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Travelling the world, hopefully with a cuppa in hand

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Photos of South America and our UK visit

Our photos are now online

We’ve finally found a bit of time to update the photo albums with photos from the last part of our round the world trip. This includes Peru (Arequipa and Lake Titicaca, not including Machu Picchu and our Lares trek – you’ll have to wait a little more for those), Bolivia and our trek to the glacial lakes and Brazil (Rio and Ilha Grande). We also added photos of our two weeks in the UK, helping Mike and Soraya celebrate their wedding and catching up with our families, and some from our stop-over in Brunei on the way here. We’ll add the missing Peru photos once we get back to the UK so soon there’ll be a full set, promise.

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Gooooooooooooaaaal – the Copa de America

The end of Brazil´s chances in the Copa de America

We´ve been enjoying watching the quarter finals of the Copa de America football competition. We´re not sure that it gets much coverage back in the UK but it should; it´s hilarious. Firstly the way the commentators shout goal which lasts about three minutes cracks us up. The football is completely different with end-to-end entertainment, fake dives and last ditch defending. This year all the major teams have been knocked out with the surprise elimination of Argentina, the host nation, by Uruguay in penalties and yesterday Brazil just couldn´t score against Paraguay despite loads of chances. This continued into the penalty shoot out with three Brazilian strikers missing the goal. We thought it was so funny we´ve linked to the footage here (Brazil in yellow).

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Resting up in La Paz

We´re in La Paz, Bolivia and the highest capital city in the world (geeky fact: water boils here at 80 degrees C). We arrived on Tuesday planning to spend only one night here before heading northwards to the Bolivian amazon. However when we arrived there was a petrol strike which left the streets of La Paz eerily empty of cars but full of people eating ice cream and enjoying the sunshine. We looked into travelling by plane instead but they were all booked out. That´s twice Jon´s been thwarted in going to the Bolivian amazon. Still, we´ve decided to make the best of it and are enjoying some rest, relaxation and shopping. We have a big sunny hotel room with great hot showers and lots of terraces to chill out with a book and a cold beer.

This morning we went to the world press photo 2011 exhibition at the San Francisco church. The images were incredible, unlike anything you generally see in a newspaper and covered events from this year, some of which we were completely unaware of. A lot of them straddled the boundary between beauty, curiosity and repulsion. Here are some links to our favourite series:

Harry Potter is out here too, so we´re going to try and find a cinema showing it in English over the weekend. We fly to Brazil on Tuesday and have been anxiously weighing all our bags to see if they come under the baggage limit with a spring balance borrowed from our hotel reception. We´re now carrying around 5 bags and our weigh-in came to 50kg so we can only buy another four kilos of shopping!!!

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Trekking with Jorge and his two donkeys

Keeping up with the donkeys on day one

Today we returned to Sorata after our four days of camping and trekking. We really enjoyed ourselves and the views were spectacular. Our trek took in three lakes including the laguna glacier at over 5000m. We camped in some amazing places high in the mountains by streams and lakes, and the weather was perfect for trekking (this time) with warm sun and clear blue skies during the day. At night it got cold, especially in our well-worn hired sleeping bags. Jon´s only reached up to his shoulders but luckily before we left we´d been given a blanket each and strict instructions to wrap ourselves up in them before getting into our sleeping bags. Wrapping ourselves up in the blankets and manouevering ourselves into our bags each night took ages but we saved time by not having to undress. We even wore our wooly hats. Due to the temperature dropping quickly once it got dark at about 7pm, we always ate early. Our guide would start cooking around 5pm and we´d get soup followed by rice or pasta (food we had shopped for ourselves before we left). After sunset there really wasn´t a lot to do so we ended up sleeping a lot, from around 7.30pm to 6.30am, albeit fitfully due to fighting the blankets, our makeshift pillows (our clean clothes) and the cold.

At the top and enjoying a break

While having lunch on the second day of our walk we spotted a newly-born baby llama which was struggling to coordinate all its feet while its parents kept a beady eye on two circling hawks. By the time we´d finished our sandwiches it was walking a little bit better. Day three was the toughest day as we had an early start and a long difficult climb across scree slopes and sloping granite slabs. Some were pretty hairy early in the morning when there were still patches of ice but we followed our guide, Jorge,  and took it slowly. The glacier and lake at the top were well worth the climb and we spent the half hour break our guide allowed us taking in the view and taking some photos. From here it was a 2500m descent over a day and a half back to Sorata by which time we´d earned ourselves a tepid shower (as good as it gets here in Bolivia), an ice cream and a cold beer.

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When did 5:45am become our wake up time?

Our bus travelling by boat

Every morning for the last five days we´ve had to get up before 6am for assorted buses and boats. We´ve been on the move a lot, travelling from Cusco to Lake Titicaca. After an early start and a bumpy bus ride it made us smile to be greeted by a sign for  “Mr and Mrs Woop” for our hotel pick-up at Puno bus station.

The next day we had a really relaxing day cruise, first to the populations living on the floating islands of Uros. These are made from reeds and contain everything that their society needs to function: houses, schools, churches and a pub or two. The islands are only around two metres deep and the inhabitants have to lay down new reeds a couple of times a month. It was really interesting to see but also very touristy. We then slowly chugged over to the natural island of Tequile and walked across it. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch and there were amazing views across the lake. Our boat had a roof and we really enjoyed just chilling out in the sun chatting to some of our fellow passengers on the ride back to Puno. Puno was where a lot of the blockades and riots happened that made us take the long way around to Cusco a few weeks ago. There´s still evidence of damage with shop and bank windows smashed in.

The floating islands of Uros

On Wednesday morning we left Puno and travelled to Copacabana on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. To be honest in spite of the exotic sounding name, Copacabana was a bit of a dive but lots of people take a cruise to see the islands of the sun and moon. Legend has it that the Inca civilisation started there. We´d already spent a day on the water, so we decided to head to Sorata in the Bolivian mountains to do some more hiking.

Today we´ve spent this afternoon organising a four day circular trek up to a glacial lake and back which we´re really looking forward to. Fingers crossed for lots of sun and we´ll update you with how it goes when we get back.

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