Peru Experiences

Crossing the border during the thunderstorm Arriving at the main square in Cusco

The general buzz and feel of Cusco, touristy but cool at the same time

Not quite getting the pork at pork alley when we accidentally ordered the “menus”

The “bus station” where we caught the bus to Pisac for 3 soles

Climbing up to see the Pisac ruins and having that feeling like we were discovering it

The excitement of getting on the train to Machu Picchu

The train ride itself especially going through the villages and then when the landscape turned into the jungle

The craziness and strangeness of Aguas Calientes

Looking out at the fireworks for Christmas Eve, the place looking like a scene from some war torn city

Our host coming to find us at the bus stop with our packed lunches

Getting on the first bus up to Machu Picchu

Beating the hikers up the mountain!

The first sight of Machu Picchu with the clouds parting on Christmas Day morning and getting the photos without anyone in the way

Climbing up the Mach Picchu mountain

The whole experience of Machu Picchu

The restaurant where we had our Christmas lunches and dinner

The streets around Ollantaytampu town

The Alpaca steak at Ollantaytampu just delicious

The taxi ride back to Cusco on my birthday, just a great drive especially when in turned into a sightseeing tour 

The tapas and pisco sours and watching the action at the restaurant for my b’day

The impressive interior of the cathedral on the main square in Cusco

The first bus in Peru complete with TVs in the seat backs, unfortunately a little too short in the leg space and a little winding in the driving. Lucky it was dark

Walking around the monestary in Arequipa 

The bus drive to the Colca Canyon, impressive altitude, views and a little scary

Arriving at Cabanaconde, a small town in the middle of nowhere

The hike through the Colca Canyon just spectacular

The feeling of accomplishment when we smashed out the hike out of the canyon

The taxi ride in the three wheeler from Ica to Huacachina. Amazing that we got the luggage in

The wine tour from Huacachina, back to basics definitely who needs fanciness!! Mind you who’s heard of Peruvian wine?

The sand boarding on the dunes, not the greatest success but definitely fun

The adrenaline pumping dune buggy tours now that was fun

The cerviche at Paracas on the sea front just delicious

The tour of the Isla Balletas just incredible to see that number of birds and sea lions

The tour of the Paracas national park.

The surprise of arriving at Miraflores in Lima and realizing that we had left South America without saying goodbye

The boardwalk and the people watching in the sea front in Miraflores 

Bolivian Experiences

Altitude! From day one on our arrival we were above 4000m, to put it in perspective most ski resorts sit at about 2000m and the slopes go up to 3000m
Breathlessness and walking very slowly
Up hills and down hills
The drive to the salt flats from San Pedro
Seeing the flamingos in the weirdly coloured lagoons
The salt flats, just amazing fun taking the photos
The mint museum at Potosi and the first time we had the mandatory guide, great idea
Eating the beef hearts at the market in Potosi
Eating all their amazing soups!
Arriving at Sucre and getting given the apartment 
The markets at Sucre, could have spent an eternity shopping there. Walking down the food line and being shouted at by all the tiny women urging you to come to their stall and not their neighbours.
Sucre really is a beautiful city and it was wonderful walking around it 
Trying to buy a bottle opener in the Sucre markets
Visiting the churches and cathedrals and being allowed to go wherever you want. Even onto the rooftops
Walking down the ancient Quechan paths for the first time
Going on the terrible tour and pushing the bus out of the mud with the locals.
Ditching the tour bus and walking down the hill with Thibaut and Lucie all alone in the middle of the Bolivian countryside wondering what the hell we were doing.
Having the bucket for a toilet on the bus from Sucre to La Paz
La Paz in general, just a crazy city with a definite edge
Realising that we had booked our hotel literally next door to the San Pedro prison.
Going to the local restaurant and only being served beer and wondering what was going on
Seeing the highest ski slopes in the world, no snow. Walking to to the top of the mountain. Our first real decent walk at altitude
Catching the gondola up to El Alto, just fantastic views of La Paz
Huayna Potosi an experience we will never forget
Walking along the Tarmac and seeing the plane we were going to fly to the Amazon in!!
The flight from La Paz to Rurrenbaque never been so scared.
The Pacu fish curry wrapped in leaves in Rurrenbaque, just delicious
Catching the boat up the river to the Madidi jungle and starting to realise that we were experiencing something really special
Walking through the rainforest with our private guide, Simon.
The relaxing feeling we had when walking through the rainforest.
The tapir and the boars hanging around the lodge.
Fishing for Pacu on the banks of the river and catching 3!!
Being taken by Simon to visit his village in the jungle. An incredible eye opener
Chilling by Lake Titicaca at Copacobana 
Catching the dodgy bus from La Paz to Copacobana, topped off by the barge crossing the lake
The place we stayed at on Isla del Sol a brilliant concrete construction.
The hike across Isla del Sol particularly when we decided to keep going after the rain started, seeing the pizza place in the middle of nowhere on top of the hill and especially walking through the villages.

Top Argentinian Experiences

Starting with a magical walk around the falls at Iguazu will always be pretty difficult to top.
Walking around Puerto Iguazu and discovering the market and the restaurants lining the street.
Watching the semi final of the Rugby World Cup, Australia vs Argentina. On Election Day in a cafe in Puerto Iguazu. There was meant to be an alcohol ban in the country but the owner decided we could all enjoy a beer and the game. 
Going out to San Isidro to meet Sarah’s extended family. A really great evening.
Watching the Tango show in a small little bar on the Playa de Mayo.
Walking around and around Buenos Aires admiring all the European inspired architecture.
The flight down to El Calafate where we had superb visibility and the pilot was pointing out all the sights.
Seeing the front face of the Moreno glacier, absolutely awe inspiring, especially listening to all the cracking and watching the huge chunks falling off.
Watching the flamingoes just outside El Calafate from the bird watching hut.
Dinner with Saurabh and Arturro in El Calafate, eating Patagonia specialties of lamb and trout.
The boat trip in Ushuaia out to see the lighthouse, cormorants, sea lions and the Penguins.
All the bus trips we have done,some easier than others but we have certainly put in some hours on the buses!
Trying to make dinner in Ushuaia with our great room, just lacking in the kitchen department with just having a microwave
The feeling of being at the end of the world in Ushuaia 
Getting lost on the hike down from the glacier in Ushuaia and having to cross the river
The hiking in El Chalten, truly remarkable three days of hiking with some wondrous views.
Getting holed up for the day because of the weather in our train carriage in El Chalten, drinking wine and playing canasta
The weather in El Chalten, snow, wind, rain and blue skies all in one day
Bariloche – not enough time unfortunately but still had a great time especially the hiking to the top of the mountain
The dinners in Bariloche, enjoying trout with mushroom sauce and wild boar delicious and a real ski resort/mountain feel about the place 
Wine tasting at Vista Alba in Mendoza. Including the convoluted way we got there via public transport and an extended walk
The superb backdrop of the Andes as we were in and around Mendoza 
The absolutely superb meal we treated ourselves to on the last night at Anna bistro. Sitting outside in the garden eating great steaks and great wine, exactly what we imagined Mendoza to be

Absolutely Brilliant Brazil

Again in no particular order just some phrases to remind me of the great stuff in Brazil. A wonderful country and one we could definitely spend a lot more time in. Great people.
Arriving at our hostel in Rio, had we gone too cheap?
Having our beers on the harbourside in Botofogo looking over the water towards Christ the Redeemer, illuminated on top of the hill
Stuffing ourselves silly at the Brazilian BBQ.
Seeing the Toucans on top of the pylons outside our hostel on day one
Arriving at Buzios and walking down to the water and realizing that we had arrived in some kind of paradise 
The hustle and bustle of Lapa, and having our day where we started in Buzios, bus to Rio, walk around the town center, seeing the tiled staircase, traditional Feijoada dinner, Samba then Maracana for Football.
Being pleasantly surprised as to how nice the bus trip was.
Arriving at Campo Grande, expecting to be mobbed by people offering trips to the Pantenal but finding no one there
The stay at the Pantenal, the great activities, the wildlife and mostly just the experience of feeling like we were staying in the middle of nowhere
The incredible heat in the Pantenal area
Snorkeling down the Rio de Plata, so unbelievably clear an absolute highlight.
The Macaws just incredibly good looking birds.
The cafes on just about every pavement.  
Sharing a cold beer and empanadias, just perfect.
How welcoming everyone was, and although there was usually a huge language barrier, lots of smiles seemed to work wonders. On both sides.
The falls, just spectacular. The first glimpse is something I will never forget.
The coffee, strong and sweet. Just perfect, and available just about everywhere.
Walking around the favalas, certainly an eye opening experience to see so close how they live in the slums.
Really eye opening in general seeing the poverty on show
Seeing football everywhere on every TV in every cafe.
Seeing the different animals, the anteater, the monkeys, the capybaras, the piranhas, the toucans just to name but a few great to see something I have never seen before. T

Top American Memories

Over our time in the USofA I have tried to write down just a few of the special things we have been able to enjoy.  These are in no particular order of importance and I just thought I would write some short reminders for us in the future. T

The first night in New York when we set off in hope of finding a great bar, and got lucky when we stumbled upon the Redhead and had great old fashions.
The queue for the deep pan pizza in Chicago at …… Then enjoying the pizza and the stuffed starter
Standing on the top of the Empire State Building and looking out over the city.
Seeing the first food vans and getting a great burrito in Santa Monica California.
Driving up to the North West corner of Yellowstone and parking up on the side of the road and watching the Bison.
Hiking up to the top of Devil’s Lair in Black Hills and looking across at the cathedral spires
Having the best slice of pizza in New York at the artichoke pizza place.
Arriving in Manhatten after catching the Staton Ferry back and forth for free.
Having the BBQ dinner at the campsite at hot springs and chatting to the locals afterwards
Camping at Cape Perpetua. Although we didn’t have showers the magic forest setting and the way the campsites were so private made for a fantastic 2 days.
Going for a walk from the campsites at Perpetua through the magical forest, but up that massive hill. Great warm up for a beer.
Having the first IHOP breakfast, where we both got what we wanted, Sarah’s pancakes and my fry up (of course with extra pancakes)
The feeling of setting off in the car out of Chicago. A road trip had begun.
The feeling of achievement after camping successfully for a few nights through a storm or two. The self inflating mattresses and the sleeping bags were lifesavers.
Going to Yankee stadium and watching the baseball. Even if it was a bit of a boring game.
Walking through Central Park. The enormity of the place was pretty mind blowing.
Going to the googenheim in NY. The building itself is worth a trip.
Going to the House of Blues bar and watching Mississippi Heat
Walking around Washington with some serious heat. We were thanking our lucky stars that we got great weather in NY or else we wouldn’t have seen so many sites on foot.
Seeing Crater Lake in Oregon, again a sight that just looked unreal the blue of the water was something else.
Arriving at shady cove, just after we had decided that we fancied a rest day in a cabin next to a river!! And finding this delightful place
Seeing the bald eagle swoop down on the river at shady cove. And being taken away by its size and dominant appearance 
Listening to the guitarists at the shady cove community center along with meeting Dave and Ginger.
The whole experience of being and going to Oregon, a great state, and very lucky that we decided to go.
The coastal drive from Newport in Oregon to San Francisco. Constantly experiencing great views both over the water and inland.
Walking around Mission in San Fran looking at the murals
Vegas…the whole four nights were great! Just a great party town.
Arriving at the Golden Gate Bridge after driving down route 1 to a perfectly clear day and great view of San Fran and the bridge.
The nights out in Vegas, especially the first night at the Flamingo and the night at Freemont St
Seeing the huge redwood trees after our expedition off the beaten track to the Lost Coast and then somehow ending up at the avenue of the Giants 
Seeing Ka and O in Vegas, great performances and fantastic stages!
The light show at Freemont St in Las Vegas
Winning the $100 on the last spin of the $1 I put in to get a free drink
The campsite at the north rim of the Grand Canyon what a spectacular evening and wondrous view
The hike around Bryce Canyon, just felt like we were on another planet
The view of Bryce from inspiration point after we had just arrived
The tours around upper and lower antelope canyon…never seen anything like it just amazing photos and visually stunning.
Spending a couple of days relaxing in Page in and amongst the red canyons, desert and the magnificently blue lake Powell.
Big John’s BBQ in Page with the trestle tables, live band and the huge smokers on the sidewalks…”If you smoke it they will come”
The hike down to the bottom of Canyon De Chelly to see the white house. It was like a little Utopia.
The walk through Carlsbad Caves. The sheer size of them was mind blowing.
Sequoia national park and the fires and the smoke hanging in the air while Kings Canyon was closed.
The huge trees at Sequoia national park, just driving and walking through the park in wonderment.
Having at night out at CC’s bar in San Fran. Meeting Eric the bartender and him not charging us a cent after a great night.
Eating our clam chowder and seafood bisque overlooking Fishermans Wharf in San Fran
Driving through Death Valley and both feeling slightly odd as the temperatures hit 117! Then deciding to go for a walk
Arriving at the small country fair in Texas and getting the run down on BBQing and then getting the low down on where the best BBQs in the area were from the man in the dungarees
Coopers BBQ in Llano, just thinking about it gets my mouth watering.
The number of live bands playing even mid week in Austin 
Going out in Austin and discovering the bar on the roof with the bean bag game
Walking around New Orleans the buildings were really very cool and really gave the place a unique charm
The music in bars and streets of New Orleans we got to enjoy some fantastic music
The trip on the Atchafalaya Bayou in a small boat with our guide seeing a couple of alligators and plenty of wildlife. The bayou was absolutely spectacular
How great the guides were at the Atchafalaya visitor center 
Staying in the cabins in Louisiana and going to the local bar to see the band.
How great it was camping and enjoying being outside!!! Also the slight worried feeling when we were sleeping in bear country!! Would they be deterred by our tent or would one be outside when we woke up for a pee!!
The fact that the bears target eskies so we had to hide ours in the car
The sneaky raccoons just looking as if they were up to no good
Going to Greenville to see the blues festival and being more or less the only two white people in the crowd. The music and the heat was incredible
Clarksdale as a whole!! Red’s lounge and the music and the whole atmosphere. All in all the best blues experience ever!
Buying the harmonica from Deak in his lounge/shop where James Cotton himself had sat and played.
Memphis and Nashville, more music. And more great experiences. Just amazing to see so many bands and for free too!!
The whole music trail from Austin to New Orleans up through Mississippi to Memphis and Nashville, just absolutely the best experience
Canoeing down the Ozark river way and seeing the bald eagles
Watching the NFL in St Louis great game and great night
Having lunch in Little Havana and really starting to feel excited about the South American part of the trip
Swimming in the beautiful sea at Miami beach wonderful colour and no waves!