A Travellerspoint blog

New York, New York

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Ok, so I have really fallen behind on this blog, and have decided to catch up very quickly using mostly photos.

New York was great, really expensive, but great to see all the galleries, and I was completely taken by MoMA. We also did a city tour which took us around Harlem and central park, went out for a night on the town, relaxed a fair b bit, went to the top of Rockerfella Centre, the Empire State Building, Madam Taussauds.

All in all we had a great time, but because we were so spent from South America, it was really hard to keep going all day long.Enjoy the pics, more to come!!

G+P

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Posted by GIseger 01:49 Comments (0)

Oh Magical Peru!!


View Around the world in 131 days 2009 on GIseger's travel map.

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After a few days in Santiago, we made our way to Lima, Peru.
We arrived and checked out Miraflores which was a cool area, and very safe too. Stayed a night before we met with our tour group of 5 others the following day. ur tour leader had been stranded in Cuzco with bad weather. so she met us later on in the evening. We had a tour downtown Lima which was really cool and visited a Franciscan Monastery which had the most amazing library, that looked like something from Harry Potter, and underneath were a series of catacombs with thousands of bones, sorted and piled. It was rather eerie. Unfortunately we werent able to take any photos. Everyone on the tour seemed nice enough and the following day we set of for Puerto Maldonaldo, in the Amazon Basin.

Our flight was via Cuzco and upon approach we shook about in the plane, made a sharp move to the right followed by a very steep bank to the left, followed by a missed landing, needless to say I spent the whole time asking Philip if this was all normal, holding on tight to the chair, silently praying while I thought we were about to spiral to our very early death. This was not the case, as the pilot made another go and got us to the ground safe, and passengers around us clapped, obviously hairy landings are all to common in Peru. Ali, our tour leader later informed me that the landing was quite normal.

We took of and flew into Puerto Maldonaldo. The humidity was incredible and after just a minute of walking the sweat was poring of both of us, it was an experience thats for sure, we did a walk where we found out all about local plants and medicinal uses for them. We swung off a rope, and both of us felt a little Indiana Jones. We went on a boat cruise that night looking for Caymans, but didnt see any however I was SO lucky to see the Capybara, the worlds largest rodent. They were so big and cute and my amazon experience was now complete. The heat the following day was incredible, maybe not so much the heat, but the humidity and the 80% deet that we needed to rub over any exposed skin.... we spent the day in hammocks reading and looked forward to our departure the following day. Some of the others did a 10 hour hike to a place where lots of 28's live, as we see this bird quite regularly @ home the idea of trumping through mud, to visit a colony of parrots in 100% humidity wasn't particularly appealing, bring on the latest UK Esquire magazine.

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Tucan in the jungle

The following day we departed for Cuzco, where we landed without any of the previous drama. The air here was much thinner as we were at 3400m above sea level. We dropped of our laundry (oh how I miss the laundry services of South America) rested for some time, went to a Coca shop where we had coca tea, coca brownies, and although I think it was either completely psychological or something to do with my brain not getting enough air, I got the coca giggles.

After a good night sleep we set of to Ollantaytambo via Sacred Vallery with a few stops at other sites of importance like Saqsaywaman which were very cool. After stopping at Pisac for an empanada for lunch we headed to Sakaka community and gave an English to some very cute kindy kids who speak Quechua and Spanish, which was a hoot, the ladies there were super kind and asked if Philip was single while remarking to me that I look much older than 28... yeh, what ever.... Sacred valley was amazingly colourful, and it was great to see so many Peruvian people living such traditional lives, so close to nature. We arrived at Ollantaytambo in the afternoon, had some time to rest and then went up to Hearts Cafe for dinner, a local cafe that is run by a British woman, to help the local community with health and education projects.

After heading off to bed I work approx 4 hours later and spent 8 hours on the loo suffering from very severe food poisoning, I will not go into detail. I cannot say exactly where I picked up this bug, but thank goodness it was short and sharp, and I was traveling with my own very loving physician.

After a morning in bed... (thanks to the hotel for not making me check out early) we made our way to Aguas Callientes the closest town to the famous Inca remains of Machupicchu. The hotel that we were staying in was a complete pigsty, and we all decided that it was not fit for us to stay in and had to check in else where.... it didn't help that I'd had two hours sleep. expelled my own body weight in fluid, and just wanted to sleep. It also didn't help that there was a building site next door, which thumped and banged and the workers didn't finish up for the day until 8pm. Problem solved, new hotel, basic and quiet, and here I slept.

The next day we were up at 4.00 for to head for sunrise at Machupicchu. When we arrived after traversing the steep mountain path by bus, there were not to many tourists and we started our tour of the amazingly built Inca village. When the sun came up over the mountain and illuminated the remains, it was a STUNNING sight. I had always imagined it to be larger than it was in real life. The pure genius involved in building Machipicchu, the shaping of individual stones in far away quarries, weighing tonnes and being delivered to this inaccessible site in the middle of know where says something awe inspiring about the Inca civilisation.We spent a few hours there and before we knew it the whole place was full of tourists, spotted everywhere like multi coloured ants, arriving in groups of 50 by the super efficient bus service from Aguas Callientes. We needed to leave before our memories of sunrise at Machupicchu were forever tarnished by the shrill sound of obnoxious and rich Americans, and thus our Machupicchu experience drew to an end. I needed to rest more as my stomach still wasnt the best. Well thats one off the list...

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We spent another night in Aguas Callientes and just before check out, while I was downstairs, heard a large smashing of glass, when I went up stairs it turned out that the light fitting in our room had almost fallen right on Philip's head, close call. Next was the train to Ollantaytambo, where we were picked up in a minibus and drove straight back to Cuzco. After another 2 nights in Cuzco, one of which saw me dacing on stage with local youth looking rather hilarious ... it was time to set of to Puno, and then to lake Titicaca.

On the way to Puno we reached the highest point of our time in Peru at almost 4400m above sea level, we then continued on our way, the landcape becape dry and barron and we were the completely blown away by the town Julliaca, one of the ugliest places I have ever seen in my life, and apparently a black market town that is used for transfering many an illegal product between Bolivia and Peru. We kept on our way only to find that Puno was not exactly a picture of beauty, and our first site of Lake Titicaca, was that of a algae infested, litter polutes cest pit... however as we had travelled so far to see it, I wasnt going to write it of at that very moment.

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After a night of acclimitising to the altitude we set out for our day trip of Lake Titicaca, the sky was grey and the hourney in the tuk tuk, was damp. The lake we had seen in brochures was calm and azure blue, however the lake we were about to set sail onto was grey and resembled more of a stormy sea.... we made our way in our somewhat tiny boat, rocking from side to side, to Taquile Island. It was rough and almost three hours long, and towards the end I was sure we were going to capsize, however the to and fro of the boat put everyone into a coma and before we new it we were back on dry land. It was here that we met villagers from a local community and had another very sincere experience with local people. The community were almost completely self sufficient and cooked us lunch in exchange for a small fee along with teaching us about the medicinal and functional uses of local plants and also showing us how they weave the many items that were for sale (it was nice to see the weaving as at point my cynacism made me believe that everything in Peru was produced on mass in factories in Lima), the ladies here were bewitching, with warm kind eyes and big friendly smiles.... after lunch we were treated to a performance... and off we set to return to the boat, now moored on the calmer side of the island, why could we not have just moored there to start off? Its all in the experience I guess. We made way to the floating Uros Islands.... another wise known as the gimicky floating quality that is geared at making money from tourists, and providing you with a preprepaired info-mercial like experience. Lets just say that we loved Taquile island and would recommend spending a whole day there.
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The following day we set off to the airport via another amazing Inca ruin, the name at this late stage has escaped me. We then flew back to Lima where we dissapeared into a very convenient B&B for rest and recovery before heading to NYC, and back to the english speaking world.

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Posted by GIseger 08:54 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Ushuaia

the end of the world but only the beginning

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View Around the world in 131 days 2009 on GIseger's travel map.

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We arrived in Ushuaia in the afternoon, after driving through a rapidly changing landscape, the arid windswept plains turned to lush conifer forests and amazing lakes. We took a tour of the Beagle Channel where were saw sea lions and lots of ocean birds as well as a short glimpse of a few dolphins.

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We opted out of the Tierra del Fuego hike, and chose instead to chill out and catch up on some much needed rest. We went out for dinner with some of the crew at a place called Estancia, another of the many parillas in Argentina, it was here ate the best steak I have eve eaten.... no words can describe, but if you are ever in Ushuaia I recommend a visit to Estancia for the lomo filet.

The next two days were much the same, just enjoying being at the very southern tip of the world, only a stones throw away from Antarctica. On the final night of the tour we went out of town to another parilla for our final dinner as a group, all was well and the food was fine, however Philip had bumped into a girl at the restaurant who was from Limavady, and knew all of his nieces, she was a little over familiar and we were glad to be heading back into town for a drink away from her. We had been mistaken, she arrived in the next taxi and like a leech to fresh blood, she had attached to us and our new friends. Lets just say that the rest of the evening turned to trash, involving her being thrown into a cab to have her head stitched up after falling over, onto a table and then a chair. As you can imagine we decided we would have a quiet dinner and early night the following night.

Our tour was over.... we were completely knackered... had travelled 5000km over rough road, in three weeks....

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Posted by GIseger 12:54 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas - Rio Grande

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View Around the world in 131 days 2009 on GIseger's travel map.

From Torres del Paine we returned to pick up our missing member, had a very indulgent hot chocolate and made our way to south towards Punta Arenas, however before we got there, we traveller an hour to visit the Ottway penguin colony, which consisted of 4 rather uninteresting penguins....

So make this entry short and sweet we made it to Punta Arenas where we stayed at a rather interesting hotel which could be described as plush 1970's communist porn set where we slept and then departed for Tierra del Fuego (land of fire) and ultimately to Argentina again, yes once again we criss crossed the border.

Along the way we stopped at a ghost town, deserted 70 - 80 years ago, so the storey tells, the town was site to a shipwreck, the sailors swam to shore in need of assistance to help save others, but because of the strong winds, no one could hear them knocking, and the sailors perished in the harsh stormy sea. Back on to Peggy and off we set, again.

We arrived in Rio Grande in the evening, for another night of rest, well for some anyways, a certain group of young ladies hit the town, and one in particular arrived in taxi, practically with a drink still in hand as we all sat awaiting her return on Peggy, ready to head of for Ushuaia..... the end of the world, and the beginning of everything.

Posted by GIseger 19:34 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Torres del Paine Parque Nacional

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After a quick sleepover in Puerto Natales we headed off to Torres del Paine, on what we expected would essentially be the tour of Pain(e)... 3 days camping.... need i say more...

As we entered the park is was hard to imagine the sight that layed before us. The terrain was very much like all we had seen. Dry, windswept and rather beige. We arrived at the park and set off to do the Torres walk to the famous towers. Now dont get me wrong, Philip and I are most definitely not athletes, but we are young and pretty determined, so we had decided to partake on a 22km Torres hike in just 9 hours, in a national park that is quite known for the intensity of its hikes. So off we set, and to our suprise we made it alot further that expected, we never really set any goal, apart from to give it a good shot and when we got to the Campimiente Torres at the base of the towers, time was our enemy and we realised we didnt have time to do the last 2km up to the Torres, so we stopped for a nice lunch and then head back.

The walk was intense, the first 1.5 hours was steep, rocky, windy and relentless with no space for rest, and with a brand new pair of hiking shoes to wear in, I couldnt see myself making it any further... however we kept at it and made it to Camp Chileano in another hour and then onto Campimento Torres. In all my excitement for the end of the hike being in such close sight, I twisted my foot on the way down, and we got down, I dosed up with anti-inflamitories... and prayed I hadnt done any serious damage and luckily I hadnt.

The next day we had a quiet day in the park, you see we located a small hostel with english TV, heating, and cheap beer. Here we watched Beverly Hills 90210 in its vintage glory and touched base with the rest of the world online. It was complete Bliss. It was St Patricks day and Claire, Stephanie and Michelle (the Irish Gals) had organised a Traditional Irish Celebration ... involing, drink, dance and one particular song that repeated the words ...... oh my my my my my my my my my july.,..... I must say if I never hear that song again in my life, it will still be too soon.

Next day was for recovery... bones were still sore from trek...

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Posted by GIseger 09:51 Archived in Chile Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

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