Page 3 of Willow Travel Blog Posts

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine March 5th 2009

To be honest there weren't many lows... apart from the fifth day when I had a slight sense of humour failure but more on that later! From the little I'd seen of Patagonia the scenery was stunning and the drive from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park was no different - distant snow capped peaks, Guanaco (lowland wild Llamas) munching on grass by the roadside, flamingos wading at the waters edge and circling on the thermals high above, Condors. The four of us, me, Eamo, Ann and Gordon had come to do the W trek, the route of which, unsurprisingly, follows the shape of a W (rather than the slightly more hard core 'Full circuit' or 'Q loop'). Contrary to advice in the guide books though we'd chosen to walk from East to West... ... read more
Torres, waiting for the cloud to clear,,,,,
Lago Grey
Sunrise Day 1.... from the breakfast table at the hostel

Antarctica » Antarctica February 25th 2009

In the end we had 4 days of landings on the Antarctic Peninsular and islands - our very first landing at Neko Harbour had been amazing simply because, wow - we're standing on Antarctica! But for me the highlight of the trip was the time we spent cruising icebergs in the zodiacs and our very last landing at Dorian Bay. The iceberg cruise was the second tour we'd done in the zodiacs. I'd found the first, to see glaciers, disappointing because I'd ended up with the group that pretty quickly decided they'd had enough and wanted to go back to the ship for a cup of tea. So whilst the others were out seeing a whale and watching a leopard seal kill a penguin, I was back on deck, slightly seething. This time though it was ... read more
Gentoo family, Dorien Bay
The Prof, Dorien Bay
Dorien Bay

Antarctica » Antarctica February 20th 2009

The plan was to write just one blog on Antarctica, at least it was until I started looking at my photos. OK so there's probably only so many ice and penguin photo's you want to see, but looking at them again months after the trip has reminded me that it's still the most amazing thing I've ever done. So here goes blog 2 out of 3! I woke up early on our second day at the peninsular - the breakfast call was yet to come and I took the opportunity to head up on deck. With everyone else still in their cabins there was barely a noise to be heard apart from the lapping of water against the boat. The sun had yet to rise over the surrounding snowy peaks and everything had this stunning blue ... read more
Sunset in Antarctica

Antarctica February 15th 2009

The morning we left for Antarctica found the four of us, me, Ann, Gordon and Eamo, out on the balcony of our hostel peering across to the harbour and trying to work out which of the boats that had arrived overnight might be ours. There was a large one which resembled a floating apartment block and a couple of others that frankly would have been at home in a bath tub. OK so we'd specifically chosen to go on a small boat but for me the reality of that in terms of size of boat vs big ocean with nasty rough waters was only just starting to hit.... We'd had a few days chilling out in Ushuaia before we left - I'd flown down from BA (a trip memorable only for the fact that I was ... read more
Neko Harbour
Neko Harbour
Neko Harbour

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires February 10th 2009

Arriving in Buenos Aries fresh from a few weeks back in the UK I was amused to find myself somewhere that might as well have been in Europe. The drive from the airport meandered through leafy green suburbs, with nice looking coffee shops on every corner and where women in designer outfits pranced along with toy dogs... the really small ones that fit nicely into a large designer hand bag. Although not at all what I expected I soon found I was enjoying not having to haggle over the price of every single thing, experiencing showers with hot water and having a whole seat to myself on the bus.... it was all so completely different to my last 6 months in Africa and India. As to Buenos Aries itself, well I really enjoyed it... once I'd ... read more
La Boca
La Boca
La Boca

Asia » India » Sikkim » Pelling February 3rd 2009

Initially I’d wanted to take the scenic narrow gauge railway to Darjeeling (yes, I think I’m becoming an anorak), but that was before I’d been ill in Kolkata. The scenic train would take another 7 hours, assuming it didn’t come off the rails again(!), and having just about managed 10 hours on the overnight train from Kolkata without being sick I decided not to push my luck. Instead I hooked up with an Irish/Kiwi couple, a French/Belgium couple and a few locals, got a shared jeep. Two hours later saw us in Darjeeling where a hike up the steep winding streets with our rucksacks had us wondering why we’d picked the furthest hotel when every other building seemed to be one. Sat on the roof terrace a while later though it was all forgotten as I ... read more
The monastery at Kalimpong
Pemayangtse monastery, Sikkim
Sunrise at Tiger Hill

Asia » India » Kerala » Kochi January 31st 2009

When I'd booked the back to back overnight trains that would take me from Hampi straight down to Kerala (with a day to do Bangalore!) it'd seemed like a great idea - saving time, which I was fast running out of, and money on accomodation etc etc - but by the time we eventually reached Varkala down on the south west coast of India I'd had plenty of opportunity to rethink that decision! Fortunately though we didn't have anything more taxing to do over the next few days than collapse on the beach and recover.... ahh life is tough ;0) Various people I'd met along the way had recommended coming south and now having been I've learnt to ask why a person liked somewhere so much before heading off there myself! Don't get me wrong, I ... read more
The Coffee Shop in Bangalore - great artwork and uniforms, the coffee.... hmmm
Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi
Sunset in Fort Kochi

Asia » India » Karnataka » Hampi January 21st 2009

I had just two weeks left in India and was torn between whether to stay north and see more of the forts and palaces of Rajasthan or head south - I'd met heaps of people who'd raved about the south and how different it was and I was keen to see it for myself. In the end what tipped it was probably visiting the fort at Kumbalgarh - I really didn't think anything would be able to top it. But then as it turned out I found I actually preferred the north! I started in Goa, well Panjim really - I wasn't too bothered about the beaches (half a day at Calangute was more than enough to make me want to run back north - it was a case of spot the local amongst all the ... read more
Colours of Hampi
At Vitthala temple
Krishna Temple

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bundi January 10th 2009

To begin with I didn´t get Bundi. I´d read rave reviews of this small town in Rajasthan (small by Indian standards that is) both in the guide book and on other peoples blogs but walking around that first morning well, I just wasn´t seeing it. Perhaps it was the result of my overnight bus journey from Udaipur - half frozen, no sleep and arriving at 4am maybe wasn´t helping my view of the place but the 'lake' was rather lite on water and the best thing about the palace was watching monkeys jumping around on the roof. Slightly perplexed I headed back to my hostel with its 'lake views' and used the time to catch up on some reading instead. On my second day I started to get it - the attraction for me wasn´t any ... read more
Market day
Passing time
The delivery bike, Bundi

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Udaipur January 5th 2009

By the time we boarded the train from Jaipur to Udaipur it was long since dark and our sleeper carriage crowded with locals. I´ve met a real mix of people whilst travelling by rail here - mostly locals, some on their way home, others on business trips, some chatty, others not - but the group we shared this journey with was by far the friendliest. We later discovered that they were two families also going to Udaipur on holiday (and very excited about it they were too) but at the time, with 12 of us squeezed into seats for 9, my heart sank when the women in the group started to unpack a small feast. It seemed any chance of sleep was a long way off. But then the first person they handed food to was ... read more
Kumbalgarh fort
Kumbalgarh fort
Kumbalgarh fort

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