Sorry it´s been so long since our last blog. We are alive and well and busy enjoying South America. Quite a bit has happened since our last update so I´ll try and be thorough but brief.
Our trek to Ciudad Perdida (Lost city) was amazing. Each days hike was slightly different with beautiful views and fresh water swiming holes. The lost city itself was stunning. To reach the city we crosssed the river 5 seperate times then some stairs appeared out of nowhere, it was all very mystical. We were lucky enough to stay up in the Lost City itself (due to the small size of our group - there were only 4 of us) so had the whole of the next day to wander and explore. It was enormous, streaching over 2km. Brett and I were stunnned that something like this could be built in the jungle, hundreds of years ago.
Next stop on the road trip was Cartagana, the lonley planet describes this town as a jewel and it didn´t dissapoint. The old town was a riot of colour surounded in white washed walls to protect it from the pirates of the day.
Speeding on, the story leads to Medellin; the city made famous by Pablo Escobar. It was great fun to hang out here for a couple of days and see a bit of the night life, the women are beautiful, if quite medically enhanced! From Medellin we did a day trip out to El Penol, this is a rock simmilar to Sugar Loaf in Rio except they have build a zip like stair way all the way to the top. Check out the pictures...I was hanging on very tightly to the hand rails.
Next stop was Zona Cafe and Salento. Columbia continues to amaze with its beautiful scenery and this area was no exception. We did a day hike to Valle de Cocora to see 60 meter tall wax palms. Later that night we played Tejo, a traditional game where you throw a lead weight at a clay board, aiming at a ring of gun powder. When the first crack of gun powder went off we all spilled our beers!!
After enjoying about five weeks in Columbia it was time to get our skates on so we did a 24hour mission to Otavalo in Ecuador. The 24 hour mission was made very interesing by using about 10 modes of transport...including simply walking accross the border.
Otavalo in Ecuador was very cute. We were there on Saturday, Market day and it was pumping. Fist thing was the animal market were you can buy guinepigs, chickens, pigs, goats and cows. It was a moving maze of people and amimals bargaining and bleeting. I had never heard pigs scream before and it was the worst noise ever. After the animal market the craft markets kick into full swing. It was wonderful to rub shoulders with traditionally clad locals and bargain for some gifts.
Quito was next, just a 2 hour, 2 dollar bus ride from Otavalo. Asking Brett one word to discribe Quito and it is ¨smoggy¨. I agree they have a good public transport system but the buses put out an awfull lot of fumes. Quito was a place for grand views. We clambered up the tower of the Basilica del Voto Nacional and took the TeleferiQo (cable car) up to 4100 meters. This would have been a great view of the city if it wasn´t for the clouds...oops.
We booked our trip to Galapagos in Quito as well and had 10 days to explore more of Ecuador before heading to the enchanted islands. So we headed to an area called Quilotoa and spent three days, busing and treking between the villages in the Andes. We visited the most beautiful carter lake I have ever seen called Lago Verde Quilotoa, again ckeck out the pics.
Next stop was Banos and our merry little adverturing took an abrupt stop. We decided to hire a 4wheel quad bike to explore the hills outside Banos and had been cruising around for 1.5hours when the brakes failed on a tight and steep turn. Thinking quickly Brett tried to slow us down using the gears but we just picked up momentum heading for another tight corner and the edge of a cliff. To stop us Brett drove into the bank and I was thrown from the bike and Brett rolled under it. Thankfully a car came around the corner just then (only the 3rd car we had seen all day) and the guy inside could speak English. He whisked us off to hospital where I got some stitches and Brett had a cast put on his broken hand. The next week was spent recovering infront of cable tv in Ambato. It was a good place to recover because there is nothing else for a tourist to do...
After a few more quiet days in Guayaquil we boarded the plane for the Galapagos islands!!! We had an amazing 8 days cruising the islands on a catamaran with only two other tourists and six crew to feed, navigate, and guide us. The wildlife was unbelievable, the birds fearless, and the sealions playful and curious. Each island we visited had its own unique landscape and volcanic history. It was just plain amazing to see so many endemic species but slightly upsetting to see the negative impact that humans are having on the islands.
This blog is coming to you from Lima in Peru where we arrived yesterday. Tommorrow we are heading sandboarding in Ica so fingers crossed for no more accidents...
Sending our love
Brett and Jo
PS - After all this typing, we have just discovered that the computer doesnt take CD´s, so we cannot upload any pics. We will attach some ASAP.
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