse any typos, I am rattling this one off at speed….

Back in blighty on 16th, missing our friends and family and looking forward to seeing you soon.

Becky and Archie xxx

HIPPY TOWN#2 San Pedro de Atacama

Archie:

More tourists there than ever and it was the start of the winter they said in the summer is  completely stuffed that time there are no hostels or hotels that are not stuffed full there would be people sleeping on sofas. But people that live there live on the tourists with tours cheep hostels, hotels & their amazing weather. Also we were able to do some sand boarding which is a little bit easy  but you can check out what we did on http://www.youtube.com/sandbord sanpedro and click on the top one it should be a Chanel  then find 12 06 2014PM    you will find the only ones of becky are her falling and one  of me doing 180 degree turn then going so stylishly fast then flipped also awesomely my hair still in absolutely perfect condition.

Becky:

We have had an incredible couple of weeks.  San Pedro de Atacama was fabulous, in spite of the backpacker bottleneck which, as Archie says, must intensify in high season.  San Pedro is a tiny oasis in the vast Atacama – the highest desert in the world.  There are endless day trips, we went sand boarding twice as this was a clear winner with Archie and lots of fun.  We also visited some laguna, both dead sea salty and freshwater as well as the ubiquitous sunset viewing with Pisco, the local hooch.  We also managed an 18km bike ride with Archie on a tag along, building up our fitness at altitude!  The landscape around San Pedro is extraordinary, with salt flats, volcanos, incredible rock formations and lagunas.  But nothing prepared us for our 3 day 4×4 trips across to Bolivia via the Salar de Uyuni – the largest salt flat in the world.  In spite of the altitude (a head splitting 5000 m+), the bitter cold, cracked lips, battery acid snot, the intense sun and the freezing accommodation it was truly marvelous and unforgettable, endless skies, vast plains, dozens of volcanoes, flamingos and other wildlife, sunrise and sunset over laguna and salt flats.  We had a lovely group of six and our driver Rolando, with four of us still travelling together!

From our end point in Uyuni Archie and I flew to La Paz, so welcome after the endless hours in a jeep, and have found a great comfortable hostel.  We are enjoying fruit smoothies and healthy food and the bustle of a city which feels much more like India than Europe.  Endless cholitas (native Indian women with their trademark bowler type hats) selling all manner of wares on the street, tangles of electricity lines, honking of horns and traffic fumes.  La Paz is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains at 3,200 m.  We are hanging out for a few days, taking day trips and catching up with ourselves.  Today is an ´Archie day´, he gets to choose…so cinema, pizza, hot dogs and possibly the climbing centre to do some bouldering which we have dipped into in Bristol.  Tomorrow some museums including the textiles museum for me as weaving is a huge part of the indigenous culture and particularly beautiful here in Bolivia.

From here to Copacobana on the shore of Lake Titicaca.  We will visit Isla del Sol in the Lake and from there into Peru for Cusco and hopefully Machu Picchu before heading down to Lima.

We are staying  safe and well and excited by our adventures.  We inevitably getting on each others´nerves at times, especially when sleep deprived, but are generally having a great time.  Now we are on the ´gringo trail´ there are lots of people for both of us to relate to, but we have not met other families travelling which is interesting.

Love to all our friends and family at home

Becky xxx

Photos:

http://s1373.photobucket.com/user/beckyandarchie/library/Hippy%20town%202%20blog

Archie´s Heaven

Link to photos:

http://s1373.photobucket.com/user/beckyandarchie/library/Archie%20Heaven%20blog

Archie`s blog:

First the cars all # muscle but little style my eyes wide open because thay were SO OP/OVER POWERED!!! All  Mustang Dodges and Chevrolet all the cool/amazing/awsome cars that I would have for RAMMING people that are really slow. After that we went to see some astonishing grafitti which therewas 1000,000s of on each street. On one the srteets there was a guy doing some and he kindly let me do some.  A few days after that we met 2 sufers and went to the beach with them thay caughtsome amazing waves then I desided to go in which I regret now because I fell in): So me and mum built a castle.

Arch 🙂

Becky’ s blog:

We have crossed over the Andes… into Chile… and we are loving it here.  The people are super friendly and we have had lots of lovely experiences.  Santiago was a real pleasure, much more easy going than Buenos Aries, we stayed right in the centre (Providencia) with some friends from a hostel in Mendoza and found the city really leafy, safe and easy to negotiate.   The mountains are just behind the city, and we found some great parks and museums, another travelling family from France (a rarity) and some fab grafitti.  Arhie was thrilled to be invited to contribute to some street art.   We also stayed with our friend Felipe’s sisters for a couple of nights, which was very sweet and a real treat although Ana and her boyfriend were unwell.

From Santiago to Valparaiso for the famous ascenors (mini funiculars) which take you up into the steep hills behind the city centre.  The brightly coloured houses and amazing grafitti/murals cling precipitously to the hillsides with vibrant markets and the port on the plain below.  We encountered the Pacific for the first time, Archie took the plunge but it was too chilly even for him.  In the harbour we met a sea lion on our boat ride, and suspect that he was getting commission in fish!  Archie is really in his stride now, there has been so much in Chile to amuse him and he loves the overtly warm locals (and  he has a little Spanish too!).  He is also becoming much more social and chatting to other backpackers, a little person in his own right with his own stories, jokes and opinions.  I feel very proud.

We are now in La Serena, enjoying the beach in ‘winter’ much to the amazement of our landlady who thinks that the weather is ‘mucho frio’.  We will visit the Elqui Valley inland while we are here for a bit of pristine nature and star gazing before a big leap (16  hours) to San Pedro de Atacama for the salt flats and natural wonders.  From there probably into Bolivia.  The general idea is to choose our desinations carefully then spend up to a week in a particular area.  We are on a bit of a schedule now as we have just booked flights from Lima to the Caribbean coast of Columbia for our last week.  We both need heat, warm water and palm trees to rejuvenate before we come home.  Even our warmer destinations will be cold at night due to altitude, so we will have the proper ‘holiday’ in Archie’s words.

It is lovely to hear your comments and messages.  Apologies if I do not reply to each one as I am reliant on internet cafes, but keep them coming!

Hasta luego

Becky xxx

 

wild west

Imagen 143  Imagen 005 Imagen 039 Imagen 043 Imagen 055 Imagen 065 Imagen 068 Imagen 075 Imagen 079 Imagen 086 Imagen 094 Imagen 105 Imagen 108 Imagen 112 Imagen 126 Imagen 134 Imagen 136The horse riding was amazing on one side there were snowy mountians on one side and on the other side was the Mendoza river. Also the villige was astonishing but in our 1st hostel there were FLIPPIN bed bugs!!! So in one in the morning we moved hostels.

In mendoza there was a hostel with a PS3 happy me on the next day we went to some hot springs. we stayed inside all day but in the last ten minutes  we found out there was a outside to it and it was really anoying. But I did love it.

Archie

ooh, so hard to resist the temptation to comment on Archie´s post…

After restorative San Marcos we had an unexpected afternoon in Cordoba between buses to  Mendoza, with sight-seeing, pigeon feeding and a chick flick (suprisingly satisfying!).  Then our first overnight coach for the 12 hour journey to Mendoza nestled in the pre Andes.  A fabulous hostel there with a few backpackers for me to connect with, it´s pretty quiet off season but as a result lots of peaceful accommodation.  We went to the most incredible hotsprings with early snow dropping into the hot water, followed by a sunny afternoon when we discovered the outside pools (See pics). 

The Andes have really triggered that feeling of awe and wanderlust which has been a bit lacking for me in Argentina.  It is breathtakingly beautiful up  here, with the first snowfall of the season and cloudless skies.  We are now in Uspallata, a tiny town near to the Chilean border.  Last week the border was closed due to snow and I was concerned that we would not be able to cross to Santiago.  However, we have a ticket booked for tomorrow and it looks promising. 

Bar the bed bug/flea incident (re pack bags and relocate at 1 am!) it has been wonderful here, the horseriding was in a valley between the pre Andes and Andes proper and was truly magical.  Today (25th May) is Indepenence Day here, so we have just witnessed a huge parade with the military, gauchos and various schools and groups marching through this sleepy town following a big nationalist speech and a mass rendition of presumably the national anthem.  The most tiny children literally strapped onto horses and bobbing precariously along…photos next time! 

It is bitterly cold, I went to bed in ten items of clothing and finally woke up warm.  Hopefully it will be warmer in Santiago and then we head north so hopefully getting warmer although the desert and mountains will be chilly at night wherever we are.

My Spanish is coming on, sometimes I have whole conversations involving mime and blind faith, and even Archie is picking up a few words.

Love to all our friends in blighty xxxx

 

hippy town!

 from Arch

San marcos sierras is the Glastonbury of Argentina. There is a kind of spiritual vibe here but it is kind of fun in the river next to the town. In Bounos aires it was boring and riany but when we went out of the city, it was wonderful. It was sunny I got Mc Donalds and we went on a boat down the delta. When we got back we went to the zoo B) In Rosario we also went on some pedalos and got some amazing shots of palm trees. Obviously my favorite thing was the pedalos but Mum hated it because I was steering! My least favorite thing was when Mum was steering!

from Becky

So…Buenos Aries was not boring for me but pretty challenging trying to communicate in Spanish (I had none and  not much more today), avoid being mown down by the insane drivers and dodging dog poo (mundane I know, but a major obstacle).  The contrast between rich and poor was huge and the extent of the poverty (and the shadow it casts) was a suprise to me.  We were staying in San Telmo which is pretty central and working class, lots of dilapidated colonial buildings and grafiti and a great Sunday market.  Sadly we missed the tango due to early bedtimes, but Muppets 2 in Spanish was a revelation (in my defence it was raining… a lot…).  We also visited the zoo and nearby Tigre where we cruised up the Parana delta on a beautiful sunny day. The museum of modern art was really fabulous for both Archie and I with an entrancing exhibition of miniature worlds and a huge pop art section .

Next stop Rosario, a much quieter city with a huge river and a ‘beach’ where we played for a whole day with a local family.  We stayed in the very quirky and shabby ‘Art Hostel’ where Archie was unamused at having to share a dorm, but every wall was plastered with artwork and the staff were very sweet.  Also the pedalos…a highlight for Archie.  From there we were eager to escape the city, so we headed to Cordoba and north to the Cordoban Sierras.  Firstly Carlos Paz, a pretty but touristy town amid lakes and mountains.  Now we are firmly settled in San Marcos Sierras for a few days r & r.  Having been keen to escape aspects of Glastonbury, I am infinitely relieved to find myself in a ‘hippie’ (sic) town where we can paddle in the river among idyllic mountains with nothing more than the odd gaucho…or quad bike…to contend with.  There are ‘millions’ of stray dogs (according to Archie) who are incredibly well mannered, children for Archie to play with, healthy food and a very laid back vibe.

Archie has taken all this in his stride.  I found BA pretty tough and intense, but becoming more relaxed by the day and eternally grateful for the patience of Argentinians with my bumbling Spanish (and for being rescued numerous times on public transport).  The food has been ‘interesting’, dominated by sugar/bread/meat/cheese/fried food which is way too much ballast for me but we manage!!  And the absolute luxury of no (house)work and being able to enjoy my time with Archie is bliss…. Ciao for now xx

Click for album:

http://s1373.photobucket.com/user/beckyandarchie/slideshow/blog%201