2 Volunteers on an Organic Farm

June 19, 2011 § 4 Comments

2 hour hike from civilization? Check. “Trash” sorted into 6 different bins? Check. Compost toilet (glorified term for a bucket)? Check! Welcome to Sacred Suenos (Sacred Dreams), the organic farm in Ecuador where we paused our travels to volunteer for a week.

2 ready volunteers, poop bucket and machete in hand

Adventure Sports

June 14, 2011 § 3 Comments

We took advantage of the low prices in South America to try a bunch of adventure sports. Most cost under a third of their US-equivalent prices (yet still offer over half the safety!). Here’s what we’ve done so far:

Paragliding

San Gil, Colombia

My most commonly recurring dream is having the ability to fly — or to sort of hover using a mysterious seated position — over the trees and houses of my neighborhood. When I wake up I’m deeply disappointed that my magic power is gone. Paragliding is the answer.

You sit in a comfortable harness along with the instructor, the wind fills the sail behind you, and then you canter off the side of a hill and lift-off. It’s so gentle that I didn’t even realize we were off the ground at first. Once aloft it’s quite peaceful and not scary at all.


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Spanish colonial towns – the charming and the unexpected

June 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

In South America, though the capitals typically contain 30-50% of the entire country’s population, they are not generally destinations in and of themselves (exception, Buenos Aires). Let us recommend three alternative cities which are probably new to you: Sucre, Bolivia; Arequipa, Peru; and Cuenca, Ecuador.

All of these cities have a similar feel with their well-preserved buildings, square Spanish-style plazas, and cute cobblestone streets. The United Nations has listed them all as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Two of them even have the same nickname: “The White City”. As Andean cities, all have elevations of at least 7,000 feet. And though they overflow with historic charm, each of them intrigued us with some non-traditional surprises as well.

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Prague: where the streets are safer than the hostel

May 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

We were in Prague for three nights. We slept for only one of them. The other two were spent on the street and at the police station.

Night 1: The Street

Apparently the Saturday night before Easter Sunday is a popular time to be in Prague. We called twenty hostels and hotels and not a single one had beds available. Our “show-up-and-find-a-hostel” plan that worked so well all through South America had finally bitten us.

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Hello Eastern Europe!

May 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It’s been a whirlwind past month! On May 20 we switched continents flying from Colombia to Germany to embark on the second half of our trip. We hurriedly bounced between the capital cities, upping our travel pace in order to join our friends Dana and Eric in Croatia. In five weeks we’ve already visited more countries in Eastern Europe (9) than we saw in six months in South America (8). Along the way we also had our laptop stolen (more on that in a later post).

Check out our new Eastern Europe map & itinerary page, always accessible from the left sidebar.

Now that we have a computer again (thanks Dana and Eric!) we hope to catch up on blog posts. We’ll be adding a few more carryover posts from South America while also writing about Eastern Europe.  Stay tuned and thanks for following!

At the Ranch with Cowboy Enrique

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

My interest in the culture of the gauchos (cowboys) started when we visited the festival in San Antonio de Areco, and the fascination grew through 2 months of consuming our way through Argentina’s steak-loving, wine-drinking culture. The barbecue itself, as an event, was continually referred to as a rite of passage not to be missed. When we finally got our visit to an estancia (ranch), I had high hopes for partaking in the scenery, horseriding, and of course, the eating.

Here’s a run down of our 24 hours as tourists on a ranch with Cowboy Enrique of Sayta Cabalgatas (cabalgatas = horseriding).

Photo of Enrique from Sayta Cabalgatas

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Salt Flats

March 25, 2011 § 3 Comments

In 5 months of travel, we’ve seen our fair share of breathtaking scenery. Mountains, volcanoes, beaches, forests, waterfalls, extravagant churches, ancient ruins, argentine women, and more. But one sight triumphs over them all: the salt flats in Bolivia.

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