Page 2 of GregCath Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London May 21st 2016

A pretty straight-forward trip to London really. We had decided to travel with Royal Brunei after Catherine had used Skyscanner or the equivalent. Price was right and the reputation among our travelling friends has been good. A nice day in Melbourne for our departure. Flight through to Banda Seri Balawan on a new 787 Dreamliner. Noticeably quieter than some other jets and with a beautiful complex curve of the wings. We concentrated on reading and planning for the upcoming trip. The flight wasn't packed so we were able to find other seats and spread a bit: no upper class travel for these little pilgrims! Of course films and music helped pass the time from Melbourne to Banda Seri Balawan to Dubai and then finally to London. All steps easy through to the underground at Terminal 4 ... read more

It was pretty hard to sleep well with the roaring of Howler monkeys just outside our room at Tikal! We were picked up by another of Eduardo's mates relatives after breakfast and taken directly to Belize City. Unlike two days earlier when Eduardo did his best to drive into Tikal under the speed limit (40 kph) to avoid wildlife, the driver Tonito drove at 90 kph through the park. As expected the park officials didn't bat an eyelid at the direct evidence of speeding. Gradually down through the villages and Flores before coming down the the flat country that abutts Belize on the Guatemala side. Stopping for a break near the frontier we noticed the petrol station attendant had a sawn-off shotgun. It was very hot when we got to the frontier. At several places we ... read more
Is there an alternative: At the border
Leaving Belize City wharf
Also take the opportunity to windsurf

The thirteenth of August was a relaxed day in Antigua. We had a marvelous condo to use, and were able to catch up on writing and planning. We visited the Museum of Santa Domingo which is an effective public-private partnership of a significant ruin and modern boutique hotel. The Capuchinos is an old partially reconstructed convent with quaint little retreat rooms radiating out from a central courtyard. The main cathedral of Antigua, La Merced, was a spectacular example of Central American baroque in yellow and white. We headed out to the Casa de Ron for drinks and a light meal. Enjoyed gain the wonders of Zacapa: the local rum. Slow walking around town. Quite cold with persistent drizzle. Left Antigua the next day at about 0800. Went to the Mayan Music Museum and the Coffee Museum ... read more
Chicken bus tout
La Merced, Antigua
Illuminated city hall

The flight into Guatemala City was pretty spectacular because the plane had to skirt around two lofty towers of cumulonimbus clouds with the sun setting behind them. The greater intensity of Guatemala City was immediately obvious at the airport. More pushy taxi touts, and more serious frowns on the crowd. Bill's friend David met us at the exit and took us across town to his family's lovely home in a gated community within GC. They generously provided a lovely meal of beef, wild mushrooms and asparagus souffle, and more alcohol than one could respectfully accept. We drank a lot, and really enjoyed the Guatemalan rum "Zacapa" as well as a Spanish sherry in the solero style called "Cardinal Mendoza". Later when I visited Dan Murphys on the web, I was only able to find Romate Cardinel, ... read more
Flying into Guatemala City around a storm
Electioneering Baldizone-style
Electioneering in 2015

We spent the day at and around the research station and the Corcovado national park. After a night of exhaustion sleep, broken by restless periods due to the heat, we started our first walk at 0430. This was pre dawn and the light built quickly. We were fortunate that few people slept at the station on the previous night, so there was nobody else on the trails. Wildlife viewing started almost as soon as we left the clearing around the station and entered the jungle. Nito was great at spotting wildlife or identifying places where the action might happen. He found: Tiny bats and frogs in strange places like under palm fronds and inside newly-opened banana leaves; Copulating lizards and huge cockroaches. Army and leaf-cutter ants and their nests. The Army ant nest was actually a ... read more
The tidal estuary we had to cross the day before, and the next day: yes, there are crocodiles
One of a herd of Pecaries crossing our path
Toad: not sure if it is a Golden Toad

Day 1. As I noted, our hotel was very close to the airport: I fact we had aeroplanes roaring over it to land. We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast before setting off to the airport and into the hire car system. Unfortunately we Harpers had gone a little too far in stripping our wallets so the Australian driver licences were back in Melbourne. The Hausdorff's had to carry the load. We got on the road with our mini SUV and onto the complex web of highways that run west from Alajuela and San Jose. Somehow we managed to make three wrong turns and had to circle back again. One was fortuitous and took us down the valley and into San Mateo. A tiny place but big enough to have a little lunch cantina. Much more friendly than ... read more
Swimming at Playa Espadilla
The edge of Manuel Antonio National Park
View from and across our guesthouse: "Paradise" for short.

We picked up a taxi from the main square in Panama City to take us to the Flamenco Marina at Armado Island. At the marina we enjoyed a light breakfast of coffee, condensed milk, and cheese empanadas from a roadside cart. We also spoke with the tourist police who were cruising the areas. Their uniforms displayed their blood-type, and they were well equipped for semi-military operations. To see the Canal from the inside, we had to take an organised tour. This involved a bus to the middle lake section of the Canal, about have way on the 37km canal. The road followed the Panama Canal railway line along the edge of the cutting. Some historical carry over infrastructures from the American time were left empty. Also ruins dating back to 1560. We got onto a tourist ... read more
Our ferry in position in the Pedro Miguel locks of the Panama Canal
Container ship joining us in the Pedro Miguel lock
Container ship being "snigged" into position in the Pedro Miguel lock

A kind of extreme trip across to LA this time, what with a 10 hour delay on Virgin, missing our connection with our Avienca flight pass and loosing all the subsequent flights, and then having to negotiate over hours with the help of Virgin staff to correct the flow-on effects. Wonderful support during the night from crew leader Kylie, but also day-long support from local Virgin employee Delilah, it was all good. Virgin ultimately consoled us with Velocity points and a night with food at the Sheraton Gateway. Things were not all that bad. Avianca had threatened to cancel the travel pass because we were late for the first leg. Through Catherine's persistence and the support of Delilah, the flights were connected through after an additional fee each. The original proposal was that we would stay ... read more
Entry to the Getty
Renovated colonial splendour in San Felipe
Less well renovated splendour

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Brisbane March 10th 2014

As of February 2014, we have visited many countries. But of course there are so many more to explore...... ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan March 1st 2014

1 March With much excitement Elise and I jumped in the car with our driver and headed north to Jodphur. While the roads varied greatly in quality, there were a few idiosyncrasies that stood out. Merging onto the highway can be done from the left or right side to go in either direction - you just drive on the wrong side of the road till you can cross over. And according to our driver, you can drive on the side of the road you prefer – this is especially so for trucks as they have their favourite trucking stops. The terrain was mountainous and pretty barren as we pasted through the Mewar area. We drove through a game reserve, where our driver had seen many leopards as he travelled at night. We passed through villages large ... read more
On the road as we passed heading north of Jodphur
Cattle herder
Meherangarh Fort

Tot: 0.488s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 16; qc: 76; dbt: 0.0702s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb