Salta to Atacama Desert – South America Part 2

Sand-boaring with a view – Valle de la Muerte, Chile.

 

After spending a few days seeing the city of Buenos Aires, it was time to start the adventure of travelling from Buenos Aires to La Paz, Boliva. We decided to travel this part of our trip with a tour and went with G adventures. We met our fantastic group in Buenos Aires and flew straight from there to Salta, Argentina.

Salta was definitely a change of scenery from Buenos Aires. We left the big, wet and cool city to a warm, drier and smaller city. Arriving in Salta we caught the back end of celebrations for their Independence day. What we did see were a lot bbq’s on the side of the road.

In Salta we hiked up to the top of Cerro San Bernardo and enjoyed the beautiful views of Salta city while the sun went down. Horse riding felt like the thing to do while in Salta, so we headed out to a ranch enjoyed our second breakfast for the day. Then it was off riding for the rest of the morning and soaking the rural scenery.  After our horse trek, we were treated to a proper  Argentinian bbq feast. The food and wine was unlimited and amazing! I mentioned in my last post and I’ll say it again, Argentinians know how to do steak.

Later on we went out for round two of steak! Argentinians like to eat late, so by around 9 pm it was time to eat and and embrace the food coma all over again. This time we were treated to a show for entertainment, with singing and traditional dancing.

 

The view of Salta City, from the top of Cerro San Bernardo.

 

After Salta we headed into the Andes to the Atacama Desert in Chile. During the Argentina/ Chilean boarder crossing we experienced altitude of up to 4400m. Thankfully we didn’t stay at this altitude for too long, the old body was not ready for that level of extremeness quite yet.

The Atacama Desert is one of the driest areas in the world, we arrived at San Pedro de Atacama a small town in the desert. It is surrounded with dramatic landscapes that include desert, salt flats, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs.

Wandering around this cute little place and you will notice that it is the tourist go to place. There is plenty to do here and we were lucky enough to fit in a few activities. Sand-boarding in the Death Valley aka Valle de la Muerte, was the first activity we embarked on. We were surrounded by rugged rock formations and plenty of sand dunes. At the top of the sand dunes, we had spectacular views of the valley and of a number of volcanoes in distance.

 

Sand boarding like a pro, Valle de la Muerte, Chile.

 

The sand-boarding was hard work, but a lot of fun. This meant our next stop was to the Termas Puritama aka the Puritama Hot Springs. A fantastic way to ease those sore muscles in a nice hot spring. The hot springs are located at the bottom of a canyon and are all in there natural pool formations. A stream flows down in between the pools, making it a beautiful setting for a relaxing soak. After a lovely relaxing time at the hot springs, it was time for the next activity.

The Atacama Desert is high, dry, unpolluted and has the clearest night skies on Earth. We thought we would make the most of this and go on a Astronomic tour. Viewing the southern skies through the telescope we were able to see the milky way, Jupiter’s Moons, the sombrero galaxy and learn all about the southern skies. It’s amazing how bright the stars are away from all the city lights. The tour was finished off with hot chocolates all round and then it was off to enjoy the night with the usual late night dinner and a few drinks.

After all that fun in the Atacama Desert it was time to move onto our next destination….

BOLIVA!!!

But that’s for another day, I’ll love and leave with a few of my holiday snaps.

 

Lennae xxx

 

Cerro San Bernardo, Salta, Argentina.

 

My lovely tour guide.

 

Horse trek, Salta.

 

Walking down Cerro San Bernardo, Salta.

 

Driving through the Andes up to the Argentina/ Chile border crossing.

 

Paso de Jama, Argentina/ Chile Boarder crossing. Altitude – 4200m.

 

On route to San Pedro de Atacama Desert.

 

Termas Puritama Hot Springs.


Hola Buenos Aires! – South America Part 1

The Obelisk, Buenos Aires.

 

Hola my friends, how are you all? I hope all is well! I have been a little delayed with getting back to my world of blogging, but am now back to catch up and fill you in on all my on goings!

I have loads to catch up on and fill you all in on. The most important thing I want to share with you all now, is my awesome adventure to South America!

As some of you may know travelling to South America has been a goal of my ever since I became unwell with ME/CFS. The fact that I was able to get to this point and visit was huge!!!  I will be writing about my adventure over a few posts, so let’s get started and onto the good stuff……

After a 12 hour flight, from Sydney to Santiago, then a 3 hour delay at the Santiago airport and getting to know it (spoiler alert it’s not that big), then our connecting flight of 2 hours to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We had finally arrived at our Destination! Welcome to BUENOS AIRES BABY!

Feeling very tired, foggy minded and only just managing to keep our eyes open, we jumped into a taxi and headed to our hotel in downtown Buenos Aires. The drive was an experience, but we were yet to learn that was nothing compared to the Bolivian drivers in La Paz.

Luckily, we arrived during the evening, so as soon as we arrived at our hotel it was heads to pillows. Due to travelling through 12 time zones in the opposite direction, our body clocks were all over the place, this lead to a lot of ridiculous early rises over the next few days.

The weather was mostly wet and rainy and it was the middle of Winter. Thankfully we invested in some waterproof windbreakers and made good use of them, by hitting the city and exploring the streets of Buenos Aires.

Some of the attractions and areas we explored were;

The colourful suburb of La Boca, worth a visit to enjoy the atmosphere and markets. If you’re a football fan this is definitely the place for you with this suburb being the home ground to the famous Boca Juniors.

Plaza de Mayo, the government square, usually there are protest’s etc. It appeared we had missed the on going’s, however when we visited, the riot squad were still lingering around.

La Recoleta Cemetery, the famous cemetery where the rich and famous are buried. This cemetery is located in the suburb of Recoleta, it is a lovely suburb to visit and looks a lot like New York city in the movies. The tombstones at the cemetery are out of this world!

Palacio Barolo, it has beautiful views of the city. It has a lighthouse on top of the building that is worth climbing up the tiny staircase and into as the city views are amazing. During this visit we enjoyed a tour of the building and this is where I started to really learn about the Spanish and their inquisition.

Puente de la Mujer Bridge, enjoy a walk along the river set among some lovely restaurants.

Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world. The road has 7 lanes running on each side, whilst also having trams and buses run through the middle.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, the beautiful book shop that once was a theatre. Having lunch at the cafe on stage was a lovely treat, while admiring the beautiful store.

Floralis Generica and the Obelisk are also must see attractions.

One of my favourite things about Buenos Aires was the cafe culture. I don’t usually drink coffee, but I found myself indulging in coffee and enjoying the cafe culture the city bought. I have heard people say Buenos Aires is the Europe of South America and I can now see why.

Buenos Aires, you were a real treat, you were friendly and chilled out, you were patient with us while we struggled with our Spanish! You were the best start for the beginning of our South American adventure. You also introduced us to Dulce de leche aka caramel sauce (which goes on everything),  Maté Tea aka yerba and proved that Argentinians know how to do amazing Steaks.

Until next time, Adiós Buenos Aires and Adiós my friends! I need to get writing about the next part of my South American adventure!

Ps: Here’s a couple of snaps below.

Lennae xxx

 

La Boca.

 

Puente De La Mujer

El Ateneo Grand Splendid.

Plaza de mayo.

View from the top of Palacio Barolo.


Goal kicking 4 years on!

Photo by Farid Askerov on Unsplash

It occurred to me that I’ve just hit my ME/CFS anniversary and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve kicked it to the curb! This past year has been filled with a bit of goal kicking and it’s not stopping anytime soon! Yeooow!!!

Four years ago, I can still vividly remember how my health went downhill fast.  The first year was the hardest, I barely had wins and as much as I tried to keep positive it was hard.  I held onto goals and put up pictures of things that symbolised my goals. I convinced myself that I would achieve these goals one day…….even though at the time, it seemed hard to believe. I held onto the idea and kept it for when I needed it the most.

Finally, I have achieved a number of these goals. I am extremely proud, to say four years on I am celebrating and smashing my goals! The hard work has paid off and most of all, the illness is no longer ruling my world.

A huge victory is that I am heading to South America in a few days, yep you heard right!!! It’s literally days away. South America became a long-term goal of mine when I become unwell. Most of my close family and friends know this and probably got sick of me saying one day I’m going to go when I get better! Haha well that day has finally arrived and I am pinching myself! I really can’t believe it has arrived.

It is very random how it all came about, it happened to be in my very early days of my illness. At the time, the doctors still didn’t know what was wrong with me.  I was trying to keep positive throughout the whole ordeal and I decided to make an inspiration board of what I was going to do or work towards when I got well enough. The picture of Machu Picchu came to me, I had no desire to visit it before. But that image of Machu Picchu stuck with me and I thought to myself ” I’m going, when I’m well enough.”

And it’s been with me ever since.

City2surf is another big thing that I have been working towards, which I’m excitedly fit enough for. City2surf is happening in August which I am excited to be competing in the event and I have also been fundraising for it. The charity I have chosen to fundraise for is emerge, they are an Australian based charity that dedicates themselves to raising awareness and funds to research for ME/CFS.

Returning to work and working like a normal person would, was another big goal. DONE! This also includes other living “like a normal person” life goals again. DONE!

My next ass kicking goal will be a tough one and means heading back to school! Bring it on!

It’s not until you lose something, that really puts things and life into prospective for you.

Any way my friends it’s time for me to love and leave you, I need to go pack!

Can’t wait to tell you all about my South American adventure.

Much love

Lennae xxx

Photo by Abraham Osorio on Unsplash


Bringing on 30 with Adventure!!!

Photo credit- Eagle rock adventures

Photo credit- Eagle rock adventures

 

Bringing in my 30th birthday like yeeoooooowwwwww!!!!

When I became unwell with ME/CFS aka Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (nearly 4 years ago), life as I knew it was no more and I was fighting for my health like I never knew I would have too. Fast forward to now and after a few years spent bed/ house bound, I am now pretty much well enough to live an active life at my normal pace.

So bringing in my up and coming 30th birthday with a bang, sounded like the only way to bring in a milestone birthday.

I’ve been pining over Machu Picchu, it’s the one thing that I have held onto and told myself I would do once I recovered from ME/CFS. I have hoped and planned to get there this year, the year I turned 30 and fortunately my hard work with my health has paid off. After months of planning, tantrums, talking myself out of it, then talking myself back into it.  I can confirm that myself and darling husband (bless him for putting up with this decision making process) booked for my birthday and recovery dream of course. My much awaited trip to Machu Picchu, in less than 5 months time!

Whoohoo, I am literally pinching myself!!!

Lets embrace adventure! My big goal is happening, so I am one happy lady. But come the day I turned 30 and the adventure didn’t stop there. Cameron took on board that adventure was on the cards, so he organised for us along with my younger brother to go canyoning.

Ummmmm……what’s canyoning? Yeh I had no idea! Let me tell you…….

Canyoning is an adventure sport where you endure a mixture of activities like abseiling, hiking, rock climbing, rock sliding and jumping through a water canyon.

Sounds a little extreme, climbing down waterfalls, jumping off rocks and plunging into fresh water holes and sliding down big rock surfaces!

Extreme? Maybe a little…..but fun? Absolutely!

We went with a Sydney based tour group called Eagle Rock adventures, they were wonderful guides. They fed us, were extremely helpful and kindly took a bunch of photos on our behalf as smartphones weren’t really ideal to take.

The canyon we ventured through was located in the Macquarie pass rain forest.  It was absolutely beautiful. I love rain forests and getting amongst nature is always good for the soul. We also saw bit of wildlife where we went, as we were off the beaten track. We saw a wallaby, huge lizards, frogs and a snake that was happily hanging out near the water keeping a close eye on us.

This adventure was an all day event, the weather was super hot, but the rain forest kept us nice and cool. The water was beautiful and fresh, I could have stayed in it all day.

I can honestly say it was so much fun, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. There’s nothing like staring down the rock face and feeling your heart racing as you think to yourself “OMG what the hell am I doing?! “This s**t’s way too high!”

Your adrenaline kicks in and then you start abseiling down the rock surface like a boss (or what you think’s like a boss). You’re only going snail pace, but hey your giving it a go and YOU’RE DOING IT and that’s all that matters my friends!!!

With that my friends, I will love and leave you. If you want to check out our Canyoning footage, check out the link below. GoPro was worn by Cameron!

Bye for now and embrace your inner adventure!!

Lennae xxx

 

 

Photo credit - Eagle rock adventures

Photo credit – Eagle rock adventures

 


South Coast Getaway

Culburra Beach

Culburra Beach

Over the Christmas holiday break, I was fortunate enough to spend some lovely time on the South Coast of NSW, in a small coastal town called Culburra beach. Culburra is located 18 km to the East of Nowra, in the Shoalhaven area or for all you Sydney-siders or those of you that aren’t very familiar with Australia it is 182 km’s south of Sydney.

Fortunately for us we travelled down a few days before Christmas and when we arrived we felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. The beaches were practically deserted, the streets were empty and all you could hear were birds  chirping and the ocean waves gently crashing. The supermarket and cafes were fairly empty, even come Christmas Eve. We left a few days after Christmas and that’s when Culburra started to experience the migration of Sydney-siders invading this secluded piece of paradise.

We shared this beautiful place with some of our family, including my in-laws from New Zealand. It was lovely to share this beautiful part of the world with them. We enjoyed many walks along the beach and in the national parks. We are very spoilt for choice with beaches and national parks to explore.  On one of our walks, the Abrahams Bosom track in Currarong we came across a snake just chilling in the middle of the walking track. Thankfully, a couple of people had just walked past Mr Snake and helped him peacefully make his own way back off the track.

We ventured down to the surrounding coastal towns including Currarong, Orient point and down to Jervis bay. We shopped in Huskisson and the other local shopping hubs including Berry and Nowra. Visited Hyam’s beach which has claimed to have the whitest sand in the world (according to the guinness book of records). It also has another claim to fame for all you Kim Kardashian fans, she did a photo shoot there when she visited Australia a few years ago.

During our stay down the coast we also got to witness the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Binoculars were needed of course and I have to confess we were only able to see one boat, the rest were too far out to sea.

Overall it was a lovely getaway filled with new and happy memories.

Have you been on a getaway currently? I would love to hear about!

I’ll love and leave you with a few happy snaps!

Lennae xxx

Looking over Hyam's beach.

Looking over Hyam’s beach.

Merimbula wreck, Currarong.

Merimbula wreck, Currarong.

Honeysuckle beach, Currarong.

Honeysuckle beach, Currarong.

 

Fam Bam!

Fam Bam!

Snow enjoying Culburra Beach.

Snow enjoying Culburra Beach.

 

 


Road Trippin

 

 

Eden Wharf, NSW.

Eden Wharf, NSW.

 

Over the  long weekend, the Mr and I decided to road trip down to Melbourne.  I was pretty excited about the roadie, though after a full on week I was also a little concerned as to how I would pull up. I wasn’t planning to take time off for the trip but long journeys can tend to wipe me out. After a good night’s sleep I still felt a bit exhausted, mentally and psychically. However after a little pep talk and the realisation that it would probably still be good for me to get away, I got myself sorted and we were good to go. We also had Mr spoon joining us (for more about Mr Spoon click here), he had arrived into my possession only a couple of days earlier from his previous road trip (he gets around).

Our journey went via the scenic route, cruising down the coast of NSW stopping in Eden for the first night (the bottom of NSW). Keeping an eye out at Eden for whales while enjoying the gorgeous views. What I love about Australia is that there are so many beautiful coastal towns, each one just as gorgeous as the next.

We then headed down to Victoria hugging the coast as much as possible enjoying the beautiful national parks along the way, I love a good national park. We stopped off at a couple of spots along the way and enjoyed a nice walk and then ended the day in Yanakie, which borders Wilson’s Promontory National Park. The next day involved exploring Wilson’s Promontory National Park and enjoying another lovely walk. We also got to drive on the most southern road on mainland Australia. After a bit of National park exploring, we headed to Melbourne, cruising through rural Victoria and ending my part of the trip in Melbourne. Rural Victoria, the Gippsland region reminded me a lot like where i’m from in New Zealand, loads of sheep, cows, farmland and  lush green grass.  All up a total distance of driving  was just over 1100 km (not by me of course)!

Some delicious food was eaten and I think those country Victorians definitely give Melbournians a good run for their money when it comes to good food. I sensed there was a bit of competition in that area.

After spending a lovely night in Melbourne and conquering the square glass floor up the Eurka tower (it’s one way to test my fear of heights), I flew home the next day and managed everything just fine. It’s moment’s like this, that remind me that only not too long ago I wouldn’t have been able manage any of this, mentally, emotionally or physically!

Wowee it feels good to be living life and enjoying the simple things! Bring on life!

Sending lots of love and positive vibes to you all, do you have a road trip planned anytime soon? I’d love to hear about it!

Much love,

 

 

Lennae xxx

Mr Spoon whale watching in Eden.

Mr Spoon whale watching in Eden.

Rotary look out, Eden.

Rotary look out, Eden.

Cape Conran, Victoria.

Cape Conran, Victoria.

Cape Conran, Victoria.

Cape Conran, Victoria.

Birdies at Tidal River, Wilson's Promontory National Park.

Birdies at Tidal River, Wilson’s Promontory National Park, Victoria.

Over looking Bass Strait, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria

Over looking Bass Strait, Wilson’s Promontory National Park, Victoria.

South bank, Melbourne.

South bank, Melbourne.

 


Singapore Cruising Adventure

Sunset on the Malacca Sea.

Sunset on the Malacca Strait.

Hello beautiful souls, long time no hear!

Apologies for the lack of posts, I’ve been off and on with the online world over the past few months. All has been going well, I actually returned from my cruising holiday over a month ago (I know, so slack that I haven’t posted about this already).

I really want to share this experience with you all. This was a huge milestone for me, filled with a lot of surprises and happy memories to go with it. It’s amazing how well you can cope when you are out of your daily routine and comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong there were a few curves balls, but its part of the experience and how you deal with it at the time. You can either fight it or roll with it.

A good friend of mine turned 30 this year and it was decided that we would along with another friend, do a 7 day cruise from Singapore. Our cruise set sail through the Malacca Strait up into the Andnaman Sea, stopping off in Langkawi (Malaysia) Phuket, Krabi (Thailand) and Sabang (Indonesia). With also spending a bit of time in Singapore, either side of the cruise. All up I would be away for a whole 14 days and I would also be flying to Singapore and back. That’s an 8 hour flight one way!
I must confess, this trip sounded scary to me, but deep within I knew it was achievable for me. I had a bit of anxiety about this trip in the beginning, as my health had been playing up when I made the booking. But I was committed to seeing this through, especially for myself. Thankfully the health issues I was experiencing were not ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) related and towards the time of the cruise, I was ready and embracing this trip with open arms.

I won’t bore you with all the details…… but here’s a little summary of how I got on. I’ll leave the rest up to the holiday snaps, they speak for themselves!

The first few days were spent enjoying & exploring Singapore. Naturally I wasn’t able to see everything, but you never can see it all in just a couple of days. After spending a lot of our days walking around shopping, eating and exploring my legs were about to fall off. I had pushed things to the limit and if all the payback I was getting was from my legs, I’ll take it! Gardens by the bay are a must, we visited them at night, but I would definitely go back to see them during the day.

Next was time to board the cruise, by then I was needing a good rest. It’s hard work being a tourist! Thankfully the first day on the cruise was just a sailing at sea day. I was able to bounce back well.  I enjoyed the luxuries on the boat and had everything right at my fingertips. A few party nights here and there with a sneaky drink or two in between. Dancing the night away like I was a care free 18 year old again, that’s what it’s all about. Yep the old body pulled up well.
Day trips weren’t too hard, I opted for the easy options and that seemed to work out well. I was extremely surprised with how well I managed it all. I guess when you’re on holiday, you don’t have to worry about day to day things or anything else for that matter. The biggest worry is what to eat, there was so much food to choose from!

The last few nights of our trip were spent winding down in Bugis, Singapore. Enjoying the local sights and exploring the area, including visiting the Meomi cat cafe. Conveniently located across from our hotel.

This nears the end of my Singapore cruise adventure, I had a wonderful time and have proved to myself that my ME/CFS days are now more like a distant memory. Bring on the next adventure, I hear South America calling!!!

I’ll love and leave you with a few of my holiday snaps, enjoy!
Do you have any holidays planned? I would love to hear about them!!!

Much love

Lennae xxx

Sunrise view from our apartment in Singapore.

Sunrise view from our apartment in Singapore.

Playing tourist, heading down to gardens by the bay.

Playing tourist, heading down to gardens by the bay, Singapore.

Gardens by bay, Singapore.

Gardens by bay, Singapore.

Breakfast at the Meomi cat cafe, Singapore.

Breakfast at the Meomi cat cafe, Singapore.

Pacific Eden, in Sabang, Indonesia.

Pacific Eden, in Sabang, Indonesia.

Langkawi, Malaysia.

Langkawi, Malaysia.

Krabi, Thailand

Krabi, Thailand

Enjoying the beautiful sunset.

Enjoying the beautiful sunset.

Walking the plank.

Walking the plank.