Page 5 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts

South America » Bolivia » Oruro Department » Oruro November 3rd 2015

Geo: -17.9753, -67.1108La Paz to the Amazon En route to La Paz we stayed in Samaipata for a few days. The first time we walked to the main plaza who should we meet but Axel. He was camping which in his case means sleeping in a hammock on a campsite but as Samaipata is 1,500 metres high he was finding the nights very cold and thinking of moving into a hostel. He had been walking in the hills the previous day and had severe sunburn on his shoulders and back.Samaipata has a number of waterfalls around it but the main reason for visiting is to see La Fuerte, ruins going back to 400 AD which had been home to many different peoples over the centuries. It is one of the places where Erich von Danniken proposed ... read more
Model of El Fuerte
The real El Fuerte
History of El Fuerte

South America » Bolivia » Santa Cruz Department » Samaipata October 18th 2015

Geo: -18.1789, -63.8752Brazil to San Ignacio Bolivia 7. - 18th OctoberHow did we come to be living on the park bench for the day (hopefully not the night)? It's a long story and a few miles down the road from where I left the last blog so I will pick up from there first.Our excursion from Bonito was worth the effort of getting it set up. We started early in the morning and went to Barraca das Araras, a huge sinkhole where red and green macaws nest in the cliff walls. It is a kilometre walk through the woods to circumnavigate the sinkhole. It was raining so the macaws that did not have the sense to stay in their nests looked very bedraggled. Then we were driven on to Rio La Prata. Here the organisation, if ... read more
Bedraggled Macaw in the rain
Caiman by bank - not dangerous
River at Santa Clara, Pantanal

South America » Brazil October 3rd 2015

Geo: -21.1264, -56.4774Brazil 23 September - 2nd OctoberPutting Astrid, our motorhome, into store was traumatic. It was always going to be a challenge to collect all our belongings together in order to pack as it meant storing them in Astrid during this process where space is meticulously measured and already allocated. Two extra large bags meant we were bursting at the seams. We had 2 major tasks, re-sort all our possessions in order to pack and then prepare Astrid for store, emptying all her tanks after rinsing and sterilising them, disconnecting the gas cylinder, cleaning the outside, wiping every surface internally with antibacterial cleaner, emptying the fridge, taking down and packing curtains, then finally removing cushions to store at Anna's. I had a plan that made it seem manageable. Put a large tarpaulin on the ground, ... read more
Brazilian 'cowboy' herding cattle
Herd of at least 1000 with 20 men controlling them
The Chacalaca bird took a dislike to his jeans

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Oxfordshire » Abingdon September 2nd 2015

Geo: 52.2025, 0.131237 An English Summer 12 July - 31st August 2015 The last Blog saw us planning our visit to Stratford. The performance of Othello was very enjoyable and, even better, the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre provides the intimacy that we had come to love in the temporary theatre. No one is far from the stage so it is easy to become involved in the action. At school those studying Literature came to Stratford for a week. I loved this experience but really struggled at the theatre. As much as I enjoyed the plays we were always so far from the stage, up in the 'Gods', that it must have strained by eyes. Without fail I fell asleep within minutes until eventually I realised, thankfully, that if I chewed constantly I could overcome the need ... read more
Largest Fountain of its time
The Church at Whitney Court
Superb 18th Century Gates in Chirk

Geo: 52.1919, -1.70713 Grumpy in the Grampians (and Skye) 12 June - 11 july 2015 After a lovely few day in Galloway we started moving north, via Glen Coe, Fort William and on across the ferry to Skye. We stayed around these areas for a month - can't imagine why! To be fair the scenery all across the Highlands and Islands is superb, equalling anything we have seen on our travels. There are the mountains, the lochs, (sea and freshwater), rock outcrops, heather, rivers, castles and all of it covered in beautiful wild flowers. So why were we grumpy? Two reasons, the weather and the midges. It doesn't matter how stunning the scenery if you can't see it for the low cloud, mist and rain. If we total all the time we saw the sun (or ... read more
Now you don't - not for another 3 days!
Inhabitants not always friendly
For our train enthusiast friends

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland June 11th 2015

Geo: 54.7894, -4.3726Disaster on Hadrian's Wall - Astrid 'shot' and duck taped! 2 - 11 June 2015There is not a lot to report since the last blog as we have continued to meander around the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway area but there is one incident that occurred that we hope will not be repeated.After meeting up with Susan (Jim's sister), Ashley and Richard in Newcastle we travelled along the Military Road adjacent to Hadrian's Wall. Although still cold it was sunny and pleasant. Jim and I had visited the main sites of Vindolanda and Housesteads a few times so we decided to do the less well known spots. It was worth it as we had good views of the wall running over the ridges and crests of the hills, especially at Steel Rigg. Then we ... read more
Small area, big problem!
Oh dear, duck taped at 3 weeks old.
Astrid repaired

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Northumberland » Bamburgh May 31st 2015

Geo: 54.9863, -1.61224 6 May - 31 May 2015 We returned home from New Zealand after a long journey, 42 hours door to door (we do always allow extra time in case something goes wrong on the way to the airport) and decided in future we would make stopovers. Once recovered from the flight and after staying with Gilli for a few nights we moved to Rochford in Essex to stay with Pauline and Colin and prepare ourselves for Pauline's 60th party. It was a really lovely afternoon and I hope Pauline enjoyed it. P & C are really patient with our comings and goings and uncomplainingly store our excess clothes for which we are very grateful! From Essex we moved down to Eastbourne for Dentist, Optician etc and then with a mix of excitement and ... read more
Meeting Astrid
11th Century Linton Church
Moss like pillows shows how much rain falls here.

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Atherton Tablelands » Yungaburra April 25th 2015

Geo: -17.2705, 145.58325 April 2015At the end of the last blog I mentioned that we were going up to The Daintree and that Jim had hurt his back. We rested in Cairns for a three nights and then the pain in Jim's back seemed to go much worse so he went to the doctor. After making him do a number of movements (some accompanied by loud groans!) the doctor decided rest and painkillers were all that was required. He seems to have been correct as Jim is almost fully recovered but it did take three weeks during which time he was not able to drive.So I drove up to The Daintree, and more scary, across the ferry. The Daintree area is where the rainforest runs down to the sea. Once you cross the Daintree River (that's ... read more
To show size of Cassowary
Oops, getting a little close!
Snakes leaving tunnel to sit in trees

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns April 11th 2015

Geo: -16.923, 145.76624th March - 11 April 2015We returned to the coast from the Outback for a little light relief after the harsh conditions and extreme heat. Then we pottered around Airlie Beach, where we went out snorkelling, visited Ingham to visit the Tyto wetland reserve and then moved on to Kurrimine Beach.We did a night rough camping, the first one since leaving the coast some weeks ago and found that we had a problem. The fridge failed during the night as the auxiliary battery was drained. We charged it again and it lasted only a couple of hours during the day. That meant we could not maintain the fridge temperature unless we were plugged into the mains. As we were only about 100 kilometres from Cairns we decided to head into the Travellers Autobarn Base. ... read more
Jim thought he was alone in the WC - wrong!
And another threat to be aware of!
Rare Eastern Curlew

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Airlie Beach March 12th 2015

Geo: -20.2679, 148.71626 February - 11 March 2015Cairns is very familiar, this is our third visit, so we stayed only a couple of nights, long enough to collect our van and settle in. We have gone for the (very slightly) upmarket Toyota HiAce Kuga, which means it is only between 6 and 9 years old and has done almost 400,000 kilometres. The layout is an improvement with a little more storage space and worktop. I love it!We were also given 2 new travelling companions, not actually human despite their behaviour. The first is a tall free standing fan which I think of as male as it is gangly with very large feet! At bedtime we love him as he keeps the temperature to a manageable level. The rest of the time we hate him as he ... read more
Better picture of Platypus than last time.
8th Wonder of World, Linotype
School of The Air teacher, kids online.

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