Jonathan Hillman


Jonathan Hillman


Former TravelPod Member: tracks_travel

Joined: February 24th, 2013
From: lives in United Kingdom

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Castelbuono May 31st 2017

Geo: 37.9325, 14.0873Time Check: 1755Location: Castelbuono: The Relais Santa AnastasiaPosition: "FLOPPED" Having just guzzled 2 Moretti Beers in about 6 seconds after a mammooth 300km/6 hour drive from Castelmola to Castelbuono involving mile after mile of hairpin bends and spectacularly bad driving from the locals. The highways department must have been on LSD when planning the road systems. Sure they have had to negotiate tricky terrain that is mostly mountainous and descends rapidly to narrow coastal flats........but there seems to be a plethora of roads that go nowhere........ cobbled dead ends and crazy switch-back junctions involving "plasma bag" popping turnouts! .....trash lorries coming head on at high speed with oblivious and bonkers moped drivers overtaking on blind corners! Absolutely no road discipline whatsoever! In the last two days I have ... read more
Castiglione Di Sicilia
Troglodyte houses in Sperlinga
Entrance to The Relais Anastasia

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Castelmola May 29th 2017

Geo: 37.8591, 15.2779Monday 29.05.17 Castelmola Sicily Time Check: 0700hrs European 405 Hotel Villa Sonia, Castelmola Nr Taormina, Sicily. We are perched high on a rocky outcrop in a little fortified village called Castelmola. Below us is the picturesque resort of Taormina and beyond that and across the azure Ionian Sea far in the distance is mainland Italy. From our little balcony we have a magnificent view sweeping across to Mt Etna which dominates the whole region. It is a clear crisp morning with a slight chill in the air. In far distance and at some 3,000m in height a few plumes of sulphurous gasses can be seen rising from the cone. Far below me is a myriad of little hamlets that nestle in the gently rising verdant volcanic slopes that eventually give way to rocky larva ... read more
Another great view
Classic Italian

Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Sussex » Crawley May 28th 2017

Geo: 51.113, -0.18312Time Check: 0725 Location: Gatwick South Terminal No 1 LoungeMuch mirth and cackling can be heard from a private booth in this "pay for" Business Class style lounge. The Stella and "PRUSSEKO " is already flowing..................a group of "Hens" celebrating a 50th Birthday and off to MARBELLLLA.......all wearing amply filled black Teeshirts with "FIESTA...SIESTA...TEQUILA......REPEAT."......depicted in silvers sequins.......are glugging away on the modern version of Lambrusco/Pomagne. I look around as various families wander about again sipping complimentary PRUSEKKO with hard nosed kids sporting those "short back and sides" haircuts you see in programs on Gypsy Knuckle Fighting......even at 6 years of age you wouldn't want to get into a fight with them!In the distance more cork popping noises can be ... read more
 PRUSEKKO and Teeshirts!

Central America Caribbean » Nicaragua January 3rd 2017

Geo: 11.019, -84.398The engine of the open 8 seater canoe burbled gently in the darkness then suddenly cut out altogether ................nothing to guide our heightened senses in the enveloping black inky darkness of the jungle but the rhythmical cacophony of poisoness tree frogs.......some red, some green but all capable of delivering a torrid and painful "FROGGY DEATH".........The guide who had been standing sentinal on the bow for over one hour suddenly signalled with his hand and jumped in the water to our left........the canoe rocked from side to side and all we could hear was splashing in the snake infested water........."MISSED IT"...... was the dissapointed comment from another crew member......."it was nearly 2m long"......."THANK GOODNESS"............ I thought to myself as the prospect of a 6 foot freshwater croc (Caymen) being ... read more
Orlandos House
A News Years game for children of El Castilo
Night expedition!

Central America Caribbean » Nicaragua January 1st 2017

Geo: 11.019, -84.398RECAP After bailing out of The Remote Cano Negro National Park on 28th December we spent the next 2 nights enjoying the gentle adventure playground of the JURASSIC FLINT-STONE region of Costa Rica called The Arenal Volcanic National Part. The hotel located right in the foothills of the Volcano was excellent and the scenery superb only slightly tarnished by hoards of "buffet guzzling tourists" and small French children running free and uncontrolled in the Hotel campus crying "PAPA PAPA"...........This was useful downtime to wash SMALLS and regroup after a hectic 12 days of travel. New Years Eve! The 30th was a very very long day in the saddle........we left the comforts of The Hotel Lomas del Volcan in Fortuna Costa Rica at 0830 in the morning drizzle setting coordinates for the border town of ... read more
Arenal Volcano
Crossing the border!
Arriving at El Castilo by boat

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica December 28th 2016

Geo: 10.4738, -84.6467PEDRO GETS WET! OK then.......if I keep the revs high and try and drive on the left hand bank we may make it!.........I nervously watch the Toyota Land Cruiser coming in the opposite's up to it's doors in water and with vast plumes of water spraying from either side crashes through the flooded road!!!!......PEDRO takes a deep breath and I put him into low gear and go for it! A strange bobbling noise can be heard from his submerged peashooter exhaust pipe......we make it! Only two more like this to go before the track claims to higher ground.............he is only little in comparison to the rugged 3.8 V6's but does well...... It's been a tough 23km drive from Upala taking about 1hour 30 minutes. The unmade ochre coloured muddy track is waterlogged and ... read more
Smug look......
Typical rural occurance

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Alajuela December 26th 2016

Geo: 10.914, -84.7964Catch up Blog as no Internet for 4 days due to line down!Tenorio Volcanic National Park Thursday 22nd Dec 1500h Ouch! Yikes!..... I'm being bitten..........I stumble on through the jungle for a few stinging yards before daring to look tender English lily-white legs and indeed arms are a succulent and easy target for a herd of killer jungle gnats! I turn into a human pin cushion as they feast gleefully on the inside of my arms and calves.......little droplets of blood appear within seconds as I madly squish the little black critters........will I survive this tropical trauma? I "squeak" to Cathy that I have been attacked........and immediately "about turn" and head back about 200m up the marshy jungle path and past the sloth perched high in a palm tree (the reason for our ... read more
Not concerned......
More Chilly Sauce on board!

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica December 21st 2016

Geo: 10.3041, -84.798TIME CHECK: 1654 LOCATION: Cabin 7 Monteverde Cloud Forest ResortChristmas Internet Radio is playing on the iPad and we have set up our little battery powered snowflake lights for the "BIG SWITCH ON" later.WEATHER CHECK: Not to dissimilar to Scarfell Pike in February to be frank. Blustery showers with sunny intervals and slightly chilly! At 4,690 feet above sea level the weather changes fast. However, we are really enjoying the peace and wild tranquility of the superb area. UPDATE: Today (Wednesday 21st Dec) has been great! We have been mesmerised by humming birds, amazed at huge beetles, scared by scary spiders, swooped on by iridescent butterflies and revolted at giant cockroaches that can live without a head for several days! All this within the little town of St Elena only a short drive from ... read more
I'm not a sparrow!
Giant Swallow Tail Butterfly

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica December 20th 2016

Geo: 10.3041, -84.798At 0910 hrs yesterday (Monday) "PEDRO" was delivered. He is a rather "Natty" metallic gold Daihatsu 1500cc compact 4WD...His engine sounds like an anaemic wasp and has a dodgy front left wheel bearing but he buzzes along at 80kph and climbs potholed dirt track roads without complaint.At 1000hrs after pre flight checks that would put a 747 pilot to shame we set off and cautiously turn right out of the Van Trapp Motel. A few mopeds whizz past and I get tooted by a nasty looking lorry. Soon I am into my stride and after about 2 minutes into our journey we pull into a Peli Supermarcado for essential supplies.....crisps, UHT milk, Chilly sauce, Ginger Ale and some rather obscure Scotch at $5 a litre..... PEDRO is laden with goodies.......we tootle off West down ... read more
Prospecting for gold!
Local Rooster
What a view!

Geo: 9.93333, -84.0833Time Check: 0735 Costa Rica Time: GMT - 6Sitting on our Teak Balcony in Room 8 of The Van Trapp Motel overlooking verdant vegetation and Pool. A "little man" is sweeping up mango tree leaves whilst various "parrot like" chirps and whoops can be heard in the branches towering above. We are literally 1/4km from the Airport and it was only a short hop from there last night. Various aircraft engine noise break the 'JUNGLY" cacophony every few minutes. We we were up and poking about at 0500hrs looking forward to home ground coffee put together in our little plunger device (which got pulled apart at JFK as it had a couple of AAA Batteries conveniently stowed inside it)........tick...tick....DISASTER!!! plug failure......I had stupidly packed three EEC plugs instead of US ones.........NO KETTLE!.......NO CHARGING!........pote... read more
The excellent Van Trapp Hotel
View from Room 8
Chernobyl works again!

Tot: 0.145s; Tpl: 0.007s; cc: 14; qc: 68; dbt: 0.0954s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.2mb