We have reached day 50 of our travels – it only seems like yesterday that we took our first nervous steps on to the plane! We have seen sun and snow, quatis and kingfishers, countrysides and cityscapes.
We often talk about our favourite things, and love seeing how they compare each time, so we’ll let you into a conversation we had a few days ago.
D: Brazil. It was less stressful to be in. Bolivia felt like it was stuck in 1992! Brazil was more modern… Plus it was warmer there, we’ve been freezing most of the time we’ve been in Bolivia.
C: I don’t know. Bolivia has seemed much more relaxed to me. The people here are friendly, and more patient. We may have frozen, but it’s better to be freezing than constantly look like a tomato!
D: Rio!! It has everything you could ever want. City-ness, history, beaches, hikes, interesting sights, famous landmarks. Each neighbourhood had a life of it’s own – there was always something going on.
C: I know you thought it was boring, but I really liked Santa Cruz. It was just so relaxed, and there was no pressure to do anything but drink coffee and enjoy the sun.
C: We’re both going to say the same place. Nowhere has lived up to it since the day we arrived in Brazil.
D: Discovery Hostel was the best. It had everything that we think is important. Comfy beds, clean, shelves next to the beds, lockers outside the dorm so there’s not people’s stuff everywhere.
C: All the staff were super friendly and helpful, they really cultivated a family atmosphere in the hostel. They also made the best caipirinhas, and amazing breakfast the next morning.
D: Oh and the WiFi worked… I miss WiFi.
D: I know it’s weird, but I loved the day we spent 5 hours in a car. We were picked up for a tour in a ‘private car’, then there was a dodgy stop at a corner where some money changed hands.
C: And then you got taken into that hotel and I wasn’t sure you’d come out.
D: During the car ride we had that roadkill safari, where the driver pointed out all the animals at the side of the road. We arrived at a deserted lodge in a river, and it was equal parts amazing and scary (where were the other people?). We took a trip up the river, saw some toucans and then just jumped in! Later, we were out on the river, the mix of lightning storms, fireflies and more stars than I’ve seen in my life, made it the greatest day.
C: Did you forget about our anniversary?!
D: No, I just thought I’d let you mention it.
C: We had a lovely day strolling around Sucre, seeing gorgeous sights, and eating loads of food. We ended up at that really awful Bolivian dance show that seemed like it was a secondary school show.
C: I loved the cable cars in La Paz. They just seemed so out of place in the rest of the city. They were so shiny and new. Also, the views over the city were just breathtaking.
D: I’m going to go back to Rio for my favourite activity. It was climbing Corcovado. It started off a bit bizarre trying to find the entrance, but we went with a great group of new friends. It was fun, but hard, hot and sweaty. At the top, there were immense views and it made it all worth it. Plus, I got a Cookies & Cream Magnum at the end.
D: That place I had llama curry, the highest curry house in the world!
C: It was called Star of India, in La Paz.
D: That curry was immense. And the garlic naan was tasty, but thin, which was weird. And I had a Bolivian beer, Bock. Mmmmm.
C: I liked that place in Tupiza, that made amazing banana and chocolate milkshakes and I had cheesy gnocchi.
D: I love the Brazilian’s obsession with WhatsApp. They use it as a legitimate business tool. I credit WhatsApp with the great deal we got on the Pantanal Tour.
C: Hmmm…. I think my favourite is that people buy food through the windows of buses. The buses stop for about a minute so this can happen and then off they go again.
Favourite Thing You Packed
C: My towel. I don’t think I could be without it. I have a huge purple microfibre bath towel. Firstly, because most hostels expect you to have a towel, or you can pay to hire one. But mostly, because this one goes nearly twice round me, and covers me down to my knees; whereas some towels that are provided I can just about cover my modesty!
D: I’m going to go all sensible and say Sun Cream. The first day we arrived in Rio, we forgot to put any on, and we both were in agony for a few days. I’m so glad we had some, and that we know it protects us in every way we need it to.
Favourite Thing You Bought
D: I’m going to go with the Kindle Fire. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t use it for something. Whether that’s reading, booking our next hostel, writing a blog post, learning another language, or contacting home.
C: Staying with the electronics theme, I think my favourite has been our charger. The plug is interchangeable so it fits any region, and it has 4 USB slots so that we can charge almost everything even if there’s only one socket in the room.
D: The one I’ve used most is Facebook Messenger. I’ve kept in contact with my family, and also used it to catch up with people we’ve met on the road.
C: I genuinely thought you were going to steal mine, considering how directionally challenged you are.
D: You don’t have a compass app…
C: I was talking about Google Maps. I love how the maps stay loaded, even when you’re offline. I also use the GPS function to track us on bus journeys, to make sure we’re getting off at the right place.
Favourite Travel Tip
C: We’ve saved quite a bit of money by booking with hostels direct, as opposed to through a comparison site, so it’s always worth checking before you book.
D: Before we came away I was terrified of getting somewhere and not knowing I had somewhere to stay, but we’ve just turned up on doorsteps a couple of times now, and it’s been fine, so I guess my tip is: Don’t stress to much about having somewhere booked, you can usually just find a place to sleep when you get there.