(filtered by tag 'RTW')

Conclusion of RTW

Added: August 08, 2010

Tags: RTW info photos

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It is all over. It took me much longer to process all photos and publish them then I wanted to, but there were other important things to do.

All together it was nice 1.5 year since we started planning/booking until now when everything is published. Apart from travelling I really liked parallel processing of photos and publishing. I was ahead of processing by several weeks worth of photos so I had nice flashbacks to 2 places at same time. Writing blog about New Zealand and processing photos from South America.

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It all ends in Rio de Janeiro

Added: August 05, 2010

Tags: Brazil RTW beach photos

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So it's over. We knew it has to come. After 2 months of travelling we are packing and going home. OK, we were packing nearly every day, but this time it is serious. It is our last day abroad.

Yesterday evening I made a plan for today. We will get up 7:30, have breakfast at 8:00 and then head to beach. Checkout is at 12:00, so we will have more time than I would like to spend on beach at once :-)

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Adrenaline in Rio de Janeiro

Added: August 04, 2010

Tags: Brazil RTW city photos

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Wednesday, 23rd of February. It will not be completely stress free day today. It is our second day in Rio de Janeiro and Zuzka decided we are going to visit Favela. Favelas are poor neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro and it is not safe to go there alone. You need a local guide. Somebody reliable and respected there. Her colleague James (thank you) recommended us to find Paulo Amendoim, they had great time with him in past.

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Sugarloaf Mountain

Flight to Rio de Janeiro was uneventful and rather quick. We flew around Rio and landed at Galeão airport ahead of schedule. It seemed we will get to city during daylight, but it turned to be wrong assumption. We were waiting for a bus to Botafogo more than one hour. Some buses arrived but all of them were heading to different parts or Rio.

When our bus finally arrived it was full. A driver did not want to take us, but the "bus employee" at the bus stop helped us to get in. He was probably tired of my periodic bothering him When is our bus due? Driver finally said he will take us if we don't mind standing 50min. No problem for us, just get us there.

It was dark when we stepped off the bus. Now to get oriented quickly and find our hostel. We selected Botafogo because it was cheaper than Copacabana and Ipanema and still rather close and safe. Our next task is to blend in and look like a Brazilians to avoid being robbed. At least that is suggested in all descriptions of Rio de Janeiro. Plus walking quickly so lazy muggers don't bother. This part should be easy, but how can we blend in with 2 backpacks each? :-)

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Iguazu Falls viewed from helicopter

We thought we've seen it all yesterday. But no, Brazil has many things to offer too.

Lonely Planet suggests the best way to cross Argentinian-Brazilian border is by taxi. Buses are slow and they might not wait for all paperwork. So that's what we did - we moved from hostel in Puerto Iguazú into hostel in Foz do Iguaçu by taxi. We just filled in form given us by driver and he went to handle officials. Quick and efficient.

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Friday, 19th of February 2010. The biggest of highlights of our trip is just a few kilometres from us. We had a glimpse of mist created by it from the plane shortly before landing. We wanted to see it today, but our flight from Buenos Aires was delayed for 4 hours. Funny thing was I thought it will be one of our shortest stay at airport, because we came rather late (for my likings). And also it was rescheduled couple of months ago so instead of planned arrival at noon we arrived in the evening.

So we will see it tomorrow morning. Today, we are going to lovely hostel Timbo Posada in Puerto Iguazú with friendly staff and small pool surrounded with banana leaves and other tropical vegetation. And then for nice dinner with fine wine in near BBQ restaurant.

But you don't need to wait till tomorrow, just continue reading.

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Buenos Aires

Added: July 17, 2010

Tags: Argentina RTW SouthAmerica city photos

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Argentina deserves long time to stay. It does not make sense to go there only for short visit, but we wanted to see Iguazu Falls. And the only way we could get there easily with oneworld Round The World ticket was through Buenos Aires. OK, why not.

Buenos Aires is nice big and modern city. There are not any very old buildings there, because they pulled down all buildings in colonial style and rebuilt new ones of mixed styles. But they looked pretty old to me :-) At least compared to many modern skyscrapers in other parts of the city.

I liked it more than Santiago de Chile, and 100 times more than Lima. But we planned to stay there only for one day... again.

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Lima

Added: July 14, 2010

Tags: Peru RTW SouthAmerica info

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I don't have any photos from Lima, because everybody said Lima is unsafe and it is better not to attract attention. I decided that 1.5kg camera setup might attract some attention of potential muggers so I left everything packed. Zuzka took some photos, but she is not here right now. Next week, when she returns, I might add one or two just to provide thumbnail for this post.

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Sacsayhuamán

Our original plan was to visit Machu Picchu and to see most of Sacred Valley. But thanks to heavy rains Mach Picchu was closed and after some unplanned events we got only half a day for Sacred Valley. Fortunately there are 4 places really close to Cuzco, in fact their visit is part of City Tour.

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Cuzco

Added: July 13, 2010

Tags: Peru RTW SouthAmerica church city photos ruins

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Capital of former Incan empire, Cuzco is wonderful. We liked it a lot. There are hints of Incan architecture and also colonial. It is quite touristy, I haven't seen so many touts at one place before, but there has to be some price you pay for famous place.

We spent morning exploring centre of city and we will go afternoon to nearby places (it will be a separate post). We were not in a hurry, those a few places we wanted to see can be handled in half a day. The worse "problem" is Peruvian approach to tickets. You cannot buy any individual ticket, there are only for 10 days and the cheaper is I think for 3 days with limited number of attractions. It might not be bad deal if you stayed in Cuzco longer, but we were bound to leave soon.

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We spend whole day 15th of February in bus from Puno to Cuzco. It was very nice scenic road and that was also reason we decided to travel during day, compared to alternative night trip. That would save us some time and also money, but we would not see anything.

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I forgot what exactly Kamisaraki means, but it is some kind of greeting in Aymara, used at floating islands Uros, Lake Titicaca, Peru.

On 14th of February 2010 we boarded a bus from Copacabana, Bolivia to Puno, Peru. Driver gave us Peruvian customs declaration forms and asked to check NO everywhere, because he did not want to unload baggages unnecessarily. He collected the forms later, so that we could save time by processing them at once (if at all). He also suggested we should not exchange money at Bolivian side or in a buffet. He will tell us where is good money exchange office.

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Trip to Isla Del Sol, important place in mythology of Incas, deserves whole day. Or two. We had only one, but it was enough to say this place is amazing. Rugged rocks, green terraced fields, cacti, dark blue water of Lake Titicaca, small settlements and most important of all pre-Inca and Inca ruins.

Day did not start with nice weather, but to our pleasure it changed quickly and stayed nice for rest of the day.

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It's 12th of February and we are finally heading to Lake Titicaca! A pick up bus again arrives 30 minutes ahead of scheduled range, this time a driver is not willing to wait 5 minutes until I finish packing. We have to go to Vicuña Tours near main bus terminal to catch our bus. Fortunately receptionist is very helpful - he shows us the place on a map and catches a taxi for us.

The bus is packed, no wonder due to strike there are more travellers keen to get to Copacabana. It is really cloudy, clouds are quite low, because in El Alto they form fog.

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ski centre at Chacaltaya

The reason we decided to stay in La Paz for longer was we really wanted to go to Chacaltaya. It is probably the only place in the world where you can get so high by bus! You only need a few days of acclimatization and a few $. What could be the better birthday present for Zuzka anyway?

Chacaltaya was former highest ski centre in the world, but it does not operate any more. It misses one thing - snow. The remnants of glacier finally melted down in 2009 and it is not likely it will recover soon. Surprisingly it snows there only in summer due to wet air, but never in winter.

We like mountains a lot so I could not resist showing many photos again. Sorry for that :-)

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Last day at Uyuni trip was less impressive (compared with previous day). We have seen only a few nice places and then travelled for long time back to Uyuni. However, the boring ride was compensated slightly by adventures in Uyuni.

We reached the highest altitude for us so far and finally I got decent photo of llama. Apart from that I made my first vertical panorama of llama! You know, bumpy road, driver does not want to stop, you need to shoot at high speed during ride :-) The first photo cuts the head, the 2nd one misses legs. No, I did not try to stitch it... But I like the concept ;-)

All in all, it was fine end of this wonderful trip. I encourage everybody travelling in Bolivia to go there.

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vicuñas at Laguna Hedionda

We had fantastic experiences yesterday, at Salar de Uyuni. It will be even better today, on 6th of February 2010. We continue with our Uyuni trip. While yesterday we have seen a lot of white and blue, today we are going through landscapes providing every possible colour. And some impossible :-)

This day was the one I took the most photos and I had a huge problem to select only a few of them. It was nearly impossible task. I went through selected ones repeatedly and deleted a few, but there are still many of them. So bear with me, please.

I've decided against showing photos in order we have visited places they were taken at, but to reorder them to create 2 groups: rocks/mountains and water/animals.

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Uyuni - Day 1

Added: June 15, 2010

Tags: Bolivia RTW SouthAmerica lagoon photos

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Travelling in Bolivia and not going to Uyuni is inexcusable mistake. Yes, it is quite far from La Paz and getting there is tiring, but the place is amazing. And word amazing does not do it justice. I made about 1100 photos in those 3 days. And some are actually nice :-)

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Valle de la Luna near La Paz

It is obvious Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) is not really Moon-like landscape, because it was created by water erosion and there is not so much water on the Moon to create anything similar. That does not make it less impressive, though. And that name is not so bad after all. At least it says it is something worth of visit. Previous sentences probably show why programmers don't like marketing - it usually insults their analytical thinking :-)

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Tiwanaku

Added: June 12, 2010

Tags: Bolivia RTW SouthAmerica mountains photos ruins

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Also known as Tiahuanaco was a target of our first one day trip from La Paz, where we were acclimatizing for high altitude. We've done it on 2nd of February.

It is archaeological site near Lake Titicaca. It was built in pre-Inca times and existed for much longer time than later Inca empire. That also means it is less preserved, more crude and it is hard to compare with Inca sites. We had an advantage, it was our first archaeological site in South America and we liked it in the end. But it does not stand out much, it is easy to miss from distance.

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La Paz

Added: June 06, 2010

Tags: Bolivia RTW SouthAmerica church city mountains photos

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It was the 35th day of our travelling, Monday 1st of February 2010. Our flight landed at El Alto. We walked about 100m to passport control and it was sufficient to get light headed and heavy breathing. No wonder, El Alto is at about 4100m above sea level and we flew there from Santiago de Chile at 520m. With such high elevation any strange feelings in head cannot be ignored.

I cannot help myself, I have to show many photos here. No wonder, we've spent more days in La Paz than at any other place we travelled through. We wanted to acclimatize to this altitude well before heading to "wilderness" and spent there 4 days. And then later 3 unplanned days. During that time I found I like La Paz a lot. It's atmosphere, people, colours, mountains, even weather was amazing.

Our stay was enhanced by very good hostel Cruz de los Andes we stayed at. Staff did not speak English much, only one lady was able to help in all cases, but for simpler needs we managed well also with others. We liked especially old lady in kitchen who served breakfast.

While staying in La Paz to get acclimatized to altitude you don't need to be bored. You can make many small trips in surroundings. We went to Tiwanaku and Valle de la Luna (those are easy) and later we made a hike to Chacaltaya (~5300m). You can go further away, like for example visiting Copacabana at Lake Titicaca.

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On 30th of January 2010 we said farewell to New Zealand and Australia and spent 16 hours in plane flying to Santiago de Chile. It was the longest flight we have made. Immediately in the plane I have learned our English is less useful than anywhere else we have been till now. Even simple "water, please" was always met with puzzled face. Fortunately we have learned couple of phrases that should help us to get through South American continent.

We did not plan to stay in Santiago or in Chile for long time. Just to sleep after long flight, to spend one day around the city and then fly to Bolivia. We were not interested in European city like Santiago. But when we got to our hostel we have learned from provided fliers how many things we are going miss around Santiago. (We knew we will miss Patagonia, but there was not any time even think about going there during our 1 month stay in South America). At the end I can say Santiago de Chile is interesting city.

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Karekare is picturesque area near Auckland. There are nice hills, wonderful beach and small waterfall. Enough reasons to go there. Maybe we will manage to visit also Piha and certainly we should spend some time in Auckland.

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Wormy caves at Waitomo

Added: May 31, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW cave photos

Inside Aranui Cave at Waitomo

New Zealand can offer an interesting attraction to tourists - glow worm caves. Imagine sitting in a boat inside dark cave with zillions of bright turquoise dots above you, reflecting in peaceful water around you. You don't need to imagine that. You can see that in Glowworm Cave at Waitomo and to have more "hands-on experience" also in Ruakuri Cave nearby.

I've been to many caves before, but these still could offer me something new. We bought triple cave combo tickets online to see all caves opened to public in Waitomo. (The third one was Aranui Cave without worms). It is also possible to do black water rafting in Ruakuri Cave, but we opted not to.

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After leaving Rotorua we headed to Waitomo. I will write about Waitomo Caves in next post. I wanted to write something shorter this time and following 2 waterfalls provide a good opportunity for me. They are both in the same region - Waikato, but the distance between them is about 140km.

The whole region is nice green with rolling hills. They are either covered with dense foliage or with grass. We passed only a few kilometres away from place where Hobiton from the Lord of Rings movie is located. I have learned about exact location only couple of days ago. If we knew about it we would possibly do something differently. Not because we are Lord of Rings fanatics, but just because we could.

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On 23rd and 24th of January 2010 we explored area of Rotorua, but also 2 places belonging to Taupo area. They are famous geothermal areas with many colourful pools, bubbling mud pots, smelly vapours and everything you need to see :-)

We visited Craters of the Moon, Orakei Korako, Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Te-Puia (and Whakarewarewa). Most of these places are bigger and more amazing than similar places in Iceland. It takes long time to see them all and lot of walking to see them complete.

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Emerald Lakes

Friday 22nd of January is our 25th day of travelling around the world. Once again we have great hike ahead of us. We arrived to Erua from Wellington yesterday. We could see Mt Ruapehu in the heavy clouds shortly before our arrival. It seems the weather for our Tongariro Crossing hike is not going to be better. It is one of the most beautiful hikes when weather allows and volcanoes from this area starred in Lord of Rings movies.

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Wellington

Added: May 18, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW city museum photos

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We arrived to Wellington later than we planned, but we were happy swimming with dolphins in Marlborough Sound was successful. Besides, we did not plan to stay there for long time. Just to visit Te Papa Museum and then move on.

Due to our late arrival in the evening we had some time to look around the centre. Museum was postponed till next morning.

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Hector dolphin in Marlborough Sound

We arrived to Picton in Marlborough Sound quite late. After leaving Shambhala in the morning we found we got flat tire. I don't think it was caused by terrible dirt roads in Abel Tasman. More probable cause was the accident when we lost axle cap, but the roads here certainly did not help.

Then we found we don't have a lifting jack in the car, so we borrowed one in Mussel Inn, we were lucky the staff was there in the morning and they helped us. Finally we could not go very fast with emergency tire and the car rental company wanted to see the car before we could replace the tire so we needed to go slowly to Nelson. It was on our route, but we wasted lot of time.

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Archway Islands, Wharariki beach, Abel Tasman

Our stay at Abel Tasman was nicely enhanced by wonderful place we stayed at - Shambhala in Onekaka. It was completely different to all other places we have been to till now. Beautiful surroundings enhanced by peaceful atmosphere, about 4km from "civilization" by private (terrible) road.

After our arrival I was a bit suspicious of many long haired people around and the presence of meditation room, but it turned out it was not lair of some sect as a paranoid me suspected :-)

Whole New Zealand tries to be ecological, but this place uses solar energy, collects rain water and has composting lavatory and trees for men :-)

Missing TV only added to its charm. And the night sky was even more beautiful than we could see at Mt. John Observatory. All in all, if I returned to Abel Tasman I would like to stay at this place again.

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Totaranui Beach

During our round the world trip we looked forward to 3 places with fantastic beaches. We slept over Bondi Beach in Sydney more than 2 weeks ago and Copacabana or Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro will have to wait for another month. But beaches at Abel Tasman are here and today!

It was not only about fantastic beaches here, but also weather is usually sunny and hot here. After 2 weeks of rain, clouds and occasional fair weather we really hoped this place will show us what a good weather looks like.

But it did not look very promising as we were getting close. Since morning there were many clouds in the sky. And they did not scatter. Contrary, when we were climbing winding road to Takaka Hill we could see thick clouds everywhere around. My hope was over.

But then, when we got on to the other side of hill, we could see thin band of blue in distance. We could see also some sandy beach ahead. Are they close enough? Will clouds pass before we get there? A slight taste of hope returned.

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Nelson Lakes NP

Added: May 02, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW lake mountains photos

Sunrise at Lake Rotoiti

We visited Nelson Lakes only because we liked the photos done by my former colleague Ben Smith. He was huge inspiration for our trip year ago and his photos played huge role in our decision for going to South America during our trip.

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Kaikoura Bus Encounter

Added: May 02, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW photos

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After leaving Christchurch on Friday 15th of January we are heading to Hanmer Springs. We don't have many things in our plan for today. Spending some time in thermal pools of Hanmers Springs will be good during this cloudy weather and then we need to get to Kaikoura. We are planning to swim with dolphins there with Dolphin Encounter, Kaikoura.

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Christchurch

Added: May 01, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW animals photos

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We are not excited about cities, so despite the title of this post I am not going to show any photo of Christchurch. It is quite hard to find free or cheap parking in Christchurch (it was the 1st place in New Zealand where we needed to pay for parking), so we did not explore more than immediate surroundings of our accommodation and restaurant we dinned at.

We stayed there only one night and the main reason of visit was Ko Tane - Maori Village.

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Arthur's Pass

Added: April 26, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW photos waterfalls

Entrance to Arthur's Pass NP

14th of January. We knew we were not alone in dormitory, but our roommate was not there. He arrived at 2am and went directly to bed. We were sleeping too so we did not bother to check on him. Then his alarm clock rang at 7am, but he managed to snooze it 3 times by ten minutes. We were not sure he was not able to get up or he just wanted to make sure we could not sleep too. He went for quick shower and then left.

Only later we have noticed a paper next to door warning about fake backpackers operating in Greymouth area who steal from unsuspecting roommates.

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Detail of layers - Pancake Rocks

Full of experiences from Franz Josef Glacier we were speeding to the next point of interest - Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. Punakaiki is 171km from Franz Josef. It was side trip for us and visiting that place was the only reason we did not book full-day walk on glacier, but only half-day. After finishing the walk we felt like we could be there for longer, but we looked forward to see Pancake Rocks.

We stopped in Greymouth to accommodate and continued in our ride to Punakaiki. It was getting more cloudy and late.

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detail of glacier crevasse

It is fantastic to live through our trip for the third time. The first time was when we were there, the 2nd time while I was processing photos and now for the 3rd time when I am writing this post. Our experiences from Franz Josef Glacier fully deserve to repeat them for the 3rd time. BTW while I am editing this post I am processing photos from Bolivia (Uyuni) on background making this post travelling flashbacks even more fun.

We had helicopter flight and we were also walking on glacier for a half day. I usually show all photos in one page, because I think some "quick scanners" would miss a link to the 2nd page, but there are too many photos here so the split is necessary.

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Lake Hawea

Landscape we have seen on Tuesday 12th of January was as close to my dreams about New Zealand as it could get. Snowy mountains against nice blue sky are reflecting in deep blue lakes. Lot of greens in tropical vegetation around.

Our only reason to rush through this paradise was to be at Franz Josef at about 2pm to catch so long awaited helicopter ride to Mt Cook. And the only reason to have negative thoughts were occasional, but cumulating clouds ahead.

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Wanaka

Added: April 13, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW city lake mountains photos

Wanaka

The same place can look completely differently when the weather changes. We could observe such a change in Wanaka. When we arrived it was cloudy and Wanaka did not look very nice. But next morning the sky was clean, sun was shining, birds were chirping and whole place seemed to be refurbished.

Colour of Lake Wanaka changed from ugly grey to beautiful blue. And the similar change happened with surrounding hills and mountains of Mount Aspring National Park - they grew from 2 dimensions into 3. My impression of Wanaka changed and I would put into my list of places I would like to live if I had one.

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Milford Sound

Added: April 13, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW mountains photos waterfalls

Mitre Peak at Milford Sound

Milford Sound is one of places used in promoting New Zealand. Others are Lord of Rings locations, of course... I would say it is a must-see.

We looked forward to be here not only to enjoy this place. We could resume our daily rituals like taking a hot shower in the morning. Can you imagine how much better is that compared to an alternative offered by Milford Track - cold water seeping through cheap rain coat whole day? Or not overhearing chatting girls on the third day judging their attractiveness: "I smell like a s**t"?

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Milford Track

Added: April 11, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW mountains photos waterfalls

Lake at at Mackinnon Pass

One of the activities we looked forward to in New Zealand the most was Milford Track - 54km long hike done in 4 days. Plus healthy amount of respect. That respect got even bigger when we arrived to Visitor Centre in Te Anau. Dark clouds to the north and the weather forecast for 3 days did not help to raise my mood. It said it will be raining all the time, it will be cold, snowing, windy and everything we hoped we will not experience there.

We left our car at Burglary point - nice name for parking lot near Visitor centre, took out backpacks and headed to bus for Te Anau Downs. Ignoring warnings I left my photobank and e-reader in the car. 15kg of stuff was about maximum I was willing to take with me.

It started raining before we jumped into boat and left our backpacks outside of cabin to give them the 1st test of our rain covers. We were not sure about it in the beginning, but the best buy we ever done in NZ was big yellow plastic bag we bought in Visitor Centre for 5 NZD. Thanks to it at least something stayed dry during whole hike.

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Waterfalls at Catlins

Added: April 08, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW photos waterfalls

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From Moeraki we sped to Catlins, completely skipping Dunedin. Cities are not what we came to New Zealand after. We wanted to see Purakaunui Falls and Peter found 2 more nearby.

When Zuzka and me are searching for places to go we are looking at photos in Google Maps, Google Earth, books and similar. On the other hand Peter checks where geocaches are. They are usually at interesting places and it happened many times he navigated us (pun intended) to wonderful places we missed.

This was our first encounter with rain forest and we liked it (it was not raining).

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Moeraki

Added: April 08, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW beach boulder photos waterfalls

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During planning of our trip in New Zealand I had hard time to persuade Zuzka to accept big side trip to Moeraki. I wanted to see those famous boulders and she preferred other places - there are so many of them in New Zealand. Peter sided with me so she finally accepted. But everything was resolved in favour of Moeraki after we failed to book Milford Track for beginning of our trip. The first available slot was at 6th, so that we needed to spend more time in south - the side trip sounded better now.

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To Oamaru

Added: April 05, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW cliffs lake photos

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Next day we woke up full of hopes to do helicopter flight to Mt. Cook. It was partially cloudy, but nearly half of sky was clear. We called to Tekapo Helicopter at 9am and they did not know when they will fly. I tried again at 10am with the same result. That's it, we could not wait longer.

According to original plan we wanted to do about 3h long hike in Hooker Valley under Mt. Cook. But due to bad weather we decided to skip it too. We had about 200km to go for today plus some stops and we lost some time by waiting for helicopter friendly weather.

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Lake Tekapo

Added: March 29, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW church lake mountains photos

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We woke up to see terrible storm on 3rd of January. Great, it was wonderful weather yesterday and it is terrible today. We got completely soaked just after running to the other side of road and packing our luggage into car. That did not help with our mood.

And we had two attractions asking for fair weather planned today! We planned to go into Lake Tekapo and to have helicopter trip to Mt Cook. We can move that to next day or to next week when we get to Wanaka or Franz Josef. But we will not be able to move visit of St John observatory to any other day, so let's hope sun starts to shine.

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We left Australia on 2nd of January. It was cloudy morning, we could not see panorama of city well. Thick layer of clouds was beneath us nearly during whole flight over Tasman Sea. But shortly before reaching New Zealand clouds scattered and we could see land. Wonderful mountains with some snow and big lakes. Our landing in Queenstown reminded me our landing in Lhasa last year. Sunny, blue sky, mountains at both sides.

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More amazing than Uluru

Added: March 25, 2010

Tags: Australia RTW photos

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While being in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park we could not miss the 2nd attraction about 30km from Uluru - Kata Tjuta. From photos we found on Internet we decided to spend more time at Kata Tjuta than Uluru and I think we made a good decision.

We made two hikes at/around Kata Tjuta and we watched sunrise there too.

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The heart of Australia

Added: March 24, 2010

Tags: Australia RTW photos

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I am going to take you on short travel in time, because I am going to skip whole 3 weeks in New Zealand and return there after adding 2 posts from Yulara. I just want to have whole Australia together.

So, we visited Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park at 27th - 29th January. It was middle of summer and we got what we asked for: 40-42°C. We arrived to Yulara shortly after noon and the 2nd thing we noticed after realizing it is really hot were midgets. Or I should say they noticed us.

Yulara is a resort serving National Park and its visitors. All hotels there are owned by one company, but they provide accommodation for all budgets. An advantage is that there is free shuttle from/to airport as well as regular bus service around the resort. We learned this in shuttle from airport. Its driver provided us complete information, where are shops, what to do when you arrive at the entrance to National Park (while sitting in bus of tour operator) - wave your ticket to guards.

We had been accommodated at Outback Pioneer Lodge (the cheapest option with a solid roof). It was rather nice. Several of small buildings with rooms, nice smelling eucalyptus trees providing shade, red sand everywhere, nice pool, barbecue area.

We went to local "travel agency" where we paid for our 2 days ticket pre-booked at Uluru Express. They provide very good service. They are able to take you to Uluru or Kata Tjuta for sunrise or sunset, then you can decide on your program for next morning. For example they will drop you off near Uluru, after walking around they will pick you up at defined place at given time. So you are not tied to other 30 people and predefined program. Do what you want and are able to do. In the beginning we were not sure we will want more than 2 hikes. It was too hot. But at the end we managed:

  • the 1st evening - evening walk at Walpa Gorge (Kata Tjuta), sunset at Uluru.
  • morning of the 2nd day - sunrise at Kata Tjuta and 3 hours walk Valley of the Winds (Kata Tjuta)
  • evening of the 2nd day - visit of Uluru Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre and sunset at Uluru
  • the 3rd morning - sunrise at Uluru. This was bit of surprise, because we thought 2 days ticket is valid only 2 days, but actually it seems to work for 2 mornings and 2 evenings. Simply during every trip the Uluru Express driver asked us what we want to do next and explained all possibilities. That's how I imagine good service!

We did not climb Uluru, because Anangu people ask visitors not to climb. And it would be hot, we did not have time and other reasons.

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Fireworks in Sydney

Added: March 23, 2010

Tags: Australia RTW fireworks photos

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We arrived to Sydney on 31st of December 2009 in the morning. Apart from visiting The Opera House we wanted to see New Years Eve fireworks. But it will not be so easy, because we skipped sleep during night.

It was impossible to find cheap accommodation in centre of Sydney. Don't get me wrong. We were looking for it in August! But all YHA hostels had 7 days of minimal stay so we settled on Formule 1 in Olympic Park. It was not bad, but it was too far (even with very good Australian trains) and mostly the room was tiny. We were 3 in the room for 4 people and we had not enough place to put our luggage!

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Round The World trip is over

Added: March 14, 2010

Tags: RTW info photos

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27/12/2009 - 26/02/2010: Two months passed very quickly. At least compared with time spent with (dreaming,) planning, booking, ... Our flight tickets has been booked through Oneworld a year ago (March) and we started to seriously look into details of our itinerary in August.

How was it? Fantastic! But short, compared to schedules of other people we met :-( We decided to go for more conservative schedule so our employers will be more likely willing to accept us back :-) Thanks to package price for flight tickets we could compensate for lack of time by having more flights at places where people usually use bus.

I am slowly processing all photos. They will take some time as well as their publishing.

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if3

Only a few more days are ahead of us. We are heading to Rio de Janeiro tomorrow and after couple of days on beach to home.

Again the same problem with NEFs...

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Holiday half life

Added: January 29, 2010

Tags: Australia RTW info

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Greetings from the middle of our holiday in South Hemisphere. We are leaving Australasia tomorrow, heading to South America so maybe it is good time to write something.

Unfortunately I shoot only RAWs and I do not have any way to process them during our trip. In order to publish at least something I have decided to shoot also small JPEGs for 2 days. But then I still have problem with downsizing. Only quick way to work around that (without much googling) is to upload photo to facebook and let it to downsize it for me, followed by using Paint to convert them into JPEGs :-) . Eventually I will replace them with properly procesed photos. (Done.)

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