Now finished our year long, round the world trip, during which Carolyn was able to carry her backpack and we both became experts at packing and unpacking in double quick time.
We saw some amazing sights and met loads of interesting people. The best of both should appear in what we've written from Russia, Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala and Mexico.
To answer a few of the questions we heard regularly from fellow travellers and those at home alike, we don't have a favourite country, no we're not Irish, yes it is possible to travel as a couple without throttling each other, no we didn't get fed up, weren't under nourished and didn't run out of money.
It was great to get feedback from everyone who read the blog, so many thanks to those who signed up or just clicked in because they liked our pictures.
David + Carolyn
July 23rd 2007
Having soaked up enough of the ruined culture of Mexico, our stop off in San Cristobal de las Casas gave us an opportunity to sample something a little more current. We arrived in time to catch part of the town's fourth Jazz Festival. A quartet led by Jaime Valle entertained us for a couple of hours with the first live music we've seen in a while. We're not counting the 'traditional Peruvian' bands that assaulted our ears with El Condor Pasa on repeat. From San Cristobal we headed to Oaxaca (5 points to everyone who can guess the pronunciation of that one) to take in another set of ruins at Monte Alban. Once again it was quite a different site from the previous Mayan temples. Not least because Oaxaca is at a slightly higher altitude, so ... read more
July 7th 2007
We're obviously a couple of good omens. Just two days after we visited the fabulous Chichen Itza it was voted on the list as one of the world's New 7 Wonders. Along with Macchu Pichu, which we visited a little over a month ago. Not to mention The Great Wall that we've also covered on this trip. We'll ignore the fact that Angkor Wat didn't get in, which we can only put down to a lack of Cambodian internet users to vote for it. The highly visible campaigns at both Macchu Pichu and Chichen Itza were conspicuously absent when we visited Angkor. Once again, as we've no doubt mentioned countless times before, it was well worth dragging ourselves out of bed early to beat the crowds to Chichen Itza. By lunchtime the Cancun crowds had arrived ... read more
July 1st 2007
It's going to be a mixed bag of a blog this time so let's start where we left off in Peru. Due to David's dental issues we spent a week in Arequipa getting to know Dr Fuentes who very kindly returned David's face to its natural size. The hamster look didn't really do it for him. Fortunately there were a few things to keep us amused in the city with the Santa Catalina Convent, the Inca mummy Juanita and the Colca Canyon. With all these ticked off it was time to leave the land of the Incas and head north to the Mayans of Central and North America. Guatemala passed in a bit of a blur but we noticed a few things. The incredibly friendly locals, the dramatic change in temperature, the diet of rice and ... read more
May 25th 2007
One of the must sees on any self-respecting traveller's list, we approached Machu Picchu with just a tinge of hesitation. Could any place really live up to that amount of hype? Our first glimpse of it appearing out of the mist at 6am quickly dispelled any lingering fears. Wandering through the ruins before the onslaught of tour groups was a moment that had the hairs on the back of our necks standing up. It was the making of one of those memories that will sustain us on a wet Wednesday in Glasgow when we've rejoined the world of work. As we hadn't done the Inca Trail we felt it only fair to set ourselves the task of climbing the mountain overlooking the ruins for that picture postcard view. Unfortunately you don't sell many postcards consisting solely ... read more
May 20th 2007
We hadn't done anything dangerous for a while so it was time to boost our adrenaline levels with a spot of biking. Just outside La Paz was the perfect opportunity, a 70km downhill charge from 4700 metres above sea level down to a mere 1100m on the World's Most Dangerous Road. To make it all feel safer we had two guides, one a former womens' downhill coach and the other to act as "truck bait" at the front. We were given helpful instructions, such as "don't crash" and were reassured by one of the guides that she'd never lost anyone in her time doing the route. Before we set off there was time for a bit of superstition to be observed. Each rider had to offer a few drops of alcohol to Pacha Mama and ... read more
May 6th 2007
Recipe for a memorable birthday: Take 3 jeeps, 15 travellers, 3 drivers, 2 cooks and a guide. Transport to 5000 metres above sea level in Bolivia. Add one guitar, two packs of cards, several bottles of wine and of course a pinch of salt and mix well. This recipe was followed to perfection three days after arriving in the country. The border crossing was somewhat less officious than we're used to with the Bolivian officials deciding it wasn't worth the bother of looking at our passport photos before stamping us in for a month. All gringos look the same after all. So long as we weren't going to smuggle any llamas it was fine. Our welcoming committee was actually a stray donkey wandering the main street offering to change Argentinian pesos. We didn't take him ... read more
April 30th 2007
Final Destination In Argentina that is. We've now made it oop north to the little town of Salta which feels like quite a different world from the rest of the country. Religion is even more conspicuous here with multi-coloured churches on every corner and nuns in coffee shops. It would seem that nutrition is slightly less important than spirituality. It's virtually impossible to eat healthily here. The only thing you can have five a day of are empanadas. We particularly liked the menu in one cafe which had a list of ten sandwiches. Five types of cheese, two ham and three kinds of cheese and ham. Eating wasn't the only option though as we discovered in the excellent Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montañas complete with preserved Inca mummy from the surrounding mountains. Having spent 21 ... read more
April 3rd 2007
So, after the whistle stop tour of Iguazu we found ourselves flying almost the length of the country to visit El Calafate in Patagonia. By this stage we thought our Spanish was coming along nicely, then we met the fastest talking taxi driver in the west. Well the south, technically. Between the airport and the quite fantastic hostel he averaged three thousand words per second. Arriving after a long day of travelling and a tiring 20 minute taxi journey trying to make out any of what the driver was saying it was great to arrive at probably the best hostel we've stayed in anywhere. America del Sur was to be our home for the next week and a base from which to explore some of Patagonia's seemingly endless delights, both culinary and visual. Our first trip ... read more
March 23rd 2007
A welcome from home After eight months on the road we were both pretty excited at the prospect of a reunion with David's parents, brother and girlfriend who were flying out to meet us in Buenos Aires. For Jane and Robert it was the furthest they'd ever been from Kansas and Toto (aka Jodi) had to stay at home. For Andrew it was a return to South America and a chance to tune up his rusty Spanish and fraternal sparring. For Karen it was an excuse to sample some of the famed Patagonian chocolate (as a veggie she'd be abstaining from the lamb and steaks). And so they arrived with bags crammed with forgotten goodies for us - Mini Eggs, Minstrels, Haribo and homemade bramble jelly. For the next two weeks our normally healthy diet took ... read more
March 17th 2007
Back To School Hola chicos! And so to our fourth continent. And the first continent with a common language. We refuse to accept that Aussies speak the same way as Kiwis. Since we're going to be here for a while (that's us rubbing it in folks) we figured it would make sense to learn some Spanish to help us along the way. And we're led to believe it's a little easier than Mandarin or Vietnamese. And so we found ourselves in La Escuela Bellavista introducing ourselves to the other students in our best Spanglish. David was feeling so confident at this point that he accidentally introduced himself as a Spaniard. They say that full immersion is the only way to really learn a language so we threw ourselves into it by staying with two of the ... read more