Lottie Carlton

Lottie Let Loose

Lottie Carlton

Lottie is let loose - come and see where is she heading this time?

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík March 30th 2015

My first day in Iceland and the sun is shining. I treat myself to an incredibly over priced breakfast at the hostel and check out the weather forecast for the next day, more sunshine, so I get myself booked on the famous Golden Circle Tour before heading off to explore some of Reykjavik. Julia pronounced Yooleea points me in the the direction of the nearest cash point machine and budget supermarket and off I go. I head towards the harbour area first as it's so very close to where I'm staying. The snowy mountains across the bay are beautiful. It's really, really cold and I'm glad of my double layering coat system. The air is so crisp and fresh, it's wonderful. There are some huge boats in the harbour. I'm always amazed these hulking tonnes of ... read more

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík March 29th 2015

To cut a long a long story short my journey went something like this - taxi, train, tube, train, plane, coach, minibus and finally there is bearded Thomas holding open the door of the Reykjavik Downtown youth hostel for me with a big, welcoming smile. Bearing in mind it is now 1am I manage to be relatively coherent. The sign in process completed I set about sneaking into my dorm room as quietly as I can hoping not to wake people up. Booking a bottom bunk proves invaluable as I would surely have fallen arse over tit trying to fit sheets and duvet cover in the dark perched up on high! And so to sleep. My first night in Iceland. I can hardly believe I'm here. The name of the airline I flew with couldn't BE ... read more

Today I'm on my own again and sadly don't get a lie in. I have to be ready for my tour bus which is picking me up at my hotel at silly o'clock (5.55am!). I find that I'm the first to be picked up and we go on a tour of San Jose's central and outlying hotels picking up a full bus by the time we get to the last one - a huge and very posh looking hotel near the airport. Unfortunately it's raining which doesn't bode well for a good view of Poas volcano, but it's early yet so the weather might change. I get chatting to a few of my fellow passengers. There's one guy from the UK who is going on a 5 days per country trip around all of Central America ... read more
Melvin explaining the coffee plant's growing cycle
Coffee plant
What to do in case of Poas volcano errupting

The next day we have a long drive back to San Jose on the public bus. The temperatures have rocked up to 37 degrees and it's going to seem like a lot longer journey as a result. Fortunately there's plenty space on the bus so I get a seat to myself and can rearrange my legs so they kind of fit! I can hardly believe my travels in Costa Rica are nearly over. It's been such a whirlwind tour - I've seen and done so much. Again, I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to travel all this way across the world to experience something so different to what I know at home. As always on these trips I'll come away enriched and changed. We seem to hug the ocean for miles and miles ... read more
It actually went up to 37 degrees and finished up at 27 degrees in San Jose!

For our last non-travelling day together as a group we decide to have a last bit of wildlife watching followed by what I think is going to be a relaxing ocean cruise to view the National Park from the sea, but unfortunately turns out to be something entirely different. But first the wildlife walk. We have to get the bus from Quepos to the same beach we'd been at the day before - not really sure why Intrepid parked us all the way out in Quepos which isn't really that nice a place instead of nearer to the national park, but hey it did have a lovely pool. We have to walk inland a bit to get to the entrance to the Park and Brian pays our entrance fees (Intrepid included activity this one). Luckily we ... read more
Checking out his audience
Having a rest
Looking for another branch to move slowly towards

I was sad to be leaving Monteverde the next day. I really loved the feel of the place, more remote and rural. Combined with the cooler temperature and great activities it was a winner for me. BUT the Pacific Ocean beckoned so we got on our bus for the 5 hour drive to Quepos and the Manuel Antonio National Park. Half way we stopped off for toilets and refreshments at a fruit bar place. Wow the heat really hit us as we stepped out of the mini bus. I had a wonderfully refreshing iced banana milkshake and then went to have a look at what was interesting people crowded on the road bridge looking down into the river below. Wow, there below us lined up on the sandy banks of the river were 36 crocodiles! Some ... read more
Crocs seen on the way to Quepos
Sharp teeth!
There were 36 in total!

I had a little time before the next planned activity - a sunset horse trek - so I picked up some lunch at the pastry shop near the hotel and went to check out an art gallery/shop that Stu had highly recommended. What a treasure trove of arts and crafts lovelies, from paintings to painted boxes and plaques, to textiles, jewellery and musical instruments. I bought a couple of presents for my girls and a pretty ceramic vase for myself. The lady serving me wrapped up everything so carefully, bubble wrap, newspaper, packing tape - hopefully my pot would survive the journey home in my hand luggage. Half my group had chosen to do the horse riding and we set off on yet another bumpy ride deep into the Monteverde countryside. We were beginning to think ... read more
One of our horses ready for the off
Catherine's ready...
...so's Franziska...

And so to the zip-lining. I'd been looking forward to this with excited trepidation for the entire trip. A couple of friends had done it a few years ago and were raving about the experience before I left the UK so expectations were high. Basically you can't come to Costa Rica and NOT go zip-lining - it's kind of their thing! After another bumpy ride on the Monteverde rocky roads we arrived at the zip-lining place, confidently named '100% Adventura Adventure Park'. We were kitted out with double harnesses, helmets and pulleys. We were also given gloves with extra leather padding on the palms which we were told were to be used for braking! And then we had to wait, the tension building, for the other groups to be ready. Finally we were given instructions on ... read more
Stu ready to go zip-lining
Excited group waiting to go zip-lining
Nervous but excited

The next morning we're not meeting up for our ziplining activity until about 10am so I get an early breakfast and then set off down the hill into town to pick up a couple of Monteverde geocaches that had shown up on my gps. I have to run the gauntlet of the mass of yapping little dogs halfway down the hill. One little guy is more friendly and decides to join me in my early morning jaunt. He accompanies me all the way into the town, stopping every so often to let me catch him up or to mark his territory by cocking his little leg. I take a left turn and it seems this isn't the way he wants to go and the little dog and I part company. The first geocache is right in ... read more
Aha there it is
Sign the log book and replace
Looking across the valley and towards the sea

A night walk in the Monteverde cloud forest might seem a strange thing to do. First off it will be dark so what can we realistically hope to see with a few weedy torches and the guide's strong one? Then of course there's the many deadly poisonous snakes that if they bite you, half an hour later, if you haven't found an antidote, you DIE or if you're lucky just get a limb amputated! That's not forgetting the countless toxic frogs, insects and spiders ready to give you a bloody nasty nip to put it mildly. Taking all this information into account we decide to throw caution to the wind and set off to meet our guide Olman for an evening of dicing with death! Having given quite a few safety talks in my time I ... read more
Almost dark enough
Group photo prior to setting off into dark forest full of deadly vipers and other beasties!
Sleeping venomous viper!

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