Andra Folks


Andra Folks

This blog started as a way to document my time during a 6 month work assignment in Heidelberg, Germany, in 2005.
Happily it has documented most of my travel adventures since then.

South America » Falkland Islands December 2nd 2022

After our time in Antarctica we made the 2 day crossing back across The Drake Passage, even worse “Drake Shake” than on the way over and had us walking a little sideways around the ship. While we did experience motion sickness that had us in our cabin a little longer than normal it usually passed after a few hours and wasn’t a major distraction at any point on our trip. Following the undulating trip across the Drake our first stop back in civilization was Stanley, East Falkland. We arrived at the dock and were welcomed by a pile of seals sleeping on the end. We had pre-booked a day trip to Volunteer Point with Jimmy Curtis Tours. If you are in East Falkland you definitely want to go here. The drive to Volunteer point is an ... read more
King Penguins on the beach at Volunteer Point
Welcome wagon of seals in Stanley

Antarctica » Antarctica November 17th 2022

2022. The year we turned 50. Also the year we joined the “Seven Continent Club” Our trip to Antarctica was aboard Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen . We loved the boat, our cabin, the crew and the food. As ours did, many expedition cruises to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia, Argentina, the world's southernmost city. This is a beautiful starting point where you are surrounded by picturesque mountains and a cute quiet little tourist town. We boarded Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen in the late afternoon and headed out into the Beagle Channel on our way to our crossing of The Drake Passage. The Beagle channel was beautiful. Snow capped mountains on either side. Lovely. Crossing “The Drake” takes about 2 days. The seas had 5m to 9m swells over the course of our 2 days. Yes….we were treated ... read more
Penguins on an ice berg
Crafts at sea
It's official!   We've been to the Antarctic Circle!

North America » Canada » Alberta » Banff May 11th 2022

Chris had a work event in Banff, Alberta so I took the opportunity to tag along. This was my first trip to Alberta so I was quite excited to go! I arrived Wednesday afternoon and had the rest of the day to myself so headed into the town centre to do some reconnaissance for the ‘post Shopify’ part of our stay. The people at the Info Centre were super helpful so worth a visit to chat with them to help plan your days. I had booked myself a late afternoon ‘upload’ on the Banff Gondola Sulfur Mountain (Chris did this before I arrived with the Shopifolk); the views at the top of the mountain were spectacular and you realize the scale of these mountains that surround you! This was a pretty epic start to my trip. ... read more
The only bears we saw all week
Inappropriate footwear for Spring hiking
Policmans Creek Boardwalk,  Canmore

Asia » Singapore October 23rd 2018

We disembarked from our cruise in Singapore and opted to spend 2 nights here before travelling home. A great way to end our trip. We dropped our bags at our hotel, bought a 2 day subway pass and headed immediately to The Gardens By The Bay. We arrived around mid day and decided to do the indoor options first to escape the heat for a bit ( FYI Singapore is 137 km from the equator. It’s hot!). While there’s lots to explore in this park we started with the Cloud Forest and Garden Dome. Both are monstrous indoor greenhouses that are very cool (both figuratively and physically); they showcased vegetation from all over the world; everything from Cactuses to Orchids to Baobab trees to Venus Fly Traps. We then wandered among the enormous outdoor grounds until ... read more

Asia » Thailand October 17th 2018

Our first impression of Thailand was an olfactory one. This country smells incredible! Or at least the places we visited did. Our first port of call was 2+ hours drive from Bangkok. But not to worry…it’s an overnight stop. So we arranged to spend 1 night in Bangkok. We dropped our bags at our hotel then bought a hop-on-hop-off boat pass that took us up and down the Chao Phraya River to see the city’s most popular sites. This river is busy with tourist boats like ours, long boats, barges and ferries (about 20 cents a ride for ferries). It’s really like a water freeway. Bangkok is a super busy city for tourists. All of Bangkok's landmarks are very crowded. If you can’t handle crowds this city is not for you. In the daytime we braved ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Sihanoukville October 16th 2018

Cambodia, Cambodia, Cambodia. It is definitely a country in transition. We're not sure if the term “3rd world” is used anymore but If it is Cambodia definitely qualifies. We were picked up at the port by a lovely man named Heng in a small mini-van. He had a fairly okay command of the English language as he provided us information throughout our journey but he struggled with comprehension when he was asked questions. That being said, his command of English far exceeds our command of Cambodian! Cambodia is a country that you need to embrace being a “traveller” vs. a “tourist”. We were once given definitions to these terms; a tourist is someone who visits locations looking through the eyes and expectations of their home culture while a traveller is someone who visits locations with an ... read more
Fishing Village

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta October 16th 2018

Our first port in Vietnam was in a tropical resort town called Nha Trang. The town is in the southern part of the country and heavily visited by Russian and Chinese tourists. It’s easy to see why they choose it for it’s beautiful beaches and luxury hotels. Maybe we need to reconsider the location of our annual Caribbean winter vacation. Our first stop was at the Long Son Pagoda. Worshiping was underway at the temple so we made a quiet pass by the sanctuary and then took the 152 steps up to see to the giant white Buddha seated in a lotus blossom. Not only is this a really cool Budda we got a really cool view of the city. The day also included a stop at PoNagar Cham Towers; a UNESCO World Heritage Site built ... read more

Asia » Hong Kong October 12th 2018

Arrival in Hong Kong by boat is quite a spectacular sight. What an amazing introduction to this unbelievable city. As soon as our ship was cleared by customs at 7pm we headed out on the subway to one of our most anticipated stops. The highest bar in the world, called Ozone, located on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carleton hotel. We arrived to delicious (but pricey) cocktails. While enjoying our first drink we were given two drink tickets from guests of The Ritz Carleton who couldn’t use them. We decided to give the drink tickets a try and when Chris got to the bar the bartender took them, poured one drink and while he was making the other he gave Chris a sheet where he was asked to indicate his guest information. Chris is horrible ... read more

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei October 10th 2018

Arrival in Taipei was drizzly but it did not dampen our spirits. We were met at the port by our driver and 7 of us set off to see what this city had to offer. First stop was Lungshan Temple. The place was bustling with chanting, singing and praying. It was hard to know if we were interrupting or being disrespectful by watching and snapping pictures but no one seemed to mind so we went with it. There was also tonnes of food laying about. We came close to snagging a quick snack, but correctly thought better of it - the Gods need their sustinence. It was a national holiday in Taiwan and maybe this is why this temple was so busy. After this stop we took a gondola ride up over the hillside tea growing ... read more

Asia » Japan October 8th 2018

Konichiwa! Tokyo. Its organized chaos. That was apparent the minute we arrived at the airport. We had been told that the Japanese are extremely willing to help and, thankfully, that turned out to be true. With the help of information centres and random people we conquered the train and subway system and managed to see a reasonable chunk of Tokyo. We visited a couple of temples and shrines, a cat cafe, had a drink at New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel (if you've seen Lost In Translation you may remember this bar), navigated the Shibuya Crossing more than once and had some memorable meals. By far our best meal was as a restaurant called Teppan Baby. We sat right at the teppen grill and watched as 3 chefs prepared meals ... read more
Subway map
Koch castle
Prayer cards

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