Nicaragua!

The internet here is really slow, so no photos this time unfortunately! I´m uploading them to Facebook so I don´t lose them, and will transfer some over as soon as I can.

We´ve been in Nicaragua just over a week now, and really enjoying it. Granada is a beautiful city, and after the relative isolation of Isla Ometepe it was wonderful to have multiple restaurants to choose from!

We also stayed at a wonderful lake, where we kayaked and swam all day. One of the best spots I´ve been to.

Now we´re in Leon, which I think I like even more, although it looks a lot grubbier. We went to the cinema for the first time – there was a Cameron Diaz film in English, with Spanish subtitles – and today went volcano boarding! Cerro Negro is incredible; the rocks at the top are still warm, even though it hasn´t erupted in ten years or so. You can also still see smoke rising from the crater. Hiking up in the wind, with boards strapped to our backs like Buzz Lightyear, was quite challenging, but luckily it didn´t take too long. Unfortunately on the way down I fell off quite spectacularly – although the guide insisted its not that hard to balance, and that even if you do fall off you won´t keep tumbling down – I did. As I went spinning down the slope the thoughts that went through my mind were; what a liar! and what if I never stop? It´s hard to think straight in such circumstances.

Emily enjoyed her trip more, although she wished she´d gone faster!! Definitely won´t be trying that again. Even before I fell, it was more stressful than fun. It´s a pretty steep slope and you can travel very fast.

Oh, I also got my hair cut. It´s much cooler now!

Adios to South America

I‘m currently spending a few more lazy days in Cartagena before sailing across to Panama via the beautiful San Blas islands; after a little over six weeks, it‘s almost time to say goodbye.

My trip didn‘t originally include time in South America, but I‘m really glad I came. It is more different than I could have expected, leaving me continually surprised and inspired.

(Inside a mud volcano, just outside Cartagena)

The countries I visited remind me a lot of Zimbabwe, from the brands sold to the places they sell them, the colour of the grass, and the absurd weights people manage to carry.

My impressions of Brazil are obviously coloured by Carnaval – it would be nice to see what Rio is like during a more normal time of year – but it remains one of my favourite cities I‘ve visited. The Pantanal was definitely furthest outside of my comfort zone, and while the scenary and wildlife were simply amazing, I don‘t think I‘ll be heading back there.

(The geographic centre of the South American Continent in Cuiaba, Matto Grosso)

Into Bolivia and my first taste of Latin America; I saw such a range of urban and rural landscapes here. I saw, and then ate, my first llama (not the same animal!), witnessed the indigenous culture that is still alive and kicking, and started to see the same travellers in different places – I officially joined the Gringo Trail.

Peru saw me become more confident, in both getting around on my own, and in speaking Spanish. I took lessons in Cusco and have been chatting to locals as much as I can. The country is full of adventure, as well as jaw-dropping natural beauty, and I would definitely come back here.

And now Colombia! The heat is very welcome, and the pace of life slows way down. People here seem more relaxed – there‘s no shocked stares if you wear shorts – and there‘s also a larger mix of different ethnicities. After Bolivia and Peru, the variety takes a little getting used to.

I‘m very excited to see what Central America has to hold!