Page 2 of Katravels Travel Blog Posts

South America » Colombia » Ipiales May 2nd 2012

My last few days on this side of the Atlantic involved a trip up to Colombia thanks to the Ecuadorian government (who have tightened up visa requirements ridiculously) and my own inability to find a flight before my visa ran out. While I have no issue with an impromtu road-trip, it is annoying having to travel 10 hours just for the sake of a stamp in my (increasing full) passport. Four stamps every time I have to make a border run is a) annoying for me as I'm going to have to get more pages, and b) ridiculous in any airport when the poor official has to spend forever searching through my passport for the latest entry/exit stamp. Having finished work at 8pm, we did an overnight trip up to Tulcan (a particularly cold and depressing ... read more
Tulcan Cemetery

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito April 23rd 2011

My first Semana Santa in South America when I'm not travelling so my first opportunity to see the processions that Easter in Quito is famous for. Despite being so well-known it was surprisingly difficult to find out where and when it would actually be. The majority of Ecuadorians I asked said something along the lines of, 'mmm, I guess I went when I was a kid but I'm off to the beach.' So that was that. Fortunately random junk mail came in handy when the free newpaper came with an entire guide to Semana Santa. We'd been warned to get there early so as to get a space so we set off for the Old Town at about 10am. The parade officially began at 12 but this is Ecuador so we were assuming it would be ... read more
Jesus apparently
Baby penitent

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Cotopaxi February 27th 2011

It is a fact universally acknowledged that every visitor to Ecuador is in want of that perfect cloud-free shot of Cotopaxi. Unfortunately Cotopaxi herself also seems to know this and so, according to every Ecuadorian you ask, hides from tourists. Only nationals it seems are permitted to see her. I initially though this to be another joke at the expense of foreigners cleverly doubling as a get-out-of-jail-free card for tour guides when irate tourists berate him over the fact that their countless photos of their trip to Parque Nacional Cotopaxi are of the black base of a mountain completely shrouded in clouds. Still, we set out on beautifully clear and sunny Sunday at the crack of dawn in order to get a photo of this rather elusive Ecuadorian icon. The most amazing sight of all was ... read more
Flower in Pasochoa
View from Pasochoa refuge

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Wiltshire July 30th 2010

It's always quite embarrassing, upon meeting people from other countries who gush about how lucky I am to be English and live near so many amazing historical sites, to be asked, 'So how many times have you been to Stonehenge?' Well, the answer to that would Even more embarrassing is that I don't even live somewhere inaccessible in the wilds of Scotland, I live about three hours' drive away from arguably England's most iconic site and I still haven't made it yet. Some people's excuse being that it isn't exciting to travel in one's native country - I actually think I've probably seen other countries in far more detail than I have my own. So, on the way down south to Devon we finally decided to book in a slot to visit Stonehenge. Having been ... read more
Stonehenge black and white
Stone Circle
Flowers and Stonehenge

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague July 21st 2010

Having been living next to the National Museum for the past few days we thought we might as well pay it a visit (it being included on our Prague Cards and therefore free making it all the more appealing.) The rather imposing building looming over Wenceslas Square is the largest museum in the Czech Republic, but also featured in the politics of Prague. It was bombed during World War II prompting the removal of many of the best exhibits. The facade was badly damaged by a Soviet machine gun during the Warsaw Pact Intervention in 1968. Perhaps most importantly of all, the steps of the National Museum was where Jan Palach, a twenty-one year old Czech student, burnt himself to death in January 1969 in protest of the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. The museum itself is ... read more
National Museum
Entrance to Vysehrad
Vysehrad Cemetery

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Hradcany July 20th 2010

Prague Castle Day two saw us waking up rather early and absolutely exhausted. Feet hurting before we've even started for the day does not bode well when we'll be spending the whole day walking! We managed to breakfast and get out of the hostel by ten and found our way to the metro. I will never understand why every country in Europe, apart from England, manages to have an incredibly simple and easy-to-use metro system. And a ticket for unlimited public transport for the day (including all buses, trams, metro and the funicular railway) was a mere £4 - I love other countries sometimes! Having given up on the idea of walking to Prague Castle (it looking far too far away despite the hostel owner's insistence that it could be walked in under a... read more
View from Prague Castle

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague July 19th 2010

With London to Prague flights seemingly only leaving early morning for some inexplicable reason, our first day saw us getting up at 2am and making our way to Stansted for a rather relaxed check-in (the early hours of the morning apparently too much for easyjet staff as well as tired passengers.) We arrived in Prague from cloudy and cold England to find the city in the middle of a heat wave. Although I'd checked the weather forecast before we left it was a little dfficult to imagine temperatures of 31 degrees whilst sat in England but, for once, the weather forecaster was correct. Transferred to the hostel which turned out to be an apartment in a gorgeous old building just behind the National Museum. Not wanting to waste the first day (the fact I had had ... read more
Powder Gate
Astronomical Clock
Old Town Hall

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais April 21st 2010

It seems ridiculous to live so close to the Channel without having popped over to France before so, finding incredibly cheap return ferry fares even in the midst of the grounded planes/Icelandic volcano fiasco, we decided to have a day trip. This unfortunately meant a 5.20am wake-up call followed by a very early morning drive to Dover ready for the 8.15 ferry. At least I wasn't the one doing the driving! Despite the whole Iceland volcano thing there were a surprising amount of English cars heading over the channel. Feel quite bad just going on a little jaunt whilst so many people are stuck but it won't really make any difference for car passangers. There were loads of empty coaches queueing for the ferry obviously heading into Europe to pick up people. Had a reasonably ... read more
Eglise Saint-Eloi - Dunkerque
Church detail

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito July 17th 2009

Back 'home' to Quito and after a few lazy days recovering from an exhausting week at the beach (that sounds convincing doesn't it!) I decided to be slightly more cultured today and venture into the old town of Quito. I actually braved the bus system to avoid an extortionate taxi fare and was reasonably impressed with my success. Despite being told the bus pretty much went through the Plaza de la Independencia, the closest stop was actually a twenty minute walk away but not to worry. I just hopped off when I realised we were doubling back on ourselves and just followed the tower of the Basilica which is fortunately viewable from quite a distance. Ended up at the Basilica which seemed like a logical place to start. Went inside despite huge signs announcing that no ... read more
Finally at the top
Interior of the Basilica

South America » Ecuador » North » Mindo July 12th 2009

Off to Mindo this morning although it took a surprising amount of time to even get there. I knew the bus terminal had moved but unfortunately not to where it had moved. Although I visited Mindo last year that was on the return trip from the beach and I actually asked to be dropped randomly in the north of Quito close to my hostel so I didn't go to the terminal. Fortunately our taxi driver was slightly more knowledgeable that me and not only dropped us at the correct place but offered to wait until we had found a bus leaving soon, if not he was going to take us up to the main road out of Quito where the Mindo buses pass by. Very nice taxi driver for the first time ever in South America! ... read more
Recently-hatched owl-eyed butterfly
Butterfly wing
Butterfly on flower

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