Sophie Lamande


Sophie Lamande

South America » Argentina November 21st 2015

The flight to Puerto Iguazu from Buenos Aires was a bumpy one. There was a large storm threatening as we approached the airport. We had to circle the airport at Iguazu waiting for a break in the weather - I was very sorry that I hadn't taken any travel sickness tablets! We landed without incident but by the time I'd collected my baggage and organised a bus into town, the sky had opened up and a serious tropical thunderstorm was in progress. This continued for about 4 hours into the evening, with intermittent power outs to really emphasis my welcome. Luckily it was all over by the next morning and I had a bit of sun for my trip to the falls. The Iguazu Falls were absolutely amazing. I spent about 4 hours walking around the ... read more
Iguazu Falls
Valle del Concha
Garganta del Diablo

South America » Peru » Cusco September 20th 2015

We caught the overnight bus to Cusco from Arequipa, gaining another 1000 m of altitude in the process. The city was really nice, with old colonial buildings and cobble stone streets. The main square Plaza de Armas is particularly well preserved. The main issue with Cusco is that it seemed to primarily revolve around tourism, and so has those problems that come hand in hand with this - you can't walk anywhere without people trying to sell you things, whether it be massages, tours, 'alpaca' clothing or drugs. Our hostel was a small, quiet place near the San Pedro market and a little away from this main area, which was quite nice. We arrived about 5 days before the start of our Machu Picchu trek so that we had enough time to acclimatise to the altitude. ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa September 5th 2015

Arequipa was my favourite town in Peru. The second biggest in Peru, it's known as the White City, due to the beautiful white colonial buildings that make up the centre. It was a nice change of pace to be in a city that didn't just revolve around tourism like Huacachina or Paracas. There are three giant volcanoes that overlook the city - Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu, which make for an awesome view wherever you look. The main thing to do out of Arequipa is the Colca Canyon trek. The canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world - second not to the Grand Canyon as I had assumed, but the Cotohuasi Canyon which is also close to Arequipa, about 10 hours away (It's not much of a tourist attraction as it is very difficult ... read more
Made it to the top... just!
Sunset in the canyon
Main Square

South America » Peru » Ica September 4th 2015

I arrived in Lima about 4 hours before Jason and waited in the airport. It was so good to see him after 2 months apart! We spent the first day walking around the Miraflores neighbourhood which included a cat park, where there are dozens of cats hanging out and being fed by the locals; and nice restaurants, where we tried the famous pisco sours for the first time. That night we met up with a friend of a friend who lives in Lima, Christian, who showed us around some nice night time locations in Miraflores and the neighbouring Barranco. We had some more pisco sours, delicious burritos and tacos; and topped the night off with some heart, which is apparently the Peruvian equivalent of a late night kebab. On his suggestion, the next day we went ... read more
Amazing view from the top of the dune at Huacachina
Flying with the birds at Islas Ballenas

South America » Colombia » Cartagena September 3rd 2015

Cartagena was such an awesome city - the old town is full of brightly coloured colonial Spanish buildings, all kept in really nice condition. Of course that means it's very touristy and expensive, but I was staying just outside the centre in Getsemani - a neighourhood full of hostels, street art and plaza parties. There's always a fiesta happening in Cartagena, and I didn't get a lot of sleep during my time there! But the city is so hot, it would be difficult to sleep anyway! The first day, I strolled around the old town, just enjoying the amazing streets and buildings. The following day, I caught the boats out to the nearby Islands - Playa Blanca on Baru & the Islas Rosarios. The boat took us around the picturesque little islands and stopped off to ... read more
Catch ups in the beautiful old city
Valle Cocoras - the photos don't really do it justice!
View of Salento from the lookout

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta August 23rd 2015

After the world championship, a few of us had some extra time to travel around. I flew with Ena, Olly, Louis, Bobby and his girlfriend Elly to Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast for some relaxation and diving. We had a bit of trouble at the Santa Marta airport when both Ena and my bags didn't show up. But luckily, we were picked up by Cata from the diving company, and she was able to help us sort everything out. The bags were still at Bogota airport and they arrived at our hostel later that night. We stayed in Rodadero, which is the smaller beach town 10 mins down the coast from Santa Marta. We spent the next couple of days diving in the amazing reefs of Parque Tayrona. I was doing my Open Water certification, ... read more
Cabo San Juan de Guia, Parque Tayrona
Pozo Azul, Minca
Sunset at Minca

South America » Colombia » Cali August 16th 2015

Ok, so I'm a little behind on the blog entries... I'm going to try and catch up over the next couple of days. Starting with the Underwater Rugby World Championships, which were in Cali from the 26th July to 1st August. The week before we had a tour around a few cities in Colombia to improve our skills in the lead up to the tournament: The majority of the team had arrived in Bogota by the 18th July and we played a game against the Castores. Then we all headed to Medellin (some in the bus, and others, including me, on a plane). In Medellin, we had some training with the Orcas who are one of the best teams in Colombia. Actually, majority of the selection for the Colombian team were from the Orcas! We played ... read more
Officially an Athlete!
Competition pool in Cali
7th Place!!!!

South America » Colombia » Bogota July 9th 2015

On Tuesday, after school, we went on an outing to the city centre. We started at the Parque Indepencia and saw the Planetarium, which was the most advanced in all America when it was built. We saw the Plaza de Toros, which was under renovation so we couldn't go in, which was a large arena build by the Spanish for the bull fighting. Apparently there aren't many left intact because the Colombians got too excited by the games and tore most of them down! We also checked out La Macarena, which a neighbourhood with nice restaurants, cafes and bars, and La Candelaria which is the oldest area of Bogota and still has a lot of the original Spanish buildings. That night, Nat and I went to pick up Julie at the airport, the first of the ... read more
At the top of Monserrate
Salsa dancing at Quiebra Canto
Lazing by the pool at La Vega

South America » Colombia » Bogota July 6th 2015

Not much to report for this last week. Nat and I have been training mornings, afternoons and nights every day. I swam a total of 19.35km, which I was pretty stoked with... it's what happens when you go swimming twice a day for a week, I guess! There weren't any excursions planned this week for school, so I had plenty of time to focus on the UWR. I'm learning heaps from the Colombian team - for example this week we learnt about the "Bottle Opener" which essentially involves popping the goalie off the basket like a bottle top. I'm playing with some really awesome, experienced goalies who are giving me some great tips (with only a few miscommunications along the way) and hopefully when we head back down towards sea level, I'll have a super breath ... read more
Friday Night Dancing Crew
Scientology Building

South America » Colombia » Bogota June 28th 2015

So I've been going to class every morning, gym and homework in the afternoon and training every night with the Castores. This weekend, the team were in Medellin for a tournament, so Nat and I had a little break. But the madness begins again next week! On Tuesday, after class, a few of the Spanish school students went on a field trip to Monserrate, which is a mountain which overlooks Bogota. It rises to 3,152 metres (10,341 ft) above the sea level (thanks Wikipedia), where there is a church (built in the 17th century) with a shrine, devoted to "El Señor Caído" (Fallen Lord), as well as a few restaurants and little shops. Monserrate is a popular destination for pilgrams and on special holy days, they climb the mountain on their knees, up a steep track ... read more
View of Bogota from Monserrate
Green House for medicinal plants - Bogota Botanical Gardens
A surplus of sauces

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