Gemma K


Wandering but not lost.

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Ilha Grande February 15th 2013

Our journey to Ilha Grande wasn’t the easiest of trips, in part self-inflicted lack of sleep and in part a driver who not only got us lost leaving Rio – at one point we were still 3 blocks from our hostel 1.5 hours after being picked up – but also drove so erratically that he had us reaching for our seatbelts and crossing our fingers that we’d arrive in one piece. But arrive in one piece we did and it only took over 5 hours to do a 2.5hr journey, not bad by South American standards! Thankfully the boat transfer hadn’t left yet so it was a quick hop from the minibus of doom and on to a catamaran for a trip across the sea to Ilha Grande or as it has been rechristened by us, ... read more
02. Pousada Naturalia - Our home on the island
03. View from the room
04. Enjoying the balcony

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Rio de Janeiro » Lapa February 12th 2013

Another part of the Rio Carnival experience are the balls that are held at clubs all over the city. We’d partied on the streets, beaches and in bars. We’d spent a night cheering on the samba schools at the sambadrome. Now it was time to head to the final and biggest ball of carnival the Rio Scala Gay Ball. The ticket blurb said: The Gay Costume Ball is among the biggest parties at the Scala Club in downtown, the event is billed as one of the most extravagant, marking the end of Carnival celebrations. Gays, lesbians, drag queens and transvestites come up with the most exotic costumes, making a grand entry to the club. Some exotically adorned and others shockingly exposed, but all with the aim of kicking up a storm on a night filled with ... read more
002. Getting ready for the ball
003. Getting ready for the ball
004. Trying on accessories

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Rio de Janeiro » Centro February 11th 2013

The Sambadrome is a purpose built parade area in downtown Rio, it’s a 700m stretch of street converted into a permanent parade ground with bleachers built along both sides, with a 90,000 capacity. It’s the part of carnival that’s broadcasted all over the world, the competition between samba schools to win the carnival crown. The schools gain points for lots of aspect of their parade, one of them being the inclusion of tourists in the dancing chorus, for what seemed like an astronomical amount of money (especially after I’ve been travelling on a budget for a long time) you get a costume to keep and get to join in the parade. Whilst it’s not an expense I could justify – or truthfully something that I think I would enjoy all that much – some friends were ... read more
002. Carnival Float
003. Carnival Float
004. Carnival Float

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Rio de Janeiro » Ipanema February 9th 2013

Its just over a week since carnival ended and in my head I’m still attempting to process the chaotic melee that was Rio at carnival time. Its billed as the biggest party on earth and that’s a pretty spot on description but one that really doesn’t do it justice, it felt like more than just a party, it was more than just a party! With an estimated 2 million people a day taking to the streets it’s a long weekend of total madness. The once quiet streets become impromptu dance floors, beaches turn into outdoor night clubs and everywhere you look you’re just as likely to see a guy dresses as a fairy – replete with 6foot high wings – as in a tuxedo, at carnival time anything goes and it really does. Arriving into Rio ... read more
02. Excited to be at carnival
03. Ipanema Bloco the edge of...
04. Ipanema Beach at night, a few people partying

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Paraty February 1st 2013

From Foz we headed to Brazil’s Southern Pantanal. The Pantanal is a vast wetland that covers much of inland and central Brazil, staying on a cattle ranch we spent a few days getting up close and personal with the Brazilin wildlife. Heading out on horseback we traversed the ranch viewing an amazing amount of birdlife in the tree tops, hundreds of macaws and parakeets, some toucans, kingfishers, storks, kites and hawks. On night safaris we hoped for jaguars but were happy to see ocelot, capybara and giant ant eaters. When not out viewing the wildlife there was a huge pool, amazing food, cold beers…… From the Pantanal it was a short drive to Bonito – described as the ecotourism capital of Brazil. Surrounding Bonito are crystal clear rivers, natural springs and caves. We spent a couple ... read more
002. The  Southern Pantanal
003. The  Southern Pantanal
004. The  Southern Pantanal

South America » Brazil » Paraná » Iguaçu Falls January 25th 2013

Heading north away from BA and onwards to the Brazil boarder my last few days in Argentina were spent at the Iguazu Falls. Camping a few miles away from the falls meant that we could beat the crowds and arrive nice and early to spend the day in the national park before crossing over to spend some time viewing the falls from the Brazilian side a few days later. The guide books and travel sites spend a lot of time debating the merits of seeing the falls from each side, everyone has their view on which side is better, you may be viewing the same falls but the layout and perspective allows you to see it differently from each country, so to me there’s no need for a comparison, they are both so very different and ... read more
2 Argentina
3 Argentina - vultures
4 Argentina - Zoe, me and secret llamas at the falls (1)

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires January 22nd 2013

The Buenos Aires Street Arttour takes you around the city giving you an up-close introduction to the street art scene, our guide an English guy called Matt was so enthusiastic for the art and knew where to find all the best murals and graffiti pieces. He’d previously co-written a book on South American street art and has a wealth of knowledge on all things graffiti. Matt leads us around the neighbourhoods of Palermo and Colegiales as he explains about the history of street art in Argentina - When the military dictatorship fell in the 80’s and the constraints on free expression were lifted graffiti bloomed- we see colours exploding and animals leaping out from the walls as wepass by, in addition to animals every other picture imaginable will appear somewhere in the city if you look ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires January 21st 2013

BA is an amazing place; I’ve totally fallen in love with this hectic, colourful, noisy, sparkling city. Arriving late afternoon on Saturday gave us the perfect opportunity to check into the hotel and chill out before hitting the town to experience a Buenos Aires night out on the town. We headed to the Palermo Viejo district of the city, full of lively bars, packed restaurants and squares dotted with fairy lights it’s a great place to spend an evening, in BA the night gets going late, restaurants don’t get busy till gone 10, happy hour in bars lasts till midnight and don’t even think of hitting a club until 2am…. this really is the city that never sleeps. To recover from our slightly late night we spent Sunday wandering, every Sunday the Plaza Dorrego is packed ... read more
Sunday Antique Markets
Sunday Antique Markets
Sunday Antique Markets

South America » Argentina » Chubut » Puerto Madryn January 18th 2013

Leaving El Chalten at the unsociable time of 5am was made slightly (and only just) more bearable by the amazing sunrise and subsequent scenery witnessed through the truck windows as we drove, we spent the day following the Atlantic coast heading towards Camarones. Long drive days quickly settle into a routine of dozing, reading and watching the world go by, accompanied by a soundtrack of whatever’s flavour of the day on my ipod, this way 14+ hours of driving passes relatively painlessly. A few 100ks outside of Camarones we stopped for the night, heading to what looked like a lovely little campsite and it was a lovely little campsite to begin with, we set up the tents and got on with cooking dinner, it was still warm and sunny at 9pm, beer in hand, tunes on, ... read more
2 Flooded
3 Penguins
4 Heading home from the surf

Keeping in the national park theme from the Torres del Paine we headed next to the Parque Nacional Los Glaciers. The town of El Calafate sits at the southern edge of the park and it’s here that we base ourselves in a hostel for a couple of days to explore. Los Glaciers National Park is said to be home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Argentina, if not South America, well whoever said that isn’t wrong, its classic coffee-table book Patagonia, you’re surrounded by deep blue skies that go on forever, rising up from the horizon in every direction you look are magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick lush forests. From El Calafate we headed out to the southern reaches of the park to explore the Perito Moreno Glacier, it’s ... read more
2 - Look what i found
3 - Natural Ice Sculptures... llama or a puma probably
4 - View from above

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