A Travellerspoint blog

All good things come to an end

Well my trip has come to an end and I'm back to life in Ireland again. What a great year with so many experiences. From waiting tables in Perth, to road trips in the outback, the wilderness of tasmania, new years fireworks on Sydney harbour, festivaling it at the Big day out in Auckland, learning Spanish in Santiago, enjoying a futbol game in Buenos Aires, feeling the mist from Iguazu falls, carnivalling it in Oruru, Bolivia, teaching kids in Peru and finaly the 3 day journey to the hidden city Macchu Picchu.

Met some great people along the way, so many went out of their way to make the trip unforgettable. Thanks to Diana and Kahina for getting me through those waitressing shifts, to all at KPMG Perth for making me feel so welcome for my time there, to Brigid for a great christmas Palm Beach, to Tobbes, Rosie & Aoife for a inviting me to stay at their place in lovely Mudgee, to Darren & Pat in Sydney thanks for the nights out on the town in Sydney, to Pat & Margaret McMillan for their kindness and hospitiality in Sydney, to Peter in Auckland thanks for a great week in the north island, to Anna and Elitta for being such fun in Boliva, to Melissa for being such a good sport during the inca trail (despite having no luggage), to Pablo for being my tour guide in Lima.

I'm sure there will be more travel in the future, there still so many places to see but will be enjoying my own country for the next while, theres no place like home.

Posted by sarahfraw 13:10 Comments (0)

Peru

Peru

Arrived in Peru after 10 hours on a bus from Copacabana. The border is only about 20 mins from Cpoacabana but I was headed for Cusco. Got to Cusco late so headed straight to a hostel. The next day got organised for the inca trail, when at the office to pay the balance of the trip I met Melissa who had gotten her luggage lost at the airport, the poor things. Met up for dinner that evening with Melissa and Peter (who had helped her haggle for underwear!!) in the fab Fallen Angel restaurant. Cusco is very much so geared for tourists, lots of decent places to eat but some are a bit pricey compared with what I'm used to.
Started the trail the following day and had to go to the campsite by the trail entrance the night before as there was a strike planned for the next day. Had only a few hours sleep before starting out on the trek, it was raining and was hard to get into it. Stopped for breakie so that was a nice rest and then more uphill towards lunch.
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We were getting into it towards the afternoon and our muscles had broken in. Day 2 turned out to be the toughest with dead womans pass in the morning, climbing up those steps in the rain and not being able to breathe wasn't easy. Had a good bit of downhill walking after that so that was fine for the breathing. Had some rum flavoured tea after dinner and it went down very easy. They view for the campsite in the morning was fantastic
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, got to see clearly the snow capped mountains. Day 3 was ore up and down and were pretty used to the altitude walking so it definetly wasn't the worst. The campsite that night had a bar and showers (almost warm!) so we were happy out.
Day 4 was a very early start to get to the sungate for sunrise over Machu Picchu, unfortunately the fog was pretty heavy so couldn't see much. Arrived ar Machu Picchu before 7am and the fog had pretty much cleared by then, was amazing to see it for the first time. Did a tour of the ruins and climbed to the top of Waynu Picchu which was fantastic.
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After the inca trail had a night in Aguas Calientes and hung around the thermal baths and got a fe souvenirs and headed back to cusco the following morning. The train took abut 3 hours and then got a taxi bus the rest of the way, had a few close shaves so was on the edge of my seat without a seatbelt for 2 hours.
Met Melissa later that evening and decided to head out for dinner (a feast of guinea pig) and then go to Paddys the Irish pub for a few drinks with John. Dinner was interesting but we both wouldnt be eating again, headed off to Paddys and had a few drinks there. Then our tour guide Paulo arrived and we all headed to Mama Africa club and partied there until late.
Next morning was quite rough as we were up early to do white (or more brown) water rafting which is not the best idea after a late night. We survived it and embraced the hot sauna afterwards and chicken dinner. Had a massage that evening with hot incan stones, Melissa loved hers and I got the tickles majorly :)
Said goodbye to Melissa the following day and had dinner with Pablo and Daerek in a fancy rooftop bar. Got ready to go to school the next day in Tika Tika. Got a cab to school with the rest of the volunteer group, met some of the children and gave the kids that were moving to public school some supplies like stationary etc. They were totally chuffed and got their photos taken.
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Got the new kids settled in, found out their names and ages, sang some songs and brought them outside for a game of soccer. The week flew by and the kids get to know you a little bit and all call you Professora, its pretty funny.
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Picked up a bit of spanish fro them and taught some of them some sums and heads shoulders knees and toes!!! Took in some sweets into school on my last day so they were delighted. Helped out at a couple of fundraiser table quizzes during the week in cusco so learned lot of useless facts!!
Had a power cut in the hostel on the last night, luckily we still had gas so dinner was going to be ok, had to make banoffie pie with a torch though but it turned out ok.
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Headed into town for cocktails and lots of dancing until the wee hours. Flew to Lima the following day and met Pablo for lunch and a tour of Larcomar (trendy mall just off the ocean).
Headed back to the airport by taxi and experience Limas crazy roads for a second time that day, then it was on the plane for the big journey home. The 11 months had come to an end, was gutted that the adventure was over but looking forward to seeing everyone in Ireland again

Posted by sarahfraw 05:59 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Bolivia

Bolivia

sunny

Arriving in Bolivia was a bit of a change of scenery to say the least and 20 times more stray dogs. Got the train to Uyuni and headed on a salt flats trip from here. Hostels here are a bit limited and the showers were locked as no hot water so had to do without. Salt flats were pretty cool, it looks like snow its so white.
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Had some laugh trying to make funny pictures and trying to acclimatise to the altitude. Had food and drinks at a hostel in the salt flats and had late night guitar playing and singing which was good craic. Next mission was to get to Oruru for Saturday carnival. A storm on Friday gave us little hope of the bus making it so we opted for the train. Queued up to buy tickets for ages and the ticket office was being run by 2 drunks so this slowed down the process a good deal.
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Got the tickets for the executive seats (15 euro) and slept through the night on the train. Landed in Oruru bleary eyed and had to take on the scramble to find accommodation for the busiest night of the year. Managed to get a room at mediocre hotel but were happy to have a roof over our heads. Had great fun watching the carnival, drinking beer and dodging water bombs.
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Headed to La Paz the following day by bus which didn't take that long at all. The bus couldn't drive down the main street so we got dropped of by yet another festival. Our hostel was right on the street the carnival was going down so had to walk through the carnival with our bags and baggage dodging foam and water bombs. Gringos are the main target here so there is no avoiding it. Luckily we had our plastic ponchos from the day before. Got to the lovely Adventure brew hostel and had a free beer while watching the carnival from their roof bar. Chilled out in La Paz for a few days and took advantage of all the good restaurants and coffee shops. Headed to valley of the moon which was worth a trip. Headed for Cocacabama and got a pretty good hotel here overlooking lake Titicaca. Sampled their finest trout which went down a treat. Headed to Isla del Sol the following day and did the trek from the north to the south of the island, pretty hard going with the altitude here but we managed to get through it. Found a cute hostel looking over the lake again and had more trout in a random family run restaurant.

Posted by sarahfraw 12:12 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Argentina

Argentina

sunny

Arrived in Buenos Aires late in the evening so got shuttle to the hostel. Ended up being a crappy hostel so ended up checking out after 2 days and moved to the lovely Hostel En BsAs, it was so nice there I could stay there forever. Did the city sights ad took in La Boca (stadium), San Telmo for street tango, Palermos parks and museums and Recoletta.
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Went to a soccer game on the last day with Lacey and Adam to see River Plate vs Colon, pretty crazy atmosphere with all sorts of chants, songs and drums. At the end of the game they let the Colon side out first so that there would be no trouble but it was all very mild at the end of the game.
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Had some great steak after the game in La Cabrera, totally massive portions that our table was full of meat and all sorts of condiments, well fed after that!!
From Buenos Aires headed to Iguazu fall on a 20 hour bus, it was a 'cama' service which means your seat reclines almost completely and you get fed a couple of times , get to watch movies and have a night cap of either champagne or whiskey before you go to sleep! Luxury travel or what! Arrived and checked into El Gembe hostel and met Mark, Chrissie, Niall and Sally and we headed off to the Iquazu park.
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Really enjoyed seeing the falls, devils throat was fab and the spray goes all over your face. It was really refreshing after 30 plus degrees heat. Saw some monkeys and racoon's around the jungle park so that was pretty cool too. Had dinner that evening at the hostel, Mark and Chrissy cooked up some great steak and fancy potatoes so it was a big treat. Headed for the mega disco with Niall and Sally later on so it ended up being a late on. Got another bus the following day to Tucuman (another 22 hour trip). Stayed at a pretty nice hostel and got to have a quick look around the town and also did some shopping, clothes are really nice and very cheap so I was thrilled to buy some new things and throw away my rags! Then onto Cafayate a really nice friendly town. Took in a trip to the mountains Quebreda and some wine tasting and a bit of cycling where some local kids took a fancy to my bike!
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Had a good rest in this place which was definitely needed. Then headed to Salta, did a bit of sightseeing and shopping, had my last Argentinean steak before getting the night bus to the Bolivian border.

Posted by sarahfraw 12:11 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Chile

Chile

sunny

Arrived in Santiago tired after 11 hour flight, with the time difference I got there 5 hours before i left Auckland which was a bit confusing. Got a shuttle to the wonderful La Casa Roja hostel, got a few hours kip and went looking for food in near Bario Brazil, went for an empanada which wasn't a good idea, had some gelato for dessert which was much better. No air conditioning in the dorm made it pretty sticky. Did some city sightseeing the next day to Parque Cera , climbed the big hill to see the holy statue, had a decent lunch in Bellevista. Had 2 days of Spanish lessons and managed to fit in some wine tasting also. Then met the group for the Patagonia trip in Santiago and we headed for Puerto Montt the following day. Did some sightseeing for 2days including a trek up to the top of a volcano and a trip to Chiloe island to sample some seafood and see some penguins.
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Then it was 3 days on the Navimag ferry boat along the fjords of Patagonia. Pretty dramatic scenery even if the weather wasn't so good and it was a bit rocky on day two. Had a bingo night on the last night followed by a mega disco. Met lots of people on the boat and then kept bumping into them throughout Patagonia.
Arrived in Puerto Natales and got picked up by Sergio our tour guide for the hiking trip to Torres del Paine.
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We set off with all our gear to the Park and started fro Las Torres where we dropped our stuff at the campsite. Did 19ks the first day and took in some valleys and the famous towers (Torres).
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A lot of climbing involved getting to the towers but was well worth it. Day 2 involved getting a ferry to Grande Paine campsite and had a quick lunch before heading of on an 18k walk this brought us through french valley, three lakes and a climb up to the plateau for great views. Bumped into Lua a Galway college head which was totally random!
Day 3 was a short 11k walk, it was the clearest day so far so we got great views of the mountains and lakes and towards the end we could see glacier Grey.
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Got to the Glacier Grey campsite which was the best campsite by far despite super cold showers but how bad. Did an extra hour walk to get closer to the glacier and saw some of it crumbling away and breaking off into the the lake, pretty loud when it does that. Celebrated our last night by having cheese and pisco sour (a brandy with lemon juice drink). Met some people from the Navimag boat at the campsite so we had a few drinks into the early hours. The last day was really easy, 11k was nothing after all we had walked. Headed back to Peurto Natales and then said goodbye to Sergio before taking our bus to Punta Arenas. Our last day in Chile was spent mostly sleeping and eating and recovering our sour muscles. Had fab seafood in La Luna for the last night with the group.

Posted by sarahfraw 12:09 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

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