Hello my friends! How are you all? I hope you’re all well, can you believe that 2017 is nearly over? It’s almost CHRISTMAS! Ahhhhhh (sigh) where does the time go! I feel like I was only just on holidays in South America, someone please take me back!
This year has been a pretty big year for me, during it I have proved to myself that I’m ready for the next chapter life has to offer me. I have closed the chapter on being Lennae with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). I have smashed some big goals that I have wanted to achieve, as well as getting my health back!
Now it’s time to pick up that one goal that had to keep being placed on hold, so I could do all the other stuff. Study…. we have a love hate relationship and I swear I’m not the problem!
Unfortunately, I have faced a few hurdles with my studies, originally it was health but now other factors have come into it. I decided to consider other options of doing my studies back in the motherland (New Zealand). Over the past year we had become open to the idea of maybe heading back there someday. The change of pace and lifestyle seemed a lot more relaxed and what we were craving. Especially after having ME/CFS, I felt that this type of environment would be beneficial to my health and lifestyle.
After a lot of research and lengthy chats we made up our minds and decided, New Zealand we are coming for ya!
So it’s been all go at the moment making arrangements and quite frankly it’s a bit scary stepping out into the unknown! It’s been well over 10 years since we have lived in New Zealand. We are moving to Palmerston North, which is in the North Island, 2 hours north of Wellington. It is a small city and a location where neither of us have really been before, which will be new and exciting.
I’m looking forward to the new experiences and challenges that lie ahead and can’t wait to get started at Uni! Which will be in the New Year!!! Whoohoo, bring on 2018!
My friends if you are ever in my part of the world, please don’t be a stranger, I love visitors!
Sending lots of love to you all my friends and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2018!
Hola friends and welcome back to the final part of my South American adventure!
Our last part of this wonderful adventure was spent in Santiago, Chile. We decided to spend two nights in Santiago before flying back home. I have to admit I was a bit sad to be at this point, we had been having a fantastic time and I did not want it to end.
We flew from Cusco via a quick stopover in Lima and finally arrived in Santiago. The views flying into Santiago were amazing, the city is surrounded by beautiful snow capped Andes mountains. The scenery flying over the city was incredible.
We arrived at our hotel by early evening, it was a beautiful boutique hotel in the Lastarria suburb. After we checked in we went out and wandered the streets and explored the area. We found a great place to grab dinner, José Ramón. It had plenty of craft beers on tap, delicious food and pisco sour of course!
The streets in Santiago at night were electric, people were out and about, friendly, happy and doing salsa in the streets. It just seemed so alive, I love this city!
The next day was a pretty wet and cold day, but we only had that day before we flew home. We were determined to see what Santiago had to offer!
We hit the streets and walked up to Cerro San Cristóbal summit. The hike up was around 300 m. The summit offers beautiful views of the city and has a huge statue of the Virgin Mary at the top. Unfortunately for us it was pretty foggy and there was a lot of low cloud over the city, so the view was limited but it was still worth the hike up.
After the hike up we caught the funicular down and found a lovely spot in the suburb of Bellavista to warm up with delicious coffees and hot chocolates, accompanied by outdoor gas heaters.
Next stop was to the Gran Torre Santiago tower aka Sky Costanera. We caught the train to the Mall where the Gran Torre Santiago tower is. On the train we were treated to local buskers playing on the train. One man was really going for it, beat boxing with a microphone and another pair where playing with a violin and guitar. This was all happening in the one carriage, thankfully it was quite long.
The Gran Torre Santiago tower is part of huge mall, we explored a little bit of it, grabbed a bite to eat and then headed up to the tower. Up the top of the tower we were the only people up there apart from a couple of staff members. The staff were welcoming and very informative. The views weren’t the best with the low cloud but we could still see a bit and it was actually really nice being the only tourists at a popular tourist attraction for once. We enjoyed a good hour up the top of the tower and found that while we were up there the cloud had lifted a bit.
Next stop was to have a look around a few popular attractions. We headed to the areas of Paris Y Londres and Bellas Atres and found these popular sights; La moneda palace, Museo Historico Nacional, Plaza de armas and the Mercado Tirso de Molina market.
Even though the weather hadn’t been the best day for exploring Santiago, we had had a great time seeing the city. From all that exploring we had worked up an appetite and headed off to get some dinner. We found an amazing seafood restaurant in Bellavista where they had some of the biggest mussels I’ve seen. Ceviche is a must and was super delicious.
Back at the hotel, we heard the bike brigade ridding through the streets, cheering and ringing their bells. I wish I knew what they were celebrating.
At around 3:15 am local time, we were hit by an 5.4 magnitude earthquake, depth 80 km. It was the first one we had ever properly experienced and thankfully all was ok. Being in bed was probably the safest place to be during that time. I could hear people yelling out from the apartments around us. The shaking didn’t last too long probably only 40 seconds. After all that excitement it was back to sleep.
The next morning was our departure day (tear). We had a few hours before we needed to head off to the airport, so we had enough time to do some last minute exploring.
We had a lovely walk around Baquedano Square and down through Parque Forestal, past the Museo de Arte Contemporaneoand to Castillo Hidalgo. After that it was time to leave beautiful Santiago.
I loved exploring the suburbs of Santiago, they have a bohemian vibe and have a European feel to them. They say Buenos Aires is the Europe of South America, but I felt that it truly is Santiago.
I have to admit, I was close to tears getting on that plane and leaving beautiful Santiago. During the flight home I perked up a bit when we started to see spectacular views flying over Chile and then over the edge of Antarctica! AMAZING!!!
Santiago you were a real treat, I didn’t expect you to be so vibrant and full of life. The restaurant scene was fantastic and the food did not disappoint. You were so friendly and welcoming, I loved the way we finished this trip off with you! Much love Santiago, I hope to be back!
That’s a wrap of my South American adventure friends, I hope you enjoyed and most of all, I hope this has inspired you to go check out some of these beautiful places! They truly are amazing!
Adiós my friends, it’s time to bring on the next adventure!
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!
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.