Page 2 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Perth October 4th 2018

London, Hong Kong and South West Australia 10 September - 3 October 2018 4 October Hyden, Western Australia After a very good flight to Hong Kong during which we had plenty of free seats around us which made the journey more relaxing we took the airport express train and a bus to reach Nathan Road. This is a busy area near the Tsim Sha Tsui underground station, full of shops and restaurants on the ground floor of big 'mansions' or apartment blocks built around a courtyard. We could have booked an international style hotel of which there are many in the area where they have been built to replace some of the apartment blocks but in an effort to save money and gain insight into how ordinary people live in Hong Kong we checked in to ... read more
Hand imprints of famous people
London Guest House
'Mansion' buildings

North America » Mexico » Distrito Federal » Mexico City March 28th 2018

Mexico City 23-28 March 2018 So now we are in Mexico City after a short, if bumpy flight. The city is vast with a population approaching 30 million within the Federal District area or DF in Mexican. Although that number sounds horrific the historic centre is surprisingly easy to navigate. We had chosen a hotel for its location, nine blocks from the Zocalo but the road through seven of those blocks is mainly pedestrian walkways making the stroll in and out of the Zocalo very easy. China town starts just across the road. It is a much better area than where we stayed when we arrived in October. We realised that as soon as we arrived as there was no guard with a machine gun on reception! The first day we went wandering around the Zocalo, ... read more
Start of the huge mound. It doubled by noon. I wonder if there was a risk assessment?
Policeman trying to teach and control young cyclists.
Art Deco interior of Palacio Bellas Artes

North America » Mexico » Jalisco » Puerto Vallarta March 28th 2018

Puerto Vallarta 19 January - 18 February 2018 I have been so relaxed in PV that I totally messed up the blogs. I forgot to write about the first month because I put a few photographs of PV in the blog about Loreto and then swanned off to Morelia and became obsessed with butterflies. So that is why two blogs are coming along at once. We continued to enjoy Posada de Roger and it's eclectic mix of residents. As we were going to stay for another month after going to Morelia we decided to spend more time relaxing and go sightseeing after our return. I think I explained on our previous visit that the plumbing in Mexico is dodgy to say the least and in fact last time we resorted to carrying a plunger around with ... read more
Beach - vendedores dressed in white bring everything to you where you sit
Public performance space, often acts for children.
Rio Cuale where it enters the ocean.

North America » Mexico » Michoacán » Morelia February 25th 2018

I am going to say more about PV in the next blog, but now want to tell you about our side trip inland to an area north west of Mexico City. It is not logical to go all that way and then return to PV before flying back to Mexico City when it is time to go home but the reason we did it is because we wanted to see the Monarch butterflies and they fly north before we go to M.C. We might have missed them if we had tried to see them at the end of March as they usually leave about the time of the spring equinox in March but the exact date depends upon weather conditions. When the 'right' wind blowing from the south comes along, they go with it. So that ... read more
Perhaps decoration in churches was influential in development of murals.
Some very modern, reminded me of Starwars
Large skeleton emerging from pool in Guadalajara.

North America » Mexico » Jalisco » Puerto Vallarta February 5th 2018

Loreto, Baja Sur 31st December - 16th January 2018 After the traditional city resort of La Paz, the tourist madness and mayhem of Cabo San Lucas and the remote rural retreats of Mulege and San Ignacio our tour of Baja California Sur terminated in Loreto. Like La Paz, Loreto is positioned on a bay within the Sea of Cortes, protected by numerous small islands. Arriving here reminded me of Goldilocks and the three bears. Whereas La Paz and Cabo are too big for a lengthy stay, Mulege and San Ignacio too small, Loreto is perfect. Because of it's isolated situation, the couple of small neighbouring towns one in each direction on the road are at least an hour and a half away, Loreto is very peaceful but has everything necessary for comfort. However before saying more ... read more
Loreto harbour
Open mic night at El Zopilote
River mouth at south end of beach in Loreto.

North America » Mexico » Baja California Sur » San Ignacio December 28th 2017

Cabo San Lucas, Mulege and San Ignacio 2 – 28 December 2017 If you remember , we changed our original plan of spending a month in Cabo to two weeks. That was a good decision as Cabo, although a much smaller town than the vast sprawling La Paz, is an acquired taste, very busy, visited by large cruise ships, sometimes two or three at the same time, and an enclave of North Americans, both from the US and Canada. Everyone speaks ( a version of) English and every hundred metres around the Marina can be found special ATMs to deliver American dollars. Everything is priced in dollars. Apart from the bar names and souvenirs, probably many made in China, there is nothing Mexican about Cabo Marina. It is huge. With a narrow entrance on the Sea ... read more
Pacific beach, Cabo where hotels try to block public access.
Beautiful sunsets on Pacific beach, saw whales and jumping sting rays.
One weekend in Cabo there was a boat race.

North America » Mexico » Baja California Sur » La Paz November 28th 2017

La Paz 2 November - 2 December 2017 The ferrry crossing from Topolobombo to La Paz went smoothly although for us the challenge was staying awake to wait for embarkation. It is necessary to arrive at least two hours before departure time so we were delivered by the Baldarrama driver at 9.30pm to wait for the midnight ferry. It is the only time the ferry leaves and then only a few times a week. On arrival there were people everywhere and it all seemed chaotic but in true Mexican style, without any fuss or histrionics, it all gets sorted. Luggage was taken to the hold and passengers climbed aboard just before midnight. I went to collect the cabin key to find that dinner was included in the price for all passengers. We did go to the ... read more
The Marina end of the Malecon
Sunsets are always stunning.
Town beach

North America » Mexico » Sinaloa November 3rd 2017

The 20th October saw us set off on our travels again and we landed in Mexico City in the early evening. We were staying two nights to recover from the flight, adjust to the time difference and to allow a day between flights as we always do. As we pulled up at the hotel the area around looked really run down and the driver must have seen our faces as he quickly said, "Outside bad but in hotel very good". He was right, the hotel was fine despite having a machine gun armed guard standing by reception. I was nervous around him to begin with but strangely we soon bonded by necessity. Neither he nor the reception staff spoke any English so I spoke Spanish. For some reason the reception staff could not understand me but ... read more
Mazatlan Museum - interesting burial customs, small bones placed in skulls which are stacked on large bones
Starting the climb at lakes near El Fuerte
Train heading for hills

MISSING September 3rd 2017

Parque Nacional de Monfrague, Exramadura.27July - 27 AugustLife is so easy here! At least it is if you like heat. We had a 'cool' spell of 3 days when the temperature only reached 33 degrees, the rest of the time by late afternoon it is not far short of 40. This has not been a problem but it does make it necessary to switch into the Spanish routine which is to rise late, no-one moves here before 9am and most not before 10am, the pool opens at noon when we go and swim then we sit by the pool in the shade until time for lunch about 3pm. I prepare dinner anytime between 7.30 - 9.00. If it is very hot I go and have a shower wearing a swimsuit, or a quick dip in the ... read more
River and valley through National Park
Rocks covered with vultures.
Griffon vulture

Europe » Spain » Castile & León July 30th 2017

17 - 24th July 2017 At last we have ventured 'abroad' in Astrid and drove her on and off Le Shuttle with ease. Before leaving Abbey Wood we had taken the train to Charing Cross and visited Stanfords travel book shop to buy a book listing commercial camping sites in France and Spain. There was only one, a huge tome that covers all of Europe, called Camperstop. The assistant said it was the only one she knew so we bought it despite the price of £28. Anyway, once we had chance to read it we realised it was not what we had been looking for. It does not list 'normal' commercial sites but places where motorhomes (not caravans) can stop. Many of the sites are free and a high proportion provide toilets, water fills, grey water ... read more
Zaurautz Surfing beach
Irrigation systems turn th dust into fertile soil.
Bretocino Church with houses built into the ground, similar to Alaska!

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