Wonderful Santiago – South America Part 5

 

Flying over Santiago.

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!

View from the top of Cerro San Cristóbal summit, Santiago.

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.

La moneda palace, Santiago.

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.

Parque Forestal, 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!

 

Lennae xxx

 

Hiking up the Cerro San Cristóbal summit, Santiago.
Virgin Mary up Cerro San Cristóbal summit, Santiago.
Gran Torre Santiago tower aka Sky Costanera in the clouds.
Up the Gran Torre Santiago tower aka Sky Costanera.
Gran Torre Santiago tower aka Sky Costanera out of the cloud.
Flying over Antarctica.

Cusco & Machu Picchu- South America Part 4

Machu Picchu! We made it!

Hola my friends and welcome back to part four of my South American adventure.

In my last post I was in Bolivia, this part of the trip is heading to Peru, where we got to see beautiful Cusco and the majestic Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was the main reason we had decided to visit South America. I must admit that the entire trip had been amazing, but I was excited to be heading to our next destination!

To get to Cusco we continued the journey by overnight bus with Bolivia hop. We had been told that it was safer and more convenient to travel across the border with a tour group. That way if there were any complications with the border crossing you had a Bolivian tour guide to help you out. The Bolivian and Peruvian border crossing wasn’t too far from Copacabana, it was a long process, but we breezed on through.

Hola Peru!

After the border crossing we hit the road for the overnight journey we had ahead. We had one stop in Puno for a meal and then there was no stopping until we arrived into Cusco, our destination!

Cusco is a beautiful city, it is full of well preserved colonial architecture and Inca history. It is inspiring to wander around the city and take in all the history it has to offer.

Plaza de Armas (Cusco square).

During our first morning in Cusco, we were lucky enough to see celebrations for the Peruvian Independence day. All law enforcement and national police were marching and celebrating in the Plaza de Armas (Cusco square). It was great to see how passionate and patriotic they are about their national Independence day.

We spent a couple of days enjoying Cusco, we went on a walking tour and learnt about the history of city and viewed Inca ruins that are found throughout the City. Some of the sights we saw and visited were; the 12-sided stone, Calle loreto, San pedro market and the witches market. We also visited the Qorikanch museum and the Choco Museo (chocolate museum). Now if you know me well, you know I love chocolate. The chocolate museum offered a pretty cool experience where you could make chocolate from scratch, starting from the cacao bean. It was a lot of fun, there was a lot of chocolate taste testing and of course we got to take home the finished product.

After a lovely few days in Cusco, it was time to embark onto our next adventure, our trek to MACHU PICCHU!!!

I had been waiting four years for this part of our journey and I was excited to be actually living it. I had set a goal when I first became unwell with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), that when I recovered and got better I would visit Machu Picchu and complete a walk while being there. It was actually happening!!!!

Around 4 am in the morning our friendly guide Hector from Head Expeditions turned up to take us on our trek to Machu Picchu. We caught the shuttle bus with him from Cusco to Ollantayambo, were grabbed a quick breakfast and then made our way down to the train station, to jump on the train to our treks starting point.

The train ride offered beautiful views of the mountain ranges. The roof of the train was a see-through dome, which made the views on offer more enjoyable. Our train ride finished at the 104 km Inca trail point, which meant this was where we started our hiking adventure!

View from the Inka Trail.

Hector checked us in at the check point and then we were off on our hike. It was a beautiful day to be out walking, the sun was out and the temperature was lovely. The trail was incredible, most of the actual trail is still in its original form from Inca construction. We reached the Inca site of Winay Wayna (Forever Young). It was so fascinating learning and seeing how the Inca’s lived. The views during the hike were spectacular, we saw small rural farms, mountains, waterfalls, Inca ruins, there was also evidence of where a few landslides had been. I felt like we were pretty high up, we had climbed roughly 600 meters. The highest point we hiked up too was 2750 m, this was at Inti Punku (Sun Gate). After 10k’s of hiking, completed in record time according to our guide Hector, we climbed up the final stairs up to Inti Punku (Sun Gate). This is where we were treated to our first view of the majestic Machu Picchu.

It was absolutely breath taking! We had the best view of this beautiful ancient city. We made our way down to Machu Piccu and enjoyed a little bit of time down there before heading down on a 7km trek to Angus Calientes. When we arrived at our hotel in Angus Calientes, a shower, meal and a good rest was much welcomed.

We wanted to try and catch Machu Picchu at sunrise, so the next morning we were up at 2.30 am to line up for the bus that would take us up to Machu Picchu for sunrise. Unfortunately that morning it was quite cloudy, which meant we were unable to see the sunrise. What we did see though was low cloud over Machu Picchu giving it a misty and magical look. It was a completely different look from yesterday’s sunny skies.

Our tour guide Hector gave us a guided tour around the beautiful ancient city before the crowds arrived. After the tour we said our goodbyes to Hector and then made our way over to Wayna Picchu aka Huayna Picchu to climb.

Wayna Picchu was one steep and challenging climb! The stairs were a lot like those we had experienced the previous day on the Inca trail, however the climb was much steeper. By the time we had reached the top of Wayna Picchu, the low cloud had lifted a bit. We were almost up in the clouds and had been rewarded with the most amazing views.

After enjoying our snackbox lunch and the beautiful views from Wayna Picchu, we made our way back down. On our way down we came across an elderly lady on her way up. She was almost at the top, it was so inspiring to see her giving it ago. Just goes to show you can do anything if you put you mind to it! After we made it down from Wayna Picchu we made a couple of llama friends and then it was time to leave beautiful Machu Picchu.

The look out from the top of Wayna Picchu aka Huayna Picchu.

When we got back down to Angus Calientes, we had a little bit of time to wander around and enjoy a meal before catching our train and shuttle back to Cusco.

I loved every minute of our time in Machu Picchu. The walks were hard work at times, but I enjoyed every moment of it. It was challenging, rewarding and great a learning experience.

When we arrived back to Cusco we only had a day left, we made the most of our last day there and enjoyed some delicious food. My favourite places to eat were; Mr Soup, Jacks and Orginika. Fresh, healthy and just delicious!!!

We made sure to get a well deserved massage and then spent the rest of the day relaxing and wandering around the city.

Peru you were amazing! I loved Cusco and Machu Picchu you made my dreams come true!

Adiós Peru, it’s time to head to my final destination!!!

Lennae xxx

Looking out over Cusco.
Winay Wayna (Forever Young).
Selfies at Inti Punku (Sun Gate).
Machu Picchu!
Machu Picchu the next day.
Llama Friends.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

Cruising Holiday

Credit Pixabay
Credit Pixabay

As I’m getting better with my illness (ME/CFS) I’m starting to feel more confident and adventurous. Last year the husband and I went on a NZ adventure which was a huge success. I’m now more than ready to push the boundaries a little, plus I need to test the waters and see how I’ll pull up for my big 30th trip next year (I have huge trip goals)!

One of my beautiful friends is turning 30 soon, she decided that she wanted to go away and I was more than happy to tag along and celebrate with her. After a number of conversations across the ditch with her, we came up with the idea of going on a cruise!

I have always heard people rave on about cruises, my thoughts however have been that they are mostly for old people, or the thought of being stuck on a boat out at sea would be boring. I guess it’s one of those things that you shouldn’t knock until you’ve tried it.

Having chronic fatigue has made me think that a cruising holiday will be quite ideal for me and my holiday goers. I have done some research and educated myself on cruises and I want to share with you all why they could potentially be a great way to holiday! Especially for my fellow friends out there, that suffer with an illness that restricts you from doing things.

  • You have everything available to you on board, it’s like a mini village on a boat, but moving and at sea.
  • This means you can basically do what you like on board. If you want to have a nice meal and get dressed up you can, or if want to lounge by the pool all day you can. If you’re not feeling up to the day trips or don’t feel like doing much while on your cruise that’s fine.
  • If you’re having a rough time, no problem chill out, do what you need to do. No need to worry about your cruising party, there’s plenty to do and plenty of new friendly faces to meet.
  • A medical team is always on board and are there to help if you require it.
  • Food, there are so many options available, did I see a smoothie health bar somewhere!?
  • The best thing about a cruise is that you’re not missing out, your still holidaying and getting away, sometimes just a change of scenery is all you need.

As I haven’t actually cruised yet or cruised before, I got talking to the lovely Sophie from the Cruise Agency. She informed me of a lot of exciting healthy and relaxing options that are available while on a cruising holiday.

Here’s what I can look forward to on board;

  • First and most importantly there’s a day spa on board. Take your pick from massages, hot stone, facials, body wraps, scrubs, spray tans, you name it.
  • If you have a love for alternative medicine/ natural therapy you can find acupuncture or reflexology on board.
  • Experience and enjoy the many different relaxation rituals available at the Thermal Suite, with heated beds, showers and a collection of exotic steam vapours throughout. Or try Rasul, an Arabian cleansing ritual of chakra muds and aromatherapy.
  • Exercise classes are on board as well as yoga, pilates and a gym! If you need to keep at your  daily exercise routine there are plenty of options to choose from. I know I love to keep my daily steps up on my fitbit and I’m a huge fan of yoga!
  • Healthy food options and dietary needs can be catered for. The food options are endless with a selection of cafes and restaurants on board.
  • Library, if you enjoy a good book and looking for a relaxing quiet place to read you have options.
  • Crafting, scrap-booking and board gaming, are quiet enjoyable activities to relax too.

Wish me luck on my cruising experience, I’ll be sure to share it all with you once I’ve had my cruise in a few month’s time. It could not come any sooner!

If you’re interested in cruising head over to the Cruise Agency website and chat with the lovely Sophie, she will point you in the right direction.

Much love,

Lennae xxx

Credit Pixabay
Credit Pixabay