Page 2 of WayneandLiz Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland August 14th 2017

We headed out from Dublin with Rabbie's Tours, our group of 12 consisting of five Americans, four Australians, two Chinese, and one Canadian, and our driver/guide, Marcus. Our first destination was Belfast, where we focused on The Troubles between Catholics and Protestants in the 1970s to 1990s that led to thousands of deaths in Northern Ireland. We made three quick stops along Falls Road to look at murals of the hunger strikers (Bobby Sands, etc.), ten of whom died in the 1970's. They were IRA members who protested that they should be prisoners of war, not criminals, so wouldn't wear the prison garb, etc. As with most conflicts, there were lots of atrocities on both sides. We had a little break from The Troubles at lunch time with a two-hour stop at the Titanic Belfast Visitor ... read more
Belfast Titanic Visitor Experience
View from the trail down to the Giant's Causeway
Giant's Causeway

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin August 13th 2017

The three of us, Wayne, Jean and I, arrived at Dublin's airport about 5 am August 11 after an easy flight from Boston. We were concerned when we tried to call our Airbnb host (who kindly said to call early) and didn't get an answer, but soon we figured out that we had copied down his number incorrectly, so instead of calling him in Ireland, we had been calling someone in Albania. Fortunately, he answered right away when we got his number right, and we took an Uber to the beautiful apartment that we are renting from him near the Merrion Hotel and several government buildings. It has two bedrooms and a big living room/kitchen area, fully equipped. Our only complaint is of a booby-trapped toilet seat that tries to slide off the bowl when you ... read more
The view from our apartment
The Viking Duck Tours
Wayne heads into St. Stephen's Park

South America » Brazil » Paraná » Iguaçu Falls June 29th 2016

On June 27 we flew from Rio to Iguazu, approximately a two hour flight. We were puzzled as to why our seat assignments kept changing, from booking to check-in to gate. The when we got on the plane, we were told to just sit anywhere but not in the first ten rows! It turned out that the cockpit door lock was broken, so for security reasons they didn't want anyone within ten rows of it, and therefore about 50 people had been bumped off the flight! Good thing we were traveling with a group or it could have been us. Upon reaching Iguazu we drove straight to the waterfalls rather than our hotel, because this was our only chance to see the Brazillian side of the falls, and the park closed at five. We saw some ... read more
Love the greenery!
Capuchin waiting for an unwary tourist

We are back in Rio for a day and a half after traveling almost 12 hours from the Pantanal. We are reminded of how beautiful is the setting for this city, with its magnificent beaches and the huge rock monoliths like Sugarloaf and the Corcovado surrounding. We are again staying at the Othon Hotel, which has a gorgeous view of Copacabana beach and a buffet breakfast. Highly recommended! After a quick pizza supper and a good sleep we headed out with our guide for an early morning walk to Ipanema, the next beach south of Copacabana. Because it was Sunday, the street was reserved for pedestrians and bikers. When we rounded the point that separates the two beaches we could see that the surf on Ipanema was even greater than that on Copacabana - perhaps 10-foot ... read more
Surfers  at Ipanema
Ipanema Beach
Tourists try on costumes from Carnival

South America » Brazil » Mato Grosso » Pantanal June 25th 2016

On June 22 we woke up at 2 am (!) to fly to Cuiaba in the state of Mato Grosso. Then after arriving there we had a three hour drive to our destination,the Pousada Rio Mutum, which we reached at about 4 pm. However, we all got a second wind on the drive, because it was probably the best wildlife viewing we've had yet. Right away we saw greater rheas (large emu-like birds), and then about 40 other bird species. Somehow we were blessed with unusual sightings: a tree full of twenty blue and yellow macaws, a family of five toco toucans, capuchin and black howler monkeys together, and even a giant anteater that Wayne spotted just disappearing into the bush. It was also the brief season for tabebuia trees to be in brilliant pink flower, ... read more
Capybara herd at the Pousada Rio Mutum
Want to join me in the hammock, Ms. Capybara?
A very curious giant river otter

South America » Brazil » Amazonas June 21st 2016

June 19 at 2 pm we boarded the Premium II, a small ship just for our Overseas Adventure Travel group (12) at Manaus. We proceeded east (downstream) to the meeting of the waters where the Rio Negro (clear, acidic, and dark) meets the Solimoes (milky and neutral and carrying a lot of rich sediment) to form the Amazon. The scale of the Amazon is hard to comprehend. The Amazon basin covers an area the size of the continental US, and at its mouth the river is 50 miles across. Here in Manaus, hundreds of miles inland, it is still the widest river I've ever seen, several(?) miles across. Over the course of three days we covered about 30 miles, mostly upstream on the Rio Negro. One great thing about the Rio Negro is that it is ... read more
At the meeting of the brown and black waters
Sunrise beckons
Hoatzins (image by Salvador Sole Sobriano)

South America June 18th 2016

June 18 we woke at 4:30 to fly to Manaus via Brasilia, arriving about 1 pm after setting our clocks back an hour. Manaus is on the Rio Negro just above the spot where the major branches of the Amazon come together (meeting of the waters). Here, finally, we are really hot and humid, and this is the "winter." It was 98 degrees today and sunny! We went directly from the airport in our air conditioned bus (yay!) to the Manaus Opera House, built in 1896. At the time, this was the rubber capital of the world, and it was forbidden to export any seeds or young rubber trees I order to protect the industry, but in the early 1900s some British men sneaked seeds to Malaysia by hiding them inside the shell of a coconut-like ... read more
Any kind of banana or plantain you want at the market
Preparing fish in the market
Olympic torches ready to be passed in relay

South America » Brazil » Bahia » Salvador June 18th 2016

June 15. In Rio we woke at 5:00 am for our flight to Salvador in the state of Bahia, which is the size of Texas. Strangely, Wayne and a couple of others got an email saying our flight had been delayed and that we could find out more at 10. Giordanna called the airline and was told, no, everything is on time! Sure enough, at the airport the plane was ready, and all was fine. If we had been traveling alone we would probably have missed the flight! Someone proposed that that is what they do when the plane is overbooked to reduce the number of people that show up! In line to check baggage a very pushy woman kept trying to cut into the middle of our group from the row behind us. She had ... read more
Mashed manioc, salsa, black-eyed peas and manioc, and meats
The bay at Salvador
Posing with a baihana

June 13. We emerged from the fog of a 9-hour overnight flight into the Rio airport, which is large and modern, walked about half a mile (literally - I have a pedometer), and entered a long, slow immigration line serviced by only two agents. The joys of travel. Things were looking up, though, when we breezed through customs and emerged into the real world to find our Overseas Adventure Travel guide, Danna, and four other group members waiting for us. From that point on we were well taken care of with comfortable bus transportation and conversation on the way to our Rio Othon Palace Hotel right on the beach in Copacabana. First impressions of the city: huge, spread out over a large area divided by beautiful peaks and bodies of water, requiring bridges and tunnels that ... read more
Lunch at AipoAipim
Sand sculptures on Copacabana Beach
Surf's up

North America » United States » Colorado » Breckenridge June 12th 2016

In the afternoon after our balloon ride June 9 we hiked McCullough Gorge trail. This turned out to be quite challenging due to a lot of snow on the trail and a lack of blazes to show the way. It was only about 3 miles round trip but took us 3 hours with a stop for lunch. We ended at beautiful White Falls which was roaring at peak flow due to snow melt with the warm temperatures (70s) we've been having. Aside from the falls the highlight was three fat marmots that we saw in a couple of rock piles along the way. Driving back to town we noticed several cars parked on the side of the road, always a good sign in wildlife areas. There stood a huge male moose with a full rack of ... read more
Pika (Google image)
Downtown Breckenridge
Inside the Country Boy Mine

Tot: 0.154s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 18; qc: 93; dbt: 0.0336s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.6mb