Chris and Bekah


Chris and Bekah

We are off travelling for 9 months and will be using this blog as regularly as possible to keep you all updated. Enjoy!

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island January 13th 2015

Auckland, our starting point for New Zealand's North island. New Zealand had been the one country we agreed on when years ago we first started seriously thinking about this trip. We had high hopes. A night in a hostel allowed us a little time to explore the city of Auckland before picking up our Britz camper van the next day. One of the first things to strike us was how expensive the city was, some things were nearly London prices so instead of paying high admission prices we spent the day wandering and enjoying being back in an English speaking country. Chris spent his Friday night at a Magic the Gathering tournament (see Santiago blog for more info), which is obviously the only way to spend a Friday night in Auckland, in fact, it's so obvious ... read more
Muddy walk
Breakfast in Tina Fey
Hohora Head

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires January 11th 2015

Buenos Aires is described as the Paris of South America. As we stepped off the metro and onto the apartment lined streets of San Telmo (the district we’d be staying in), we really could have been walking the streets of the French capital. One constant reminder of our true location still remained; the need to play hopscotch, dodging the pieces of dog poo that seem to plague the entirety of South America. Apparently the issue plays highly in the local mayoral elections and yet those same mayors are yet to come up with a way to clean up the issue. The Parisian theme continued at the hostel. A converted townhouse, a narrow winding tile clad staircase linked the reception to the rooms above. We planned to stay in Buenos Aires for a significant amount of time ... read more
The Thinker
Exploring the city
Exploring the city

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza November 21st 2014

The route through the Andes, from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina, is renowned for often being closed due to snow. We were lucky and got across on our first try. Looking out the windows of our bus we could see why it could be a hazardous route. Chair lifts filled with keen skiers sailed past us as we twisted and turned through mountains. Any significant layer of snow would have clearly made this trip treacherous. Luckily the only sign of snow was atop the mountains, leaving the road clear and so on we went. It was our fourth land border crossing and by far the most efficient (and also coldest).First you visited the Chile desk to be stamped out, then one quick side step to the right and you are at the Argentina desk ready to ... read more
Bodega Lopez winery

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago November 21st 2014

Unusually and inconveniently we arrived in Santiago during the early evening. Our normal routine of travelling overnight by bus has three advantages; your accommodation is essentially free, everything’s open when you arrive and the street signs/landmarks are clearly visible. Luckily, Santiago is as urbanised as you can get in South America. Rather than negotiating with local taxi drivers and dusty unmarked lanes we negotiated the metro and pedestrian crossings. Finding our hostel with relative ease we unloaded our bags and headed out for pizza. The pizza place, literally around the corner, was a hangout for the local skaters. It operated in a Starbucks ‘give us your name’ style. Apparently, in order to order from this place you also had to have the right name. Lake had no chance. ‘Que nombre?’, ‘Rebekah’, said Rebekah, ‘No, que nombre?!’, ... read more
Santiago Skyline
Teatro Municipal, Santiago
Teatro Municipal, Santiago

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota October 9th 2014

The border crossing between Peru and Chile was probably one of our more timely and complex. It involved getting a bus from Arequipa to Tacna, then finding a minibus (which we failed to do and ended up sharing a taxi with some other travellers), to take you across the border, the friendly taxi driver then sorts out all your paperwork. At the border crossing we obviously looked a bit suspicious as we were both hauled into a couple of side rooms to have our bags searched and be patted down. Nothing to find here but they seemed curious as to why I was returning to Peru nearly 5 years to the day after leaving. A short explanation in broken Spanish and, luckily, we were off again. Our taxi driver dropped us safely in Arica, where we ... read more
Our waitrose goods
Sea lion jumping back into the water
Arica harbour

South America » Peru » Arequipa October 8th 2014

We were 15 minutes into the flight when sweat started pouring down my face. A twisting arc, completed at a 75 degree angle sent my stomach hurtling towards my feet for the 15th time so far. The sweats continued. I gave in; taking my eyes away from the camera screen I'd been so desperately peering through since we took off I fumbled around for a sick bag. The copilot handed me a ball of cotton wool, doused in alcohol and encouraged me to sniff. The smell was strong but soothing and after five minutes my stomach had settled. Our flight over the Nazca lines continued to weave and bank and twist its way over the desert for the next 10 minutes before we landed on a runway set amongst the rocks and sand. We'd begun the ... read more
Before the flight
The astronaut
Chris and Arequipa cathedral

South America » Peru » Cusco August 27th 2014

Cusco was our first stop in Peru, I had loved it when I was here 5 years ago and it didn't disappoint this time around. Although it is very touristy, with street sellers calling to you constantly throughout the day, it gave us a few days to chill out before our tour to Machu Picchu. First stop, a chocolate museum, it actually turned out to be more of a workshop (which was too expensive for us), and a cafe, so we took full advantage of the cafe and treated ourselves, I ordered a make your own hot chocolate, which involved them bringing you hot milk, liquid chocolate, cloves and cinnamon and you mix it up yourself, yum! That night we treated ourselves (again) to an Indian at the Korma Sutra, Chris got his first taste of ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana August 26th 2014

Copacabana, Bolivia lacks the international renown of its more famous Brazilian namesake and this is entirely justified. We arrived via collectivo (a minibus), ferry and then collectivo once again. The ferry, one for us and a flatbed raft for the minibus was to avoid an outrageously long detour and cut the journey time to four hours from La Paz. We'd arrived in Copacabana at around 1pm and unfortunately by this time the hostel we'd had our eye on was fully booked. Instead we strolled the beach and sought out alternative accommodation. The beach is, incidentally, what the two Copacabanas have in common. We found the hostel nestled next to the jetties which would enable the next part of our journey to Isla del Sol. The hostel, a pale green concrete block offered a bed and shower. ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department August 24th 2014

It was 4 am and minus 8 degrees in Uyuni, the street dogs followed us around as we hunted for the office where we had been promised a sofa to sleep on. It turned out the address we have been given was incorrect so we traipsed around looking for the right place. We eventually found it and a little old lady let us in for a few hours sleep. We had come to Uyuni for one reason, the salt flats, the way world's largest salt flat of 12106sq km, sits at 3653m. The next morning after a few hours sleep on a freezing cold sofa we started our 3 day tour with our guide Macedonio. The day started at the train cemetery, a large collection of historic steam locomotives and rail cars, dating back to the ... read more

South America » Bolivia August 20th 2014

We crossed the Brazilian/Bolivian border alongside two Israelis and a Norwegian we'd met in the Pantanal. The paperwork was straightforward whilst the horror stories of five hour queues did not materialise. The buildings which greeted us on the Bolivian side of the border seemed improvised. Two locals, perched on well worn stools and with small wooden boxes, (filled with bolivianos it turns out) offered to change our money. At a rate of 3:1 they certainly received a significant margin on each exchange, the 'official' rate being 7:2. However, with no use for our Brazilian Real and a significant urge to leave the ramshackled border town of Quiljero with the aid of some bolivianos, we accepted. We then squeezed into a taxi; five travellers worth of luggage in the boot, four guys in the back seat and ... read more

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