So last night we had a few going away drinks. And miraculously I didn’t cry. Well. Ahem. I only cried a couple of times… Mostly it was just great fun; any excuse for a fun night with my friends. :D Unfortunately an iPhone 4 isn’t the right camera for bar photos (aside from the fact that my pink case seemed to add a pink tinge to everything!), but they’re going up anyway because my friends make me happy. Thanks you guys for coming last night!
Things are finally falling into place for going – which they’d want to, as we’re leaving on Wednesday! I packed yesterday, and although I’m going to need to completely unpack and redo it all, as it’s slightly too heavy and a little over full, it really cemented the fact that yeah, we’re actually doing this. And that I can manage it.
The itinerary isn’t as definite as I usually manage – I had colour-coded print-outs in folders when we went to South East Asia last year – but it’s getting there. Our basic trip outline is something like the picture on the left (click for a larger map that is zoom-able). We’re flying to Amsterdam on Wednesday, and then going straight to Antwerp.
We have time in Antwerp on Thursday and most of Friday, then on Friday evening and Saturday we are attending the World Gymnastics Championships. Expect an EXTREMELY excited post after that, as I already am extremely excited. We head back to Amsterdam on Saturday evening, to stay on a houseboat for two nights, before flying to Rio de Janeiro on Monday. We have 5 nights in Rio, then we’re heading to the Pantanal, a wetlands area of Brazil, where we’re staying in an ecolodge and going on a few tours on foot, by jeep, by boat and by horse, hoping to see some wildlife. Apparently October is a good time to see jaguars, so keep EVERYTHING crossed for us.
Then we’re heading to Argentina, via the Iguazu Falls, spending a few days in Beunos Aires (and maybe taking a day trip to Uruguay) and then making our way down the east coast of Argentina (where there will be PENGUINS!) to Patagonia. We have a 4 day trek booked there in Torres del Paine National Park which sounds a bit on the difficult side, but there are glaciers and amazing views so I guess I’ll manage! This should take us to the second week of November.
From there, we are going to fly to the north of Chile and spend the rest of November exploring Bolivia and getting to Peru, where we’re visiting Manú National Park, which is supposed to be one of the most unspoiled Amazonian areas left. We also have the Inca Trail booked for the beginning of December. By then, we’ll be ready for (hopefully) a niceish hotel for a night or two in Lima… with a BATH. Or at least, I’m angling for this! Michael is probably just as happy to keep roughing it!
We should reach Ecuador at the end of December, and depending on how everything works out, we’ll either spend Christmas in Cuenca and do a cruise of the Galapagos for New Year, or the other way around. We’re hoping to reach Colombia by mid-January and spend the last month exploring there, finishing at the beach towns on the north coast before going back to Bogota in mid-February to fly home.
Phew! I’m still slightly terrified by all of this, so I’m just trying to focus on things a few days ahead. Right now I’m excited about the gymnastics. After that I’ll focus on being excited about Rio. Anything else is too overwhelming!