Hike

aptly named

road tripping - and car camping, except for the super cold north side wind chill anyone - through Iceland has been the most visually stunning experience.

nothing except being in the car and hiking following our eyes with wheels and feet onto the next gorgeous vista. 

just a typical next bend view

just a typical next bend view

Day 1 : Exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Road 4 > Road 1 > Road 54 

Braarbaut 

Braarbaut 

right on the edge of the Greenland Sea

right on the edge of the Greenland Sea

Day 2: Exploring the wild Westfjords in splendid isolation

Road 54 > Road 60 > F Road 66 > Road 61

sunrise at Grundarfjörður

sunrise at Grundarfjörður

mark II

mark II

the stunning fjords

the stunning fjords

thermal pool addiction commences at Reykjanesvegur

thermal pool addiction commences at Reykjanesvegur

Day 3: North Iceland and ridiculously only 60km south of the Arctic Circle

Road 61 > Road 68 > Road 1 > Road 85 > Road 87 > Road 1 > Road 860 

Akureyri Harbour  

Akureyri Harbour  

Godafoss  

Godafoss  

Myvatn Lake top of the crater

Myvatn Lake top of the crater

Myvatn Lake, well the lava fields bit

Myvatn Lake, well the lava fields bit

Day 4: Finishing the North and heading down the East

Road 1 > Road 93 > Road 92 > Road 96 > Road 1 > Road 99

Hverir lava fields  

Hverir lava fields  

Eastern Fjords

Eastern Fjords

late afternoon sunshine near Hofn  

late afternoon sunshine near Hofn  

Day 5: East Coast Glaciers and Waterfalls

Road 1 > loads of unnumbered turnoffs > Road 1

Yep.  not a glacier, but who can resist Icelandic Ponies... 

Yep.  not a glacier, but who can resist Icelandic Ponies... 

  Jokulsarlon  glacier lagoon

 Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

end of the Jokulsarlon galcier lagoon

end of the Jokulsarlon galcier lagoon

hiking the Skafatell national park 

hiking the Skafatell national park 

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Fjardragljufur Canyon  

Fjardragljufur Canyon  

Day 6: South Iceland black sand beaches and waterfalls

Road 1 > Road 215 > Road 218 > Road 1 > Road 30 > Road 35 > Road 37

start of the hike to look over Reynifsarja Beach

start of the hike to look over Reynifsarja Beach

basalt columns Reynifsarja beach

basalt columns Reynifsarja beach

only 468 steps to reach the top of Skogafoss

only 468 steps to reach the top of Skogafoss


Day 7 : South West, Golden Circle, Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Penisula

Road 365 > Road 36 > Road 1 > Road 41 > Road 45 > Road 44 > Road 245 > Road 43

the bloody thirsty and macabre Þingvellir historic site & national park

the bloody thirsty and macabre Þingvellir historic site & national park

mark II

mark II

Reykjavik street art  

Reykjavik street art  

basalt church Hvalsneskirja

basalt church Hvalsneskirja

rice & beans

Costa Rica has equalled slothing, gorgeous birds, frogs, beaches, outdoorsing and the ubiquitous rice & beans. 

La Fortuna: super sweaty MTB

La Fortuna: super sweaty MTB

perfect sunday afternoon: swimming hole rope swinging @ El Salto rio  

perfect sunday afternoon: swimming hole rope swinging @ El Salto rio  

iconic wildlife - toucans, sloths, quetzals - abundant in the national parks, no doubt assisted by stringent anti-hunting policies and enforcement

Arenal National Park - too busy admiring for any decent wildlife photos

Arenal National Park - too busy admiring for any decent wildlife photos

Cahuita National Park - incredibly brazen capuchin monkeys  

Cahuita National Park - incredibly brazen capuchin monkeys  

Jaguar Rescue Centre Puerto Viejo

Jaguar Rescue Centre Puerto Viejo

Pacific vs Caribbean : tough choice, being dumped by waves and invigorated or warmer not so dumping and turquoise.

Pacific Coast afternoon change : Quepos  

Pacific Coast afternoon change : Quepos  

Caribbean : Cahuita

Caribbean : Cahuita

My three favourite learnings from Costa Rica, first up for yourtown to be considered a town it needs just 5 things:

  • Primary School - gotta learn, literacy >85%
  • A fútbol pitch - gotta stay fit
  • A supermercado - gotta eat
  • A bar - gotta socialise
  • A church - gotta believe, right?

Secondly, you can easily eat rice and beans as the base for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  That is beyond me: 1 meal great, 2 meals doable, 3 meals getting repetitive

 

Lunch version

Lunch version

And where else as an adult do you get to climb such awesome trees this high

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multiple countries in one (and a lot of 70s/80s)

astonished by how diverse Colombia is: the climate, geography, flora/fauna and cities

it's been like spending time in four different countries

heydey? contemporary cars are plated by city  

heydey? contemporary cars are plated by city  

Bogotá: far, far colder than I care for, kickarse street art, Museo de Oro which is going to pale every future gold museum I go to into insignificance, corner stores doubling as bars

bling to covet - articulated joints & around 40mm2

bling to covet - articulated joints & around 40mm2

Totally in a time warp, made all the more amusing by what appeared to be a 1970's gangsta movie being shot in the main plaza

main plaza Villa de Lleyva

main plaza Villa de Lleyva

Medellín: suddenly warmer, super agreeable spring weather, pockets of green loads of neighborhood parks, one way loop streets and the cleanest metro I have been on worldwide.  Fell in love with the tea salons and the la memoria museum photos and video montages

 

La Memoria : Medellín  

La Memoria : Medellín  

Guatape in the background of what was obviously a drug money summer house

Guatape in the background of what was obviously a drug money summer house

Cartagena: indescribable light, gorgeous colonial buildings, boganvillia, pretending to be a pirate and an inquisition museum with real gallows and guillotine.  Who does that?

 

the cliche sunset Cartagena shot

the cliche sunset Cartagena shot

Pretending to get lost in the jungle, 4 days lost city hiking.  I didn't know there was so much green.

 

tiny portion of all the greens

tiny portion of all the greens

And just off the coast, Caribbean islas with national parks and views to melt for

 

Isla Grande - sunset

Isla Grande - sunset

Isla Grande all the blues

Isla Grande all the blues

centre of the world

both hemispheres / w the literal equator line

both hemispheres / w the literal equator line

ended up in Quito for longer than planned - the flood disaster in Perú closing the Pan American both north & south meaning flying here

turned out fortuitous - everywhere you turn is sublime architecture

 

Quito Cathedral

Quito Cathedral

under renovation Teatro Bolívar

under renovation Teatro Bolívar

Basílica del Voto Nacional

Basílica del Voto Nacional

over the top gothic and to add to the bizarreness there at the same time as an Ecuadorean boy band filming.  Bad beyond description 

decay too

decay too

even more than usual taking advantage of public transport, security guards in the strangest places and vibrant murals  

 

as best I could tell - from the bus - guarding a torte vendor... 

as best I could tell - from the bus - guarding a torte vendor... 

when the bus terminates unexpectedly in places unknown, and the down hill walk throws up this gorgeous wall

when the bus terminates unexpectedly in places unknown, and the down hill walk throws up this gorgeous wall

the centre of not just the world but also access to brilliant day hikes: think volcanoes, craters, canyons, gorges

Quilotoa crater hiking and wildflowers

Quilotoa crater hiking and wildflowers

zumbahua canyon  

zumbahua canyon  

and the cutest and smallest ice-creams I have ever seen, more or less 2 teaspoons  

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for good measure one last archiporn  

temporary home : old town

temporary home : old town

Hiking and sacrificing

I am so impressed with the Inca's on a whole host of architectury and engineering ingenuity levels, also pretty impresssedwith gold and silver smithing skills and the pattern repetition. Extending to the astronomy / navigation, terraces, tunnels and crazy staircases

 

descending day 2

descending day 2

sunrise day 3

sunrise day 3

Also taken with their approaches to conquering enemies, but my absolute favourite was their super civilised way of human sacrifice, in five easy steps:

  1. Tell you and your family the honour bestowed on you (well technically this is heresay but I like it)
  2. Walk you and your entourage and your precious afterlife goods to the nearest snow capped mountain, days or weeks
  3. Have you drink hallucinogenic flower, position you with blankets into a tidy seated position wait for you to fall asleep
  4. Surround you with next world / appeasing treasures
  5. Wait for the snow to do its thing until you die of hypothermia

Much more civilised that just cutting your heart out.  Right?

 

sunrise & ruins : day 3 

sunrise & ruins : day 3 

The Inca Trail is mesmerising, essentially four days of walking meditation with camping thrown in for good measure.  And an incredible test of lung capacity with passes at 4200m, 3710m to the relative flatlands of Macchu Picchu at 2430m.

 

Macchu Picchu : the detail mark I

Macchu Picchu : the detail mark I

Macchu Picchu : the detail mark II

Macchu Picchu : the detail mark II

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Giants, pharmaceuticals and gymnastics

The south west corner of Peru, is most agreeable.

advertising tag mash up : Arequipa  

advertising tag mash up : Arequipa  

The vast majority are very short, it's taking some adjustment to be at the taller end of the spectrum.

So much that sits well with me.

70's & 80's cars proliferate, most much more beaten up : Tacna

70's & 80's cars proliferate, most much more beaten up : Tacna

Getting up early is normal, running with thetown waking up one of my favourite things - less so the running at altitude thing.

Food, especially the markets hyper organised, fruits seperate to vegetables, aisles labeled and full of deliciousness to explore.  Learnt that iridescent lurid fruit skin usually equates to the most delicious flesh. Beach and street side ceviche.  

Favourite snacks: roasted corn kernels, 100% cacao chocolate, it's almost black and so so bitter.  Totally lost to it.  

And of course the mysteriously named raspadillas - shaved ice layered with juice usually tamarind, strawberry, orange and mango.

Lax attitude to pharmaceuticals.  Bring dodgy looking supplements over the land border.  Sure.  

Unpackaged - but blister packed - over the counter painkillers, well more thru the bars.  Of course.  

Traditional cure for altitude sickness, coco leaves: by the freezer bag.  Everywhere.  Have been asked not to try my luck with those over next border.

not so many street cats : Huacachina  

not so many street cats : Huacachina  

Hiking and landscapes to die for.

day 2 : Canon del Colca  

day 2 : Canon del Colca  

overnight hiking : San Juan de Chuccho

overnight hiking : San Juan de Chuccho

walking out : San Juan de Chuccho

walking out : San Juan de Chuccho

sand dune sunset : Huacachina  

sand dune sunset : Huacachina  

And very much a Peruvian imprint of a posse of little girls playing on my Olympic Rings, joining me on the monkey bars and tumbling.    Whilst their brothers too cool to join in and just looked on. 

sunday arvo beach & ceviche : reserva nacional de paracas  

sunday arvo beach & ceviche : reserva nacional de paracas