Page 7 of hkwoody Travel Blog Posts


South America » Venezuela » Andean » Mérida August 21st 2009

What a couple of days we've had. Our bus journeys have often provided entertainment - normally with people selling food, drinks, toothbrushes, dvds, arthritis creams and assorted other stuff, but from Cartagena it was something else again. As the journey started the 2nd bus driver gave a little speech, he started off talking about the toilets, rubbish bins etc but then he started to get excited, after a while we realised he was preaching !!! after about ten minutes he led the bus in prayers !!! he was like a Colombian version of the American preachers you see on the tv !!! Crossing the border was straightforward on both sides, although the taxi fare in Colombia was more when we got out than he'd quoted when we got in, but I guess that's life. The interesting ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena August 19th 2009

After so long in the Andes and the southern hemisphere it's great to be on the Caribbean coast in Cartagena. It's very hot and humid here, lovely. This is a beautiful city, or at least the old town is. We spent the days without any plan just wandering the streets, squares and city walls, perfect. We think this is the town that Pirates of the Caribbean at Tokyo Disneyland was based on, if it's not it looks a lot like it, or so Atsuko tells me, dozens of times a day :-))) Colombia continues to impress us, it's beautiful, the people are warm, friendly and helpful, and it's lively. We wish we'd stopped in Medellin and the coffee growing region on our way from Bogota to Cartagena, but unfortunately we don't have enough time to do ... read more
Cartagena Street
Through The Keyhole
Cartagena Street

South America » Colombia » Cartagena August 17th 2009

Bogota to Cartagena is ~1000km on single lane twisting roads and takes 20 hours, it's long. We were lucky with the bus company we picked, the seats were comfortable, the aircon worked but wasn't too cold, and the price was pretty good (US$35 each), although we have no idea why they chose to use pants as headrest covers :-))))) We didn't know whether there would be food onboard or how often we'd stop so to make sure we were OK we bought a couple of sandwiches each. Things started pretty well, we left on time, traffic wasn't bad, but then the guy one behind and across the aisle from Atsuko took his shoes off - putain, they smelt like a farmyard :-((( we can only guess at the last time he washed them !!! After 3 ... read more

South America » Colombia » Bogota August 15th 2009

How glad we are that we decided to see Colombia for ourselves and not be put off by the negative reports in guide books, media, websites etc. We spent our last night in Ecuador in the border town of Tulcan, thank goodness we'd had a great time before because this is a real dump made worse by our poor choice of hotel - dogs barking, engines revving, horns blowing and in the middle of the night somebody trying the door handle to our room !!! The border crossing is really easy - a couple of minutes on the Ecuadorian side, a walk across a bridge over a river and a couple of minutes on the Colombian side. We didn't get any of the extensive drugs and weapons searches we'd expected. We got to Ipiales, the first ... read more
Plaza Bolivar, Bogota
Church, Popayan
Church, Popayan

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 11th 2009

We're spending a couple of days in Quito. We've found a really great place to stay - Casa Bambu which has a roof terrace that we've been making full use of to eat breakfast, have drinks in the evening and supper, it's a great price as well, US$20 per night for both of us :-) We spent our 1st day in the old town visiting museums, looking around the plazas and one or two of the best churches. It was OK but not as good as the 2nd day when we went on the teleferiqo cablecar, did a couple of hours walking up the side of the mountains overlooking the city and, best of all, visited the basilica. Compared with what we're used to all of the South American countries have a very relaxed view on ... read more
Quito
Quito
Quito

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Cotopaxi August 7th 2009

What a fantastic day we had on Volcan Cotopaxi :-))))) We left Latacunga at 8am (Ecuador is great, things work here, people do what they say when they say) to drive up into the Parque Nacional. When we got to the first stop - the museum, we were a bit concerned, it was misty, cloudy, raining and overcast but by the time we got to Laguna de Limpiopungo at 3800m we were above at least some of the weather, but the volcano itself was still not visible. From the lake we drove up to the car park at 4500m from where we had to hike about 1km in distance and up 300m in altitude to the refugio at 4800m. This is tough, at this altitude it's difficult to breathe, the path is volcanic sand and pebbles ... read more
Glacier
Glacier
Glacier

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Riobamba August 5th 2009

The beach at Zorritos, Peru was great, just what we needed. After that we headed north into Ecuador and after changing buses four times got to Cuenca, which is another nice colonial city (yawn). The Sunday markets at Sig Sig, Chordeleg and Galaceo are supposed to be interesting - they're not, but the countryside getting to and from them is very nice. Although it's quite high (2500m) because we're further north it's warmer, wetter and greener. Cuenca has some good museums which we enjoyed before heading to Alausi. The only reason we went to Alausi was to take the train to Sibambe and back - up and down the Nariz del Diablo (the Devil's Nose). The station is in the middle of the town and for the first few hundred metres runs through the streets before ... read more
Alausi
The "Train"
Sibamba

South America » Peru » Lambayeque » Chiclayo July 30th 2009

The Museo Tumbas Reales De Sipan is great, fantastic exhibits well laid out and lit, no guide forced on us and only 10 soles (US$3) to get in. After the disappointments of the museums in Lima we had a fantastic day. The only downside is no cameras are allowed so we don't have any pics. The museum is actually in Lambayeque about 12km from Chiclayo, to get there we took a local "micro" which is a Toyota van / minibus. It's the same model as the ones used in Discovery Bay in Hong Kong where there are 6 passengers plus the driver, here they managed to fit in 17 passengers plus the driver plus a conductor who touts for business by shouting out of the open window / door as it travels down the road !!! ... read more
Hairless Dog

South America » Peru » La Libertad » Trujillo July 29th 2009

Heading 600km north to Trujillo we were glad to see the back of Lima. The main attraction here is Chan Chan a mud city built in the early 14th century, there are a couple of other archaelogical sites as well and the city itself has a nicely restored centre - which is painted in bright colours, so nice after the grey of Lima. After the bad experiences we've had with organised tours we DIY'd it today which is a bit more difficult but it gives us the control we want and the flexibility to do things in our own time - we weremuch happier :-) This area is so dry Chan Chan has survived to various degrees for ~700 years, pretty cool. Only one part of it is open, but the whole site is huge, it ... read more
Chan Chan
Chan Chan
Plaza de Armas, Trujillo

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores July 28th 2009

is the only description for Lima. The weather has been overcast the whole time we've been here, many of the buildings are painted in drab colours, and there's not much to do, although the Miraflores district we're staying in is nice. We'd expected interesting museums, galleries etc, but it wasn't to be. The Museo de la Nacion is housed in a huge building but only 3 floors have any exhibits, the Museo de la Inquisition is tiny and takes only an hour or so, the Museo de Arte is closed for renovation, and we're maxed out on colonial churches. Tonight we're heading to Trujillo which we expect to be better. Tomorrow is Peruvian Independence Day, so should be fiesta's etc :-)... read more




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