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Showing posts from May, 2009

Days 58 to 61 - Portugal

It's been pretty much lying around in the sun and helping out with a bit of DIY for me in Portugal so far.

I did go through all my Belle & Sebastian, Cat Empire and Hard Fi songs to create a playlist of my favourites.... good huh...

I went to watch the FA Cup final yesterday..... in fairness, Chelsea deserved to win but I was still disappointed... if only the game lasted for 1 minute...

Last night was a bit of a blur. I went to Lagos to catch up with some friends from Woking who own a bar there.... after the second Jagermeister the rest of the night passed without too much recollection for me... I met Mark who's a qualified yachtmaster... he spends his life sailing around the world. Lucky huh.

I'm now looking forward to my trip to UK and seeing my nephew Finn... He's moving around like a regular Usain Bolt now... very pacey.... obviously Kiera's genes and not my brothers heh heh...

Today we're having a BBQ.... nice... I can't wait... Food glorious food... Al…

Day 56 and 57 - The Portugal Days....

Life moves pretty slow, if you don't stop to look around once in a while... you wouldn't know what to do with yourself... A lesson learnt from ignoring Ferris Bueller and particularly relevant to the veritable banquet of r&r I'm enjoying in Portugal.... Roll on you slow and steady days... The liver is almost back up to 100%, food has reached a level of exceptional home cooking proportions only a Mum can achieve and i've spent 20 euros in four days... Get in...

So, What have I been up to the last couple of days.... Lots of interesting things.... honest.... I saw a bee today..... if flew into a window... shame... and this swallow actually landed on the table outside.... Mum exclaimed she hadn't seen that before... it was a real day of firsts..



Really though, I did very little yesterday and today apart from relax, speak to some of my favourite people on the tinternet.... you know who you are.. and sunbathe.. I've almost gone from blue to white... it's real …

Day 51 to 55 (21st May to 25th May)

21st May was my last full day in South America. It was a good day in Cusco as I had my last Spanish lesson as well as some salsa lessons which was fun.



We then went for dinner at a french restaurant where the set menu cost 7 Sols which is about £1.50... Bargain. I got a soup, Spaghetti Bolognaise and a crepe. Get in.

Went out with Lauren and Sarah (UK) from the hostel that night to Mama Africa's, Mythology, Roots and some other bar I've forgotten the name of. It was Sarah's birthday so made for an interesting night. We had a fair few Cuba Libre's and Sarah had a particularly potent cocktail at the first bar.... We got into Mythology and before I knew it, Sarah was dancing on the bar. The barman started spraying a Mango vodka in people's mouths and we passed the point of no return.

We got into Roots and all in all finished the night off well. It was good fun.

The next morning, I got up at 10.30am after getting back at about 6am... I had a flight to catch and my bags to…

Day 50 - Cusco

Coming to the end of my time in South America. I´ve really had an amazing time. Each place i´ve been to has had something utterly unique about it and I will definitely return here someday.

Just winding down now really. Yesterday I had my Spanish lesson and then had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I met two girls who are about to do the Lares Trail so I helped them out with some info and then took them to the shop I bought my fleece from. The fleece I now refer to as the fleece of life for if I didn´t have it on the trek I think I would have frozen to death.

Last night I met Evan (Ireland) and Adam and Loken (Israel). We just stayed in the Hostel bar and had a quiet one. Everyone seemed to be suffering from a big one the previous night. Accept for Ryan of course. He´s from Northern Ireland and I can´t say that i´ve ever seen him sobre. He´s hilarious. Last night he went out to a club carrying a metre long candle. An interesting accessory I thought. I could imagine the bouncers at the clu…

Day 48 and 49 - Cusco (18th and 19th May)

It´s getting a tad parky in Cusco. Glad I bought that fleece for 15 pounds the other day. Wise purchase indeed. Temperature must be in single figures in the evenings. Brrrr

So, I´m really just biding my time in Cusco until I fly to Madrid on Friday. I´ve had 8 hours of spanish lessons so far and it´s starting to make more sense. It´s always difficult trying to learn a new language when you chat to English speaking people all of the time so I need to force myself to chat to only Spanish speaking people to help me practice.

I met Kate from UK at my hotel on Monday so we went out for dinner that evening. A quiet dinner turned into a few drinks at Paddy´s Irish Pub where we met Georgie and Arturo (from my trek group) as well as a few others. This then turned into yet more drinks at a club called Mama Africas and another club called Mythology... Another 3am finish..... Still it was good fun.

Tuesday I didn´t really do much... had a four hour Spanish lesson and then I changed hostels and am n…

Day 47 - Machu Picchu (17th May)

Wow.... that´s all I can say.... wow...

I went out for dinner on the evening of the 16th with the gang from the trek... it was our tour leader Bobby´s birthday so we had a bit of a celebration. Early wake up call the next morning at 4.45am soon put paid to too late a night.

Still, we were based in Aguas Calientes about a 30min bus ride from Machu Picchu and I was nervous with anticipation of what I would feel and experience.... I only managed about four or five hours sleep which is kind of on a par for the last few weeks....

We got to the bus stop the next morning and the queue was huge... being English... I felt so much at home. Aahh the delights of the queue, so comforting. We got on the bus at 5.30am and started the journey up the mountain... About 20mins into it an explosive vision appeared to my right... the incredible sight of Machu Picchu (which means old mountain btw) Wow.... it was breathtaking.

You can´t help but feel something when you see this amazing sanctuary for the first …

Day 44 - 46 - The Lares Trail

So, we started the Lares Trail... three hours of walking mainly uphill climbing almost 800 metres...





I´m not going to lie to you.. the first two hours were absolute agony. I had nothing to eat apart from a bread roll all day.. I was living on no sleep and I was feeling terrible... I almost gave up.. I really did... I was so close to asking for the horse to take me to the camp.. It got to the stage where I could walk for maybe 20 paces and then I had to stop and take a break. Pathetic huh. But then thanks to the power of Gatorade and also Cynthia´s encouragement I got through it. The last hour, I had my ninth or tenth wind and walked at some pace to the camp... the feeling when I got there was one of amazement. I couldn´t believe it. I think it was the most difficult challenge i´ve ever had to overcome... It sounds dramatic but it was really tough. I went straight to my tent and collapsed for the night. Oh.... I saw a humming bird on the trek too and possibly a condor (it was far away)…

Day 43 cont and 44 - Ollantaytambo (13th and 14th May)

So, after Chinchero we went to Ollantaytambo to see the Inca ruins on the mountain. What a picture postcard place... So beautiful.















That night.... oh dear... Don´t want to be too descriptive here guys but let´s just say that the night before my big trek starts... the absolute last thing I want to happen... the heavens opened in my bathroom.... yes.... I was spray painting the royal doulton for most of the night... I got no sleep and felt like crap.... food poisoning.

The next morning, 14th May, I was advised to have some black tea and lots of gatorade... I met my other tour group and got on the minibus, almost certain I was coming straight back as soon as the next wave of food poisoning came over me... The good thing about the trip from Ollantaytembo to Lares was that it was 3 hours in a minibus over a bumpy stoney road. Perfect... thanks God... we did stop in a couple of places with squat toilets... It was close to becoming my perfect day.



On the way we stopped off at a place with hot s…

Days 43 - Chinchero (13th May)

Forgive me blog but it has been 3 days or so since my last entry.... my excuse... I have been up on a mountain... or quite a few mountains actually since we last entertained each other...

So, Day 43 was 13th May... we went to the Sacred Valley and saw people making textiles, chocolate, ceramics etc...















(There's more dye making videos on my YouTube page. You can access them when you click through to the others.)

I also had my first taste of Guinea Pig.... I know, I know.... poor little fluffy guinea pigs but truth be told, I had one as a pet as a youngster and all the bugger did for me was piss on my leg and die of frost so while there was some guilt attached.... it passed pretty quickly.



Tasted like chicken.... doesn´t everything strange like that...

Person 1: "I had rabbit the other day..."
Person 2: "What did it taste like?"
Person 1: "A little bit like chicken."

Person 1: "I ate pigeon the other day.."
Person 2: "What did it taste like?
Perso…

Day 41 and 42 - Lima to Cuzco (11th and 12th May)

Well, the tour to Machu Picchu has officially started.







Met Debrali our tour leader at the hotel on Monday. She was excellent. She took us around Lima and showed us the catacombs, the main square.

From Peru

From Peru

From Peru

From Peru

From Peru

From Peru

From Peru

The guys on the tour are pretty much all from Australia. Some from Sydney and some from Melbourne. To be honest, Lima was a bit of a blur. I was exhausted from my flights and still feeling it. We had the funniest tour guide of the catacombs though. It was more of a sprint than a tour... the conversation kind of went like this...

Guide "And this is where the catacombs were discovered...."

Us "So what about the....."

Tour guide disappears around corner....

Us "How old is the ....."

Tour guide shimmys down some steps...

Us "When was the first....."

Tour guide exits stage right...

Very entertaining.... We then got a mad woman taxi driver back from the centre of town to Miraflores (which is the area we´r…

Day 40 - Rio to Lima (10th May)

I left Rio early this morning a little jaded after no sleep and feeling sorry to leave the place.... I will definitely be back.

My flight was at 4.10am so I arranged a taxi from the Walk on the beach hostel at 1.30am. The hostel, btw, is excellent. I would highly recommend it.

The taxi driver turned up at 1.20am and proceeded to give Jenson Button a run for his money on the way to the airport. We did the 30min journey in 17mins. I think we were on two wheels at one point.

Funny story, I went out with Tharcia to the movies and for dinner. We watched Man on Wire which is an excellent film.... even if part of it was in French and I was reading Portuguese subtitles. Anyway, I got the bus back from Botafogo to Copacabana, about a 15 to 20min journey (or 5 mins if you got the taxi driver who took me to the airport, actually, I think I got his brother.... traffic light... what traffic light). I decided to get the bus as I had no money left... The bus was errr... entertaining... this guy drove t…

Day 38 and 39 - Rio de Janeiro (8th and 9th May)

So we went to the club Mariuzinn or something like that and they did the same thing with payment, you get a card and then pay at the end. Slightly dangerous but still..... Funny thing was the computer system broke so they had to come round to everyone in the club and swap the credit card for a paper one. We didn´t have to pay drinks up to that point because he system went down and lost all track of them... Nice one.

From Rio disposable camera

From Rio disposable camera

They were playing some of my favourite music, R´n´B, Brazilian Funk... just the sort of stuff I like to get down to and feel comfortable dancing to..... Yeah right. I have to admit, I´ve not seen as much arse shaking in all my life. The good thing about this club is that it is mainly locals who go... It was certainly an experience.... The girls do this kind or arse shaking dance getting lower to the floor with each bump and grind.... Quite entertaining actually. I have to admit I did try to give it a go.

From Rio disposabl…

Day 37 - Rio de Janeiro

I caught a bus in Rio and didn´t make a complete idiot of myself. That´s one up for me. Get in.

We stayed in last night. Probably a wise move as I´ve been out so many times in a row. Needed a quiet one. Had a couple of drinks and Mark (UK) prepared a culinary masterpiece for the starving masses to feast on. Result. I also managed to make use of the kind gift from Michael at work of iTunes vouchers. Enjoyed listening to van Morrison - And it stoned me... love that song. Thanks Michael.

Today, I got up at a sprightly 10.00am.... delighted with that one.

From Andy´s Travel April to May

Jay (UK), Mark (UK)and I decided to go and rent some bikes to ride to Lago Rodriguez de Freitas. We finally got ourselves organised at about 11.30ish and went out to check out the prices. First place we got to wanted a credit card as security and Rio being obviously a very safe place with no corruption or crime whatsoever, we decided to seek rentals elsewhere. Essentially, none of us wanted to risk our plasti…

Day 36 - Rio de Janeiro

Last night was a laugh. It took a while to make a decision where to go but we finally got ourselves sorted and went to a place called The House. So called because it is in a house. They´re very clever these club owners...

We almost didn´t make it. The taxi driver was hell bent on veering into a car en route. He was a little surprised to see the car, a very obvious large white one, on a road in a city as busy as Rio... I can understand where he went wrong...

Anyway, we got in the club and it was an interesting place. You don´t actually pay until you leave so what happens is you have a card you take around... it´s more of a piece of paper.... you have to keep the card and the bar staff mark the card next to the drink you had. You then pay at the end. It´s dangerous because if you lose the card you have to pay a set fee... sketchy huh.

From Rio disposable camera

From Rio disposable camera

A swedish girl came up to me and was very drunk... she was convinced I was Swedish... I told her I knew o…