Page 4 of hkwoody Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Gansu » TianShui July 15th 2015

The MaijiShan Grottoes are the only reason to come to TianShui, but they're a good enough reason to make the journey. For the first time on this trip we're getting the feeling of being a bit off the beaten track. Nobody speaks English, there are no English menus, though Atsuko can read enough for us to have a guess at what we're getting. As has nearly always been the case wherever we've been people go out of their way to help. We're also a bit of an attraction and get people staring and quite a few students wanting to have their photo taken with us.... read more
Local Noodle Speciality, All This For CNY18
Local Noodle Speciality, All This For CNY18

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an July 14th 2015

Xi'an is the start of the Silk Road. We had two full days here. The first day was a bright and early start to get to HuaShan, one of the five sacred mountains of Taoism. This is a truly spectacular, and surprisingly expensive, place. We semi cheated by taking the cable car part of the way up before hiking the rest of the way. Plenty of incredible views, sweating, a little swearing but no spiritual revelations for us. On the sheer face of the south peak is an amazing only-in-China experience, the plank walk, a narrow (~40cm wide) "path" bolted to the side of a 2000m vertical drop. The whole thing is a bit chaotic, you pay your CNY30 and are strapped into a safety harness, then it's down a vertical ladder to the walk itself ... read more
Always Good Advice
A Long Way Down
Made It Back

Asia » China » Beijing July 11th 2015

Our overland journey from Tokyo to London started with a flight (!) to Hong Kong, hopefully we'll be able to stay on the ground from here on. After spending a few days there with friends we headed across the border to catch a D train from Shenzhen to Hangzhou. The Chinese high speed rail network is impressive - although the build quality and maintenance of some of the stations is a bit iffy the trains themselves are fast, smooth and comfortable with great onboard service. Hangzhou is one of China's most popular tourist destinations and it showed, everywhere was busy, bustling and noisy, especially around the West Lake. We managed to find some peace and quiet with a hike through the mountains (hills really) to the famous LongJing (Dragon Well) tea village. It reminded us in ... read more
West Lake sunset, Hangzhou
In the tea fields, LongJing
In the tea fields, LongJing

South America November 17th 2009

After 171 days in South America it's time to go home. We've had a fantastic time, seen and experienced some wonderful things, and met some interesting people along the way. We've been up mountains to altitudes over 5000m and down canyons more than 1000m deep. We've frozen in temperatures of -15c and sweated in the high 30s. We've been in deserts where it never rains and in rain forests where it hardly stops. We've been to cosmopolitan cities that have everything and isolated villages with facilities that can't even be called basic. We've seen people who live wonderful lives and those who live in hell. We've slept in hammocks, seats and beds on buses and boats and in hostels, hotels, tents, peoples houses and the great outdoors. We've traveled over 30,000km and had some perfect journeys ... read more

South America November 16th 2009

A few of the funny signs we've seen over the last few months.... read more
Park, La Paz, Bolivia
Restaurant, Puno, Peru
Bus, Cuzco - Nazca, Peru

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region November 15th 2009

This is a cool town, very arty and bohemian. In the early 90s the city commissioned some artists to paint murals to create an outdoor museum. Time hasn't been very kind to them, they're not in very good condition nor as interesting as the regular graffiti and murals done more recently on other walls all over town, some of which are excellent. Just a few km's down the road, or a few stops on the train we took, is Vina del Mar an upmarket beach resort with lots of high rise apartment buildings, international hotels and expensive shops. It's OK for a few hours but not very interesting. The weekend we spent in Valpo was just the right amount of time before we head back up to Santiago for our flight home.... read more

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago November 13th 2009

The journey over the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago is spectacular, if it's not cloudy, but the day we picked was snowy, rainy and very cloudy so we didn't get to see Aconcagua :-( When we got to Santiago the Chilean public sector workers were on paro, so the museums and some of the other places we've wanted to go have been closed - putain de merde. With a limited number of things to do we spent the first day wandering around Santiago which is a nice city, nothing really special but pleasant enough. One of the highlight places is the market which has a fantastic range of seafood restaurants, so at least we won't go hungry. On day 2 some of the public sector workers went back to work, but not those in the museums. ... read more
Santiago Skyline
Art Museum

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza November 9th 2009

Having given up on climbing Volcan Villarica we headed to Mendoza for some vineyards, wine and bife de chorizo. This meant another crossing of the Andes which true to form didn't disappoint. The weather was typical of the mountains - as we climbed higher the snow got heavier but the sun also sometimes came out, beautiful. Then once more we'd be in mist and cloud, all four seasons in a day, again. This is the land of the Monkey Puzzle tree, there are thousands of them in the parque nacional the road passes through. They really are strange. On the Argentinian side we had to stop in Junin de Los Andes to change bus which meant an overnight stay. Unless you're a trout fisherman there's not much there but it's a nice enough town for a ... read more
Chile / Argentian Border
First Stop

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Pucón November 4th 2009

We came to Pucon to hike to the summit of Volcan Villarica and left 3 days later having not done that, or very much else. Once again the weather closed us down - bugger, bugger, bugger. We had nothing but low cloud, rain, fog, wind and even a few flurries of snow. In the same hostel were a group of French guys who'd been waiting a few days for a break in the weather that never came, but in Puerto Varas we met an American couple who'd done it without any waiting, just the luck of the draw. Pucon is a nice enough town but without outdoor sports there's not much to do so we had a more relaxing couple of days than we'd expected. Because we couldn't see any of the mountains or volcanoes we ... read more

South America » Chile » Los Lagos » Puerto Varas November 2nd 2009

From Castro we took a bus directly to Peurto Varas, skipping Puerto Montt which is an unattractive place with little to see or do. Happily the weather was being kind to us again, when we arrived it was cold but clear and dry, we can live with that. Like all of the lakes and rivers in this part of the world the water here is beautifully clear and clean, but very cold - although amazingly we did see people paddling and even swimming one day !! they're a lot braver than me. The view across the lake to the perfect cone of Volcan Osorno is quite something as are the waterfalls at Petrohue which we went to on our second day. Although they're called waterfalls they're more like big rapids, but no less impressive for that. ... read more
Saltos Petrohue
Saltos Petrohue
Saltos Petrohue

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