Last known location: London, England

LA-LA Land

After Dan managed to successfully drive us to LA he was keen to relax with a strong drink. I can’t imagine why, it’s not like I’m a nervous passenger or anything! We quickly checked into our downtown hostel, Stay, which was very modern and funky and managed to make it to a bar a couple of blocks away in time for a happy hour drink. Obviously, being in LA, I was on celebrity watch. And who should we see in the first bar we went to? None other than Sean Maguire! For those of you who don’t know him, (where have you been?!) he was that Irish kid in Eastenders about 15 years ago and has also “starred” in a US sitcom called Eve. Amazingly Dan was unimpressed with my celeb-spot but I personally was thrilled, our first bar and we’d already seen a celeb! I admit he’s not exactly A List but still…! Unfortunately Sean was our one and only spot so nothing more to report on that front! Read the rest of this post by clicking here…


Grand Canyon and Route 66

D: After 4 nights in our swanky hotel we paid the slightly horrifying bill and checked out. We then caught a taxi to the airport’s car hire centre and braced ourselves for the inevitable bonanza of extra charges that always seem to accompany renting a car! We’d done a lot of research though so we were well prepared for the hefty one-way trip charge and even managed to get a much bigger/better car than we’d booked for the same price. So off we went in our rugged looking but comfortable Dodge Caliber, which was ours for the next four weeks. Read the rest of this post by clicking here…


Viva Las Vegas!

Let’s just get one thing straight, Dan and I did not get married in Vegas! Firstly, our Mum’s would never forgive us, and secondly, it just doesn’t really appeal to either of us! So, after landing late on a Saturday night we got a taxi to our first hotel, a cheap place near the airport. We were only staying there for one night because prices rocket for weekend nights at the big hotels, and all we felt like doing after a slightly traumatic day of travelling was crashing out. Read the rest of this post by clicking here…


Fun Times and Rubbish Airlines

Our final South American stop was in the historic city of Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Founded in the 16th century, the city was one of the main Spanish ports for exporting their plundered gold – this also caused it to become a major target for pirates (including Francis Drake), and this in turn led to the Spaniards turning it into something of a fortress. Much of huge city walls remain today, and most of the old city within is relatively unchanged from it’s state of 300 hundred years ago – making Cartagena a popular tourist destination and a regular stop for Caribbean cruise ships. Read the rest of this post by clicking here…


Popping in to Popayan

Once at the bus station in Pasto we booked our onward journey to Popayan for the next day. Pasto’s a relatively big place but there’s not actually a lot to see so it was more of a stopover to break up the journey. We got a taxi from the bus station and the driver guessed where we were heading – the Koala Inn. It’s pretty much the only hostel in town so we weren’t expecting much. But the welcome was very warm and the hostel building was gorgeous, colonial style with a huge, airy, sky-lit central courtyard. Our room was enormous, with two extra beds, just in case we got into a fight! We’d arrived at about 5 and only had the evening to explore the town – which turned out to be sufficient! After getting a quick dinner at Mister Pollo, a Colombian fast food chain, we wandered around the main square and admired some of the attractive buildings. And then it started to rain! So we dashed back to the hostel and stayed in for the rest of the night. Despite the limited time we had in Pasto it seemed a nice enough place. Read the rest of this post by clicking here…


Market Days and Travel Haze

Our last stop in Ecuador was the market town of Otavalo, halfway between Quito and the Columbian border. The town is famous for it’s huge craft market, which has been running every Saturday since pre-Inca times and is reputedly the largest in South America, with sellers coming from indigenous communities across the region.

Arriving at lunchtime on Friday we had a spare afternoon, and after a brief wander around the town we spent it visiting the Condor Park, 3 miles up into the hills outside of town. The park is a sanctuary for rescued and abandoned birds of prey from around the world. There were owls, falcons, hawks and huge condors – a sacred symbol of Andean culture and one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan of up to three metres. After having a look around we were treated to a spectacular demonstration against the stunning backdrop of the hills and valleys beyond. Read the rest of this post by clicking here…