To fly back to Rio or not?? And don’t cry for me Argentina! 

Back in Buenos Aires but for more than a flight transfer this time. I’ve checked all my WhatsApp messages and my lovely hockey girls have updated me with the victorious Team GB hockey. Fabulous that they are in the final how exciting. For me though I think the exciting and hectic time of the last few weeks has caught up with me, feel rubbish and have a cold that I seem to be fighting. Anyhow I have a day and a half in Buenos Aires and off to the hostel I go. I had checked with my Argentinian friend that it was in a nice area and she had said San Telmo is lovely so I should enjoy it. It’s the older part of town with cobbled streets and crumbling decorative facades all around. So into my taxi I get speaking my pigeon Spanish and off we head. Panfilo (from my Iguaźu trip) had warned me that it doesn’t feel like South America but in fact more like Europe. And he is quite right. High rise modern buildings adorn the streets around, not like the understated buildings I’m used to seeing on my travels.

(From wikipedia)

So half hour later I arrive at my hostel ‘The Art Factory. Named so, because its covered with art throughout the rooms, eve the kitchen and bathrooms apparently. Sounds interesting and colourful hey. The hostel looks a bit dingy out front, but it is late and maybe it’s just the oldy worldly nature of the area making the streets look darker, and you have to buzz to get in, so at least it’s safe.

art factory.jpg

It’s 10pm so no chance of exploring the area tonight even if I did feel in good form. Two flights of stairs with my ridiculously heavy suitcase (or is it my stupidly weak arm strength?) and it’s a welcoming reception. Boards and posters with activities for every day, maps to show you around the town and a fridge with drinks for purchase, artistic characteristics already around the reception and waiting area. So far so good. I check in, I don’t have enough cash and it’s a 10% charge for a card which is ridiculous, but they let me pay for one night now and get the rest in cash tomorrow which is very nice. I notice the signs of types of rooms and realise this is a real dorm style hostel. More for backpackers than the solo tourist suitcase traveller. Rooms of 6 with shared bathroom available! Hey ho.

I get to my room which is on the corner of the stairs to the bar, restaurant and kitchen. Think it may be a noisy stay? Rooms nice enough though, art on the walls, double bed, airy and a bathroom all to myself although not entirely clean. I immediately notice there’s no TV? How odd when I’ve not actually watched one for most of the trip and don’t need it at all! There’s a kitchen just down the corridor with a gas hob, whistle kettle and good old cupboards and fridge with labelled food. Last time I saw this kind of kitchen was on my travels down under where I stayed in hostels. There’s colourful art down the corridors, so it is quite unique.



Well what a bloody awful nights sleep. I’ve never actually worn ear plugs but I have a set in my suitcase just in case, and guess what, I had to get them out to try and stop the noise from keeping me awake. People talking and walking around, doors banging nothing particularly malicious just a poorly insulated room. So my cold has hit big time, and feeling miserable!

I prefer to have days and activities or at least ideas planned. However for the rest of this trip I have no idea what to do at all which makes me less excited about the last few days. So having woken up I suddenly decide maybe I could fly back to Rio and watch the hockey final?? What an experience it would be? So I e-mail Flight Centre and ask if it can be done, look up flights that are about £300 so maybe it can and as I have nothing planned in Columbia what would I miss out on? not a lot. The issue I have is time as although it’s 9am here it’s 3pm in the UK and I don’t want to use my phone to call at £2 per minute so waiting for e mails will be the  issue with a time restraint.

Whilst waiting I head up to breakfast excited that is included, but that’s where the excitement died! Stale bread, cornflakes, weak squash, a variety of tea but no English breakfast (not that unsurprising) and a common room to eat in. It is however a very colourful common room, art on the walls, and there are a few others about so a bit of company of sorts, and you can order scrambled eggs so I do get something more tasty. Not sure why I’m moaning, at least I’m being fed!


Fuelled up and ready for who knows….I head off out armed with a map of the city and the one plan that I will join the afternoon walking tour by the free walking tours company at 3pm. I pass lots of locals milling around, one with a pack of dogs it seems. past little cafe’s, supermarkets, shops, garages and bakeries. A very bustling morning in Buenos Aires.

I get lost, although find a lovely portrait of Eva Peron on the side of a tall building (which I later find out is the Social Development Building) then find my way to the riverside which to be honest may as well be London South Bank it looks so European.

I mean it’s lovely, relaxing and bustling and I head onto the navy boat on the river to learn about the Argentinian navy (although mot of the notes were in Spanish so i am really just looking at pictures and artefacts), and their dogs, but it just isn’t as exciting as being in other South American cities.

I’m also constantly wondering if I will be heading to Rio tomorrow and need to find wifi to check my e mails. I stop at a cafe who had wifi for a drink and find out it’s going to be £900 at least and that’s if the airline will let me swap destinations, not guaranteed!! Oh the decisions!! I eventually decide it’s just too much, although a gold medal hockey match to create history would be amazing, I just can’t warrant it. I have spent loads already, need money for possible fertility treatment and do wonder what my reasons are for going back? Is it the glory and jealousy I’d get from people thinking it’s amazing I’d changed my plans? Is it to try and get on TV again? Is it to see history? Probably a bit of all three!

I continue my walk around Buenos Aires, pass a school that has hardly any open space for the kids to run around in, get lost in the criss crossing maze of San Telmo’s streets (but there are worse places to get lost in to be fair, its very safe here) before finding my way to the walking tour meet point. I say criss crossing as it’s very much like Milton Keynes. The roads are like a grid and forms a checkerboard look on a map. 

That’s a school behind those bars!

A lovely local guide introduces himself, there’s about 20 in the English speaking group. A bunch of young travellers who have obviously met at their hostel, some Americans talking very loud, some couples and then me!

Off we walk down the Avenue de Mayo starting in a small park at the Plaza del Congresso, by the congress building. Walking down past the monuments, particularly discussing the Monumento a los dos Congresos with its triumphant Republic figures sculptured on top.

The pigeons, making it feel like Trafalgar square, were brought over here to help make it feel European. Nutters!! Who wants pigeons if they have a choice??

The young American girl is so bloody annoying even after five minutes. With her purple hair, stand out sunglasses and loud voice she certainly likes to be centre of attention. She screams when pigeons fly in front of her, when asked to wait at traffic lights she tells everyone she’s been hit by a car before so knows what it’s like. Some bouncy castles are in a play area and she starts telling everyone how she wants to go on them, ‘I love bouncy castles!’ Oh dear god. Shut up already!! (Miserable old English girl alert)

Can you guess which one she is?

This square has a few random grassy areas where dog owners walk their dogs for some greenery to sniff and scent. There are several statues with various historical stories that we are talked through. There are some homeless people sleeping in the shade, some locals out walking, the mismatch of light coloured buildings overlooking the square from the streets at the sides. It just doesn’t feel South American?

As we talk about the history of Buenos Aires and come across the topic of Evita I realise I’m wearing a Madonna t shirt. Completely by chance as I can’t be that choosy over clothes this late on in the trip, makes me look like some superfan!

A lovely American lady started talking to me as we walk around, she saw my Rio jumper so used it as a talking point. She’s a soccer coach and over here for a last minute two week break. Off to Cusco next so we discuss our travels, teaching and general life. I love meeting new people!

The tour takes us down the Avenue de Mayo. The variety of building styles is so fascinating, how some are Italian inspired, others French, and we get to look in a traditional and famous cafe, Cafe Tortoni, with its full length double doors, round wooden tables, huge floor expanse and Art Nouveau mirrored walls to give the oldy worldly feeling.

We stop at a fake Iguazu Falls water feature, funny when you’ve been already. If you haven’t it may be cool, I had to have a selfie anyhow just for the fun.

As we head across the main road through the city, Avenue 9 de Julio, we pass the opposite side of the building I saw whilst lost, with the Ava Peron mural, and we learn her sad story. She was the second wife of the president Juan Peron, and served as the First Lady until her death in 1952. She was also called Evita (the movie I’m sure most of you have seen) which is the Spanish language diminutive. The side we are seeing is the serious political face. It faces the North where the divide of the town sees the moneyed classes and the other side is the happy face facing south to the working classes, her preferred Barrios (neighbourhoods).

Our guide tells us that Argentina has the most public holidays in the world because of all the independence days it’s had, 19 public holidays in total. That there are 14 million people in the city. And that it the 1990’s $1=1AP so it was party time. Everybody was happy, rich and spending until 2001 when it all collapsed and the country has struggled to recover. It’s now $1=15AP, how mad is that.

The homeless are often those who lost everything in the financial collapse. Very sad.

We finish our walk at the Plaza del Mayo at the ‘Pink House’ where Eva Peron gave her last speech from the balcony and that famous scene in the Evita the movie. I must say it has heightened my interest in that movie which as yet I haven’t seen, and intrigued me on the history of Argentina.

A lovely afternoon learning about the history of the city. Well worth doing. Alison (my US friend) and I then head off to find a restaurant for some dinner although really a bit too early for it in South America being only 5pm. As much as I’d like to see a tango show, neither of us has much energy, my cold is taking hold unfortunately and it’s really something to do with a friend not solo?

So we head back to the riverside I was at earlier, find a nice restaurant and order some steak. It’s fit for a family!! Three pieces! Lovely though and a lovely evening too. It even has an apparently Scottish Dessert which I try for the sheer hell of it. My Scottish friends back home have since commented that it is of course, pure fabrication. Nice dessert though.

The nighttime view along the river is quite lovely, especially with a full moon reflecting onto the water. Would be very romantic, and I did just sit an admire it for a while.

We say our goodbyes whilst hailing taxis. She is off to do a day trip on horseback tomorrow, I am off to Colombia, not the Olympics, although it is constantly on my mind.

Will tonight’s sleep be any better?

Well I didn’t need my ear plugs, so it’s either quieter, I’m knackered or I’ve got used to it? I have a an hour before taxi pick up to get some wine. I’m keen to take some home after the insightful wine tasting in Peru telling me Argentinian wine is the best and Malbec particularly. So I get 5 bottles and pack in my already heavy suitcase, and make it back just in time for the shuttle bus. At the airport I pick the wrong bloody check in desk. The man is an arse. My case is as usual over their weight of one piece at 23 Kg, but its passed through three flights so far without issue . He tells me I have to pay, gives me a ticket and sends me away. No discussions or help just matter of fact. At the payment desk it’s £50. Sod off am I paying that for a few Kg of wine. So I refuse, well plead poverty, which isn’t untrue. I head over for some help and burst into tears. The tiredness has definitely got me. The helpers were great, the man who checked me in, Laureno, not. He was rude to the staff, rude to me. Told me it was my problem and not his and i will probably miss my flight now. Anyhow I eventually had to trek over to the other terminal, collect my case, take out 5Kg, carry it as hand luggage and check the suitcase back in. What a complete waste of time. The hassle lost me an hour and a half but saved me £50 and I got on the plane in time. Result I say!

I even had time for a photo of me in my GB hockey top and GB flag to post as a good luck to the TeamGB girls in the final. Still a little unsure if I’ve made the correct decision not to go but what’s done is done.

Thank you Argentina for an insightful 36 hours, not my favourite destination in South America by far but interesting none the less. Country number 5 beckons on a 6 hour flight.


The wonder that is Iguaźu!

I’m a complete nutter. I got to sleep at 3.30am after packing and the obligatory social media updates and have to be up at 6.45 to go to the airport. I have to say I’m quite disappointed I wasn’t #wheressam spotted at the super Saturday athletics? I was right by Greg Rutherford, at the finish line for Mo and Jess and in front of the medal ceremony for Mo as well. Shocking! 😜 
New airline today. Avianca until this point, the never take off on time airline, now It’s Aerolinias and let’s hope they don’t leave my luggage behind. In case of that eventuality, I have packed some essentials in my hand luggage! 

Ridiculously long queue at check in and I get a telling off from the check in lady as instead of the two bags and 46kg allowance it’s now one bag and 23kg. Mine is 25 but she lets me go, just forewarning me of future issues, how very kind. So country number 4 beckons, Argentina. This is where I nearly had another day in a bloody airport. I was e mailed a revised flight schedule and in my mad July I never checked it until the day before I flew. Note to self, check itineraries when they are sent!! I had suddenly realised I’d lost a day in Iguaźu to spend flying to a random airport, staying there for 6 hours before then heading back to Buenes Aires. What a ridiculous situation. I sent a stroppy e mail to flight centre and bless them they sorted it even though it’s really my fault for not checking! So I have an extra day in Igauźu and a day less in Buenes Aires now. 

At the airport I decide to buy some souvenirs. Kind of forgot in Rio with all the TV appearances. However my credit card can’t be used as its an Olympic shop-visa only (my credit card is MasterCard so not been that useful in Rio at all) and then my debit card doesn’t bloody work. I’ve had his issue a few times, their machines don’t like my card? Well money saved maybe! After a major strip with the cashier, leaving my bloody passport behind in my rage, I then find a non official Olympic shop and I can use my credit card. Hoorah.

However, ten minutes later whilst sat waiting at the gate I get a call from Tesco. There have been a few transactions declined including one for an obscene amount of money. What on earth does that entail? They read out transactions and nope, not me as one was when I was on TV watching Jess Ennis. So my card is cancelled, no more use for this holiday! Ouch. At least I’m not out of pocket though. 

The flight is into Buenes Aires then to Iguaźu and I sleep straight away, even before take off through sheer exhaustion on both flights. 

As we go to get off at Iguaźu there’s and argument down the plane, if only I could understand Spanish as it sounds hilarious, two grown men shouting abuse. I then get to the shuttle bus and duly fall up the step and practically into the bus, play it cool, play it cool!! Then to top it off I think I’ve left my passport in the seat pocket so jump off said shuttle bus, just in time before it drives away and I have to try and explain to the security guard and flight crew. Just as I’m about to head back into the plane I find it. What a prize plonker I have been so far in Argentina! I arrive in Iguaźu fairly late, well it’s dark so feels late and from my research I don’t get a taxi but go for a mini bus. Half the price and they’ll drop me outside. Result. So off we head, I say we, there’s about 7 others in the mini bus. We pass lots of trees, shrubs, rainforest like in general. So much different to the bustling Rio. I already feel more relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Rio but I just got so drawn in by the atmosphere at the events and the thrill of being spotted on TV I just didn’t relax and was rushing from place to place by the end. Probably didn’t really experience Rio as I could or should of.

The first thing I notice in Iguaźu other than the lush greenery is their awful roads. Every intersection means a damaged road and the minibus has to slow down and weave around various potholes or in some cases huge craters.

Others are dropped off at an array of hotels and then it’s me. I am dropped off at what looks like a car port or garage forecourt. Black iron gates. Hey ho. How deceptive though. The owner greets me, carries my ridiculously heavy suitcase through various rooms and I’m at my apartment. It’s gorgeous. Kitchen, double bed, alcove for a dining table and chairs, lovely bathroom and thoughtful touches around the place. Candles to ward off the mosquitos, wifi info in a frame, tea and coffee available in a sweet little basket and toiletries already in the bathroom. And a shared courtyard with garden chairs and a table of my own. Makes both Rio apartments look dank and dingy! I’m going to like it here.

I’m knackered and in no fit state to go out for dinner so pop to a supermarket get essentials and a snack and just relax. I download an app called tunnelbear that the #superfans boys recommended as it allows you to watch English TV on the IPad. Well what a revelation that was. I’d of seen more Olympics if I’d known earlier. So I’m all set. Cup of tea, pasta cooking, and a lovely apartment. Oh yes and now with Olympics on TV on the BBC!

Tomorrow I have a day tour to Iguaźu Falls booked to see both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides and I’m being picked up at 8am. No rest for the wicked.

After an amazing nights sleep in the peace and tranquility of Iguaźu the excitement I have for breakfast cereal is unreal. My breakfast in Rio consisted of a banana if I was lucky. Not sure if it was because I was with others or the haphazard apartment but we didn’t buy any essentials. Very unlike me as I usually head out and get drinks, snacks and breakfast, as I do like to start the day with a breakfast so it’s absolute heaven to have one available today and with milk. None of that yoghurt from earlier in the holiday. I’m picked up by a car and taken to a coach. There’s an Aussie guy as well and we are sat together so the guide can speak to us in English after she has told everyone else in Spanish. Nice guy, Panfilo (such a fascinating name but only remember it because we are Facebook friends now, couldn’t remember it for most of the day). We get chatting to a Spanish lady as well, Carmen and an American family who are originally from Spain so fluent in both languages. I absolutely love that, what a gift. It’s bloody raining so out comes the poncho again. Lucky I packed that as a last ditch item as its been used more than expected.

The falls are just amazing, even if you are soaking wet already. You take a train up, then walk these long raised metal walkways, meandering through the trees and rock formations. You cross slow moving rivers, along bridges, there’s evidence of old walkways washed away across the water, and when you head out to see Devils Throat, it is just awe inspiring. It’s the most famous waterfall of them all, a U shaped waterfall which is 82 metres high, 150 metres wide and 610 metres in length. (Researched on Wikipedia!)

The force is just amazing. Not that it matters because we are soaking already but the spray from the falls would drench you. The sound from the water falling and hitting the rock pools below is deafening. In fact hard to explain at all. Look for yourself.

You can see a pink building across the falls which is Brazil. The pink building is a hotel, and apparently colonial in style. The Argentinian hotel down the bank a bit is very 60’s in style, boxed sections jutting out with large windows and all very angular and quite ugly really.

Everyone is vying for the selfie shots, lots of selfie sticks around. Panoramic pictures being taken. Official photographers try to get you to buy their photos. Very busy but calm, as it should be. Our guide rushes us along and we continue along more walk ways. See falls called The Two Sisters and Adam and Eve. We learn about the falls themselves. The name “Iguazu” comes from the Guarani or Tupi words meaning “water”, and “ûasú meaning big. Legend has it that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Nailí, who fled with her lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. Very Romeo and Juliette hey!

We see various animals, Coati (or Quati, in Portuguese) is the symbol of the Iguazu Falls and can be found in some countries in South America, Central America and North America.

They are easily mistaken for a raccoon with its black circles on its tails. They are everywhere, in bins, circling your feet. Vultures flying around above us and what looks like a magpie, a Blue haired Jay. Fascinating. I’d been recommended the boat ride by the #superfans the Hardmans and so when I ask the guide I now have a choice of doing my Brazil side tomorrow and the boat ride this afternoon or sticking to be original plan. As I have that extra day in Iguaźu I may as well plan for it so boat trip it is. 

Four of the others are doing it, Panfilo, Carmen and Alex one of the American boys, so it’s a fab bunch to be on they trip with. We head down to the boat docking, you get soaked (the Hardmans had forewarned me, so I have spare clothes) so you get given a waterproof bag to put all your belongings in. We put our shoes in too but then get told you have to have footwear on to get on the boat so we have to get them back out. Flip flops are the key here! We are drenched from the crap weather anyway so it’s not the biggest deal.

Well it’s hilarious. You literally go into the waterfall and the water just gets everywhere. It goes down the head hole of my poncho and straight into my bra and knickers. Lovely! Then we get a speed boat ride down some small Rapids, which would ordinarily dry you but just makes us freezing cold. Still loved the thrill though. But all in all despite the weather it’s fabulous fun. 

There are no changing rooms, a mere box of a toilet with a door the height of a 9 year old child, but I am shivering so change quickly into my dry clothes, well all bar the shoes which I can do nothing about. 

Now for a ‘jungle tour’. Well in the loosest term. We sit in a huge monster truck style jeep to go through the jungle and listen to a guide telling us what can be found in the various trees and shrubs. We see nothing, well lovely fawner and flora but no animals to speak of. So rather underwhelming if you had booked it expecting more, as it’s an extra for me I’m not so fussed. Interesting enough.

Time to shop, eat, peruse at your leisure before we head back so I get a hot chocolate. I know, you’d think a beer or something exotic whilst travelling South America, but I’m bloody freezing, my feet are numb. Panfilo loves empanadas (a South American small pastie) and has four? I’ll definitely have to try one later. So we head back and tomorrow my plan is to go to Paraguay (another stamp!!) then back for Brazil waterfalls. I have to pay for the additions so we are dropped at their office first (in the middle of nowhere) before heading back to our accommodation. The Americans are in a posh hotel, I again am in the poorest looking one but I know it’s like a secret garden back there. I’m so tired from being cold all day I can’t face going out for a proper meal so I head to a snack bar and try some chicken and beef empanadas to take away. So back at the apartment it’s fizzy pop, pasties and Olympics on TV. I mean, what a luxurious life I’m leading. Love it though.
7.30am and after another still exciting breakfast, I’m in a minibus with a non English speaking driver who hands me his mobile to speak to the guide from yesterday. She says as I don’t speak Spanish and the driver doesn’t speak English it would be unsafe for me to go to Paraguay. It is only for shopping, it’s where Argentinians go to save cash on electrical items as they pay such a high tax. I just want a stamp. So my plans have changed again and I’m off to the Brazil side this morning and an animal park in the afternoon. 

Turned out to be a great decision as the others (minus Panfilo who is on his way to Peru now) are all on the same trip. I also got more stamps as when travelling from Argentina to Brazil they stamp you out and then in, then out then in again. Silly but I do love a stamp! And I found out that you have to stay overnight in Paraguay to get a stamp there anyway!

We stop at a huge shopping mall that sells all kinds of souvenirs. I get some more Olympic items, memorable little items for my collection and have a look at some of the stonework on show. There’s an amazing rock table that’s a mere £7000. Jewellery that is amazing to look at, a rainbow of jewels that I would love as a bracelet also a mere £3500. How the other half live! 

So at the start of the Brazil side and the walk starts at the pink hotel we saw from the other side and it is pretty amazing. The view from that hotel is second to none. It must cost a fortune. No guide hurrying us along today, she sets us off and wanders off but with a meet time in one and a half hours. Is that long enough??

The falls from Brazil in my opinion are the best. It’s sunny so that helps, but the view is spectacular. The Two Sisters  are in full view, Adam and Eve (we saw them all from the top yesterday). There is only one walkway, a long one to be fair, but unlike the Argentinian side where there are walkways on different levels. You encounter those rodents again along the way, they are heading in and out of bins trying to grab some food, there are various view points for a nice photo along the way and we can see (and hear) the boat ride we went on yesterday down below, looks as fun as it was , and that  final view is the money shot. There are 275 falls and from Brazil you see them much better as you are opposite them not above the most. It’s definitely a cattle market to get to the best viewpoint at the end of a narrow walkway, but worth every second of the wait. We spend our time admiring the views, group photos, single photos or literally just watching the waterfall rainbow created by its spray and then back to reality when the guide shouts at us that if we don’t leave now we have to get a taxi. Oops! Only 15 mins late. 

She is in a real strop, marching up the steps and ahead. We on the other hand are like naughty school children chuckling behind her. 

On the bus back she is just pan faced staring out the front. We just giggle away. 

Carmen has brought some wrist bands from Brazil and gives each of us one. The theory behind it is, the person who gives it to you ties three knots. After each knot you make a wish. When the band breaks naturally the wishes comes true. I have one from Karen in Rio for team GB and I made three wishes then as well, it’s the Aldi special bands they were selling, I also have one from Nepal two years ago, two I brought on these travels Rio and Cusco and now this extra one. Love it!! Three wishes made once more. Bracelet buddies (friends analogy for my fellow friends fans). 

Carmen and me are off to the animal park whilst the others go to their hotel. We say our farewells but hope to meet for sunset over the tres frontiers later.

The animal park had some amazing animals, but I’m not that keen on them being caged having been lucky enough to see so many wild animals on my travels. I mean what’s the joy in seeing an Eagle caged? However it was informative and some animals have been rescued and can’t be released.

So back on the bus and we head home.

As Carmens apartment is round the corner from mine we agree to meet later to walk to the tres frontiers to watch sunset. Lucky she was with me as I would have got lost. I have some postcards to post on the way, and you’d think it would be easy, but no. A dying art postage is. Carmen asks police officers where the nearest one is and it’s a bit of a maze to get there but we find the post office. No actual post boxes apparently. Then along the road that follows the waters edge, so Brazil is opposite us, gleaming with its tree lined banks of the river. It’s bloody hot and I’m regretting my jeans right now. Although it gets cold at sunset, so patience?? 

I spot a make shift campervan, woman and dog sat chilling, the man with his beer. Very envious, that’s the life. They have loads of cactus in their front window, a bike tied on the back and water tanks, ropes and tarpaulin covering what I’m sure are essentials on the roof. 

We pass two little kids with their scruffy clothes and dirty faces, happy as anything. Running down the street, sliding down the dirt hills and off down the street. If only our British youth were all so easily pleased and not vain at all.

We continue our walk and when you arrive it’s a chilled but excitable atmosphere awaiting the sunset. There is a pillar painted white and blue (Argentinian flag), many little shops in the wooden shacks that house them. Restaurants overlooking the water, three tiers of viewing platforms with shiny metal barriers to lean on. Over the water you can see the Brazil pillar in green and yellow, there is what looks like a seated auditorium on the waters edge, seems odd as I’m not sure how many people would need to sit there. The Paraguay side has a pillar in its red, white and blue and a boat dock. The least aesthetic of the three it seems. 

There are some local fishermen in their wooden boats out on the river, lots of people milling around, and on the bottom tier locals with their handy crafts out on tables or cloths to sell to the tourists.

The Americans find us just in time and we all take some photos, then watch that beautiful sunset. A Busker plays stand by me and it’s just so relaxing. And great to be with new friends. 

We head down to the traders and the two little boys are on a stall with their mum. Bless. I buy another wrist band, Argentinian colours, and get Alex to tie it on for me and he buys a similar one which I tie on, if only he was 10 years older!! (He’s 23!!) and I buy a key ring for my mum so souvenir buying is sorted.

We say our goodbyes again but then decide to get on the bus with them and head to the centre of town for food. I am so pleased I am with Spanish/English speakers as I’d be lost getting on the bus. It goes to town but not where we want exactly so need directions where to get off and where to go. 

Third and final goodbyes to my American friends and I have been offered a place to stay if I head to the USA and Ohio I think! Then off for what was an amazing meal. A restaurant called Color, sat outside in the warm evening air, live music being played (stand by me again at one point), the restaurant starts empty but fills by the time we are eating, and I have a lovely steak meal (I have been told the Argentinians are renowned for their steaks) and it was spot on. What a day, what an adventure here so far.

Carmen is flying to Buenes Aires tomorrow and I have my extra day. Not sure what to do yet but will decide in the morning.

So last day, well half day. Minibus picking me up at 2.30pm for my evening flight. I decide to walk down to the tres frontiers myself and see if I can get a boat trip sorted. I’m very impressed with myself as I find it in one go, although different route than I had expected. I’ve noticed they also have stray dogs like Peru and Bolivia, just not so many. But to ease the issues of them going through the trash they have bins up high out of their reach. I’ve since been told they poisoned about 400 not so long ago as a new president or whatever the top man is called didn’t like the way they make the country look to tourists. How awful! 

As I arrive at the tres frontiers a tour seller is there waiting as if by fate, and offers me a boat ride for about £3. I’m with three excitable older Argentinian ladies but they are very friendly in their Spanish conversations. The boat trip starts a good 30 min walk away and I’m in my bloody jeans again as had to check out! Hooray for some cloud as we walk. When I get there a large boats greets us, very posh, upper and lower deck. Nope, not ours. Ours is the smallest one hidden around the corner. Ha ha, never mind. Just the four of us, life jackets on the boat but no need to put them on? It’s a very relaxing boat trip down the Iguazu river. We pass some local kids and adults fishing on the river banks. 

We head under the bridge connecting Brazil to Argentina, then turn around and head to the tres frontiers. We literally stop in the middle of three countries, no idea which one we would be in, I would like to say I’ve been to Paraguay as I’ve been in its waters! Making that country number 5, but not sure that counts. 

Then we head back down the Iguazu and back onto land. Lovely way to finish the trip, relaxing, beautiful and unique. I walk back, get lost a bit but manage to find a map and get back on track. I wanted to find a nice cafe to have a snack in but the first one I try firstly has no snacks then none of the juices I want. Next stop…I try the cafe Carmen frequented, I order what I thought was a crepe and a juice but apparently only the juice. And it was a real pain. You order, get a receipt, queue to pay for the item, get the receipt stamped, take it back to the counter and they then bring your order. Can’t be doing that all again so I finish my juice, use the facilities and go and sit in the gardens of the apartment to relax before my pick up. 

So I’m off to Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina and have no idea what to do there. Just one day, and I’m starting to get a cold. Well let’s hope that’s all it is. I did get bitten loads a month ago in Bolivia so let’s hope it’s not Zika!

I had intended to watch the GB ladies hockey semi final at the airport. Had my iPad and headphones ready but the damn wifi is crap. And on TV there is bloody weightlifting. So my hockey buddies from home have been instructed to what’s app me the progress. Looking good as they are winning when I get on the plan. #teamGB. The view from the plane is awesome, sunset followed by the nighttime view of Buenos Aires. And so on to the next chapter. 


Last adventure of the year, road trip to Europe

Off to The Netherlands!!
So after three days of cleaning, scrubbing, fixing, shopping, visiting garages, visits from the RAC and generally panicking my campervan is ready to go. She’s called ruffy, two reasons quite frankly she looks pretty ruff in a charming VW way and the number plate is RUF. My dog and I are off to Europe for a few weeks of adventure. First stop harwich, well the ferry to holland is a 9am depart and no one wants to be on the A12 in rush hour. It’s my first ever camp site alone. Been caravaning and camping with ex’s but never been the one in charge!
It was an uncomfortable first night mind. I’m too tall for the rock and roll bed so couldn’t stretch out and it was just one of those bloody nights when you can not get to sleep. Typical. Zac was snoring away happily on the floor!
Anyhow other than that and a 2 am toilet visit! All grand and up at 6am so I could walk Zac before the ferry, although their walking area was about a 10 min loop if you walked very slowly so we did that three times!! Ferry crossing just 15 mins away and in we went no pet passport required just a green car tag saying I had a pet and in we went. All exciting.
I’d booked Zac into kennels as it is a 7 hour crossing and I just thought it was a bit too long in the camper and you can’t visit it. But when I saw the kennels I panicked! No idea what I thought they’d be like but they were kennels like the vets, white, metal bars at the front and a knackered duvet to put in with some water. Oh dear. So in Zac went, and off I went. Decided I should of left him with a bone to chew so popped back to the car to get one. On my return to the kennels I could hear him howling the place down. Oh dear, heart strings breaking!! I took him for a walk to the walking zone. It was about 5m square. Not the best but at least fresh air for him! Second attempt in the kennels, bone to eat and off I went!
I have a cabin, just as well as I need to bloody sleep after the lack of it last night. And there’s a tv channel that you can watch your pet in the kennels. Zac is on tv!! Bless Zac he has settled a bit, phew! I get a few hours kip, check on Zac when awake and just chill. I then do a last check on the tv before heading to shops and he’s bloody escaped!! Shit! Rush down, and find him the other side of the door. Oh dear. Another walking spell for half hour but he just won’t go to the toilet! Ah well I take him back and lock the door properly this time! Lunch on the boat and no idea why I didn’t check the prices but had salmon and chips and it cost £13 what a bloody rip off!! Back to pack up room, get Zac and back in the camper. Have had to buy headlight deflectors and GB sticker as it seems my tidy lodger has thrown my ones away. He likes to pick up random envelopes to write notes on then they get thrown away. My stickers etc were in a nice envelope stacked away by the computer ready for my trip! Obviously something you’d use for a scrap piece of paper! Oh well £16 later! I stand like a complete idiot trying to ht the sticky path off the GB sticker then read it and it’s not sticky it’s magnetic. Blonde moment! Will stick the lights on later as the instructions are long! Choice of 151 headlights!
So I’m here in holland. ‘Must drive on the right!!’ Through customs no checks just straight through. ‘Must drive on the right!!!’
Luckily I have a fab sat nav, clear instructions and so off we head to camp site number one. Thinking I should of read the Dutch Highway Code, no idea of their rules! Apart from a few herons flying in my way, and missing a turn off I couldn’t even see it was an easy ride to the site. Get parked up, go for a dog walk bless my little pooch, put tent up and we’re set. Pissing down with rain but that’s nothing new! Nice site. Toilets near me, showers, washing up area, cows in the fields. Lovely. At 10pm and the final dog walk before bed I see what I think is a lovely sun set. Bit late? But bright lights shining through the clouds. Pretty. I’ve moved all the crap from the boot now so I have lots of room to sleep. Zac squished in his little zone. Night night!
Bloody need a wee again. It’s 4 am!!! Aaahhh. Lucky the toilets are so near. Zac joins me! And those bright lights are still shining in the sky. Is it a northern lights like phenomenon? Odd!!
Sleep in nicely. Quite a nice camp site, kids and adults playing games from bat and ball to pétanque. I have croissants ordered for brekkie, although a tad hard! Zac and I head out of site to walk along the river. Very nice and quiet. So relaxing. Not seen an English person since leaving the ferry. All Dutch or Belgium at his site. So no friends to chat to, although lots say Morgan and other words I have no idea what they mean!! Off to The Hague to see my friend I met on our travels in Oz, almost a year ago now. She lives in sheveningen which isn’t far from me about 40 mins. I have stuck my headlight deflectors on, no idea if correct but they are on. Not driving in the dark anyway and it’s now bloody boiling hot so no rain in sight!
I’m so nervous driving I’m shaking. I’m on motorways, taking various junctions. If I didn’t have this sat nav I would of crashed or ended up somewhere miles away! Luckily no issues, well I did have to stop on the hard shoulder as my electricity flap was loose, and apart from crapping my pants the whole way, I get there and meet my friend. Akward moment when she goes for the third greeting kiss (Dutch thing) and I’m not expecting it!! Bashed noses. Oops! Then I use her toilet and pull what I think is a chain and it’s a bloody ornament and breaks in my hand! Shit!! She says she never liked it anyway so either she’s very polite or I did her a favour! Great day out. Walked to the seafront. It’s like a holiday resort, big sun beds, huge beach, very hot!! Not what you think of as Dutch. We sit in a shady area in a nice restaurant and chat for a few hours! She enlightens me as to the ‘northern lights’ phenomenon I saw, it’s the green houses! What a plonker!! We’d be good friends if in the same country. She’s internet dated, rents her house out, wants kids but not sure now as 40!
So a great day out all round and one tired Zac. Back to the campsite for dinner and I decide I must go for a run and keep my fitness up, so although it wasn’t far I did 20 minutes and Zac was fine on his own, phew!!
Story of the night I got chased by cows, they freak me out when they chase you! Albeit on the other side of a river but they didn’t like Zac and just followed us along it increasing in numbers, as looked like they may cross it! In hindsight of course they can’t otherwise they’d be in our campsite!! Doh!!
Have done some research into next campsite and the one I was stoping at is just like a layby and you can use the shop toilets at a cost! Erm no! I find another one that says it’s near the windmills so I e mail them and am heading there tomorrow. Would definitely recommend this campsite to couples or families. Very nice. Lots for kids, and adults head out on bikes for the day. Hoever bouwlust if you are ever near maasland holland!
I had to pee in the night again, I’m like a 70 year old woman!! Pack up after breakfast. I tried Dutch told today, they are just rolls! Never mind! On we head, bloody 25 degrees already at 11am! Sat nav says an hour. Didn’t think it was that far but still. I pass the sign for the windmills a good 20km from my campsite, that can’t be good. Should of headed off and done the windmills en route but hoped my campsite wasn’t that at and we could come back. Nope bloody miles away. Nice views en route though, kids being pulled in inflatables by boats on the rivers, windmills, loads of cyclists. Some wanker gets me all in a fluster driving. I’m in a tunnel, put my lights on, he’s flashing me, am I in the ring lane? No ‘stay on the right!’ He swerves past me, in front of me and shakes his fist at me. No idea what I did wrong? Maybe the lights went on too late? Got me all in a tis! Wanker.
I later realise after I nearly hit a car that they must have the same weird rule here that the side streets on the right have right of way when they join a road. I carried on and then saw the car behind me let the driver I hadn’t out! Oops!! He didn’t shout at me though, probably just though idiot English driver!! The Dutch flags are bein flown at Half mast, assuming it’s due to the plane being shot down. Very sad and nice to see such patriotism.
Just before arriving at the camp site I hear a crash and the bloody box of dog food has fallen down and gone everywhere! Could of been worse, at least it’s dry food!!
Campsite website very misleading it’s not near the windmills at all so won’t be seeing them today, and when I get parked up not a chance I’m getting the van back out to visit anywhere. I’m in a lovely secluded area with chickens, horses and fields surrounding me so a day of chilling by the stream today instead! Lovely and quiet and even baby chicks come up to my door looking for food. How sweet.
I’ve been in civilisation too long, I expect toilet roll in the toilets! Not here!!
Far to hot for Zac, he is struggling so we just sit in the van all windows open, curtains trying to shade him and watch a DVD until it cools down. Nice Dutch couple next to us, try to speak to me but no idea what the mans saying. Something about kilometres?? I say I’ve come from maasland. He wanders off!
Dinner of soup and a roll as not that hungry. I left the butter out of he fridge as no room, it’s so hot in the van it’s turned to oil. Lucky that didn’t spill everywhere! My fridge nut be working over time as milk is still ok considering this heat!
Enjoy the countryside and just chill all day. I have bloody made the same shampoo mistake I made in Peru. Brought two a pops and no conditioner, poo bags!! And seemingly you need I pay for hot water and I have no change so cold shower ‘a la Nepal’ for me!!
Off to Gouda tomorrow as it’s cheese market day, then back to windmills the day after. I’m in no rush! And having googled this area, there is sod all for me to do, apart from enjoy the views! Enjoying Holland thus far!








Living alone again, rickshaws, and erotic carvings in Thamel Square!

So after a chilled afternoon by the pool, enjoying our last bit of luxury at the Shang Ri La hotel, roomy and I head off to our respective hotels to settle in before coming back to meet the remaining Trekkers for an evening meal. My hotel is a bit out of town? Down a dirt track and middle of nowhere?? But they great me with a free drink, and all seems quite nice. I’m on the third floor and fortunately a porter takes my suitcase up for me. Two single beds, a very 80’s looking tv and wet room/toilet. But my first room to myself in 5 weeks!! There are two sets of taps and the top two both say cold! Damn it. Have to have a crouched shower using the hot tap before I then head out to find roomy. I put some laundry in as I have so few clean clothes. It’s a bargain though. Five t shirts, two pairs of shorts, trousers and some underwear all for just £3. I get it back in 24 hours. Fortunately my new Sherpa tops are doing a good job of clean clothes for now.
I walk in the direction I think is thamel where roomy is but after 20 minutes realise I’m lost and get a rickshaw! Catch up with roomy at her very posh looking hotel, maybe I should of stayed here! Although she’s not that impressed. We do some shopping, I book my excursions to pokhara, although the manager thought both of us were going so he is a tad moody as I think the fab deal I had was based on two!! Never mind, he honours it!! It takes longer than we planned so are late to meet the others! Decide to get a rickshaw again, bless the man riding us. His little legs working so hard and some of it is uphill. It’s quite a ride to the Shang Ri La, about 20 minutes. We feel bad for him so give him a tip. Not sure the Shang Ri La are used to rickshaws arriving there, it’s a bit common, so we get funny looks!! The door staff are not as friendly once you’ve left!! We still get a salute from the guard as that’s his job but the bell hop is rather off as he knows we left to stay elsewhere!! We are half an hour late so go to find the others. Gragma is eating at the hotel on his own, he tells us that ex pat and Hagrid are at the same place as last night and mr miyagi and son are opposite hotel. We leave him to finish his meal, feel a bit bad but don’t fancy another night there! We wander to the restaurant and luckily find ex pat, Hagrid and Mexican with there starters. Better late than never!! We have a nice evening, no food needing to be sent back which is quite an achievement for old Hagrid! They have to head off at 8.30 as flight is later so we walk back, say goodbye as they squeeze into a tiny car with their four bags and themselves. The taxi service at the hotel is very weird, no one wanted to take them to the airport? Missing out on money how weird!! So a local taxi had to be called. Anyway it was quite a sight seeing them head off! Roomy and I then headed back to out hotels and had an early night. We plan to meet up tomorrow as it’s my last day before going to pokhara. I arranged to meet her and gragma at the square to do some sightseeing at 10.30am.
First night in new hotel was rather noisy! You can hear everyone outside from early doors!
There’s a man shouting outside at about 5.30am, pain in the arse! Anyway I can’t get back to sleep so I head down to courtyard and have a lovely breakfast outside. It’s very picturesque out there, nice tables set out, trees all around, you do have buildings surrounding the walls but otherwise is quite relaxing.
Roomy not replying? She was supposed to walk to my hotel and then we head off to the square? So I assume she’s not bothered or asleep? so walk myself there to meet Gragma. It’s really quite an easy walk, about ten minutes and I’m there. What greets me is a mass of tourists, locals, pigeons, tour guides and religious monuments. I frantically walk about looking for gragma, trying to wave off the advances of tour guides wanting my business! But he is nowhere to be seen. One particular tour guide has tried so hard to get my business so eventually I relent and let him guide me. He shows me the rude wooden engravings, I’d never of spotted that on my own. Very sexual bunch these Hindus, who’d have known!
We go in to a courtyard by a religious building to see the ‘living god’ which is actually a girl who is chosen when very young for this task by an absolutely bizarre ritual. They are put in a dark room, scared to death and if they don’t cry when screamed, spooked, scared etc then they are deemed to be the chosen one and then live a life of what I can only describe as spoilt princess. They have maids, staff, luxurious clothing, everything they need or could want and in return pop their head out a window in a building for tourists to see but not to take photos of. She doesn’t smile or interact, in fact looked positively bored, then just disappeared when she’d had enough!! What a premadonna! Anyway on we head to the square with thousands of pigeons being fed by tourists, they are apparently sacred, but equally as annoying as at trafalgar square. The guide takes some photos of me but to be honest is no David Bailey, they are pretty crap! Still better than nothing! He does tell me some fascinating stories and tales about the place so I am pleased I have a guide. I pay him about £4 but had agreed £2 so he’s at least got some money. That sounds mean but that is a good price out there and I didn’t ask for him! Am I trying to convince myself or you?? I finish at the nine floor temple which does have awesome views over the city, then head down to get a drink in a cafe. Harder than it sounds!! Only one big cafe that is very western so I have to stop there, it’s like a Starbucks but a Nepalese version. I chill, use free wifi, have the most expensive shake, then decide to wander back. Now there is a live band playing in the square. Well I say live, they played the same song out five times over the speakers whilst the band was setting up, then when they were singing live it was over the soundtrack again so was really just miming! Everyone loved the song though, dancing in the streets, singing along.
Back at my hotel I have lunch for one, which ended up being popadoms with the spiciest mix on them so I had a burning mouth for about five hours after!! I finally hear from roomy. She’s been ill all day so was asleep when I was trying to get hold of her. I go for a sleep as knackered but we agree to meet later. I manage to look like I’ve bloody wet myself as tap spurts out all over me!
As I’m chilling for some reason I decide to unblock my ex from Facebook and see what he’s up to. He has met someone new, that’ll be why I thankfully, haven’t heard from him in 7 months!! I wasn’t bothered by seeing him with another woman but maybe slightly annoyed he’s settled down again first?? I then need to pack as off to pokhara in the morning, kind of wish I was packing to go home. Had enough now, but I am sure the weekend will be awesome. And realise the top shower taps actually do have hot water even though they say cold on them. So my crouched shower yesterday was completely unnecessary. What an idiot!!
So after packing, watching a movie and a good chill I’m off to meet roomy. Hoping not to get lost again walking through the streets. Er no, manage to bloody get lost again so have to get another rickshaw to meet her! It was a tad weird seeing her again even though it’s only been a day. Maybe because for 18 days we saw each other every minute and then suddenly all alone again!
We went for a dinner on the terraces of Kathmandu shops. Nice to look down on the streets below, saw our first road accident as well. Bike and car collided, fortunately everyone, although in a mad rush, can only go about 5 miles an hour so they literally bumped, the bike slid then after dusting themselves off drove off! I have fajitas for dinner though I’m not sure I’d call them that, it looked like dal baht, rice, veg and beans?? And the tortilla was more like Tibetan bread (nan like) so hard to wrap it up!! Still had a fun night, even with a sick roomy, and I had to say a final farewell to my smelly clothed, young, laughing, friendly, Aussie room mate from the last 20 days!! Sad as may well never see each other again! I rickshawed back to the hotel, passing a quite busy Kathmandu nightlife on a Friday night, and back to my hotel to get ready for a 6am start in the morning. White water rafting and paragliding here we come!!








Failing Kalapatha and starting our decent

So after the triumph of Everest base camp it’s time to chill, as much as you can in a busy, cold and noisy tea house. Good time to people watch though. There’s a woman who’s a throw back from the 80’s, ‘let’s get physical!’ Dressed in a bright pink head band and the loudest voice ever. There’s a lance Armstrong look alike who chats up every woman in the room he can get near and an Asian lady who is horrified to see yak shit being used for fuelling the fire, she squealed in disgust. Despite there being a sign saying don’t sit around the fire about 8 people are in fact huddled around it, therefore no heat circulates. The fact the door doesn’t shut properly and let’s loads of cold air rush in doesn’t help!
Anyway off to bed early again, we do live the high life on this trek, bed by 9 every night!! it’s another bloody 4.30am start, hoping my alpen bars will fuel me this time. The tea house rooms are basic but nice enough, wooden floors in corridors with holes for lighting but currently just holes in the floor. Mr miyagi fell down one earlier, they are a bit dangerous. They have nice wooden banisters up the stair way, clearly trying to make it look good which is nice. However our room has no working light, so head torches it is, and we are next to the bloody toilet again!
Easter Sunday!!
Rubbish nights sleep, wooden floor very noisy throughout the night, toilet very busy so kept us awake and wake up like a zombie. The toilet is disgusting in the morning, I nearly puke when I go to use it! Gross, other toilets haven’t faired much better, the long drop is the best of a bad bunch. Western toilets all good and well if the flushing system works but clearly struggles in a very busy tea house with seemingly very poorly occupants. It’s kalapatha day, 4.30am no breakfast, rushed out to start and it’s -15 degrees, not great. We can’t be too noisy in meeting area as all the guides slept in the communal area, so bodies in duvets everywhere we look.
Out we head, my feet and hands are freezing already, I had brought hand hand warmers with me but they are the reusable ones and nowhere could I boil them for 15 minutes so useless!! I have not overloaded body with layers like gokyo lakes so hoping body heat will get my hands and feet sorted as we start walking.
No one is particularly happy this morning, it’s dark, cold and we are all hungry!! The snowfall makes it harder as cold and wet under foot, and after about 20 mins my hands are sooooo cold I have to put my poles away and this is my slippery slide to decent! I then start to feel sick and dizzy and physically can not see in a straight line. It was bloody scary, and for me to have to stop and sit down means its bad. Passing gave me a tablet, no idea what it was but happy to try any thing! Although he didn’t then give it a chance to work, and pretty much told me that kalapatha doesn’t matter and I should go down the mountain. I was not best pleased at his lack of support, and as I felt like I’d fall of the mountain if I continued I had to give in and go back down the mountain with one of the guides. I was so dizzy he had to hold my hand going down for about 5 mins then my head cleared a bit. I was so gutted, crying, the disappointment of failing anything for me is huge but to be ill and sent down the mountain in this kind of challenge was just depressing. When I got back to my room I just burst into tears, hysterical, what a failure, the only person in the group to fail to complete the full trip, I felt like I would never get over this failure! After an hour or so lie down, I couldn’t sleep so I decided to get up and at least walk about outside and enjoy the sunshine that is now shining over the mountains. I felt so good I decided to start walking up kalapatha to see how I got on, felt great. Passed the others who were on the way down. Swiss was like a mountain goat, skipped down the hillside miles ahead of anyone. Hagrid looked spent, his comments were ‘even Olympic athletes don’t do 14 days without a recovery!’. All wished me well on my second effort. I met the last of the group about three quarters of the way up, which meant I had to come back down with them and the guide. Gutted as I was fighting fit and would of made it to the top. At least I tried though and have some pride returned for the efforts. Nice to chat to people on the way down. Had a good talk with Ram the guide. He was a porter for 10 years, then an assistant guide for 5 but can’t be a guide as he’s not educated enough. Couldn’t go to school when younger as they couldn’t afford it. So sad to hear that this job is as far as he can go, Passang was lucky to get sponsored to go to uni but Ram wasn’t.
When I got back to the tea house my disappointment took over, was just completely down trodden, annoyed with Passang for not helping me, others struggled further up and he was much more sympathetic and caring. Annoyed that I had no friends to encourage me, I was left at the back when my hands got cold. Annoyed with myself for not demanding I get to the top when I met the others as it’s my holiday too and just annoyed with my body for failing!
We head off to our next tea house and back down the mountain after a late breakfast and see a helicopter land by this tea house. A trekker is too ill to continue and is flown off the mountain. At least I am not that ill I suppose. I continue to stew over my failings, don’t speak to anyone, real moody cow. We pass tea houses and villages we’ve stayed in on the way up, but push on quickly to get down the mountain.
By lunchtime I manage to make a joke of it at least and tell people I won’t share my toblerone as it’s for losers only as it’s shaped like the mountain I couldn’t climb. Ex pat and mr miyagi head off at lunch to a local hospital. Ex pats current boyfriend helped set it up years ago so she’s off to see what it’s like. Mr miyagi buys some t shirts so he’s donated to the air ambulance etc. We walk for ages, luckily mostly downhill back past the memorial stones, down the steep steps, we pass lots of knackered people trudging upwards. We pass a Chinese man with a huge doll on his back, very weird but each to their own. On the final walk of the day we have a little black pooch join us, he just pops out the bushes on the cliff and walks with us. I name him cliff! He must walk for about an hour, so cute. He walks all the way to the tea house, and follows us in. It’s then I realise he is a she and so have to call her cliffetta! As we all await drinks and rooms old luna gets a drink straight away. We’ve noticed that every stop she gets a drink immediately and doesn’t ever seem to pay for food. What’s that all about? Just because she was born on the mountain? We do have a laugh at her though, it’s so hard not to! Earlier we heard her saying, “it will be fascinating to see what my children are like”. What a random thing to say?
The tea house is basic, it does have a western toilet, but no running water just a bucket that you can wash hands from. You couldn’t swing a cat in the bedrooms, literally 2 beds and the narrowest of space between them. Cosy! Hagrid tells us we walked 20km today in 13 1/2 hours. Long day. I have decided I want to climb Kilimanjaro to prove to myself I can go higher, that’s the deal I have made with my conscious!
We finally get to wash after 2 days. Warm water, soap, flannel, luxury I tell you. Feel better for it, and a chance to sit down and chill for the evening. Poor cliffetta keeps getting stood on as she’s black and lies in a ball, so they kicked her outside.
There are another group from periguin company at this tea house, two groups of Australians. One set are so bloody loud it’s annoying being in the room with them. They moan about their last tea house saying it was basic, some toilets not opened all day, we laugh and think ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!’ Lol. The guides with the other group include two brothers of one of ours, very funny seeing them all together. Our guide becomes more cheeky with his brothers around to try and impress.
Mini miyagi is knackered and doesn’t come out of his room all evening, bless him.
Well what an eventful Easter weekend it’s been, full of ups and downs!






Bless bless iceland!

So the ‘work’ camp finishes today. I am awoken early by our leader ivana leaving at 4am, then pixie and leg less packing. Pixie is so loud even when being quiet! I get to volunteer again as I offered to carry cases to bus meeting point. The excitement. Sad to say goodbye as we’ve had the most laughs. Pixie very much like me, gives everything a go and likes the outdoors!
Back at house it’s cleaning time! Hooray. We have to pick a number that corresponds to a job. Fortunately I got the kitchen, with dancer as helper. She’s very thorough so I make sure I am to. Not sure bathroom will be cleaned by chatty wifi though. She keeps putting it off! I think one who shall be nameless checked the numbers then picked her most desired job from choice of rooms, lounge and bathroom as dancer was busy cleaning when she picked. Well why not hey! I thought the house would be quiet with just 4 staying but alas no. Some of the photography camp are coming to stay. Damn it!!
We say goodbye to our illustrious leaders dancer and weasley. Dancer thanks me for being fun! Yay, nice to know they didn’t just think I was a moany volunteer!
Don’t want to waste any precious icelandic time so I head to see the Viking museum, see the sunset over pearlon again, I can never get bored of the views! Then go to see frozen lake in daylight. Again awesome views. Dancer had told me about a shop that has half price postcards. I must down about half an hour trying to find it. Give up and find the odd expensive postcard. Sod’s law, I then find the bloody shop. All good though, get a few more for scrap book.
Decide to find the penis museum. I’ve heard others talk about it. Sounds amusing and why not whilst I’m here. I think I’m scarred by it, pretty gross, no idea why I thought it was a good idea! Whales penis is huge! There’s even human penis on show! My favourite though was the elf penis! Lol
I don’t spend much time in there but can say I’ve seen it!
Go back to house and meet some of the new housemates. Don’t like change, bring me my old flat mates back! A Korean girl who seems to speaks little English just stomps around house in outdoor shoes when it’s a no shoe zone. She’s told by chatty wifi but ignores her?
Surprisingly enough the toilet/bathroom hasn’t been cleaned! Chatty wifi sneaked away without doing it. But the house is a mess already from so many new people.
I speed walk to the big outdoor swimming pool for one last time, go on the slide again and have it to myself like a princess! Have arranged a date tonight with an Icelandic man. Was perusing a new dating website which goes on proximity to you and chatting to this bloke, thought we’d meet for a drink. I have no smart clothes but hey ho. Head off and find him chatting to another English girl, smooth. Expecting a drink whilst chatting and he says shall we walk? Ok then it’s quite nice outside. He walks me to his bloody car! I’m like Erm no I don’t think so, so we carry on walking. Nice enough chap but smokes, yuck! And end up back at his car. Clearly in Iceland they don’t waste time just go in for the kill! As tempting as getting into a strangers car in a foreign country is I decline. Do have a cheeky snog but that’s it! Head off to meet friends on our last night out.
There’s 5 volunteers still here, Mini oprah is out with us for a change which is great, she’s ‘such fun’! The weird Korean is with them when I meet up, she’s eating chips off the table, on purpose, rather than the basket they came in? I asked why and apparently she hasn’t washed her hands? What!?!?
Mini oprah tells me her islandic date stories and it seems that on Iceland they just say ‘I’m going home are you coming?’ And that’s how it starts. Not my cup of tea!
Weird Korean is even more wifi needy that wifi girls and doesn’t speak at all! Chatty wifi eventually takes her home as she can’t remember way, and comes back to join us. Some lovely live music, acoustic, playing. He starts playing no woman no cry. It’s the song ivana was trying to hum in the name that tune game. We all laugh, I video it and post on Facebook. I realise that I have been defriended on Facebook by ivana as I can’t tag her in the video. Bit gutted as I got on really well with her. I decided to message and ask why. This is my biggest demon, I hate people not liking me, makes me sad. Clubs and pubs close at 1am during the week so we are dutifully kicked out with plastic cups for drinks not finished. Reindeer bless her has a pint left! She carries it out but never going to drink it. We ask random men if they want a beer and one man takes this as an offer and comes to hug me saying yes please! Oops sorry no that’s not what I meant! But check me out, 2 men in one evening!
Back at house very noisy and even messier! Yuck. I head to bed at 2am and say my goodbyes!
Weird Korean is sleeping fully clothed and making the weirdest noises every time she turns! Bad night sleep for me I feel.
When I wake up at 7am random people have left already! Very weird situation.
So final tour of Iceland, South Coast and glacier walk. Reindeer bless her, booked it as well so we have company. Learn lots about the eruptions and pass the volcanoes and flood plains from the eruptions. First stop is the walk. Get kitted up with crampons, climbing harness, helmet and pick tool. Amazing experience, walk through caves, eat 500 year old ice, lie in tunnels, love it! Not as white and clean as I thought but that’s because of all the ash still being now on around from he 2010 eruption. We then go onto the black sand beach and see the amazing rock formations, then two waterfalls one that you can go behind. Loved it all although freezing cold and wet from the spray of waterfall. One of the best days. Good trip to finish on.
The president drives past us on way back, registration plate number 1! Bit random but hey!
I get back to the house and find the bathroom flooded. Washing machine maybe? I try and mop it up but too much for our little mop and the floor is just disgusting from not being cleaned by chatty wifi. Yuck!
Rather than spend my last night alone it’s cool that reindeer is still here so we agree to meet up with. I find her at the wifi meeting spot, and weird Korean is with her. I check messages etc no have a reply from ivana. She d
Has defriended me because She disagrees with my blog, and feels I should of spoken to her about my unhappiness of no work on the camp. She has some fair arguments but think it’s a bit petty myself. We all have things we disagree with, with our friends but we dint ‘defriend’ them in real life! The world of social life on the internet hey, so fickle!
Anyway we head off to the shoreline as there is a bar I keep seeing that i want to try. Long walk along the windy coast but love the views. Reindeer and I aren’t bothered by it, you get used to long windy walks in changeable weather. Weird Korean has comes with us and keeps saying how long, where are we going. Slightly annoying as she didn’t have to come. Anyway we get there and it’s not a bar it’s a food outlet. How disappointing! Ah well we have some chips and refillable coke! Oh yes I know how to live! We get locked in, as we are taking a long time eating. Now I’ve heard of pub lock ins but food outlets?? Lol
We head into town and try a bar that I was told have a band playing. When we get there it seems like it’s an Icelandic comedian. Not going to understand that so just go downstairs for a quieter drink. Bloody expensive here, £7 a bottle of cider, just the one then. Think reindeer is put off beer after last nights expenses, she has a coke. Weird Korean asks at he bar if they sell ice cream? Never have I heard someone ask for that in a bar!
Head onto a another bar, I choose the English pub just to show my foreign friends what it’s like. Cheaper cider here, £6 for a whole pint! Yes.
Good atmosphere with a large group playing the spin to win a drink game and kept winning a metre of beer. Pretty cool. Weird Korean sits on wifi all evening and although we try to speak to her she just doesn’t get involved. Bless reindeer, she’s very sweet and I have enjoyed spending the last day with her. We call it a night at 11.30 and I go to say bye to reindeer but she says she’ll meet me in the morning to say goodbye. So sweet. Weird Korean asks reindeer for her phone number. Who uses mobiles when abroad?? Reindeer looks a bit perplexed but obliges. Think weird Korean is struggling being alone so grabs any human contact she can. We have heard that on her last work camp she didn’t mix at all and kept isolating herself? She’s here for another work camp for 10 days so she’s going to struggle again if she can’t communicate?
I spend probably an hour writing my postcards so I can post in the morning. Bit pointless as I’ll see half of the people before they arrive but it’s all part of the being on holiday. Weird Korean is sleeping fully clothed again? And making her weird noises. Looking forward to my own room tomorrow. Weird Korean gets up about 5 times in the night and has the loudest shoes. They are plastic slippers and she plods around the house so loudly.
In the morning I go to charge my phone and some git has stolen my charger! I check the remaining volunteers bags but all seem to have iPhone 5 leads. Bastard must of done it whilst I was on my trip. Gutted as have had no issues for 2 weeks until this last morning. Only have 38% battery so will need to find a charger somewhere!
Enjoy my last shower in the manky bathroom!! A quiet cup of tea and just chill. I spend the last morning walking through town, charging phone at hostel, and a very windy seafront walk! Going to miss Iceland. Amazingly beautiful place, lovely people and just awesome.
What can I take from my two weeks here. South Koreans are internet obsessed, the Russians are very funny. The Polish are loud (although I should of remembered from Polish nutter in Peru). The Swiss are very reserved. The South Africans are sociable creatures. The Spanish are hard workers. The Portuguese have a stubborn streak. ( I have lost a friend due to them disagreeing with my blog and no amount of discussions will change her mind). Bring crampons to Iceland in winter or you may break your leg. Don’t go on a date with an Icelandic unless all you want is sex. The term ‘work camp’ does not always mean you will work. Take ‘going out out’ clothes wherever you travel to, you may need them to stop you looking tramp like. Living with 8 people is tough going, the bathroom is rarely free, there is always washing up and you never sleep a whole night without disturbances. Remember that your blog is seen by everyone, especially those who you are writing about so be less rude? Or accept the consequences.
You have one life, one chance, don’t waste it!
I say goodbye to reindeer, I hope to see her again. She gives me a lovely hug, and says I’m welcome. Lovely. Onto bus but the. Realise I’m cutting my time a bit fine. Bus should get to airport by 2.30 and flight is at 3.35. Let’s hope the bus is on time!
I’m leaving a miserable Iceland today, sleety rain as we drive. No problem at the airport. Speedy check in, time for a cuppa, have enough money for some chocolate from shop. It gets a bit tense when I hear my flight called whilst I’m in the loo. I speedily head on and gate is like the furthest away! I must of been almost last to get on, but at least no waiting around. I am seated next to two guys, yummy!!! Oh, they are holding hands. Damn it!! The hostess doing the speech is hilarious. ‘If you are assisting someone who needs help in an emergency like a child or someone who acts like a child!!’ Then “if you need to attract sailors, mermaids or dolphins at sea use the whistle” very amusing, nice to have a bit of fun with the mundane safety talks. She gets a round of applause. I get all excited when I see a movie come on, turn off my iPad to watch and realise its in Icelandic. Never mind! The sunset is so beautiful though, a rainbow effect out the window. I love sunsets and sunrises, memorising.
Awaiting me at home will be my adorable animals. I do miss them. Unconditional love, well food required but still! I get to play 2 hockey matches this weekend then netball on Monday. My body won’t know what’s hit it, bet I walk like a complete idiot come Monday morning and I have work next week. How very original!
I love travelling but it is a lonely place at times. Miss having that ‘special’ someone to chat to, cuddle into and generally know they are there for you! Let’s hope 2014 brings me some love.







The fun thing about this volunteering is that you have a Social circle every night if you want. Unlike Australia when I stayed in hostels and not everyone speaks to each other, here you are thrown together and therefore can go out or stay in whatever is going on. And unlike my life where my social circles are dog walkers and sports friends who have young families.
So returning from the inca trail I decided I’d like a change of scenery, so we headed into town. Aussie sister hadn’t seen much of cusco so I text her and invited her too. Most volunteers are back at orphanages so all came out. Met new girls, frizzy and flirty both from London.
As there’s no internet due to a local fault at girls orphanage posh Essex girl and I headed to a coffee outlet to get free wifi and check messages etc. I had a pisco sour now I like them! Then we headed to a tourist pub to meet the other volunteers only expecting to stay for one. Some random English nutters started talking to me. One was a Phil Mitchell look a like and the other a cross between some mothers do have em and Rodney trotter! Very funny blokes so had a laugh, both from London. Frizzy then popped into conversation and was from same area as one of the funnies, small world. Aussies sister and posh Essex girl had a good chat, started talking baking careers so felt I’d leave them to it! Really nice atmosphere so stayed longer. Posh Essex girl was on large beers and was repeating the same stories over and over. Alcohol affecting her! Aussie sister knackered by 11.30 so headed home. Great to see her again though. I hope we keep in contact as have thoroughly enjoyed meeting her and her sister. Amazing people you meet here! And bless her she text on way home to say she thinks I’m an inspiration. How lovely! Hope to visit her new bistro next time I’m in Oz!
Essex akon had the flirtatious attention from flirty. Very obvious and amusing to watch. Playing darts but so bad that it took half hour for one to get the double to finish on. Had started to fall asleep watching! Found out lazy posh girl and model boy had a bit of a romance over the last few weeks. Bless the youngsters! Grandad knackered from
His week of travelling so headed home early. The rest of us went on to shark territory of the inca team. Frizzy asked me what it was like, I thought she meant the trek so off I went chatting before she went no I mean the club. Oops. Lol
Headed through the maze of touts offering free drink from every bar. Free drinks offered for our bar so in we go, rum and coke delightful! Good music though. English nutters followed us so more in group. Posh Essex girl and lazy posh girl having great chat and then head off to dance. Frizzy, ginger and Essex akon also head to dance so left alone again bit just head off to dance! Loving the sharks around the edge again! None approach is this time mind. Think the presence of men in our group puts them off. Posh Essex girl looking drunker by the minute. Kind of swaying to music with eyes shutting. You can tell when she’s had a few drinks as she’s more confident on the dance floor. Time for another drink, feeling too sober! There’s some girls helping behind the bar. Lazy posh girl wants to have a go so we start chatting to bar men. They ask for a tip either money or affection. I head in for a kiss and he shuns me saying no her, pointing at lazy posh girl. How rude, lol! So then it begins she gets to head behind the bar and serve us all. Free mohito thank you! She does very well and looks like she’s enjoying the male bartenders attention. Oh to be young. Free shots from the bottle for herself, not bad. Leave her to it for a bit and go to dance. Suddenly posh Essex girl heads off to bathroom. Upon return looks awful, think she’s been sick? Buy her a water but she’s swaying! She says it’s ok I’ll stay and finish water, but she just looks crap so I say let’s finish outside! Looks like I’m mum so head off to get taxi. Half way home she says I need window open but they are all locked shut. Driver starts to unlock but to late sick on her scarf. It’s a fab sick bag though! Taxi stops and I think he’s going to chuck us out so I get out, posh Essex girl lies on seat and manages to project sick out the taxi. Very impressive and hilarious to see. Taxi allows us to carry on for a whole 20p extra. Get back to orphanage and send her to clean teeth and drink water. She’s so funny!! Nice being soberish and laughing at situation. I’m not bothered by it at all, we all have nights like that!
2.30am not too late and had fun!
Next morning tired but ok. Posh Essex girl fine but embarrassed. Have to be up by 9.30 as boss man coming to take me to police station to report my thefts. Look really touristy as put on my Xmas jumper today as it’s the festive season! After 2 police stations we have the rudest man looking at me like a piece of dirt. 3 officers take my statement and boss man is not allowed in. He has a word with rude one as he knows his boss! Rude one not so rude all of a sudden. Takes 2 hours! And I have to leave my finger print on my statement. Who’s the criminal!! Have to go see a fiscal man Tuesday for follow up? No idea what that means? Very confusing! Glad boss man came. He’s so funny. He took a picture of rude man to show the boss police friend!! Ha ha.
When we catch up with other volunteers after long police morning lazy posh girl says the bar thing sounded fun but actually she was just harassed for 4 hours! They’re all wel jel they didn’t bring their Xmas jumpers! Im such a fashion guru…not!
I’m off to titikaka so won’t be out 2 nights on the bounce. The youngsters are planning it though! Posh Essex girl and I walk back to girls from boys, I have to remember way from when I did it with polish nutter. Pressure! Due to the bag slashing etc I am now travelling like a tourist with money belt and bag on chest. Look like a complete weirdo! Safe though! And I remember it, yay!

Social circles and miserable coppers!