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Travelling the world, hopefully with a cuppa in hand

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Paraguay, our photos are online

The government building draped in the colours of the Paraguayan flag for the bicentennial celebrations

We´ve uploaded some of our photos from Paraguay for you to peruse.  We were there for less than a week, spent exclusively in the capital city of Asuncion, but we really liked it. The people expecially were really friendly, and we were lucky to hit it at the time of their bicentennial celebrations with parades and concerts. We hope you enjoy them.

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Gee up horsey

Lou and our cowboy Eduardo

For the past few days we´ve been enjoying a little bit of luxury in a boutique B&B, La Casa Hernandez, (but amazingly at hostel prices) close to Salta in the north-west of Argentina. It´s been great to chill out and relax with some warmer days before we head to the salt flats in Bolivia which are a lot higher and colder. We had a warm welcome from the Dutch owners Alex and Rijkje, and we enjoyed spending our evenings chatting with our fellow guests: a pair of Aussie´s called Kerryn and Ben, and a Dutch couple, Ruud and Anna. We all went out for a cena, an argentine evening dinner with live folk music, and last night cooked an asado (barbecue). 

Staying out of town in the small village of San Lorenzo has really worked out for us. We´ve slept like babies every night due to the peace, quiet and comfortable beds. The fresh air might have helped too as we´ve been out and about, exploring the local canyon with great views over Salta, and we joined a gaucho for a few hours of horse riding. It was appropriately sedate for our experience level. We loved the beautiful views over the estate. They primarily raise cattle and have about six hundred cows dotted over their eleven thousand hectares which encompased all the mountains within view!

Thankfully today we´re not too saddle-sore and had a sightseeing and shopping day in Salta. The MAAM museum displayed one of the bodies of the three Inca children discovered at the top of one of the nearby volcanoes. Due to the altitude and sub-zero temperatures, they´re perfectly preserved along with clothing they were buried in. We´ve never seen anything quite like it.

All warm and cosy in my alpaca wrap

Our shopping focused on warm clothing with Lou picking up a woollen shawl, mitts and knee-high aztec socks complete with llama design. Jon picked up an alpaca wool jumper but having subjected it to the burn test we suspect it´s largely synthetic. Next time we´ll take our lighter along with us.

We haven´t been able to add photos from the B&B but will update the past few posts with photos when we can.


Friends in high places

For our own excellent Paul Reeves

At yesterday’s visit to see the blowholes at the Pancake Rocks, we came across this plaque commemorating a Sir Paul Reeves. We have our very own Paul Reeves and thought he might like to see this – do you think it’s a relative?

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Our Laos photos are now online

We'll remember Laos for all the riverboats and ferries and the slower pace of life

Here’s a selection of our photos that we took while in Laos.  We really loved it as a country and would like to go back sometime, particularly to explore the northern and southern parts as we just passed through the middle in around 10 days.  It’s more faithful to the orient that we had imagined before we came and a little less touristy than the other South-East Asian countries we’ve visited.   Hope you enjoy them, you can find them here.


Chess and fortune telling in Varanasi

Chess on the Ganges

Of course there’s more to being in Varanasi than chess and palm reading but these have been two of our favourite moments here. Others include a local boy showing Jon how to tie my scarf into a hat before amusing us by diving into the Ganges, our street-stall breakfast after a dawn boat trip on the river this morning and a refreshing stop at the Blue Lassi shop, hidden away in the backstreets and serving the best lassis we’ve ever had.

Walking along the river and past the different ghats, we’ve seen people’s interaction with it, from everyday bathing and washing to the final stage of life at the cremation ghats. The feeling here is very different to any funeral ceremony we’ve experienced, maybe because people who die in Varanasi are freed from the cycle of death and rebirth so their family is happy for them even though they may be sad at the loss of a loved one. It’s very public though, in addition to curious tourists there are always spectators, so death is part of everyday life rather than being hidden away. You can even buy chai!

We’re staying at the Shanti Guesthouse following Becca’s recommendation.  While walking back along the river last night, we saw a group of chess players and Jon played for a while. Unfortunately he lost his first match but we later found out that he was playing a guru! He did better when playing the man’s student. While Jon was playing chess, a Baba (religious man) read my palm. Apparently I’m going to live to be a ripe old age and have two children, a boy and a girl. Older life didn’t sound too bad, he said a change of country was on the cards. I guess we’ll have to wait until the kids are grown 🙂

We haven’t taken too many photos here, preferring to watch and experience rather than snap away. We’ll upload photos from our stay in Uttar Pradesh once we’re in Nepal. We’re heading there tomorrow so this is our last post from India.