"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharlal Nehru

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania » Cradle Mountain August 3rd 2015

Apparently Friday 31 July saw a rare blue moon in our skies. Was this the reason for the rare chain of events that followed for me that weekend? It was a long weekend, so of course I had taken the opportunity to get out of town. I had booked a weekend in Tasmania, specifically at Cradle Mountain Lodge, about a 2-hour drive from Launceston and handily located at the entrance to the Cradle Mountain National Park. The weather conditions there are famously unpredictable, and I was a bit worried about snow and whether or not I would be able to get there. I had emailed the lodge in advance to ask if I needed chains, and they responded that the lodge is at 820m so there isn't a lot of snow, and if it did snow ... read more
Shy little pademelon
Forest walk
Can't see too many wombat photos!

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores June 4th 2015

We were on the homeward stretch and our journey took us via Lima. From what I had read, there wasn’t much to recommend the city, however I had read that the culinary scene was a world leader, and good food is always exciting. We arrived mid-afternoon and my overwhelming impression was of greyness – grey skies, grey road and as we made our way to the hotel, grey seas. The perfect antidote was the variety and rich flavours of the local cuisine. I had stumbled across The Lima Gourmet Company by chance on an internet search and as luck would have it they offered an evening tour. The time frame couldn’t have been more perfect – we arrived at our hotel at 3.30pm, pick up was at 4.30pm and for the next five hours we were ... read more
Lima - view from our hotel room
Lima - view from our hotel room
First Pisco Sour of the evening

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu June 2nd 2015

Our trek had come to an end, and tired, happy and undoubtedly a little bit smelly, we made our way in the van to Ollantaytambo. Here we boarded the train for Aguas Calientes, the small town at the foot of the imposing mountains hiding and sheltering Macchu Picchu. We were all very excited, and it wasn’t just the prospect of a hot shower. We were finally going to see one of the most iconic and recognisable sights in South America We met for dinner in a local restaurant but hiking had made us tired so it wasn’t a late night. This was a good thing, as yet again, it was an early start, we had places to be and we were aiming for the 6.00am bus up the hill. There were many surprises in store for ... read more
Macchu Picchu
Contemplating Macchu Picchu
The rock is formed in the shape of the mountains

South America » Peru » Cusco » Lares Trek June 1st 2015

Obviously coming to Peru I was keen to go hiking, and the only trek I knew about was the Inca Trail. Lots of other people are obviously in the same position, as it's by far and away the most popular trek, now restricted to 500 people per day, with permits selling out months in advance. So based on not a lot of internet searching I selected the Lares Trail as an alternative. It's a three day hike, and on the fourth day you visit Macchu Picchu. Sounded perfect for us. However in another of my well-documented examples of failing to read the material very closely, I had not realised just how challenging the trek would be. After it was booked and paid for, Rod, who had actually read the trip notes, mentioned to me that we ... read more
Cute kids along the way
Cute kids along the way
Cute kids along the way

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco May 28th 2015

After the charms of La Paz it took me a little while to warm up to Cusco, but after a day or so of wandering through the town, past the hordes of tourists and up the hill to the quieter narrow cobbled laneways I began to see what all the fuss was about. The second largest city in Peru, the old town is set around the large picturesque Plaza de Armas, a beautiful big square where it is easy to sit in the sunshine and people watch. On one side is the Cathedral, quite an imposing building from the outside but inside includes two small chapels either side of a beautiful Cathedral. It is really quite stunning with beautiful paintings and ornate carvings. On the other side of the square is the equally impressive Iglesia de ... read more
That's fencing to put off potential thieves!
Wandering the alleyways in Cuscso

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz May 26th 2015

The highest capital in the world, at around 3650 metres, La Paz kept me breathless, and I'm not just talking the gorgeous views! We could appreciate these almost immediately, as our driveer stopped at a viewpoint looking over the city as we left the airport where we got the most spectacular views over the city. The city is built in a valley, with red brick houses clinging to the hillsides all around us. We liked it almost immediately. Our hotel was located right in the centre of the city, next to San Francisco church. We couldn't have hoped for a better base, as we were able to wander around the city and explore the local markets and the nooks and crannies in the the old city. After our trip down Death Road, we booked ourselves in ... read more
Streets of La Paz with indigenous lady in the background
Views over San Francisco church and the plaza
Street sellers

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Coroico May 24th 2015

One of the most well-known attractions in Bolivia is the infamous “Death Road”, also known as the World’s Most Dangerous Road, so called because of the alarming number of road fatalities. For a fee, tourists can experience this for themselves and mountain bike down this perilous route. Since we were here, it seemed like a good idea to join in on this madness and experience it ourselves. I am not a mountain biker at all, and although I used to be a road cyclist, going downhill was never my favourite. I was one of those weird people who preferred the uphill climbs, so I was a little apprehensive about going down the “Death Road” to say the least. I had done some online research and decided to go with Gravity Bolivia, as although they were more ... read more
Bike's ready, I'm ready...
Rod kitted up and ready to go, La Cumbre
Sitting on the edge of the road, a straight drop below

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Uyuni May 22nd 2015

It was another early start, for a three-day trip overland through the Salt Flats to Uyuni in Bolivia. This time it was us who weren't ready - I had misunderstood the instructions at the tour company and thought that we were being picked up at 7.30 in order for us to have breakfast first. So we were in the dining room just about to start breakfast when the van turned up. We grabbed as much food as was practicable and made a frantic and harried dash for the door. Then at 7.30, once we'd picked up all the other passengers, we pulled into a breakfast spot. Oops, I'm clearly missing some of the finer points of the Spanish language! So we had a more leisurely second breakfast with our new fellow travellers. There were 12 of ... read more
Llama, with owner!
Stunning scenery in the National Park
At the bubbling mud geysers

With time and money almost anything is possible. I don't know anyone who has limitless supplies of both, so then it's all about choices. The last time I came to South America five years ago I ran out of both time and money, and I couldn't visit some of the places that I had been dreaming about. But five years later I'm back and this time my choices will get me there. First up is the Atacama Desert - the driest desert in the world, with scenery that is truly spectacular. It was a very long journey to get here, with two flights and one bus, however thanks to the magic of the international date line, after leaving Sydney on Saturday morning I arrived in San Pedro de Atacama on Saturday evening just in time for ... read more
San Pedro de Atacama
Flying into Santiago
Early evening, long shadows, San Pedro de Atacama

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Borobudur April 6th 2015

The whole purpose of this brief trip to Indonesia was to visit the Buddhist temple at Borobudur. Built in the 9th Century, the temple complex looked stunning, and our mission was to visit at sunrise. I was a bit dubious about my chances given a history of failed attempts to see either sunrises or sunsets at various famous places, Angkor Wat being the most recent. However I am nothing if not an optimist, hence the early start. The alarm went off at 3.30 and it didn't feel like I had been asleep for long. Soon enough though I was wide awake, as our driver drove like a madman. We were on the edge of our seats, so it was hardly a relaxing drive, wondering if we would make it alive or not! But luck was on ... read more
Sunrise at Borobudur
Sunrise at Borobudur
Sunrise at Borobudur

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