Big Bad Daily Travel Diary of the World – One Year Itinerary Blow by Blow!

Leaving the UK!

Leaving the UK!21-May-2009 11:12, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

“I couldn’t possibly go travelling, I’d get bored!”

When a friend said this to us recently, we were more than a bit shocked. We’d had a cracking time. But thinking about it… maybe others would also think it was boring? Maybe some would find it one big world of pain? Others perhaps others would find our journey the best thing since sliced bread? For us, careering from one hostel to the next, taking night buses to the middle of nowhere and never knowing what insect or animal is going to cause the most problems for that day had both its ups and downs – but overall it was one of the greatest experiences we’ve had to date.

Anyway, to help you make up your own mind, we kept a one liner daily diary of our year away. Hopefully this is useful for anybody planning a similar route and will set some expectations or give some ideas on your own travel route!

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Gallery: Madurai and the awesome Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple!

One of the other sites we found in Madurai... a Sci-Fi themed bar in the Supreme Hotel!

One of the other sites we found in Madurai… a Sci-Fi themed bar in the Supreme Hotel!14-Nov-2009 17:15, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100

Our penultimate stop in India, Madurai; the oldest inhabited city on the Indian peninsula. Home to the magnificent Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple it was definitely one of those places we picked almost purely based on the photo of the humongous Gopuras stretching to the sky like a scene from Blade Runner. The entire time we were there we saw hardly any other travellers, and even then only on a package tour. It certainly wasn’t set up for backpackers to visit en masse. This was made very evident when a quick forage for some emergency toilet roll (often not supplied with the room) turned into an unsuccessful ninety minute sprint around the town just to find it simply isn’t for sale! How did we find the elusive bum paper? Was the temple everything it promised? Was anything else squeezed in before we headed to Thailand!?

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Country Overview: Travelling in Peru

One of the last and best shots of Machu Picchu, as the sun goes down it gets ready for another day.

One of the last and best shots of Machu Picchu, as the sun goes down it gets ready for another day.19-Aug-2009 22:13, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 7.1, 28.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 400

Introduction: Peru is a vast country, the 28th largest in the world, with desert on its coast, the andes for its backbone and vast jungle inland to the East. Famous for its Incan ruins, we also visited the less travelled archeological North for evidence of pre-Incan cultures including the Chimu and Moche. A fascinating country that kept us occupied and entertained, we loved every minute.

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Country Overview: Travelling in Ecuador

On the basis that every time we ventured a bit further away we made the wrong fork decision, Señora Wayne was a worthwhile investment.

On the basis that every time we ventured a bit further away we made the wrong fork decision, Señora Wayne was a worthwhile investment.11-Jul-2009 18:55, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 11.0, 28.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 400

Introduction: Ecuador is one of only two countries in South America that doesn’t border Brazil, and thankfully is fairly easy to traverse due to its small size (80th in the world) – a welcome break after the marathon bus journeys of Columbia! Ecuador is famous for its geographical diversity with a huge variety of flora and fauna. We were on catch up after enjoying ourselves far too much in the previous countries and becoming a little behind schedule. Doesn’t sound like us. In total we spent sixteen days here, and it was yet another whirlwind tour with some amazing moments.

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Gallery: Buggying in Baños and the Walk of Monkeys!

One great similarity between Colombians and Ecuadorians is their inability to understand photo directions. Still, one similarity between Lynette and I is our inability to speak anything but the most basic Spanish.

One great similarity between Colombians and Ecuadorians is their inability to understand photo directions. Still, one similarity between Lynette and I is our inability to speak anything but the most basic Spanish.13-Jul-2009 21:27, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 8.0, 35.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 400

Baños is the “Gateway to the Amazon”, and to us has been the San Gil of Ecuador. Nestled high in the Andes and on the side of an active volcano that last erupted in only 2006 & 2008, the scenery is stunning and the spring climate great, especially when you´re starting to miss those jumpers. There´s plenty to do, our main reason for coming was a half told story about a monkey park we´d heard when in San Agustin. But… did we find them?!

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Gallery: Climbing Pichincha Volcano in Quito

Such big smiles deserve two photos. :o)

Such big smiles deserve two photos. :o )08-Jul-2009 20:20, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 13.0, 38.0mm, 0.0020 sec, ISO 400

Climbing Pichincha Volcano (or, the Highs & Lows of death by altitude) was something we didn’t even know we could do. Quito lies on the east side of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano that last erupted only in 1999 when it covered Quito in ash. It is also 4,698m to the Rucu peak. Conveniently forgetting the trouble we’d had only a week or so ago with a couple of crutches we decided we needed to start warming up for more Andes challenges some time, so why not today? Well, on reflection…

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Gallery: One week with PADI & Paddys in Taganga!

Underwater there are only so many funny faces you can make!

Underwater there are only so many funny faces you can make!24-Jun-2009 02:29, SONY DSC-P8, 2.8, 6.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100

We’ve spent the last week in Taganga, Colombia a small fishing village north of Santa Marta. We only meant to be here a couple of days but thankfully can sum up the whole week in one post – one of the main benefits here is that it is so chilled we could have stayed even longer! Plus… miracles happen… I can walk again! Its also one of the cheapest places in the world to try for your PADI Open Water, so we decided to give it a bash…

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Gallery: Paragliding in San Gil and Meandering in Barachi!

Right... my turn!

Right… my turn!18-Jun-2009 21:47, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 5.0, 65.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100

We arrived in San Gil after our first decent length bus ride from Bogota. Famous for its Extreme Sports, we were worried what options would actually be available to us with a cripple on board. Even horse riding was a concern, with knee gripping a fairly crucial part. However, we managed to find one of the best towns in Colombia to date, at 1,277m altitude it is in eternal springtime with a low crime rate and a friendly population. We only had a few days, but we had a great time and would love to return.

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Country Overview: Travelling in Brazil

They are used to being fed - they'd never be this tame otherwise!

They are used to being fed – they'd never be this tame otherwise!25-May-2009 14:21, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

Introduction: Brazil is the 5th largest country in both geographical and population size in the world. Its also the only one in the whole of South America that has to be that little different and speak Portuguese as opposed to Spanish. As its also the most expensive, we’d planned to use it almost purely as a landing stop and speed on up to check out the Amazon. As it turned out, neither of these things happened and we still managed to have a great time!

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Gallery: Museo del Oro & Botero in Bogota

"Some wear feathered hat... and at the head of them all go the leaders, the oldest in the middle... And the leaders have gourds full of chicha put in their hands and the pipers play very long flutes" Bartolome Briones de Pedraza, 1540.

"Some wear feathered hat… and at the head of them all go the leaders, the oldest in the middle… And the leaders have gourds full of chicha put in their hands and the pipers play very long flutes" Bartolome Briones de Pedraza, 1540.14-Jun-2009 19:59, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 5.6, 105.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 1600

Bogota is the capital of Columbia, and the third highest capital city in the world at 2,640m – twice the height of Ben Nevis. We flew in last Friday from Salvador, Brazil at 8pm and all the positive feedback we’d heard about Colombia is true. It’s a beautiful and geographically varied country with exceptionally helpful and friendly locals; we’re already going to be staying at least twice as long as planned!

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