Christopher Heckmann

heckmantis

Christopher Heckmann

Welcome to my adventure page! I'm a 31 year old American structural engineer currently living in Groningen, Netherlands (formally Wellington, New Zealand, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Austin). The goal of this page is to provide detailed and unique information for you about the places I've been and things I've experienced in order to help you plan your trip. If you have additional questions just ask!



Europe » Italy » Lazio » Bagnoregio February 13th 2017

December 2016 With all the places I have been in Europe, amazingly enough I have not been to Italy. So I have been looking forward to this trip for a while. We booked this anniversary trip to Civita de Bagnoregio, Italy like six months ago. We will be staying a little walled village on a plateau just south of Tuscany. How romantic, huh? But before we get there we will spend two night and a day in Rome. We were not originally planning on going to Rome, but it is the closest airport to fly to, and I figured if we are gonna be that close to Rome we have to go to Rome. I mean, it’s Rome! Our Alitalia flight lands in Rome on-time. Then something happens that I’ve never seen before. We exit the ... read more
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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Salar de Uyuni February 16th 2016

Bolivia 4x4 Adventure: Going to Bolivia for an American is not exactly easy. For some reason the American government doesn’t like the Bolivian government and they make it difficult for Bolivians to come to America. Thus, the Bolivians make it hard for us to come to Bolivia. You can, you just have to pay $160 USD, provide 2 passport photos, a yellow fever card, proof of hotel reservations and full itinerary. Yeah, a bit different than going to Europe, huh? I wasn’t about to let this scare me away though. I did a lot of research and I was a bit worried that I didn’t have my yellow fever card with me, but I had the money and the photos so I wasn’t too concerned. Bolivia was not on our original honeymoon itinerary. This came up ... read more
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South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine January 26th 2016

Park Map: http://globe-trekking.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/map_torres_del_paine5web.jpg After Antarctica (See Antarctic Cruise Blogs) we head straight to El Calafate, Argentina, and check out Los Glaciers National Park. This is a beautiful place, but the crème de mint of our Patagonia plans is Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. We take an early morning bus to Puerto Natalas, Chile on the first Wednesday of the new year. This is our home base for hiking in Torres del Paine. Walking to our guesthouse we are really disappointed by the condition of the town. It is really run down, not attractive at all. The parks are dilapidated and dirty. Garbage is on the side of the road. Shaggy stray dogs wander around everywhere. For a place that gets as many tourists as this I was e... read more
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Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands January 22nd 2016

Continued from Part 2... Day 11: Today is another full day at sea. South Georgia is quite a ways from mainland Antarctica, but the plan is to stop at the South Orkney Islands tomorrow. We sleep in till 10:30 and it feels amazing. After three straight days of waking up by 6:00 AM this is a much needed sleep-in day. It’s quite cloudy today and visibility isn’t so great so we use the day to go through pictures and read and whatnot. As I am reading Unbroken, the story of Louie Zamparini, I finally have some time to think about the Japanese treatment of POWs in WW2. It was disgusting, violating every international law for prisoners of war. I tell Nimarta that what the Nazis did was so horrible that people seem to forget about the ... read more
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South America » South Georgia » South Georgia January 16th 2016

Continued from Part 1: Day 5: At 7:45 AM the sky is completely covered in fog. Visibility is maybe 100 meters, maybe less. Walking upstairs it’s not raining, it’s just gross outside. There will be nothing to see today. Good thing this weather has come on our day at sea, though according to the crew this is good weather because the wind isn’t too bad (thus the fog). I want clear days on South Georgia though – I want to see the mountains! After breakfast we are given a talk about Ernest Shackleton and his incredible survival story in the Southern Ocean in 1914-16. Even a basic overview would take forever to describe so I encourage you to look up the story for yourself. I definitely wouldn’t have made it if I was part of the ... read more
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South America » Falkland Islands » West Falkland January 16th 2016

Day 1: It’s embarkation day. We have been in Ushuaia about 4 days now and we are ready to get out of here. It’s a decent place – easily walkable with plenty of shops and restaurants – but not the kind of place you want to spend more than a few days. We have walked all over the city multiple times and it is starting to get repetitive. The taxi arrives at our hotel to take us to the port just before 4:00. Antarctica here we come! Our ship is named the Ortelius. It holds up to 117 passengers and 49 crew. It was originally a Polish arctic research vessel that has since been renovated into a cruise ship. But this is not the kind of cruise ship you have been on before. There is no ... read more
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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns » Cairns City November 9th 2015

Continued from Part 5... Day 17: We awake around 8:00 and it’s fairly cool, not as humid as the night before. I slept well but Nimarta barely slept. We decide we’ll take a nap when we get to our place in Palm Cove. The drive north is relaxed, but we definitely notice that we are driving through a much more built up area than anything we have seen since Adelaide. This makes sense since this area has about 150,000 people. Still a small city, but much larger than anything we have seen in a while. We don’t pass through Cairns on our way to Palm Cove, as we avoid the city and the traffic, if there even is any. After winding through some nice neighborhoods we arrive in Palm Cove. We decide to check out the ... read more
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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Camooweal November 5th 2015

Continued from Part 4... Day 14: We are up just after 8:00. Today will be a long day on the road. We pack our things and load the van. After a little breakfast we bid farewell to our host and hit the Stuart Highway around 9:30. We are basically going to see how far we can go today. The only thing we actually want to see is the Devil’s Marbles, about 400 km north on the side of the road. Other than that, all we will see is this long flat road. North of Alice Springs we see something that I had heard about, but thought was just a legend: a no speed limit zone. There is literally no speed limit. It’s called an “open speed” area and the sign urges you to drive to the ... read more
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Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs October 30th 2015

Continued from Part 3... Day 11: We wake up early but decide to it’s too cloudy for sunrise so we sleep in. By 8:00 it’s starting to get warm again so it’s time to get up and get a move on. We have to head back to Yulara to get some gas. At $2.03 it’s the most expensive gas we have seen so far. I put $40 in and decide to fill up at Curtain Springs, where we waited for the sandstorm that never came. It’s not much cheaper there but if we can save a dollar here and there why not. We are heading to King’s Canyon today. It’s a lesser known, but still highly visited, park in the Red Centre. It’s sort of out of the way to Alice Springs but we decide it’s ... read more
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Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Ayers Rock October 29th 2015

Continued from Part 2... Day 8: We awake early, as we have a long day on the road. We shower and make some eggs for breakfast. It seems like we’ve been moving quick but we are not on the road until about 9:30. This is supposed to be a boring day in the van, and the road doesn’t disappoint. Once again there is literally nothing out here except this road. Though today at least we can see the train tracks for the train that runs from Darwin to Adelaide. The soil is red and desert brush trees are everywhere. I can see why people say it’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel in the Outback. We stop at a little homestay called Marla for gas and then for lunch a few kilometers up the road ... read more
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