Jamie Martin


Jamie Martin

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Matsumoto April 28th 2019

We entered a busy Tokyo station to depart to Matsumoto, a small town in the alpine region of Japan. The station was hectic, likely as we were travelling at the beginning of Golden Week, one of the busiest if not the busiest, times to travel in Japan. It was also due to be the longest national holiday Japan has had due to the emperor Akihito’s abdication. A period of celebration. We collected pastries from a bakery inside the station, a pain aux raisin, Apple pastry and banana cake to eat on the train. By the time we got to the platform the busyness had settled down and we left for Nagano, one of the larger cities in the mountains in Japan, and a hub for alpine activities. After just over an hour on the Shinkansen, Japan’s ... read more
Strawberry Daifuku
Ramen Egg
Tea in Ryokan

North America » Mexico » Estado de Mexico » Distrito Federal January 20th 2018

In the morning I woke up and enjoyed a great breakfast. Great tasting coffee, fruit, a sandwich and yoghurt. I had a mid morning bus to Mexico City airport. The bus I took was again quite luxurious. A movie was shown and there was plenty of space on the bus. I arrived to Mexico City airport and took a taxi to Mixcoac to stay with Rolando’s parents. The traffic was busy, although this seemed like a common occurrence in Mexico City. The relatively short trip took just under an hour. The taxi dropped me off directly at the door of Rolando’s parents. I rang the doorbell, which was literally a string with a bell at the end, to meet Sergio, Rolando’s father. They were very kind and took me to a private quarters they’d built by ... read more

North America » Mexico » Puebla » Puebla City January 20th 2018

I arrived early to the Cathedral in the morning and waited to meet Martha and Ivan again for breakfast. There was a friendly Spanish and English teacher and tour guide who came to speak with me while I waited. He asked if I was German, as most foreigners in Puebla were German as there was a large Volkswagen factory in Puebla. We spoke for a while and he introduced his student to me so she could practice English. Martha and Ivan arrived soon after. They took me to one of their favourite spots, a local Puebla restaurant that specialises in roasted meat. They first brought out a hot broth, with a tray of toppings to add to the soup including chili, onion and chickpeas, and served a fresh fruit juice on the side. For the main ... read more

North America » Mexico » Puebla » Puebla City January 16th 2018

An early walk took me to the bus station before my five hour bus journey to Puebla. I had a window seat fortunately so had a great view of Oaxaca as we climbed the surrounding hills towards Puebla. For the remainder of the trip I was fortunate to be able to take in the mountain views and see the desert nature, birds, eagles and cacti. There were valleys full with forests of cacti as far as you could see, with the road running through the mountains. I was happy that the roads were good, as it meant the journey to Puebla would be fairly quick. We arrived in Puebla around 2pm. There was a large volcano acting as a backdrop to the city, although it wasn’t clearly visible due to smog and pollution, which was unfortunate. ... read more

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca January 16th 2018

My final full day in Oaxaca I decided to relax, enjoy the breakfast with great tasting eggs and coffee and visit the markets again. In the markets I explored the stalls checking out all of the local goods they had to sell, including all the grains and spices. Oaxaca is known for their Mezcal, so I visited one of the larger Mezcal stores and asked to taste a few different bottles of Mezcal. After three small glasses and tasters Id found the Mezcal I liked, a bottle of añejo with a darker brown colour, smoother than some of the other Mezcal and richer as it had been aged for 2 years. I picked up a bottle as well as some other goods in the market. After the market, I visit the bus ticket office and purchased ... read more

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca January 16th 2018

Breakfast was almost as good as yesterday’s with toast, fruit, scrambled eggs and good coffee. I left early to the bus stop to catch a bus to a place called Mitla, a town near a petrified waterfall outside of Oaxaca. While waiting for a bus, a taxi driver offered to take me with others in the taxi for the same price. I accepted, although given the driver’s confidence driving at speed and the fact there were two of us squeezed in the front, I was beginning to think it wasn’t such a great idea. I did arrive at Mitla quicker than the bus would have, so it wasn’t all bad. I shared a ride in a pickup truck with others to get to the waterfall. We sat in the back of the pickup truck on a ... read more

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca January 16th 2018

In the morning I woke up early. The breakfast was fresh and delicious, Mexican beans, eggs, fruit and coffee. It was a really nice change from Guatemala and El Salvador, with an abundance of good food and facilities. The hostel was busy. I decided to book another night to relax, although unfortunately they informed me that they were full. I wasn’t the only person that had this problem, there were others having to find another hostel because it was fully booked. I switched hostel, and went exploring the city. Oaxaca was really nice, much more European feeling, with cobbled streets and streetlights. I went down to the markets, where they had a lot of different foods and goods. There were crickets flavored with spice, mezcal with snakes inside and Oaxaca cheese which was a bit like ... read more

I had finally started to feel well enough again so booked a bus up to Guatemala. The journey back up was a real luxury, with big leather reclining seats, air conditioning, films shown on various screens on the bus and drinks and meal service throughout. It made the journey back up to Guatemala very easy. I arrived just after dark in zone 10, an area which is known to be one of the safest areas in Guatemala City. I walked for about 10 minutes to get back to the hotel, although it didn’t really feel so safe. After arriving at the hotel, I asked the hotel security and reception staff if it was ok to go for a walk in the area, both which responded that it wasn’t advised or recommended. The next day I decided ... read more

Santa Ana is known in El Salvador for its wealth from coffee. More than 90% of export income in El Salvador is from coffee, so while we didn’t have time to visit a plantation, we wanted to visit a local coffee shop. We visited a small place called café expresión, a short walk from our hostel. The coffee, like those we tried in Guatemala, were somewhat disappointing, lower than the standards of an average coffee in Europe. We spent the morning strolling around the city, visiting a local bakery, pharmacy (because I was feeling ill) and then the main square. Ben laughed as he pointed out one of the larger signs in the square indicating a guns weren’t allowed. It was quite funny. At the end of our short stroll through Sabra Ana we passed through ... read more

An early 5am wake up was required to catch out 6am bus to El Salvador. This was expected to take longer than the previous bus trip taking us around 12 hours to reach Santa Ana in the north of El Salvador. The bus became very full very quickly with many people standing, unable to find a seat. It wasn’t as nice as our previous bus and lacked working air conditioning, legroom or reclining chairs. Despite our previous luxurious experience in the bus, it was fine. After 11 hours of driving and stopping on the bus we arrived to the Guatemala -El Salvador border. The passengers queued up to get their exit stamps and later got entry stamps from El Salvador. Ben had told me about that despite there being an official stance suggesting there is no ... read more

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