Highlights from one year of travelling (2010-11)

It was an amazing year and I can’t believe we are home. Here are some of the best bits (along side ratings as you would expect from us):

Brazil (8.5/10)

  • Staying in the cool neighbourhood of Santa Teresa in a lovely pousada (Rio)
  • Dancing the samba and getting drunk in Lapa (Rio)
  • Watching the World Cup on Copacabana beach drinking beer with locals (Rio)
  • Cruising along beaches and across dunes in a 4WD (around Jericoacoara)
  • Cooling down in the rainwater pools between sand dunes (Lencois Maranhenses national park)
  • Cruising down the Amazon on the slow boat and watching river life (Belem-Santarem)
  • Eating delicious barbequed fish on a sand island in the middle of the Amazon (Alter do Chao)
  • Drinking lots of caiprinhas (everywhere)

Colombia (7.5/10)

  • Enjoying the cold and rainy weather in Bogota. And the sights in the Candelaria of course (Bogota)
  • Drinking rum in the square and then going to a truly Columbian club in the middle of nowhere (San Gill)
  • Eating ants (Barrichara)
  • Sleeping in hammocks on a beautiful beach (Tayrona National Park)
  • Wandering the streets of colourful Cartagena (Cartagena)
  • Sampling the best coffee we’ve ever had at a traditional coffee finca (Manizales)
  • Drinking with cowboys in billiard halls after a beautiful walk through the countryside (Salento)
  • Seeing family in Bogota (Bogota)

Ecuador (7/10)

  • Sitting around a fire in a wheelbarrow on the hostel terrace overlooking the city (Quito)
  • Horse-riding around the beautiful countryside (Chugchilan)
  • Seeing the turquoise crater lake (Quilotoa)
  • Staying in a stylish hostel converted from an old colonial mansion (Cuenca)
  • Relaxing in our own little cabana with hammocks (Vilcabamba)

Peru (9/10)

  • Seeing our first ever hairless dog (Chan Chan)
  • Watching the sunrise over snow-capped mountains (Santa Cruz trek)
  • Walking around a gorgeous blue lake overlooked by a glacier (Santa Cruz trek)
  • Lazing around the pool with parrots chirping in the background (Huacachina)
  • Zooming up dunes and then sandboarding down them (Huacachina)
  • Drinking lots of Pisco sours (everywhere)

Chile (8/10)

  • Seeing loads of llamas/vicunas/alpacas in Lauca national park (near Arica)
  • Driving through the moon-like landscape on the way to San Pedro De Atacama
  • Staying in the most amazing hotel. Ever. (San Pedro De Atacama)
  • Staying in our own little loft apartment in quirky Valparaiso
  • Walking the Torres del Paine and staying in cozy lodges (TDP national park)
  • Visiting small villages outside Santiago and eating steak (San Jose Del Maipo)
  • Eating tonnes of delicious steak and drinking lots of red wine (everywhere)

Fiji (8.5/10)

  • Staying in lovely resorts with amazing food on their own private beach (everywhere)
  • Visiting traditional Fijian villages and attending a rousing church service (Waya)
  • Relaxing in our own bure (bungalow) right on a goregous white sand beach (Naviti)
  • Snorkelling just off the beach with amazing fish and coral (Nacula)
  • Having picnic with wine on a whole island to ourselves for a few hours (near Nacula)
  • Watching movies on the beach under the stars (Nacula)
  • Walking around a tropical island in only 20 minutes (Bounty Island)

Australia (7/10)

  • Seeing lots of wildlife in its natural habitat on Phillip Island (near Melbourne)
  • Spending time with Karen and Martyn (Melbourne-Adelaide)
  • Driving (well actually being driven) along the Great Ocean Road and spending the night in random motels in weird towns
  • Wine tasting on bicycles and having BBQs in our cottage (Barossa Valley)
  • Camping in the outback and seeing all the amazing red rocks (near Alice Springs)
  • Croc spotting on a billabong (Kakadu National Park)
  • Enjoying loads of lovely flat whites in all the coffee shops (everywhere)

Singapore (7/10)

  • Catching up with Ralph, our Singapore guide
  • Eating our way around the different areas and cuisines
  • Paying just 10 GBP for an all-you-can-drink bar and making the most of it!

Indonesia (9/10)

  • Eating our first nasi goreng (fried rice) (Jakarta)
  • Learning how to make sambal (chili sauce) and satay sauce (Yogyjakarta)
  • Watching smoke pouring from the amazing Mount Bromo (nr Cemoro Lawang)
  • Seeing the superhuman miners carry 80kg of sulfur on their backs up the crater from Lake Ijen (nr Sempol)
  • Relaxing on the white sand beaches of Gili Meno
  • Being scared by the huge Komodo dragons (Komodo & Rinca Islands)
  • Becki being chatted up by a very random guide “Don’t go with your silly white-haired boyfriend. Come with me” (Komodo Island)
  • Traveling by motorbike to traditional villages (nr Bajawa)
  • Spending hours gazing at the multicoloured crater lakes of Kelimutu (nr Moni)
  • Saying “hello” to all the friendly locals (everywhere)

Thailand (8/10)

  • Spending Xmas with Bill & Flis AKA Jack’s parents (Koh Lanta)
  • Admiring the gorgeous beach from our amazing bungalow over the new year (Koh Lipe)
  • Feasting on so much BBQ’d seafood on New Year’s Eve (Koh Lipe)

Malaysia (7.5/10)

  • Eating delicious laksa’s (curried noodle soup), mee goreng’s (fried noodles) and so-many roti canai’s (fresh thin bread with two curry sauces) (everywhere)
  • Seeing orangutans and pygmy elephants, which are unique to Borneo, in the wild (nr Kuching/Kinabatangan River)
  • Smelling the biggest, most rotten flower in the world (nr Kuching)
  • Seeing so many other amazing animals which we had not seen before: macaques, proboscis monkeys, snakes and a crocodile (everywhere)
  • Watching Mama Turtle laying eggs on the beach by torchlight (Turtle Island)

Philippines (8.5/10)

  • Being able to speak English to everyone from bus drivers to buskers
  • Being driven around the beautiful rice terraces by our betel nut chewing ‘guide’ (near Banaue)
  • Gazing up at the wierd hanging coffins and wondering what the chairs hooked up to them are for (Sagada)
  • Sightseeing on a horse and carriage around the lovely old colonial town of Vigan
  • Stunning scenery on every bus journey (we won’t mention the quality of the roads)
  • Sunning ourselves on the most amazing beaches we have ever been on and wondering how we will ever go back to ‘normal life’ (on Palawan, Negros, Panay & Mindoro)
  • Spending the morning motorbiking around the volcanic island of Camiguin and the afternoon watching the sunset from White Island (a sandbar just off the coast)
  • Drinking cheap beer by the bucket load (50p a bottle)

Hong Kong (8/10)

  • Sampling all the culinary delights that China has to offer in one city especially dim sum and roast pork
  • Riding the tram around the sights of Hong Kong and being surprised that it has a leafy green side
  • Catching up with friends from home and being shown the ex-pat lifestyle
  • Wandering the colonial streets of Macau whilst eating an egg tart!

China (6/10)

  • Doing a cookery course and eating the food afterwards (Yangshuo)
  • Wandering the cobble-stoned streets of Dali and Lijiang
  • Never having a bad meal
  • Leaving!

Nepal (7/10)

  • Wandering around Patan Square (Kathmandu)
  • Spoiling ourselves in a special hotel for Becki’s birthday (Kathmandu)
  • Walking along the cobbled streets of old Bandipur
  • Admiring the gorgeous countryside and canyoning at the Last Resort near the border with Tibet
  • Chasing rhinos in the national park (Chitwan)
  • Sitting on the back of an elephant and getting soaked from its trunk (Chitwan)

India (8/10)

  • Watching the rituals of the ghats from a boat at sunset (Varanasi)
  • Tucking into steak and wine in the French town of Pondicherry
  • Cruising down the backwaters and seeing local life on the local ferry (Alleppey-Kollam)
  • Becoming beach bums on the coast of Goa (Palolem)
  • Whizzing around on a moped through he stunning ruin-strewn countryside (Hampi)
  • Seeing the other side of Mumbai on a visit to a slum
  • Gazing at the blue city from a fort (Jodphur)
  • Feeling royal in our room with a view within the sandstone fort (Jaisalmer)
  • Sleeping under the stars in the desert (Jaisalmer)
  • Watching a tiger try to eat a crocodile (Ranthambore National Park)
  • Marveling at the white marble of the Taj Mahal (Agra)
  • Feeling dizzy at 5,000m on the world’s highest motorable pass (Nubra Valley)
  • Enjoying the cool weather in the snow-capped village if Leh
  • Seeing amazing monastries clinging to the side of cliffs (all over Ladakh)

Sri Lanka (8/10)

  • Feeling like you are in a time warp (Everywhere)
  • Feasting on the simple-sounding ‘rice and curry’ which is actually ten curries! (Everywhere)
  • Chugging along on the old-fashioned trains along the coast (Colombo-Galle)
  • Staying in an amazing hotel and strutting around the colonial streets of Galle
  • Indulging in beachside seafood BBQ’s at Unawatuna and relaxing on the pretty beach of Mirissa
  • Admiring the beauty of the tea plantations in the Hill Country (Ella)
  • Climbing the hill top fortress and imagining who lived here (Sigirya)
  • Sunbathing on the desolate yet beautiful beach of Uppuveli
  • Cafe hopping in the capital (Colombo)

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