Mar 23 2009

Road trippin’ (Let’s go get lost, somewhere in the UK)

This week Dave & I, and Taryn and Matt (two other people from the Kings Lodge) headed out on a little tour of the South coast of England. It was meant to be a road trip….

….but as soon as we got to Swanage and saw the flat that was being lent to us, well, we stayed put.We did get to do a little bit of road-trippin’, although minimal.
Sunday evening we arrived in Reading, where Matt lives. We stayed the night at his house, and then left early the next morning.
Our first stop was Stonehenge, where we did a little audio guided tour of the famous monument. I’d like to say more about it–I really would–but to be honest, it’s exactly what it looks like. Not that it’s not cool. I was stoked out of my brains to see Stonehenge. But anything I could tell you now about Stonehenge would be something you already know anyway. So lets move on to our next stop.
After Stonehenge, it was a quick jaunt to Salisbury to see the cathedral. It was probably my favorite cathedral of England so far. The grounds are amazing and huge. It was a beautiful and warm day (in England!) so we just hung out, laying on the grass on the grounds eating lunch (and Dave smoked his new pipe). *Interesting Fact* Salisbury Cathedral houses one of the first copies of the Magna Carta. It was very cool to see.
Next stop was Corfe Castle. This was close to where we were staying in Swanage (about a 20 minute drive). Corfe was built in the 1100′s, and was an important fortress in it’s early history. Later it became a popular “hunting lodge” for kings. It later went under siege during the English civil war in the 1600′s, where it has been in ruins since. We really enjoyed seeing this castle. With the castle in ruins, it’s more like visiting a park, with the most amazingly elaborate grounds. We spent a good portion of the day there just relaxing on the grass.
*side note* Later in the day I found a friendly cat, which made the day pretty much perfect.
The rest of the week was spent in Swanage (which has a serious lack of Swans–strange) It’s right on the Jurassic coast of England. There are loads of chalk cliffs around, and we did some walks along them, which was quite beautiful, but a little scary at times! A couple times I wanted to get some closer shots of the rock, but couldn’t bring myself to get that close to the edge. Eek.
The week closed with Sunday roast back in Reading with Matt’s family, and then bidding farewell to our friends at The Kings Lodge!
On to our next journey soon!

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Mar 7 2009

Bye Bye Bolivia!

So it’s been a month since we’ve been out of Bolivia, and it’s been…well…a long time since I have blogged.

Bolivia flew by like you wouldn’t believe. We finished our time at El Camino halfway through February, and then did some work during Carnivale, the big festival (aka drunken street party) in South America where everyone drinks lots, arms themselves with pressurized soap suds, and/or paint and sprays each other. Due to that, I didn’t want to risk bringing my camera. We did some dramas on the street, and handed out “hangover remedies” that had an aspirin attached to a card that said “Esto es para tu dolor de cabeza….Jesus es para todos tus dolores!” (This is for your headache–Jesus is for all your pains)
After that we spent a week in La Paz, hanging out with backpackers in an uber cool hostel called “Loki”. La Paz is the highest capital city in the world at 12,000ft above sea level. The elevation definitely is an issue, as EVERYTHING is La Paz is on a hill. You have to stop every 5 minutes to catch your breath because of how thin the air is. It’s incredible beautiful though. We really enjoyed the city a lot. One of the highlights was visiting the Mecado de Brujas (Witches Market). A lot of the ladies selling things are called “cholitas”–part of an ethnic group in Bolivia. You can recognize them by their big bowler hats and full skirts. I got to take a picture of one of them after I bought this strange fossilized bug from her. (I’ve got to be honest–the only reason I bought the fossil was so I could take her picture) She very gladly posed for me, and later on whenever I would walk past she would call out “Photograph! Photograph!”
On the way back from Bolivia, Dave watched “James Bond: Quantum of Solace” on the flight. If you haven’t seen it, it’s actually set in Bolivia. Just so you know–Bolivia is nothing like how they portrayed it in the movie (for one thing–Bolivian Desert?! Are they talking about the sand dune outside of Santa Cruz? ;) There is no hot Bolivian desert like they showed in the movie. The Antiplano, where I guess they are trying to place it, is nowhere near hot. It’s 12,000ft above sea level, in the friggin’ Andes. It’s cold.) They also didn’t even film it in Bolivia. Go figure.

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