Saturday, August 3, 2019

Coveñas

Yes, yes and yes…back to the beach and the ocean. To breathe again. No matter how much I have come to enjoy the mountains and the bush there is still this deep connection we have with the ocean that is irreplaceable. And the water here! I think I have never felt the water so hot! It is impossible to refresh yourself! Coveñas is a laid-back beach town, or at least laid back during the off season which suits always perfect to us as we can have water views from our windows and sleep with the beautiful sound of waves. And I am glad no one is here as the furthes we move to the north the more touristic the places are the less friendly people have become. Not here, we were welcomed by everyone.


Cartagena

The really impressive things about this city is the fortress that rounds the old town that looks like Disney, the contrast between the really rich and the really poor and the suffocating heat that doesn’t give you a rest day or night. The first time we visited the old town was very surprising. As we entered the walled city a different place opened up to us. It looked magic and it was late in the afternoon and a Saturday! Lots of locals were around, a huge music festival taking place. Perfect! We also did very nice bike rides and others not that nice going back and forward to the shipping agent. It was great that it give us the possibility to really explore the city and really there is no much prettiness to see. The nice area, the rich area, the touristic area. The promenade, the shopping, the tall and new buildings…same same same

We stayed on the beach, of course. But this time with so many other travellers. El Laguito has become a mix of a stopover, permanent or quasi permanent place to rest for gypsies. A place to wait for the crossing to Panama, a "going back point" for travellers from South-America that are not crossing,  a place for a good mate, nice chats, interesting people, gather information

Tyrona National park
A week after arriving in Australia, after knowing that Salsolcito has arrived well in Panama and Hector was on his ways, I finally relax and it daunt on me that I have left Colombia and with that the South American leg. Ugh. A sense of emptiness and fulfilment at the same time. I feel so sad. All the pictures of this so loved and so mistreated continent. We had been so blessed by its people, their sound, their colors, their food, their welcoming, their warmth. Never ever we felt uncomfortable, unsafe, not loved. And the nature, the incredible nature that is so imposing. The Uyuni salt lake in Bolivia, the Amazon trip in Peru, the whole Patagonia experience with the rawness, Torres del Paine, Flying above the Nazca lines, beaches for ever in Brasil, Chapada Diamantina , Machu Pichu and the Incas trial, the volcanoes in Ecuador, el Colca trial and the sunrise with the condors, our friends coming and going, our little hidden treasure the 9 Cascades in Naranjales, San Pedro de Atacama desert, Tyrona national park, the Seven Lakes in south of Argentina and Huamuaca Cerro de los 7 colores, Cabo Polonio in Uruguay and the town of Colonia, Mendoza (all of it!), cute little towns around the Eje Cafetero. We lived so much, we enjoyed so much, we immersed so much…for ever in our hearts!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Guatape

We had a ball here! First of all, dressed in my best Sunday clothes we strolled in this super cute town. All home fronts so colourful, a fitted description of this place as it is called the “city of plinths”. Very happy that we got here on the weekend as the town lights up! On Monday we did a biathlon! Morning kayaking and afternoon a ride with our new bikes! A pity that the path was so up and down that I did most of my ride walking! That night, while we were cooking I said to Hecti: “we do know how to live life”…. and I didn’t exaggerate a bit. I still can’t believe this opportunity, to live life at our fullest; to be healthy and to be active. We enjoyed so much these times.

La Chorrera

Guauu, this was a bit more difficult than expected but absolutely rewarded. The walk took us 6 hours of ups and down to reach the highest waterfall in Colombia…. and we couldn’t be happier!

Bogota

Only one full-day, a big walk to get immerse in this huge city! Walked on the beautiful old town and spend the afternoon in the flea market. Bogota is every bit what a big city should be: noise, busy, high rises, very poor areas, huge traffic.

Zipaquira

I didn’t want to pay such an expensive ticket to get into the salt cathedral and even less to pay their parking. But we ended paying much more - financially and emotionally - as we spent the whole afternoon dealing with the parking police that took our SalSolcito to the depot!

The cute nice little old towns

Guatavita - Nemocon -Villa de Leyva - Raquira - Balneario La Gloria (Las Gachas) - Barichara -Guane - Mompox

I was really surprised… totally! I don’t know what I was expecting but certainly did not expect to find such beautiful laid back out of the history books colonial, big stones pavements towns! Each one of them romantically crafted; most of them pure white walls with orange roofs, some of them only two colors (green and white); the breathtaking churches, the mountains and valleys just around… it did feel like some of the places in Europe in so many ways. You get a sense that time stops still over there and for a moment it looks like nothing has changed much from the last 100 years, including the horse carriers. Villa de Leyva was very hip, lots of craft shops, very upmarket, plenty of museums. Balneario la Gloria had this great walk on the valley that finished in the water holes; pure, cold, crystalline water running down the cascades, through the stones; Mompox with her long promenade along the river and the most distinctive iron fence windows - no two are the same!- Guatavita with the “Mallorca” feel and its great lagoon and Barichara with its great walks (the one we did took as to Guane - we come back in this tiny colourful bus). All this time was magic, unexpected and super enjoyable... now is time to continue travel until we get to the ocean!!!!



Monday, April 29, 2019

April 2019

Two days ago, I saw in facebook that we celebrated 5 years since we got SalSolcito…5 years! It feels like ages when we were travelling through Europe and on the other hand it feels like we had always being living like this. Very difficult to explain. As Hecti keeps saying “this is our life, not a holiday, just life”. And I am reflecting on this, sitting on a lower chair, a deserted park, in any town really near Medellin after a nice cold shower from the back of our car.

Our life is now 3-5 months at a time. If it was unexpected and unplanned before, it is not totally unexpected and unplanned. Archie (and other potential grandchildren) has meant we can only go a few months at a time.The logistics of how and where to leave our SalSolcito, airports to fly to Aus, potential work to go back to, parents getting more needy in Baires… well… as I said, only a few months at a time!

Going back to Aus, working 10 hours a day every single day and enjoying Archie any moment has been tough… in the body and in the mind. As much as I love (and I love it a lot) working, the stress of projects plus city living does take a toll on us, and in me in particular. But, and it is a big big but, there is no complain, just enjoying the opportunity to be back often to be with our kids. And the goodbyes are not that dramatic anymore, as we have made a commitment to see them every 5 months 😊.

So, we reunited with SalSolcito in Quito, she was in perfect condition. Great! It is funny how the smallest routines become part of our everyday going. We always wash the curtains of our home before going anywhere and then there is something magical about putting them up when we start going again. Like actors who rehearse before the grand-opening, knowing that there is going to be a function every day after. It is a routine that sooth the mind and helps to bring us down after the often long long fly back.

Museo del Carnaval - Pasto
We crossed to Colombia as soon as we were ready, with the hope of going to Pasto to fulfil a promise that I gave to this family the past November. And so, after only 2 days in Colombia I found myself in front of 400 middle school girls participating in workshops about violence during courtships (and of course intra-family)… how can I describe this experience? Powerful, impactful, full. To open up discussions about this area, that I have worked on for so many years back in Aus, to be able to share the knowledge, and to essentially bring words of hope that there are choices, there is another way, there is an opportunity for them to be free, to be what they want to be… Oh! It was very special. The funny thing was how we were treated by this beautiful family, with so much care and love. An experience to remember.


Back to Cali, and back to our friend for another round of love before moving again to the "Eje cafetero"; this time for a fun day…

It has been raining tons every single day around 2pm. Still, we wanted to do the San Cipriano “way”. This can only happen when needs and lack of resources gives birth to innovation! Picture this: a motorbike on a platform on a rail tracks. Train that it doesn’t work anymore and leave the communities in an isolated way. Not anymore! These funny mods of transport means that locals can go to school and to the markets for food and on top of that money make by tourists interested in trying it! It was crazy, fast, scary and exciting all at once…and we loved it!


Filandia

This cute little town, similar to Salento, is where we got together with other 5 motorhomes/vans for a chat, a mate (all Argentinians) and a bit of chit-chat. It is difficult for me to socialise and even worse to attempt to plan something with other people. Even though there is so much in common with other travellers I feel worlds apart. It could be the age, the different cycle in life, different needs or ways to travel, or what I like to do. I found myself wanting to be with others and then not at all. I must say that similar stuff happened to me in Aus; this time around I did not meet with many people; only 2. I feel very disconnected emotionally from others. I wonder if things will change when we back for good….


Medellin

This huge city did connect with us with its story of suffering and rejuvenation. It is true that there is so much still to do and that in several parts the government has all but given up in the fight for control with regards to drugs. The “Museo de la Memoria” reminded us of a past of just around the corner. The decades of the 60 throughout the 70, 80, 90 and 00 is still very fresh. I still remembered seeing clips of the violence here, doubted at one point “the most dangerous city in the world”. We visited “Comuna 13” infamous because it was the most dangerous place where at any given point there were 5 different militias fighting against each other. 80.000 people living in precarious conditions, a 2002 attack from the government bombing from helicopters and a massacre that resulted… this on top of the thousand of kidnappings, car bombs, homicides and the lot that was part of every day life for the people in Medellin. La comuna today is flourishing thanks to the artistic movement, to the incredible graffiti plastering the walls telling of the dark stories on top of that the breakdance and hip hop, the music and the poetry. It is a new beginning, still so much to do.


Santa Fe de Antioquia

Loved walking thought the streets of this little colonial town. The cobble stones on the streets and the street tiles on the pathway give a perfect frame for the white walls of the houses. But it was so hot (36 degrees?) that we could feel the heat (more like fire!) so we escaped after a delicious tamarind with fresh lemon juice.

Looking at fincas to stay the night and go for a swim, we were totally welcomed by a new place of “food track - containers” surrounded by gorgeous garden, tall tress and a delicious (still hot!) swimming pool!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

January 2019
Salento

I did love this little town! All colorful, and prepared still for the holidays season, plenty of shops. The town become alive at night even though we were late for the “ferias” (carnavales). We were driving on the "eje cafetero". Such a great drive, a big new highway in the canyon, the intensity of the greens, and exquisite "fincas" with stables all over the place. From here we drove to Cocora Valley and did a great walk! Soaking wet, going up to 2,800 mt, to be closer to the tall palms; then all the way down to the river and crossing many bridges made me feel like Indiana Jones. 6 hours, 12 km... and we are dead!

Manizales

Finally on time! We catch up the yearly ferias here. Never seen so many people together on the same spot! Hundreds and hundreds walking elbow to elbow through the streets, all the shops, all the food! Interestingly enough, with such a crowd, I never felt unsafe ??


Tatacoa Desert

We thought that Road Runner and the Coyote were going to appear at any moment! It was like a Disney set... such as incredible and unreal this desert is. Funny formations and colors, we did a walk under a sunny 40 degrees…and sadly couldn’t stay to see the starts as I become sick from the heat




somewhere on a night on a petrol station, near the desert of Tatacoa.

I am writing this after so many days without writing, reflecting back in what has been already such a great experience in Colombia. The country did not disappoint us a bit, and it was no an exaggeration when other travellers told us many many times about the Colombian people. We have had so incredible experiences so far. Where the Brazilians were helpful and intense and so friendly, the Colombians… well, they treat you like you are family! They entered our home without asking permission for example, just saying... ”I want to see your place”... and up they do! You can hear the music coming from every house, every corner. They are interested in us; they want to get to know us. We have seen countless cars just followed us and stop for a chat. And in the streets, they do wave us as we do pass thought the roads.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


COLOMBIA

Can’t believe we are finally in Colombia! New country…yuppppppyyyy!!! We are really excited to finally be here. In every meeting with every traveller Colombia has always come back as “the place” “the people”. It was also such a great relief to be moving north… as I jokingly have called the Ecuador passage the “Rivadavia entre Ciudadela y Ramos”… so many times we have come and go! (and funnily enough we will have to come back, as Aus will be calling and Colombia visa arrangements will not allow us to leave the motorhome here, go back to Ecuador to continue the trip!!!).

Las Lajas

First point. Slept in the very new monorail parking lot. On Christmas (how appropriate!) we did a big walk towards the Santuario de Las Lajas. A magnificent church set in the middle of the canyon! From aside it looked like one of those big European castles, all done with stones.

Laguna de Cocha

A beautiful drive, the Panamerican route, on the mountains. Lush forests, a river run in the canyon, and it is cold! We arrived to the lake, a strange place! A line of restaurants and souvenirs shops at one end of the lagoon, canals and little bridges a la Venice! and all decorated for Christmas! It was like a magic town coming out of a fairy-tale book! And the water pump is not working again!

Popayan

The white city. Very pretty. We were reunited here with Caro (a fellow traveller) and ended the year in someone’s house, celebrating someone’s 90 birthday. A very random and boring end of the year!

Sylvia

The interesting thing in this town was the people still dressing with the traditional clothing! It totally looked like as we had stepped into a time machine!

Pance River

I think all Cali is here! Holidays plus weekend plus 30 something degrees! I believe the whole city comes down to this glorious river with beautiful rock formations and small waterfalls. Picnics, families, a perfect place to be!

Cali

The salsa capital city. I must confess my apprehension as getting to big cities. Always. But if there is something I didn’t need to be was afraid. We parked in a nice suburb, on a little park. We were going to be there only 1 to 2 days, getting to know the city and then go. But our “neighbours” had other plans! 4 days later, a party with cuban band, sangria and paella, another night going salsa dancing…and the city was unexpected! It has so much life…vibrant, so many different places with bars and restaurants, it is a very cool city. All the parks at night filled with people, and the cutest one, San Antonio, on top of a mountain the cutest of all

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

29 November 2018

She was fantastic! After such a long flight/drive we finally saw her and hug her! She was standing there, as good as we left her, just waiting for us. No too much dust, the fridge started on the first try as it did the battery, the gas, the electricity. All perfect…it did feel like home. I just realised then that it felt like home because is the only home we have had in almost 5 years. The only known thing, the familiarity. And after only 2 days of cleaning and organising we took her on the road again. That feeling of driving once again, that feeling of freedoms, it was exhilarating! We were very emotional; which was exactly what we needed after seeing Archie in video over the phone celebrating his first year ?

We took a familiar road and ended up on Puerto Lopez once again, for 2 days. This is the place of nice bike ride on the beach, the slow pace and the huge prawns just out of sea. We also took our kayak for a quick spin as the sea was somewhat choppy…still very funny to paddle to the end where the fishermen are, buy some prawns and paddle back.




Laguna El Salado, near the border with Colombia 

Canoa

A perfect place to work. Once again, we are in Canoa. The place of looooong and desertic beaches. Spent a few days here and unlucky a fall from the bike took my shoulder in such a pain. They told us to go to a “sebador”, someone who puts bones back in place? Arrived to a small town, there were so many people in the “waiting room” (hammocks outside the place). We waited for 6 hours, the pain was so bad but not as bad as what was waiting for me! He literally pulled my arm around and OMG thought I couldn’t take it at all. I cried so much! A few injections after to calm me down and still can’t recover….

Ibarra

Stuck. Literally and symbolically. The shoulder is no healing but now we also have the water pump and the water tank broken. And so, with lots of “ifs” and “buts” we stayed at this great camping for 4 days! Hecti repairing and repairing, me not doing much… just worry about the work I have to do and can’t do and, in the meantime, we met this great Colombian family and a promise of new encounters.



Thursday, November 8, 2018

Don Alejandro
We were for a big treat! Celebrations!!! Don Alejandro, the owner of the hotel where they let us park so generously and use the WIFI is turning 87!!!! Hecti did the cheesecake in a saucepan cake and with a glass of wine he blows the candles. Such an interesting life. Rescue by the “French Legion Army” from a concentration camp when he was a child. Fought in the Vietnam, Korean, Algeria and World War II. His French wife killed in Africa. Lived in USA for 30 years, now in Ecuador for the last 20. So lucid, so alert, and psychically in great shape. Goes for a swim for  half hour every time he can and a walks every day. We finished the day going to town to a big estancia where his friends prepared a BBQ.

Friday, September 28, 2018

 28 September 2018

I am writing this blog on a tiny plane going from Sydney to Cooma. I cannot begin to understand how we are where we are now.

Achie changed our journey, our heart and our way to be. He arrived only a few months ago but is giving us a lot to think and do. Before we even left Australia we started thinking about how to come back and see him again. The answer came courtesy of mainly 1 client who was so taken by my work last that he asked me to come back! And so after only a few months in our SalSolcito, reunited with Clau in Ecuador and enjoying some serious mountain-volcano walks we are back in Sydney. Hector in full babysitting mode and I am in full workaholic mood! 

While enjoying Archie is such a joy it is clear to us that our lives are not totally here (Sydney). It is true that is the best city in the world and having the kids again so close feels like we have never left. But, our bodies are screaming for fresh- easy food and physical exercise and our souls are screaming for nature. I am so convinced that I am at my best when I am surrounded by water, with a physical challenge in front of me in the form of a bike, a kayak or a mountaineering experience; where I don’t know where I will wake up and where I will fall asleep, where there is so much to see but specially so much to “being”

Archie is eatable! I won’t write about the good bye as it is very painful

Friday, July 20, 2018


June-July 2018 we travelled with Claudia from Quito to Guayaquil
We visited: Quito, Cotopaxi, Quilotoa, Baños, La Moya – Chimborazo, Cuenca, Cajas National Park, Guayaquil – Parque Samanes











Back to Australia from Lobitos – Piura



Friday, June 8, 2018

June 2018

After dropping the young people we continue our journey north. Still looking for warmth weather and still looking very much for sun! Our batteries are unable to charge, all is cloudy and grey. It does make our re-entering into our lives much harder. And what definitely is making it harder is that the northern we go the ugliest the towns become :(



Having said that, the exception was Canoa. Long, wide beaches, friendly people, lots of bars in their two blocks "touristic" part along the beach (deserted this time of the year). We felt safe and we liked it there but after 2 days we were ready to part.



Next was Punta Cojimies. We got there with the hope of trying our new kayak for the first time. We knew it was a bay and so safe to explore....but once again, the rain didn't let us enjoy. This was the last beach and now we are ready to cross to the mountain, searching for long and adventurous walks :)

Deciding to stay put for another day or 2 prove to be the key. Finally, our kayak is out! It does feel strange to paddle in such a different kayak but we are happy to welcome “Linyera” to the family 😊



I have to admit how difficult it is to communicate with a lot of Ecuadorians. Not sure if it is the language mannerism or the general culture but Hector and I find ourselves asking the same questions sometimes 4-5 times until something does happen. Most of the time, people just stare at us, without answer or movement. Simple things like “do you know a bakery here?” are met with dead silence.