Steve and Ellie


Steve and Ellie

We are off on our travels around South America, follow our journey here if you are interested!

South America December 20th 2010

After 4 and 1/2 months, 7 different countries, and more than 10 days on a bus (yes really!) our Great Adventure is done.  We have seen mind- blowingly beautiful landscapes, swum in 3 different seas, walked ancient paths and seen ridiculous opulence on one side of the street and crippling poverty on the other. South America is a pretty special place. We have (apart from a few sketchy interludes- see new Rio blog), loved every minute. As for a favourite country (this is what everyone asks) we can't choose. But what we can tell you  what the highlights have been.  In no particular order: 1. Ilha Grande, Brazil 2. Iguazu falls, Brazil/Argentina 3. Mendoza, Argentina (Bikes and Wines!)  4. El Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia 5. Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia 6. THE INCA TRAIL! Peru 7. The Galapagos Islands, ... read more

South America » Colombia » Bogota December 20th 2010

We first arrived in the Columbian capital of Bogota on the 7th, the evening of the festival of lights. It was lovely to see families out lighting candles and seeing in the evening in the decorated streets. However, this event also meant that finding a taxi was a near impossible task and we spent an hour in a queue after our already delayed arrival. Not the best start.  We planned to spend the next 2 days seeing the city and to return only fleetingly in a few weeks to catch our flight home.  This went mostly to plan. We spent the next morning wandering around the Candelaria, the beautiful historic centre of the city. It was a bank holiday so the streets were full with the hub and bub of people. Unfortunately this also meant that most ... read more
Steve eating Chocolate Santafereño
Christmas in Columbia

South America » Colombia » Cartagena December 19th 2010

We left Taganga and continued along the coast to the city of Cartagena. The journey took us through some of the areas badly effected by the flooding that is currently happening in Columbia. We saw peoples homes with water flowing through. Locals had made makeshift roadblocks from which they were begging for a few coins from the passing traffic. It was an incredibly sad sight to see. However, we were a little enheartened to see children playing in and enjoying their new watery predicament.  On arriving in Cartagena we were instantly struck by how beautiful it is. Incredibly well preserved colonial style buildings sit inside the huge city walls which tower over the Caribbean sea. It makes for a wonderful view and means it is a lovely place to while away a few days. And that's ... read more
Colonial Centre
Playa Blanca
The City Walls

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta » Taganga December 16th 2010

We left Villa de Leyva with the intention of breaking the journey halfway in Bucaramanga. Steve was especially keen to stop here as there was another opportunity to eat something odd, this time it was large bottomed ants!  However when we arrived at Bucaramanga bus station and went to purchase tickets for the following day we discovered the journey to Santa Marta was not the mere 8-9 hours the guidebook proclaimed. It was in fact 13-15 hours (i.e. had to be a night bus). So we booked ourselves on to the next bus out. We arrived the following morning in the baking hot coastal city of Santa Marta (after 26 hours and 3 buses). We decided to head to the sleepy fishing village Taganga just a short taxi ride away (thankfully, as for reasons we still ... read more
Playa Grande Again
Our Pool
Taganga Bay

South America » Colombia » Villa de Leyva December 11th 2010

Everyone we've spoken to who is Columbian or has visited Columbia recently has enquired to check that we will be visiting this pretty little colonial town. Having seen a wealth of them through the continent this was little draw. However it was on our route north to the Caribbean coast and we needed to break the journey somewhere.  We arrived in the town with its cobbled streets and white walled, terracotta roofed buildings. We were struck by just how beautiful it is. They are no modern looking buildings in the town, anywhere. Even the bus station is in the colonial style and blends in beautifully. We spent 2 days exploring the narrow streets and lively court yards filled with shops, restaurants and bars. We climbed the hills behind town to enjoy the vista, looking out over ... read more
Churh in the Main Square
Colonial Balcony
Another Church

South America » Colombia » Quindío » Armenia December 7th 2010

We were both really excited about Salento. It is often raved about for its beauty and all of the things you can do here. However, our enthusiasm was somewhat dampened in transit by the unseasonal rain and the fact that Steve fell spectacularly ill on the bus journey. He is fine now but let´s just say that Ellie was pleased that she didn´t need to hold his hair back! Despite this ropey start, it turned out to be a great stop. The weather cleared up for our last two days here, which we felt smug about as the heavens opened while we waited at the bus stop to leave! While we were here we visted a local coffee farm, where we were educated in all things coffee. We saw it being grown and dried. We also ... read more
Hummingbird in Flight
Wax Palm!

South America » Colombia » Medellin December 3rd 2010

Medellin was never in our travel plan, with our initial vision of Colombia (our final destination) involving beaches and little else. However, after talking to other travellers we realised that there was alot more to this country and that we should really use our 3 remaining weeks to do it some justice! So... after a flight from Ecuador (an overland border crossing is not advised), we arrived to a rainy Medellin. We were surprised when boarded a taxi to discover a TV, but a little less surprised when we were serenaded by the dulcit tones of Shakira. Hilarious... we'd only been in the country for 5 minutes. We would love to say that we chose our first Columbian destination for it´s history or beauty but infact it was the cheap airfare that pulled us in! It ... read more
City Scape

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 1st 2010

We didn't expect to be Quito fans. It doesn't have the best reputation amongst travellers, often cited as the place in the (generally exagerrated but nonetheless scary) horror stories you hear. We only had 3 days here but we really enjoyed ourselves. We explored the city and climbed up to the bell tower of the basilica (cue another Indiana Jones moment due to the lack of health and safety!), and ate lots of typical ecuadorian food. Our favourite has been Seco de Chico, a lovely goat stew. You will also be interested to know that Steve has now tried 'cuy' or guinea pig.. (Where will his strange food obsession end I ask!?)  During our time here we have also visited the equatorial line where we entertained ourselves for hours taking all the embarrassing tourist photos! Well ... read more
The World Revolving Around Us!
La Basilica

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos November 30th 2010

We had high hopes for this trip, we have many friends who've been and loved it, meaning that we had built it up to be one of the highlights of our grand adventure. It didn't disappoint. The Galapagos are amazing. Every island is different, with it's own variety of flora and fauna. On one island you see thousands of different types of birds, on another it's Iguana, on another it's seals, on another it's cacti, and on all of them it's sealions! They are everywhere! On the first day on getting very exciting at seeing a mother and baby Sealion our guide said 'don't bother with them, tomorrow you'll be tripping over them!', and he was right! But we loved them, even if they do smell, and believe us they do! Our trip here has been ... read more
Land Iguana
Blue Footed Booby

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños November 23rd 2010

After another tedious ecuadorian bus journey we arrived in Baños. This one was especially tedious due to the number of salesmen that jumped onto the bus at various intervals to sell us wonder products to changes our lives, such as breath mints and tea bags!?!? Tea bags, Really? Can´t they see we´re English? Baños is a little town in a beautiful setting. Everywhere you look are rolling green hills and, much like the English city of Bath, Baños is visited for its Baños (baths). Although you can actually bathe in these ones. So on our first day after taking a ´healing´ bath and visiting the small waterfall we felt very smug that we had ´done´Baños in just one day. Then we got talking to a fellow traveller... It turns out Baños is famous for the MANY ... read more
Main Square
Church Yard
Dirt Buggy!

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