Sunday, 28 February 2010

Antarctic Expedition Day 1 28th February 2010

Summary – Departure from Ushuaia
Places visited – NA
Species encountered – NA

We awoke on the day of our departure with rain lashing down outside and the wind howling. It was just horrible! We grew increasingly worried as when we heard that the port was closed and might not open for a day or so. This would have really been a horrible start to the trip but fortunately was unfounded.

Despite the worry about the sailing being delayed we arrived at the port, and passed through security. Not really sure how much use this was but by now we have become used to just getting our bags thrown through x-ray machines without really asking what the point was. The ship loomed large at the port, and it looked reassuringly large. When you look at pics of these vessels, you really lose sight of their scale. It was big.

We were told to leave our bags on the jetty and go up and check-in. Everyone looked really excited and it felt like the first day of a big school trip, only that we were going to the most amazing destination in the world. Check in was simply handing over your passport and getting your room number, after which we simply unpacked into our cabin. There was a nice reception where everyone milled around and shared stories while having juice, coffee and snacks. There is a real mix of nice people on our ship, I think particularly on this ship because the style of the trip is more expedition based; also it is at a good price point. This brought in a lot of ‘traveller’s making the environment feel like a hostel. This was really great and already we have met so many nice and interesting people.

After a welcome briefing and a hugely amusing but very important safety briefing we enjoyed our first dinner together on the ship.

Once we had passed out of the Beagle channel we entered the Drake Passage. That night was rough, we had been warned about sea conditions and that the Drake Passage is one of the roughest seas in the world. I haven’t travelled too much by sea but this seems to be very much the case. It was rough, with continuous movements of the ship in all directions This first night showed how much people needed to work to savour the sights of Antarctica!

Guess where we've been!!!!

To those of you who have noticed, sorry we have been out of contact for the last few weeks. We were kind of busy travelling to ANTARCTICA!! That’s right; we made it to the last continent! we have now been to all the 7 continents in the world!!!!!!! i feel mighty proud of the acheivement and really think it is a special think to be able to do in one trip!

We wanted it to be a surprise for everyone hence our radio silence on it.

We left Ushuaia on the 28th February 2010 on the M/V Ushuaia (a specialist expedition ship owned by Anterpally of Argentina, more about her later) for a 12 day expedition style cruise of the Antarctic peninsula.

We had booked it pretty last minute while we were in BA, but once we got on the ship we met many people who had booked even later than us, in fact one guy booked a few hours before the actual sailing! This is partly to do with relatively good availability of last minute deals (it is pretty late in the season) and also due to the way that coming to Ushuaia captures the interest. You have already come this far, the cruise is just the final step!

We got a nice deal on the trip and despite adding another chunk to our trip costs it was going to be totally worth it. I will do a post later about our experience of booking this type of cruise, but from here on in I plan on posting a day by day account of our trip. This was written during the cruise but posted afterwards.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Arrival to the end of the world

We have now left BA after 10 days of really enjoying this city. We could have stayed there longer and Urvi may well go back, but it was time to move on and get down to one of the highlights of South America for me – Patagonia and the far far south. We took a flight to cover the few 1000 kms that stretch between the capital city and the southern most tip of the country, the continent and pretty much the world! And as we arrived on the final descent you traverse mountains and mist, and see glimpses of the wild southern ocean – it really feels like the end of the world. We have only been here a for a day but first impressions are that Ushuaia is pretty rugged, and reminded us a bit of Listvyanka in Russia and Lyttleton port in New Zealand. This is a town full of the southern blues – it is basically the southern most town in the world, housing the southern most library, newspaper office, Main road and railway line. Ushuaia airport is the southern most civil airport in the world too!

The town is in the centre of the Tierra Del Fuego national park, and its pretty spectacular with the sea on one side and the snow capped mountains on the other side. There is a real hill station, vacation town kind of feel with a heady mix of rich western tour groups, people departing on once in a life time trips to Antarctica and intrepid backpackers all making it here and sharing the same special town. Regarding the backpackers, I think it is clear that Ushuaia is a place that is a considered destination for backpackers, by that I mean that its not on the main well trodden path and not full of 19 somethings looking for the next party. We really enjoyed the people that we have met so far and have picked up a few more good friends.

The weather is notably colder and as we arrived, the rain was drip dripping around us, this is a windy old place and we will have to get used to this type of climate as we travel on north. We plan on being here in Ushuaia for a few days and then the only way is up so we will track back up through Patagonia and cris-cross over the Chile – Argentine border a few times.

I will update more very soon with pics of this amazing place!

Happy 300 to us!!

Just in case you missed the ticker, we are 300!!! we have been on the road for 300 days now and the end is nowhere in sight yet!! much more to do and more to experience.

We are over budget right now, and thats mainly thanks to NZ, but I think we might pull a little back in South America. having said, after 30th Nov 2009, we are of the opinion that things are to be enjoyed and momeries made, so right now its all go!!!!

Planning wise it is much the same are before. we plan to go through the southern parts of South America, to Ushuaia (southern most part of the world) then up through Patagonia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuadar. we then go to Mexico and Cuba (visa in hand yeah!) we then come over to Toronto, and Boston before getting over to Jordon. The middle east awaits, and we then trek down through southern Africa before finishing in South Africa.

Not sure how long it will take us, not sure when we will be in places other than sometime this year!

It is great to look back at the time so far for day 100 We celebrated with newly made friends in Hanoi. Day 200 was in Nepal, eating the best apple pie we have ever had, and again with a group of new trekkig friends. who knows what 400, 500 will hold. I just wannt get there!
stay with us for day 400s celebrations!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Buenos Aires – cultured and colourful

20100218_067663_DIG_BUE_RTW_9999_A200_Buenos Aires City

I don’t know why but we arrived in South America with a totally naive assumption that it was a huge wild west, full of dusty ragged towns and tough people. If there is one thing I have learned on this trip it’s that most of my preconceptions have in one way or another been totally blasted out of the water! This is of course a good thing and really happened in Buenos Aires. BA is nothing like the Wild West and it is not at all dusty. BA is full of wonderful architecture, amazing culture buzz and great great people. In our travels so far we had heard many good things about BA but really I think it exceeded our thoughts and expectations many fold.

So what makes this city so great? I guess it is many things for many people but the biggest thing for me was feeling that I was back in a big city full of culture and substance. By this I mean that there is a confidence to the place, without being overly arrogant (most of Argentina thinks that people in BA are very snooty!), there were things to do and see, and places just to be. I felt that we could be ourselves and it was ok, and we never felt that things were boring or dull. It felts familiar and safe in my head – the city is a combination of Europe, America and South America in feel. Things seemed to work well, and the infrastructure is good and cheap. Mostly (as ever) the people are the thing that makes the city. BA people are nice, cultured, colourful and really good fun to be with. All in all a wonderful place to start, end or continue your trip!

We spent 10 days in total in the city, and loved every moment of it. Sure you find annoyances here, but where don’t you? The Weekend markets that are raved about in the guidebooks were a tad touristy but to be honest that was the only let down from my part and more about the guidebooks than BA. It is big place but never did wee feel overwhelmed by it. The residential suburbs really feel like small towns in them selves and the small cosy trattorias (Italian for restaurant) are everywhere. There are 5 main areas that we spent time in in BA and as with any great city, they were all very individual in feel.

La Boca – Honest working class, reputed to be a little unsafe, but full of colour. A really important place for Tango and FOOTBALL!! We saw the tango; we missed the football, (Shame)
San Telmo – Arty and crafty, full of antiques, and cafes, it was an awesome place to sit by and watch the world go by.
Central city – Jaw dropping architecture along huge avenues and boulevards, full of nice shops (and some not so nice!) we spent a fair bit of time here trekking between airline offices and great buildings.
Recoleta – the posh end of town, amazing houses, great cafes and restaurants and the world famous recoleta cemetery. The cemetery is full of very large very famous family crypts, some more than 2 floors tall, and all very individually designed and crafted. This is the Knightsbridge of cemeteries, and in addition to housing the crypt of Eva Peron (argentines most famous first lady) many many famous clans are here. The cemetery is amazing for 2 main reasons, firstly because of the scale and grandeur of the architecture and the very non cemetery feel to the place (there is no grass, there are paved streets and it has an almost residential suburb feel). It amazes me secondly because of the stories behind the people there. There were many famous and not so famous people here, but there were stories everywhere. The most interesting crypts for us were the ones which were almost derelict, what happened to thouse families? What are their stories? Fascinating.

The final area we spent time in was Palermo. This is the ultra chic part of town. There are tonnes of hugely expensive boutiques, awesome bars, and restaurants that blow your mind. Having said all this there was such a relaxed neighbourhood feel to this place. I loved it and Urvi wanted to stay a month more!!!

Generally speaking Urvi and I know we are city people, we love the buzz and the action, the jostling and the congestion. It makes us feel connected and alive I guess. We were therefore always gonna like BA, but it was a surprise just how much it took us. I loved the ambience and the sights and sound all around us. We could go back in a second but again there is much to do and see on this trip and another major highlight awaits us in Patagonia!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Cuban Embassy - A Lesson in Not Judging a Book by its Cover

I have been to quite a few embassies, consulate offices, and border crossings before and during this trip, and we have had quite a few interesting experiences! I recall the Mongolian embassy which was a tiny cubby hole in the cellar of a Knightsbridge mansion; the Laos embassy in Saigon, where they took so long to process a simple visa that we really got a taste for how laid back Laos the country would be. I recall crossing over into Nepal, only to realise that we had no papers and after 15mins we had to go back! I recall the scary Chinese, and the wonderfully polite Japanese border guys. There are so many stories.

However when we started thinking about going to Cuba, we were kind of filled with a bit of worry regarding how we were gonna get the visa. We had heard stories of people having to get the visa from the country they lived in and also that visas were only valid from when they were issued. If these rumours were true we were scuppered!

To cut a long story short, the Cuban embassy in BA is the best embassy I have ever been to. People are friendly, polite and were there to help you. It didn’t feel that they were doing you a favour in any way, and to be honest it was the quickest process ever, 5 minutes and we had our Cuban Visas! Hooray we are going to Cuba!!!! All the rumors were unfounded and the visa is in hand.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

BA Fly Drive

Ok, so the bus trips we have taken so far have mainly been in South East Asia, and have been of varied quality to say the least. They were pretty cheap, but pretty ropey in the main! I mean travelling 12 hours over night in a rickety ‘air conditioned’ bus with really loud movies was not much fun. So when we heard that travelling in South America by bus would involve travelling for 30-50 hours filled us with a little worry! However I have to say that the trip from Rio to Iguaçu calmed our nerves, as the bus was awesome, comfortable and on time!

You can therefore imagine our anticipation when we heard about the Suite buses they have in Argentina! Yup just like first class suites on planes now a days, these buses have video on demand, full food services, totally lay flat beds, in individual suites and ample space and service. The 17hours it took from Iguaçu to Buenos Aires flew by on our fly drive! Even better than everything else and rare even for Japan, was that the bus had Wi Fi!!!!

Who said South America was a total dust bowl, where travelling was horrific! I know this is just one of the journeys we will take, and I am sure that we will have many, tougher trips, but it really does pay to revel in this kind of service once in a while.

Monday, 15 February 2010

In The Throat of the Devil

20100214_067483_DIG_IGU_RTW_9999_A200_Iguazu Falls Brazil

I have been to Niagara Falls in my youth, and I remember feeling completely tiny under next to the immensity of the water and the roar of the falls; however the Iguaçu falls that fall between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina make Niagara look like a dripping tap. There are over 200 falls in total and the main fall – the devils throat – has twice the amount of water cascading over it than the whole Niagara complex. It is huge and looking over it and into the mist makes you feel as if you are really looking into the throat of the devil. The falls of Iguaçu are totally bewildering in their complexity and force, as I said there are many many falls, and so you are treated to the intense curtain of torrents and winding rivers, that then drop of the side of the earth all at once. Everywhere there is water and everywhere there is noise.

We saw the falls from both the Argentine and the Brazilian side, this is really popular way to do it, but if the budget is tight or time is an issue, go straight to the Argentine side, no question. It is one the most impressive natural wonders I have witnessed.

You walk around a massive national park, with a fascinating array of flora and fauna in its self, and all you hear is the roar of water, then close on the horizon you see the spray, the mist the breath of the devil. The falls are all around and just awesome.

We didn’t do the boat tour up to the falls, but to be honest they were impressive enough from the viewing walks below and above the cascades. I didn’t think that I was gonna be so impressed by these falls, and that was mainly because they don’t hold any ‘records’ of being the tallest or largest etc but they are one of the most impressive collections I have seen. We will be going to Victoria Falls too in Africa and if Iguaçu is anything to go on they will be jaw dropping.

On an aside, does anyone know why falls seem to be placed on borders so often?? Niagara – US and Canada, Victoria – Zim, and Zambia etc?? Maybe one of unknowns of the world!

Stop and look back... ... and smile

Believe it or not there have been times on this trip when my enthusiasm has really waned and I/we have questioned why we are doing this, and what we are gaining. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Travelling for this length of time it can feel all too much, the pace or the lack of pace, the continual effort to understand new things and the real ache for normality. I know that this sounds like I am whinging but it is a true emotion. Even a round the world trip of over 1.5 years has its stresses and strains!

Often the frustration is purely down to feeling that we are spending too long or not long enough in any giving place or area. Ultimately I have discovered that for me I have to be able to solve this problem by simply reviewing the equation between time, expenditure and the experiences we have had. Although this sounds too mathematical for most people, who are happy with just travelling and enjoying the entire experience, I think that for me I need to quantify it and set it out. I see it in a way where I have invested time and money into this project and I want to see some return on that capital invested.

What I think that what I am really trying to say is that for anyone doing a trip like this, or I even just in normal life, it is really important to stop, and review at some regular intervals. You need to be able to see what you have done or achieved, for all the efforts you have put in. Only in this way can I see the full value of the nearly 300 days and $48,000 so far!

Only in this way can I see that the above investment has yielded:

  • Taking an executive box and the ballet at the world famous Mariinsky Theatre (in our backpacking gear!)
  • Travelling on the amazing Trans Siberian railway through Russia, Mongolia and China
  • Scuba diving in deepest lake in the world
  • Staring at the millions of stars from our Ger Camp in Mongolia
  • Hosreriding across the Mongolian plains
  • Visiting the awesome Beijing Olympic Stadium and watching all the Chinese brim with pride
  • Walking the Great Wall of China – True wonder
  • Travelling on the Qinghai Railroad, the highest railway in the world
  • Setting foot into the serene and massive Potala Palace
  • Just being in Tibet – to see the Himalayas and the Tibetan people personally
  • Lake Mansarover
  • Crossing the Droma la pass – the hardest days work I have ever done
  • Getting Urvi over the Droma la pass (!)
  • Chilling out at the most perfect youth hostel in Kyoto, Japan
  • Staying on Mt Koya in a calm and contemplative temple
  • Listening to J Rock
  • Going to the VERY LIVE Tokyo fish market
  • Spending the afternoon in the spa of Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Island
  • Seeing the worst of man kind at the atomic bomb sight in Hiroshima
  • Floating on air on the Maglev, the fastest train in the world
  • Hong Kong all over!! And particularly the scene by night
  • Scuba diving off Koh Tao
  • Wandering the parks of Hanoi full of children and families
  • Hoi An town in Vietnam
  • The sunset on Phu Quoc Island. The most perfect sunset I have ever witnessed
  • Khmer Rouge stories in Cambodia. Made me feel so lucky to be alive, and so appalled by the horrors of man
  • The temples of Angkor
  • Bayon Temple in Angkor
  • The Purple thunderstorm of Laos
  • Elephant trekking in Luang Prabang
  • Teaching local kids about Photography and learning from them too
  • The 7* Lebua hotel and the whole day spoiling ourselves in Bangkok
  • Visiting Tagore house in Kolkata
  • Sipping Darjeeling teas in chilly Darjeeling.
  • Viewing the tiger hill sunrise over the Himalayas
  • Taking the mountain flight to right next to Everest
  • Flying through the mountains to Jomson, Nepal
  • Marpha town and the Nepal Trek in the Annapurna region. What apple crumble!!!!
  • Poon Hill sunrise, the best sunrise I have ever seen in my life
  • Burning Ghats of Varanasi – means too much to describe
  • A380 business class experience, 20 hours of opulence and living like a lord at 41,000ft
  • Packing out life up in a campervan and taking to the road around the south island of New Zealand
  • Albatrosses and penguins on the Otago Peninsula
  • Sky Diving in Queenstown. Thrill of the trip so far
  • Walking on Fox Glacier, the scariest experience I have had
  • Swimming with Dolphins, indescribable
  • Walking over a volcano at the Tongoriro alpine crossing, NZ
  • Hand gliding from a Rio Mountain, seeing the city in all its glory

We have many months to go and I feel refreshed, however most of all I feel totally blessed and very very fortunate, and there is more to come….!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Rio is not just Carnaval and Carnaval is not just Rio

Some might ask why the hell we would go all the way to Rio de Janeiro so close to the time of Carnaval and not stay for the biggest party on Earth. Of course that’s a valid question but I guess after planning to travel for 500 odd days and racking up endless once-in-a-lifetime experiences across what will be over 30 countries, we had to miss a few things out! :)

20100211_067247_DIG_RIO_RTW_9999_A200_Rio City

The main reason was that we had planned to be in another major party destination with the Sydney new years, and honestly hostels and others have really taken to over charging for rooms during these times. For example during the 10 days around carnaval we would have racked a bill of over $1800! In the end we decided that this money could be used for other things and hence we planned on spending only 3 days in Rio before heading towards the Argentine Border and Iguaçu falls.

What we soon found out when arriving in Rio was that Carnaval takes place everywhere across Brazil. It is basically the celebrations and excesses before the start of Lent. The parties, dancing and general revelry started from the African slaves living in the Favelas (Slums). They held massive street parties that have now evolved into the Carnaval of today. Carnaval doesn’t only take place in Rio and in fact the locals say that Rio has become overly commercialised and synthetic, with too many tourists. I am not sure if this is really the case but lets say that people do still flock to Rio for this party season. Other Carnaval such as Sao Paulo or Salvador are far more inclusive where you can join in rather than just be a spectator. I still maintain despite this, Rio is a place to be at this time; just witnessing the ability of the Brazilians to dance, and party party party is inspiring.

We went to some of the street parties that take place in each of the suburbs such as Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacobana before Carnaval and they were just awesome. Full of young and old, men women kids, families – everyone – just being together and enjoying being with each other through mainly dance and music. It was awesome.

As well as Carnaval not just being about Rio, the other side of the coin is also true, Rio is not just about Carnaval. Rio is a vibrant and hustling city of 7million people. People are always talking and chattering sharing stories and gossiping, it was buzzy and loud compared to our experiences of New Zealand. Of course Rio has more people than NZ so that was always going to be the case! But it’s more than just the number of people. All seem to be jolly and smiling, it was lovely. There was a confidence in the people there that I have not seen in many many other cities

Other than Carnaval some of the other sites totally synonymous with Rio are the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The beach, sun bathing and generally trying to impress others is totally part of the culture here. People will dash to the beach after or even during work and meet up with friends and others there. The whole city seems to be there at some point! From rich posers to the poorest. People play foot volleyball, normal football, go to the beach gym but hardly anyone was swimming! And it is a great place to just people watch over some coffee or a cold drink.

You also can’t be in Rio without visiting the statue of Christ the Redeemer on a mountain over the city, I was of the impression that the statue would be huge and totally dominate the sky line, it doesn’t really but when you go up, you see the city from the most amazing perspective. Christ looks down on this special city in the most imposing way, with amazing views of what is a complicated and twisting city.

We enjoyed Rio; it was a perfect step up from NZ and a great way to get us started in South America where I am sure that there will be many many fantastic experiences to come. Carnaval or not Rio rocks all the time so we didn’t miss out as much as one may think…

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Flying back down to earth with Aerolineas Argentinas

Regular followers will recall that the last flights we took were part of the mammoth journey we did between London and New Zealand. This was a special trip that was taken on the airbus a380, with Emirates and in business class. This is pretty much the best combo of aircraft, carrier and class you can get. However that was a short lived excursion for us into the world of luxury travel. We are now firmly back in with the masses travelling economy.

20100210_067145_DIG_AKL_RTW_9999_A200_Flight to RIO

The next phase of our journey takes us to South and Central America. And to begin this we planned to fly from Auckland to Rio. The best deal on offer was with the Argentine flag carrier, Aerolineas Argentinas. It is an airline with a noted reputation for never being on time, having fairly shoddy planes and flight attendants who would make the US airlines attendants scared!

As our flight approached it seemed that all these rumours were true. The flight was late from Auckland, check-in took 2 hours – just like the bad old days before web check-ins, and the plane was dodgy! We rattled along for 12hours to Buenos Aires, but surprisingly felt pretty well rested and not totally fearful of the stern but quite nice (smiling at least) attendants. The 2 best things about this flight were 1, we left NZ on the 10th at 9:30pm, and arrived into South America on the 10th at 5pm! (Thanks to the international date line). 2, we have only paid $500 for each ticket. This was seriously cheap, and despite not being in business class on the flight I could feel 1% smug that I had bagged us a bargain deal!

Oh ps, if you ever plan on booking an Asian veg meal on this airline, make sure you take some of you own snacks with you. We were treated to 2 (oh yes 2!!) bread rolls for breakfast, and some slightly dodgy pasta for dinner. Basically AVML means vegan, so none of the choccies, or cheese etc.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

NZ – North Island and summary thoughts

20100129_066742_DIG_NZD_RTW_9999_A200_NZ North Island Wellington

You might be intrigued as to how I can do just one post for the whole of the North Island of NZ and include the summary for the country in that too! This is definitely not because there’s nothing to say about this half of the country. Rather it’s more of a reflection of how our experience of the north island was.

We had 10 days before we were due to arrive into Auckland, and finally depart to cross the international date line and get to South America. Its simple, 10 days are not enough. We spent time driving from place to place, and enjoying every moment (we had a huge Camry, which was an auto and had AC. Sounds crazy to flag this, but after our slightly crumbling camper this car felt like sitting in a Ferrari!) but not really taking in the hews of the country’s most populated island.

We visited:

Wellington – the unassuming but confident capital. At the time it was full of AC:DC fans for a concert there, this certainly brought a different colour to the city!
Napier – beautiful art deco town on the coast
Tried to drive along the East Pacific coast highway, but rains and then floods got the better of us! So we wasted a day or so (in my opinion! Bit self critical I guess) going nowhere!
Rotorua – the natural sulphur spring town, which was fun. We didn’t get to the spa, but the hostel we stayed at was fun, and it was good meeting some interesting travellers there.
Lake Taupo – the outdoors/adrenalin overdose capital of the north island.
Trekked over the Tongoriro Alpine Crossing – The crossing takes you over a volcanic vista that is real Lord of the Rings territory; the scenes are straight from Mount Doom! The trek takes you about 7hrs, and it was really nice to get back to doing some real exercise again. We camped in the national park, at an amazing spot right by a perfect stream, where you could bath and swim, awesome…
The bay of islands – idyllic scenes of protected coves, with crystal waters, winding roads and upmarket port towns. Again we camped at just the perfect spot, where we were right on the beach. Great times were had just chilling our, getting a tan!!! We sailed for the day also, which was a really lovely way to see the countryside and relax at the same time.
Waitangi treaty grounds
Finally we have arrived (and are about to leave) Auckland. The city of sails, and home to over 25% of ALL New Zealanders. What have we learnt about this country that’s so far from just about anywhere?

The first thing is that NZ is stunningly beautiful, which really diverse environments. The south island has acres of pasture and farmland, tough coastlines, Fjords, Glaciers and mountains aplenty. The north island has the 1 main city, a rocky/volcanic feel, sulphur springs, golden beaches and stunning rain forests. Your eyes are never bored in this country.

The people are friendly, unassuming but still confident about their country, disciplined and polite. Being in NZ makes you want to do things the right way. Everyone is patient and generally really interested in you. You are never far from a good old chat with someone.

Sometimes NZ did feel a bit like a huge retirement holiday camp. Not sure this is at all fair, but the types of tourist are notably different here. Many many backpackers, but also loads of retired couples from the UK etc visiting family and travelling. Not sure that this is a bad thing, but in a country with eternal patience, it is frustrating being stuck behind them on a single lane road!!!

NZ is not cheap. In no way is it unmanageably expensive but it is about the same as being in Europe. So if you have just arrived from SE Asia, and are used to $2 rooms and dinners, you will be in for a shock. Of course driving over 5500KMS and filling up over 17 times doesn’t help the bank balance!

All in all we loved New Zealand; it was an action packed 5 weeks all set to the backdrop of one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We did sky diving, glacier walking, swimming with Dolphins, trekking over volcanoes, cruising through heavenly fjords, sailing across picture perfect bays and ate the most amazing food around! Being amongst such few people is a bit disconcerting for city lovers like Urvi and I, but to be honest this country is a real perfect antidote to the fast and furious pace of life we seem to be shackled to.

NZ maybe far from anywhere, but you have to get here and experience it. All I would say is give it the time it deserves.

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