Emily Willaert


Emily Willaert

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Rwenzori Mountains December 12th 2018

Repeat Hike of Karangora Peak: Hour 1: The ranger station moved from in town to on the edge of the national park. This is WAY out of the city and vehicles cannot transverse. We turned back towards town because we couldn’t believe it right. We met Richard who guaranteed us it was the other way and he escorted us (on a sprint ) to the station. · Epiphany 1: I would make a killing selling signage in this country for tourists. Hour 2: We had to hike basically straight up through people’s farmland to reach the park. People were leading cows and goats down to town; a woman hoeing a field with a crying baby strapped to her back; kids picking crops. I was dying as the elevation quickly rose and from the hot ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Fort Portal December 7th 2018

The morning started with an eventful bus departure. We were late for the bus but it hadn’t departed and as Shelby ran to the bathroom, I found seats. I asked the person next to me where he was heading. He said Kampala (Fort Portal and Kampala are not close). The bus started pulling out, Shelby wasn’t on the bus out, I was trying to get of to ask about the trek, and a worker was pounding on the bus trying to get it to wait for Shelby. As Shelby was jumping on I was trying to get off. I asked the worker if it was going to Fort Portal, he said there is no bus from Masindi to Fort Portal, you go to Kampala first than transfer. We got on the bus mentally preparing for the ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Northern Region December 6th 2018

Today was a day for future planning, getting a workout in and making sure I didn’t forget I still had a job. We made run into town and I introduced Shelby to a Rolex which are DELICIOUS! I think I could make a million dollars selling these at bar close if I could master the recipe and process but I think it looks easier than it is. It was a great day to be. The sun was shining and the hotel we were staying at had a beautiful garden area with gazebos which made for a fantastic work space. That night we spent a good chunk of our evening chatting with Francis (one of the few Ugandans I have encountered who not only understood our sarcasm but dished it out) and Silvia who had become our ... read more

Africa » Uganda December 5th 2018

The day started early enough for to see the sun rise. The road on the way to and in the park is under construction as a Chinese company expands it to a 4 lane paved road from a two lane dirt road. This is necessary because Uganda discovered oil in the park and is working on a pipeline to Tanzania and needs road infrastructure. There are now two workers camps in a village near the park more than tripling its population. Immediately upon entering the park, baboons are everywhere. So many we thought this was the game drive. We stood corrected when we reached the ferry landing to transport the car across the Nile. Then giraffes became more plentiful than trees. There were several times when we were no more than 10 yards from them. We ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Northern Region » Murchison Falls NP December 4th 2018

The day started out early to catch a bus to Masindi. Thanks to Norah’s walkthrough the previous day, it was smooth sailing to get tickets. We hung out for a bit and then a truck with two benches in the flatbed pull up. Shelby’s eyes almost popped out of her head with the look “are we riding in the back of this for 4 hours?” I shrugged with the “I don’t actually know but it is possible.” We got in and us trying to manage not getting our bags caught on the tarp covering the back broke the ice with the other passengers and a good laugh was had at the Muzungos getting stuck. They took us to the bus station and transferred us over to the main bus. Per usual, we did not pull out ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala December 3rd 2018

We arrived at the Entebbe airport and the change was drastic. The walls were postered were tourist attractions. It only took 45 minutes for a visa instead of 2 hours. Armed security guards were only by the doors separating those in from those outside. As we taxied to Kampala, our driver explained the majority of the expanded highway from Entebbe to Kampala was now complete (the project started 5 years ago). However, as we neared the city, it was evident much remained the same: women bent over sweeping the highway with stick brooms; workers chopping grass on the wayside with machetes; Bodas and cars making 3rd and 4th lanes of traffic appear out of no where; people living and selling out of shacks, the smog and presence of an elephant on my chest while trying to ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Málaga » Malaga December 2nd 2018

Away we go. Goodbye Europe and Hello Africa! The day started with more exploration of the city of Malaga, visiting the Pablo Picasso museum, and navigating our way to the airport. Goal for today: get from Malaga to Italy, Italy to Ethiopia, Ethiopia to Uganda. Airports are an interesting place to hang out and this trip has been great in experiencing the variation in the process. In Malaga, each airline had multiple check in counters, but you were sorted by flight. Meaning you could only check in for a flight when they wanted you to. So despite getting to the airport 2.5 hours early, we had 45 minutes before boarding. Italy’s airport was more like a Mall of America than an airport. Finally, Ethiopia‘s had a triple check-in. One to get into the departure terminal (which ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia December 1st 2018

Today we packed up again and hit the road. When we first were booking our trip out of Spain, we had agreed to spend one night in the city of Malaga and find a place to go dancing. However, with Shelby‘s recently sprained ankle and upcoming long hikes in both Uganda and Nepal, we had to veer right and change plans. We arrived at our hostel which was fantastically located in downtown Malaga near the water front and historic part of town. Shelby even got the penthouse room (which is our loving way of referring to the attic we shared with 8 other women, had 1 bathroom, a slanted ceiling that prevented me from being able to sit up in bed and required 87 steps ). Anywho, we decided to explore the city which was full ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Estepona November 30th 2018

With Shelby's ankle still a little banged up from canyoning and knowing we had a 22 hour travel day in the near future, we decided to take a day to chill. This gave me an opportunity to SLEEP in and enjoy a cup of coffee from the balcony with breakfast. Mostly, I couldn't believe how far behind I felt in so many things. How can you be behind on a journey is the question I kept asking. The list compiled quickly: completing the workout program I had left for my soccer teams to show them everyone can find time, journaling, reading the 10 books I committed to on this trip, blogging, soccer work, laundry, catching up on sun and sleep. It was a great day of sun, walking the beach and collecting trash, and catching up. ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Ardales November 29th 2018

Today we hike/walked the El Caminito del Rey (The King's Little Path). It is a walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro. Originally, this path was a trek of shepherds. Later in 1860, it was a huge engineering project to create a rail system to connect Malaga (near the sea) to the rest of Spain. Finally, in the 1920's, Spain took on the endeavor of damming the river and later creating a hydroelectric plant which now provides over 400,000 people daily. The path was open to the public until 1980 when it had to close because it was deemed too dangerous for people due to an increase in recent deaths. It reopened to the public in 2008 and the trail is now incredibly safe and so great to walk on. ... read more

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