Ken, Kate, Sam & Lauren

Downes Family

Ken, Kate, Sam & Lauren

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail January 14th 2012

Dear All: Before our final entry about the trek, we must tell one funny story: On Friday, December 30th, we hired a taxi driver from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm to take us to various ruins around Cuzco. It was immediately apparent that he did not speak one word of English and, initially, we were disappointed. However, about 30 minutes into the ride, Lauren and Kate decided it was a great thing, because it made us use every Spanish word we could. The challenge turned out to be fun and effective! Toward the end of the day, as we were re-entering Cuzco, countless dogs would race into the road. Kate pieced together a sentence in Spanish that said, “In the United States, it is a law that dogs have…” We could not think of the word ... read more
Salkantay Lodge
Salkantay Vista - from our lodge room
Trail to Salkantay pass

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco December 23rd 2011

Dear Family and Friends, Hopefully, these photos will fill in blanks from our past blogs when we could not get the computer to upload our photos. Just finished an amazing day in Cuscu and will write about that soon before we head out for our 6 day trek. Love, K4... read more
Peruvian Dancers
Christmas Decorations

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco December 23rd 2011

Dear Family and Friends, We apologize for not sending photos, but are having tech difficulties on public computers. We will try to go to an Internet cafe tomorrow to upload pictures, which have not been uploading properly. Before we tell you about the Grinch, we forgot to mention the tremors that woke us in the night during our stay in Lima. Just after midnight we were awakened with the whole bed and building shaking for about 10 seconds. It brought back memories of earthquakes we have experienced in Alaska and elsewhere. The town of Paracas, where we spent two nights right on the Pacific coast, was amazing (our hotel was so close to the beach that our GPS thought were were IN the ocean and wanted us to take a U-turn!). The entire coastline from Lima ... read more
Inca Parade

South America » Peru » Ica » Paracas December 20th 2011

Dear Family and Friends, As some of you may know, we are on another Downes family adventure over the holidays to visit Peru. South America was omitted on our 2008 around-the-world trip and we have long desired to visit the Andes and the ancient indiginous lands of this continent. We departed Friday, spent one restful night in Miami and continued on to Lima, arriving without delay on Saturday evening, where we rented a car and drove to our apartment in the section of Lima called San Isidro. Lima is an enormous city of 8 million people (1/3 of the population of Peru) and it was wide awake and hopping even at 10pm at night. Even with GPS, our drive took all our concentration and nerve as the other drivers seem to use their horn in place ... read more
Amore Park
Cultural Parade

South America » Peru » Lima December 16th 2011

Preparing to depart on our S. American adventure in Peru. Map and Itinerary attached.... read more

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island » Kailua-Kona August 29th 2008

Dear Family and Friends, Ah....Hawaii....other than the significant temperature difference, we feel a bit as if we have come full circle. We started in Iceland, driving through lava fields and we end in Hawaii, driving through lava fields! When we first started to plan this trip 4 years ago, Ken knew he wanted to include Iceland for its rugged beauty and Kate knew she wanted to end with Hawaii, as a pretty good place for a relaxing transition. After another long travel day from Melbourne, Australia, to Kailua Kona, Hawaii (about 18 hours, door-to-door), we were thrilled to be warm, see the sun, speak English, and still have western-style toilets! Using US currency has taken some adjustment - we still find ourselves examining the money closely before using it. We are in a timeshare for the ... read more
Volcano National Park, Hawaii
Endangered Sea Turtle
Volcanic Black Sand Beach

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs August 26th 2008

SUBTITLE: Australia: Home of the 1/2-Hour Time Change! Dear Family and Friends, It is hard to believe that our summer adventure is nearly over. As we write this blog on our travels downunder and outback, we are already in Hawaii with just a one day left before our return home. Very sad. We spent 2 weeks in Australia, flying from Bangkok to Sydney. The kids were torn between 1) excitement that everyone would speak English (first time since England, back in early June) and they could safely drink the water and 2) sadness that this was our last country. Just for fun, we stayed 2 nights in Sydney, in the Rocks district, just 3 blocks from the main harbor where the opera house is. We loved the brick buildings and walkways in this historical section. Although ... read more
Chinese Gardens, Sydney
Uluru, Ayers Rock
Winter Hike at Uluru, Ayers Rock

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai August 18th 2008

Sub title: Home of $16/night hotel rooms! Dear Family and Friends: Our first day in Chiang Mai was intentionally planned as a “down day” to recuperate from our 32-hour marathon commute from Africa. This allowed us to sleep in and catch up on some of the hours of sleep we had lost between sleepless nights and time-zone changes. Our B&B had a lovely outside garden which was adjacent to their breakfast area where you could get toast, eggs, and delicious fruit smoothies. We were thrilled by the prices and figured out that one could get 17 nights in Thailand for the same as 1 night in Switzerland! The next day, we hired a songthaw (pickup truck converted into covered taxi—see photo) to take us across to the far side of the city to visit the Buddist ... read more
Karen Village Accomodations
View from Karen Village
Elephant Ride

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park August 18th 2008

Dear Family and Friends: OOPS! HOW WONDERFUL THE KILI KIDS ARE Poor Kate woke in the middle of the night after writing the last entry and realized that she had neglected to include at least a sentence or two about the children at the have to understand that the entries are always written piece-meal, sometimes over a week's time, often with someone waiting to use the computer, and, on some occasions, large amounts of text are lost and, when re-typed, end up shorter (as frustration increases, text decreases!) just want everyone to know that the REASON we left part of our hearts (I know, Mom, it's a dreadfully inaccurate sentence, but it beats "parts of our respective hearts!") is that the children are beautiful and wonderful and warm and good and eager. You want to ... read more
Mud and Wood Hut
Our Safari Campsite
Our Private 4 star Pit Toilet

Middle East » Qatar » Doha August 17th 2008

Marathon Travel from Africa to Asia - Our 32-hour travel day… From the start of our journey, we knew that leaving Africa was going to be both emotionally and physically challenging. We wrote in our last blog of the emotional attachments we made in Tanzania to the Kili Kids orphanage and to the warm, generous people we met throughout our safari adventures. Our physical challenge was one of endurance, to traverse the distance from Arusha, Tanzania, to Chiang Mai, Thailand, over a 32-hour time period and through 4 time zones. Thankfully, Sam and Lauren are fabulous travellers. With only minimal whining about lack of sleep, they seem to love the adventure of it all and are usually the cheeriest ones in sight at our middle-of-the-night airport stops. Our travel day began at 3:15 am, when we ... read more
Precision Air
American Lounge??

Tot: 2.433s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 13; qc: 91; dbt: 0.0721s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb