Page 3 of Katravels Travel Blog Posts

The scorching heat of yesterday had only grown in intensity for today - probably not the best day to visit the beach but I'm not one to change plans if at all possible so we were off to Los Frailes today. The beach of Los Frailes makes up part of the Parque Nacional Machalillas, the most beautiful part if I'm going to be biased. The options of getting to the beach were as follows: a 'long but rewarding' trek through dry scrubland to reach the entrance followed by a thirty minute walk to the actual beach. a fifteen minute, 2 dollar motortaxi ride. No points for guessing which option we took! I'm sorry to sound unbelievably lazy but I just don't see the point of going to the beach and then exhausting yourself in the hot ... read more
Beach cactus
Pebble beach

South America » Ecuador » West » Puerto López July 3rd 2009

Up bright and early for a whale-watching trip today although of course it was late leaving - this is Ecuador after all! Apparently they were refusing to take the boats out until the morning fishing boats had come back safely. Silly superstition and we ended up waiting until the fishing boats had unloaded before going. That said, it was very interesting to watch the fishing boats coming in. They had everything from giant crabs to rays so big they had to cut them up before loading them onto trucks. Eventually got going and had an hour long flat out ride to get to where the whales were. I´d learnt from experience in Galapagops and come prepared with sea-sickness bands for which I was very grateful. Absolutely scorching weather which unfortunately means the whales wouldn´t be ... read more
Whale of a tail
A bit close for comfort

South America » Ecuador » West » Puerto López July 2nd 2009

We finally arrived in Puerto Lopez today after travelling pretty much the whole width of the country overnight. Puerto Lopez has to be one of my favourite places in Ecuador due to it's perfect balance of being lively enough for an extended stay yet not overrun with tourists. Apparently tourist season hadn't started officially yet (despite all hostels charging high season prices) as the touts which line the malecon advertising trips to Isla de la Plata and whale-watching tours practically threw themselves at us whenever we ventured out of the hostel. Cynical as always I refused to buy off one of the touts on their bicycles who ride up and down the malecon promising anything you want, 'yes, we'll be the first boat there', 'yes, you'll get your money back if you don't see whales', 'yes, ... read more
Young Fisherman with Catch of the Day
Flight of the Frigatebird

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Puyo July 1st 2009

Feeling slightly more human today after the drenching we got yesterday but it´s amazing what a hot bath and good night´s sleep can do. Absolutely gorgeous sunny weather today which was just a slap in the face coming the day after our soaking jungle venture. Still, better weather meant we could actually do something today instead of skulking in the hostel as we had planned so we decided on visiting a nearby exotic bird sanctuary to see some of the jungle inhabitants who were so shy yesterday at closer quarters. Started off a bit weird as they seemed to have the largest collection of pigeons I´ve seen outside of Trafalgar Square but then I suppose pigeons are technically éxotic birds´here. The best of the bunch had to be a funny reddish-brown pigeon with red eyes ... read more
Amazon bird

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Puyo June 30th 2009

Arrived in Puyo expecting jungle. Was surprised to find out that the Lonely Planet description of a large town obsessed with the internet and American jeans was actually closer to the truth that monkeys and mosquitos. In fact, miracle of miracles, I managed to escape from the jungle without a single mosquito bite (this truly is a miracle as I´m normally the buffet for any kind of insect.) Have an amazing hostel in Flor de Canela which is full of little bridges and walkways with cabins hidden everywhere - figured it´s better to pay more for a decent hostel than end up sharing a bargain one with lots of creepy-crawlies. Our first foray was into town to find food and a tour. The first was very easy, the second not so easy. I was expecting finding ... read more
Jungle Rain
Jungle fungus

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca June 27th 2009

Arrived today in Cuenca and was instantly grateful for the slightly lower altitude than Quito that at least meant I could walk ten metres without wheezing like an asthmatic ant. Walked my feet to death as usual - despite looking so small there is a deceptive amount of walking involved getting around Cuenca. At least the ridiculously organized block system means it´s next to impossible to get lost (I still managed it but that´s neither here nor there.) Despite wandering around for ages I still didn´t manage to find the shop I bought all my traditional Cuencan pottery from - I honestly think it vanished into thin air. Pity, I would have a liked a complete set of crockery. Nothing much has changed in a year (except the prices in Cafecito!), Cuenca is still as beautiful ... read more
New Cathedral, Cuenca
Cathedral dome
Catedral Vieja

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 30th 2008

For once on my travels my bank account is not the main victim - instead it's currently my feet which, after two days being stomped all around Vienna in little ballet pumps, (stupid I know) are protesting enough that a change of shoes is desperately needed. So what do I change into? Trainers? Sensible walking shoes? No, I choose brand new flip flops that have not yet been worn in to traipse the length and breadth of the Austrian capital for a third day. A highly unintelligent choice that I was unfortunately regretting as soon as we had got off the metro and marched to the Hofburg. Fortunately I managed not to bleed all over the inside of the Hofburg (an insult that would surely end in me being ignobly removed from the imperial apartments) and ... read more
Strauss monument
Church tower

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 29th 2008

Navigated the metro enough to be able to reach Schönbrunn Palace on the outskirts of Vienna today. I make that sound harder than it actually was, amazingly it was literally one train with no changes - London could learn a lot from the tube system here! I have decided, as of today, that I need to live in Schönbrunn. That's need, not want. Palaces are all very beautiful more or less but Schönbrunn I could actually see myself living in. Just the right size, nicely situated and, most importantly, yellow! Maria Theresa obviously had a stroke of genius when she decided to rebuild the small hunting lodge that used to stand where Schönbrunn now does and paint it the lovely buttercup yellow that it's so famous for. Apparently the design ws based on the Palace of ... read more
Statue and palace
Schönbrunn and gardens
Palm House and gardens

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 28th 2008

We started the day bright and early determined to cram in everything possible, had breakfast in the hostel before braving the Austrian metrosystem which proved to be ridiculously easy to navigate in comparison to the London tubes. The Gothic cathedral, Stephansdom, is the tallest building in the Innere Stadt of Vienna. The first church was built here in the 12th century, the current structure dates from 1304 when a Gothic building was erected around the earlier Romanesque structure which was subsequently dismantled and removed from the interior of the larger church. I can't say it struck me as anything other than impressively dark and forboding - Gothic has never been the most appealing architectural style although Vienna became a lot prettier once we arrived at the Hofburg. One of the most impressive things about Stephansdom is ... read more
Hofburg and statue
Buildings in Vienna

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík August 23rd 2008

Finally arrived full circle in Reykjavik, the least icy and least firey place in Iceland, having travelled the entire way around the coast of Iceland. I'm ashamed to say it was a huge relief to see civilisation again! However stunning the Icelandic countryside is (and it really is!) it's slightly unnerving to be able to go all day without seeing another living soul and nothing but vast expanses of nothingness. Reykjavik didn't seem as pleased as we were to see it and decided to be as grey and overcast as every other day had been so far. The town was also completely silent due to the fact the marathon was being run so the majority of the centre of the city was closed. Even so, we made it to Reykjavik Cathedral which looks just as modern ... read more
Icelandic flags

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