We are leaving on January 27th with our rucksacks and travelling for 6 months, returning on 11th July. Below is our itinerary and we hope to update an Internet Travel Blog and include the web address below if you want to follow us around the world.
27th January - Fly to Lima - Peru
We will spend a couple of weeks in Peru staying at a desert retreat and getting a train up Machu Picchu to following the Inca Trail. We will then travel to the salt flats of Bolivia and Lake Tititaca. We will travel through Argentina to eventually end up in Santiago (Chile).
25th February - Fly to Auckland - New Zealand
We are hiring a camper van to tour both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. We are following the summer so hopefully it will be warm so we can have lots of outdoor adventures here.
18th March - Fly from Christchurch to Perth - Australia
We will be spending a fortnight with my Aunty Rose and Family in Perth before flying to Cairns via Ayers Rock. We will pick up another camper van to spend a few weeks travelling from Cairns to Sydney seeing all the fantastic beaches and visiting some of Oliver's relatives on the way. We will end our time in Australia spending a few days seeing the sights of Sydney.
5th May - Fly to Singapore
We will have a couple of days in Singapore before leaving to travel overland through Malaysia stopping off in Kuala Lumpur. We will then chill out on the beaches of Thailand before reaching the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
30th May - Fly to Hong Kong
We are looking forward to seeing the sights of Hong Kong before embarking on an organised tour of China. We will be spending a couple of nights on the Yangtze river, visit Shanghai, see the great wall and the terracotta warriors before ending up in Beijing.
24th June - Trans-Mongolian Train to Ulan-Baatar - Mongolia
We will be travelling on the train to a traditional Ger Camp in Mongolia before crossing the border into Russia.
1st July - Trans-Mongolian Train to Saint Petersburg
We will travel for over a week on the train calling at Lake Baikal near Irkutsk before stopping a few days in Moscow. Our final stop will be Saint Petersburgh for the last bit of culture before returning home.
11th July - Fly home to Heathrow
July 25th 2009
Well we have now been home a fortnight and we are still settling back into normality. We enjoyed a week getting used to being at home with no plan or sightseeing to do! It was great meeting up with family and friends that we have not seen for 6 months other than on webcam (Skype is fantastic). It has felt really strange trying to get back into our old routine, everything feels so familiar and normal but different. It has been lovely sleeping in our own bed and being in our home, staying in one place for more than 4 nights. However we did go to the Lake District for the weekend, we enjoyed a family barbeque and a walk up Orrest Head on Sunday, where we had a fantastic view of Lake Windermere with my ... read more
July 7th 2009
Day 161 St Petersburg After a smooth train journey from Moscow we arrived into St Petersburg at 8am. It was a lovely fresh morning with the sun shining. We are staying with family friends, Mike and Sue Allen, as Mike got a new job here last year. We walked down the main street Nevsky Prospekt towards their apartment, which is in a great location in the city centre. It took us about 20 minutes to arrive at the apartment where Mike was waiting for us as Sue is away. After giving us a city overview Mike left for work and we got a shower and some breakfast. Once refreshed we walked up the main street to the river to catch a hydrofoil boat to Peterhof. The hydrofoil took 30 minutes to travel on the Gulf of ... read more
July 5th 2009
Day 159 Moscow is the capital and largest city in Russia, it has the largest metropolitan area in Europe and ranks among the largest urban areas in the world (7th largest) with a population of 17 million people. After a good buffet breakfast at the hotel we got the metro into the centre of the city for some sight seeing. As soon as we stepped out of the metro station we saw the red tall walls of the Kremlin. We walked towards the gardens in front of the Kremlin where we came across the eternal flame of the unknown soldier and saw the changing of the guard. We then noticed a long queue forming in the square and realized that it was everyone waiting to visit the mausoleum of Lenin. This is what we had come ... read more
July 2nd 2009
Day 156 This morning we woke early Moscow time, quite late local time (4 hours ahead). It didn't matter as we had all day on the train today. We spent our time reading, playing games on the DS and listening to music on the Ipod. The train made several stops on the way where we could go onto the platform for some fresh air. One of the main stops was at Novosibirsk, the capital of Western Siberia and the largest train station in Siberia, we stopped here for a full 18 minutes. Occasionally loud music would be played in the cabins which was OK if you weren't sitting on the top bunk, where it was blearing in your ears! This journey is not as interesting as the 2 previous train journeys as the landscape does ... read more
June 29th 2009
Day 153 Today we were woken early as we had arrived at Subaatar the Mongolian border crossing. The train sat stationary at the platform for approximately 2 hours before the officials came on-board to collect our passports and departure cards. The toilets would remain locked the whole time while the train was parked, it was going to be a long wait. After searching the cabins, our passports were returned and about an hour later we were allowed to get off the train. The whole process of leaving Mongolia took about 4 hours and then we had it all to do again for Russia. After travelling through what seemed like no man's land we passed a barbed wire fence and the train arrived at Naushki, the Russian border town at approximately 11am. The Russian officials checked the ... read more
June 25th 2009
Day 149 At 9am we loaded our bags into the grey Russian 4 x 4 minibus, along with our driver and interpretor. We would be sharing our 3 day trip with Pontus from Sweden, Patrik from Switzerland (but lives in Vienna, Austria) and Marius from Lichtenstein. There were 2 backward facing seats and a bench seat facing forward for 3 people to squeeze on. We would be entertained on the journey by listening to tape cassettes with recordings of Western and Mongolian music. After calling off at a supermarket we left the city of Ulan Bator and headed into the countryside of Mongolia. The population of Mongolia is 3 million people, half these live in the capitol and the rest mainly live as Nomads in the countryside. Mongolia has an area size the same as Western ... read more
June 23rd 2009
Day 147 This morning we left our key at reception with the lady sleeping behind the counter and headed to the subway for the last time. The subway took us direct to Beijing Railway Station where we found the correct waiting room for our train. We boarded Train K23, carriage 6 at 7am and found our deluxe cabin (berths 9 and 10) which would be home for the next 30 hours. Compared to the trains we have travelled on in China this seemed like luxury. Our wooden cabin had a set of large bunks, an armchair, wardrobe and shared washing facilities with our neighbours. The K23 tourist train left Beijing at 7.45am prompt. The Trans-Mongolian Express is the famous train line that goes from Beijing in China to Siberia in Russia. It then meets up with ... read more
June 19th 2009
Day 143 This morning we met up with Perdy, Charlotte and Ben on the subway on our way to the Olympic Park. The Beijing Olympics was held here in 2008. Over 1.5 million people we relocated in order for the gigantic Olympic Park to be build. It is reported that China spent billions on a city makeover including, extending the subway and building a new airport terminal. After seeing the whole of Shanghai under construction we are glad that Beijing is all complete as it has nearly been a year since the Olympics were held. Our first stop was to see the architectural wonder of the National Stadium otherwise known as the iconic Birds Nest Stadium. As we entered the concrete nest we were surprised to see the bowl of the stadium sunk about 30 foot ... read more
June 15th 2009
Day 140 Our train was once again delayed which meant we were not going to arrive into Beijing until the afternoon, when we should have arrived at 11am. An hour before arriving we noticed it was raining and the sky was very grey. Next thing we knew the sky went pitch black as if we were travelling at night or through a tunnel. Everyone was looking out of the windows in amazement as no one has ever experienced this strange weather before. It lasted for about 15 minutes and then the sky returned to a dull grey. Eventually the train arrived into Beijing after 2pm and we got taxis to the Tianrui hotel in the centre of the city. Beijing (previously Peking) means Northern Capital in Mandarin and is the capital city of The Peoples Republic ... read more
June 12th 2009
Day 137 The train took 18 hours and was the longest journey we have done in a long time. Time did not drag on the train as we are all used to them now and most of us even got a full nights sleep. We were supposed to arrive at 11am in Shanghai but the very slow train was delayed 2 hours. We took a taxi to our next hotel, as it was lunchtime we were able to check in and shower before meeting the group for lunch. Upon arriving in Shanghai we noticed that most of the city was under construction, in fact our hotel was surrounded by building work and not much else. We later learned that this is due to Expo 2010 being held here. The city was full of smog and ... read more