Judy Staton

Judy A

Judy Staton

I am in my sixties and retired. In my former life I have had careers ranging from social worker to freelance researcher and consultant in the field of post-compulsory education and training. I got the travel bug about four years ago when I went to Argentina to visit a friend in Buenos Aires (made on a language exchange website) and then travelled a bit on my own in NW Argentina. My first travel blog relates to a solo three week trip in Colombia in 2015 and the entries in 2016 to a three and a half week stay in Brazil. This year, 2017, I am going back for a month to Buenos Aires, Uruguay and Brazil but will be staying/travelling with friends from these countries for just over half the time, so this will probably be a very different, but equally enjoyable, experience.

I hope that my blogs are useful to other older women thinking of striking out on their own. I am a reasonably proficient Spanish speaker - my husband and I own a flat in Galicia, in North West Spain - and I started learning Portuguese in 2015 - Galicia is very near the Portuguese border and, as well as Castilian (Spanish) they also speak Galician - which is a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese. I spend about five months a year in Galicia and the rest of the year I live in the UK, in the English Midlands. If you are interested you can catch some of my other writing, also in the name of Judy A, on HubPages, and in my own name on My Destination Galicia.

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Petrópolis April 25th 2016

Had hoped to have a sleep-in in readiness for overnight flight but no such luck. Off at 8 am to inspect the local grocer's shop which Miriam had assured me would be open then. It wasn't. Went back to pack and as a precaution looked up nearby cafés which Google claimed to be open. An hour later the shop was open but, apart from fruit, nothing suitable for breakfast. Set off for the lanchette (snack-bar) which was supposed to be 8 minutes' walking away. The usual plastic ham and cheese - all the cold meat is pre-formed here unless it's labelled artisan and the juice was very watery although made from actual mango while I waited. Back at my lodgings one last attempt to crack online check-in before giving up. The taxi driver and Miriam had ... read more
Last view if Rio from the airport

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Petrópolis April 24th 2016

My room doesn't have air-conditioning but even during the day it doesn't get too hot - must be to do with the altitude or the fact that it's in the basement. The only thing that was worrying me as I set off for the National Park was whether I had enough cash. Decided that about £17 worth of Reais was probably OK, given that absolutely everywhere accepts credit cards and I knew the bus fares and the park entrance fee were unlikey to be much. Stopped off at a café and only after pointing to some sort of very large biscuit, which I had with an espresso, did it occur to me that I would have been better off with a sandwich with some sort of protein. Established that I was at the right bus stop ... read more
Parque Nacional Serra das Órgãos, Travessia trail
Waterfall, Parque Nacional de Serra das Órgãos
Parque Nacional Serra das Órgãos, Travessia trail

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Petrópolis April 23rd 2016

Miriam does not provide breakfast, which is a pain. (On the plus side there is a reliable supply of hot water in the washbasin as well as the shower!) When I booked this there was a very limited choice of accommodation in Petrópolis either via Airbnb or booking.com. Sure, there must be lots that aren't signed up to the latter but how to make contact with them beforehand? Have come to this city because it's got a very attractive historic quarter, it was where the Emperor Dom Pedro II and his court spent the summer to get away from the heat of Rio and it's crammed with beautiful mansions built around the end of the 19th century. It's also quite near a national park, Serra das Orgãos, which I was hoping to at least see a ... read more
Stairs designed by Santos Dumont,, Museu Casa de Santos Dumont, Petrópolis
One of Petrópolis's many beautiful early 20th century houses, now a pousada
Harley Davidson convention attendees, on the cathedral steps, Petrópolis

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Ilha Grande April 22nd 2016

Got myself organised and down to the quay in plenty of time for the ferry. In fact I was second in the queue for tickets but the ticket counter wasn't open yet. Just like the one for the bus it resembled a junk room more than an office. We waited and waited and by the time it got to 10 a.m. there was still no sign of the ferry arriving, let alone being ready to leave. In the meantime I had been idly reading a notice on the wall which confirmed that services would be running normally on 21st April - that is, today even though this was a national holiday. This rang a vague bell - remember thinking that this would not be a good day to travel! The ferry arrived shortly after 10 but ... read more
Rua da Praia, Abraão, Ilha Grande
Travessia de Bourginvilla, Abraão
Leaving Ilha Grande

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Ilha Grande April 22nd 2016

Didn't have to be at the tour office until 10.20 so had time before hand to pick up drinks, food and sun-tan cream and to enquire at the bus company 'office' about purchasing a ticket for tomorrow. This was about the third time I had attempted this and there was never anybody there. However this time a young woman did respond to my ringing the bell. However, if I wanted to buy a ticket I would have to come back after 5 p.m. - I did and there was no one there,of course. However did glean the useful information that the bus station was about 15 mins walk from the ferry quay in Angra so would need to get a taxi to it. I also watched for the ferry that I was going to catch the ... read more
Ilhas Paradisiácas boat trip, Ilha Grande
Ilhas Paradisiácas boat trip, Ilha Grande
Ilhas Paradisiácas boat trip, Ilha Grande

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Ilha Grande April 20th 2016

Was surprised how calm I felt this.morning: no losing things and getting flustered then realised it was because I wasn't hot!  Got to the boat much too early and retreated to the shade on the quay, keeping a careful watch for when the first passengers went on board. Was going to the so-called 'second most beautiful beach in Brazil', Lopes Mendes.  The boat was a nice looking schooner without sails, obviously, and there were less than 20 of us onboard. As usual thus included several young women who were wearing the scantiest of bikinis, particularly the bottom half. There was a woman lying down on her tummy in front of me and if I hadn't seen her standing up would have sworn she wasn't wearing anything from the waist down at all. Now I understand the ... read more
Lopes Mendes beach
Lopes Mendes beach
The beach that the boat dropped us off at.

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro April 19th 2016

Am beginning to suss out how to combat this heat. Shamelessly left the fan on maximum all night and can safely say it wasn't the heat that kept me awake last night but the itching mosquito bites! For the second year running have forgotten to bring my antihistamine cream and my mother's fallback treatment, dabbing with very hot water, is simply not an option here. Nowhere that I have stayed has had hot water, except in the shower, and this is usually at best lukewarm! Anyway, the fan certainly seemed to reduce the temperature. I hope that Alfredo's electricity bill doesn't arrive before he writes his review of me for Airbnb. (They can't possibly have smart meters here, can they?) For those who don't know how the Airbnb system works, guests write comments about hosts and ... read more
View of Vila Do Abraão beach from the pier,  Ilha Grande
Lua & Mar, Abraão

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Paraty April 18th 2016

The day didn't get off to a good start when I couldn't find the house-keys and was convinced I was going to miss the boat trip. Tipped everything out of the case for the second day running before working out that they were in the lock of my room attached to the room key. Stopped at the local supermarket to pick up water but forget that I had had to cross the road to do so, started marching in wrong direction and had to retrace my steps. Honestly, sometimes I think I shouldn't be let out on my own, let alone on a different continent! Had barely enough time to make it to the pier on the other side of the old town but, as I neared this, was encouraged to see other people actually running! ... read more
Fish in water near Paraty
Beach near Paraty
Sailing near Paraty

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro » Paraty April 17th 2016

Well, to put it mildly I did not have a good night. It was, of course, suffocatingly hot and I changed my mind several times about whether to have the window open or closed. There is a mosquito net over my bed - very reminiscent of early 20th Century novels about the Tropics. My host, whose English was normally quite clear, suddenly became a bit evasive when asked if there were many mosquitoes around. Possibly, but there could be a lot more, seemed to be the answer. Anyway, I don't know how standard mosquito nets work but this one you are supposed to pull out and over the sides of the bed from a sort of cylinder in the centre of the bed. This means that unless you are absolutely in the centre you are constantly ... read more
Interior of Matriz de N.S. dos Remédios
View from Casa da Cultura
Matriz de N. Sr das Dores by night

South America » Brazil » Rio de Janeiro April 17th 2016

Lot of others guests staying here and the pousada looks quite respectable this morning. I was starving, so determined to forget all about 'cockroaches" (?) this morning headed for breakfast. Thus proved more difficult than expected as I was so tired when I arrived last night that forgot to note where my room was in relation to reception. Breakfast was the best yet. As well as scrambled eggs, which were superb, there were lots of other exotic looking cooked things - veg or fruit, not sure which! Had I had more time I woud have asked what they were and even sampled some. In addition to the usual pinkish juice, which I don't have a name for, and papaya, I sampled some scrumptious cake and a small tartlet which a caramel filling. When I went to ... read more

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