-by Leslie Wokich on April 15, 2013 - Banos, Ecuador
I was sitting on the swing on top of a mountain next to an overly active volcano in the beautiful city of Banos, Ecuador as Bryan was taking pictures of one of my favorite moments. I took a couple pictures of him on the swing and then we hitch hiked our way back to the city with our new Australian friends we had met while sitting in a treehouse. Little did I know my camera would be stolen a couple days later, and we would never see those pictures again.
We had heard about Banos from several backpackers and decided to stop there on our way to Colombia. Getting from Cusco to Banos is a whole other story, but let's just say we were ready to not be on a bus anymore. Luckily, we found a place to stay that was exactly what we needed. This was one of the friendliest and cleanest hostels we've stayed in and the private wasn't that much more expensive than the dorm rooms. Perfecto!
We spent the next day exploring the cute little city and hiking up one of the nearby mountains.
Continue reading "Banos, Ecuador - Volcanic Encounter"
-by Bryan Wokich on April 14, 2013 - Cartagena, Colombia
We've been a bit behind on blogging, partially due to being places that don't have internet... or electricity. We're now on the Carribean Coast of Colombia and will be working to catch up stories soon, but wanted to make sure everyone knew we were okay.
-by Bryan Wokich on March 23, 2013 - Cusco, Peru
We rolled into Cuzco, Peru tired, worn out and sick of night buses. We'd done a pretty good job of avoiding American chain restaurants, but it was early, I wanted to look up the results of the Sounders first game and we wanted to sit for awhile.
So in the old, beautifully architected town square of Cuzco, replete with touristy shops, stone buildings and character-laden alleys, we ducked into the Starbucks. It tasted like home.
The city of Cuzco was much more beautiful then we expected. Most of Peru was like this, meaning it was my expectations of the country that needed to change.
We had spent three weeks in the south of Peru at this point and we knew we needed to get north, but there was one site that drags tourists to Cuzco. The one and only Machu Picchu.
We've seen more Americans in Peru than any country, with the possible exception of Ireland. Our theory is that this is a relatively easy place to get to from the US and there is the massive draw of
Continue reading "Machu Picchu"
-by Bryan Wokich on March 17, 2013
A quick one here.
Just wanted to say that we've updated the site a bit. I've been working on other projects, so the blog-coding has taken a backseat, but we updated the FAQ, added an About Us and the Map. Papa Mick built the bones here. It took me awhile, but I finally got it ported into this site as the Map link.
It shows where we've been and lets you go to the blog from that location.
Have a happy Sunday!
-by Bryan Wokich on March 12, 2013 - Arequipa, Peru
Colca Canyon is outside of the city of Arequipa in southern Peru. It's deeper than the Grand Canyon and the location of a three day, two night trek we did recently. Its also the location of where our guide gave us hiking rules. The trail was steep, rough and a bit dangerous. The rules were pretty simple, such as “stay on the path” and “don't run”. About two hours into the trek, I heard a rumble while talking to a Frenchman who was on the hike with us. We looked up hill and saw a landslide heading our way. He ran downhill and I ran up, grabbing Leslie's arm to pull her out of the way of the falling rocks. Some rules are meant to be broken.
It was the second rule we'd broken recently. The first was upon our arrival in Arequipa. It had been a long bus ride from Mollendo and the Peruvian coast, punctuated by the fact that there were no bathroom breaks. We took a taxi to the central area, which we usually avoid because they're more expensive than the bus a
Continue reading "Colca Canyon in Arequipa, Peru"
-by Leslie Wokich on March 04, 2013 - Mollendo, Peru
Freezing cold showers in La Isla Del Sol and one overnight bus ride meant Leslie and Bryan had not showered for four days...yep, four days. The only thing we wanted to do was take a hot shower, eat ceviche, and lay on the beach. Mollendo seemed like the perfect spot.
Crossing borders is always a stressful event for me. So far, border crossing in South America has not been fun, mostly because we had to pay an arm and a leg to get into Argentina and Bolivia as US citizens. My research told me we didn't need to pay anything for Peru, but still, one can never be sure. We hopped on the overnight bus from Copacabana with our new Swiss friend and about 10 minutes later we made it to the border. Thankfully, we didn't have to pay anything! Yahoooo!
We arrived in Arequipa, Peru at 5am in the morning and it wouldn't be a Leslie and Bryan adventure if knew exactly what our destination was more than a day or two in advance. In this case, we only had minutes to decide if we should
Continue reading "Mollendo, Peru - Ceviche and the Beach, eh?"
-by Bryan Wokich on March 02, 2013 - Arequipa, Peru
So it's been awhile, but we're trying to catch up, so here's the Best of India!
Flavours - Kodaikanal
It was northern food, but made in the south. Our best meal has to go to Flavours, which is a tandoori chicken restaurant in Kodaikanal India. Tandoor Chicken BBQed in a massive clay pot is a staple, but these guys manage to get just the right abmount of char on the outside so its crispy, but still juicy in the middle. Combine this was the succulent gravies of the north including a wonderful mushroom masala and you have our favorite meal of India.
WORST TRAVEL DAY
Varanasi to Agra
This was by far the worst travel day. Our train was supposed to leave at 6pm, but was five hours late to start. It kept being delayed by two or three hours until we eventually left at 5am the next day. It was absolutely freezing cold and there was little food around. Mice were running all over the train station and Leslie got peed on by
Continue reading "The Best of India"
-by Bryan Wokich on March 01, 2013 - Isla Del Sol, Bolivia
It was early in the day when our boat left the port town of Capacabana, Bolivia on the shores of Lake Titicaca to head out to the Isla del Sol. It was a cute little town, but we were just using it as a jumping off point to get to the Isla del Sol. We ended up on the same bus as people we met before, so a couple Swiss guys and a Mexican girl joined our multi-lingual group as we floated across the water.
Two hours later we pulled into the north end of the island, which we had heard was cheaper and more backpacker friendly. The south was more popular, but apparently full of resorts. We were looking forward to hanging out on the beach and relaxing on Lake Titicaca.
Disembarking on the north side of the island showed us how few people there really were on this end of the island. We could walk the entire town in about eight minutes.
When we got to the beach it became clear that most of the backpackers weren't staying in hostels or homestays like we usually do. Ther
Continue reading "Isla del Sol, Bolivia - The Island of the Sun"
-by Leslie Wokich on February 26, 2013 - La Paz, Bolivia
We had been on the bus from Salar de Uyuni to La Paz. It had been 16 hours and we were starving. We had completely forgotten to bring snacks on the bus which is important when travelling in Bolivia in case of delays which happen frequently. It was 12pm when we finally arrived to the beautiful city of La Paz, Bolivia. As Bryan went looking for a map of the city, I realized I had left our Bose headphones on the bus. I would have started crying if it weren't for the fact they were pretty much almost broken...but still, it was sad.
La Paz is nestled in steep hills about 3600 meters (11,900 ft) high, and it is stunning. It just also happened to be Carnival weekend, so we were excited. The city is built in a valley, right into the mountainside. Buildings cling to the cliffs, looking like they're going to slide down. It's the world's highest seat of government, and the altitude takes its toll. There's hills everywhere and moving around can be troublesome, especially when Bryan had
Continue reading "La Paz, Bolivia - Carnival!"
-by Bryan Wokich on February 24, 2013 - Uyuni, Bolivia
It had been hours since we had seen another jeep. Franklin and the cook Sofia were in the front seats of the six-seater land-cruiser. Otto and I were in the second seat while Leslie and Sara were in the back. Otto was a 23 year old Finnish veteran of Afghanistan and Sara was his girlfriend.
The dirt roads were bad, the mountains were steep, we were well above 3000 meters high and it was raining... hard. For reference, Denver, the “mile-high-city” in the USA is only 1,600 meters above sea level. The car started to fishtail through the mud and the muck, causing my heart to beat a little faster. Leslie, Otto and I were nervous, but Sara seemed to be quite zen-like through the whole experience.
Franklin was quite experienced, having driven for seven years, so I told myself not to worry, we were going to be fine. We started to lose control, sliding towards a cliff, but Franklin steered one way, controlling the sliding jeep and then the other. We got to the top
Continue reading "Salar de Uyuni - The World's Highest Salt Flats"