Monday, October 25, 2010

South America Day 7: What A Great Decision

Tena to Banos
Oct 18, 2010
South American Travels

We woke up farily early, still tired. We were suppose to meet the girls we met the night before for breakfest. We got ready and headed over to thier hostel. We had a lovely breakfest. After telling the girls that we decided to leave, we all went to our hostel so they could book their jungle tour. They left to pack and we went to get some supplies for the bus ride. When we got back it was about the time need to leave so we could also do a video. We left the hostel looking like pack muels and headed for the bus station. Oh by the way our hostel guy gave us direction to go straight and you can´t miss it. You will see the busses he says! YEAH RIGHT. We walked about 10 minutes too far and had to take a taxi to the station or we would have missed the bus.
The bus ride could have been better, but ofcourse there weren´t any bathrooms and they didn´t stop. The bus ride was right at my limit for holding it. I probably could hold it longer if it was so crazy bumpy! Anyway we made it there at around 2pm or so. We didn´t know where the hostel, that they ladies recomended, was so we just started walking and asked along the way. When we finally got to the hostel we were disappointed because it was expensive. We couldn´t afford anything like that so we had to keep walking!
We stumbled upon a hostel that was much for affordable but still nice.

South America Day 6: A Change Of Mind

Tena, Ecuador
Oct 17 & 18, 2010
South American Travels
We had decided to go to Tena after church so that we could explore the amazon. We caught a bus at about 1pm and it took ruffly 5 hours to get there and cost $6 per person. We arrived at 6pm and got off the bus at a hostel. We hadn´t booked one before we arrived, so we had to just check prices and choose one. It was right during the dead season so our room cost 14 dollars for two people, but wasn´t much too look at.

We went out for a walk and stumbled upon the only other 4 gringos in town. We talked for a while and made plans to meet up with them for breakfest. Back at the hostel we had a change of mind. We decided not to go on a Amazon tour. We just weren´t feeling it. We just wanted to relax for a while and not travel around. So we decided to leave the next day for Banos. It took me a while to fall asleep that night because I kept thinking there were bed bugs! Don´t worry, there weren´t.

It was a rather unevenful day, the first, but probably not the last!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

South America Day 5: Quito, Ecuador

What An Amazing City
October 16, 2010

South American Travels
Grand Plaza

I continue to be shocked by what I find in Ecuador. We went out exploring the city today. We took the electric bus, which costs 25 cents per person, to the Old Town. Wow, old town was really beautiful. The old town looks very European and has a great vibe.

We walked around taking it all in! We stopped at this little restaurant to get tamales. I had a sweet one with chicken, which a lady told me, is an popular Ecuadorian dish. We pooped in and out of little shops all day long. Everything in Ecuador is really cheap and you can find anything you need.

After eating the above food! We walked to the Grand Plaza. We walked around the plaza, people watching and then moved on to another area of Old town. We went by many churches, shoppes, bakeries, and a movie theater! By this time we were a little worn out and decided to walk back toward our hostel. We didn't get very far when it started sprinkling, so we hoped on an electric bus.

We took the bus back toward our hostel. We went to a book store in the Mariscal district, called Confederate Books, which has the largest collection of English books in South America! It started pouring rain so we went down the street to Mama Clorinda, which has amazing local food. I got an empanada with chicken and Davina got a dish that started with a Q! I can't remember! See picture below!

We headed home as soon as the rain died down. Then we have just been hanging out at the hostel watching friends and putting this blog up! Tomorrow we will go to church, then head to Tena! Can't wait!

South America Day 4: Entering Ecuador

The Border To Quito
October 15, 2010
South American Travels

We literally Walked Across The Border!

22 hours over... 5 more to go! We arrived in Ipiales at 6:30am, then took a taxi to the border. There we did our immigration stuff and walked across the border. On the Ecuador side we also had to go through immigration. After we got our stamps, we took a micro to Tulcan, a border city with buses to Quito. The border crossing was interesting because it didn't even seem like anyone cared whether or not we had a stamp in our passports! We could have easily just walked across and not gone through immigration! Or so we thought, until our bus got searched by the police multiple times and they asked for our passports, checking to see if we had stamps!

When we got to Tulcan, we found a bus leaving right away for Quito. The trip took about 5 hours and was beautiful. The bus wasn't as nice as the one in Colombia, especially since there were no toilets! So we had to go at a burger place when they stopped long enough! We arrived in Quito at 1:00pm. From the bus station we took a taxi to a hostel we found online. The Travellers Inn hostel is located in the Mariscal district.

We love our hostel! It's clean, quite and the staff is knowledgeable! After we got settled in, we went to explore the area around our hostel. We went to the fresh food market and then to eat dinner. We chose a cheap Chinese restaurant and it was delicious! Then we did some grocery shopping! We also found that Ecuador has amazing pastries! YUM! It was a long journey to get to Quito, but well worth it, we love Ecuador. Tomorrow we go exploring the city!

Follow along as we travel through Ecuador!

South America Day 3: Colombia Country Side!

22 Hour Bus Ride Through Colombia!
October 14, 2010
South American Travels

This is the route we took during our long bus ride!

I know what your thinking!! Crazy! Well my sister and I didn't plan before we came to South America! So we didn't realize that everything was far because the countries are big! So we didn't know that it would take us 24 hours to get to the border of Colombia and Ecuador! We had to make a decision on whether or not we wanted to see a few cities in each country or do a few countries and a lot of cities. So we chose few countries, many cites.

After making that decision we decided that we wanted to spend most of our time in Ecuador and Peru. So we planned a bus ride straight through Colombia to the border. We got up in the morning and wasn't quite sure what time the bus left. We left for the bus station at around 6am. We got there in perfect time to find a bus leaving at 7:30 to the Border city of Ipiales. It was a direct bus costing about $50 each, lasting 22 hours.

On the map above you can see the cities we passed through. The bus ride was beautiful, but slow at times due to traffic and construction. We slept a little here and there, but mostly talked. The bus was nice, with a bathroom and reclining seats. They also played The Patriot! Which was an interesting choice of movie for a bus ride! We stopped for lunch at around 1:00, in which I had soup and salad. Other wise they didn't really stop, except to let people on and off.

We ended up falling asleep for the night at around 9pm. I was surprised by how much sleep I actually got. I only woke up a few times here and there. Mostly because it was FREEZING on the bus! We didn't even arrive at the border until 6:30am, the next day! I was surprised to find that it wasn't that bad of a bus ride, considering how long it really was!

Colombia was expensive, but rather well put together.

South America Day 2: Bogota

City Sight Seeing

October 13, 2010
South American Travels

The View From Hill Of Monserrate.

Today was an interesting day. We slept in a little, well actually we woke up at 6, and then went back to sleep! At 9am we decided to get up and get some stuff done. So we did my blog, yoga, ate breakfest, read, wrote, talked with our dad, got dressed and left the hostel at around 12:30!

We didn't have a map or any notion of where we wanted to go. So we basically just started walking. On our walk we noticed a tram that let up to a high peak that over looks all of Bogota. So we walked toward that. We asked for directions and after some navigating we made it. We paid about 6 bucks each to go up and back.

The view up there was fantasic. See first picture and the picture above! That is what it was like. We didn't realize Bogota was so expansive and vast. It was a little cold at the top but over all a very lovely day. After spending a few hours on the top of The Hill Monserrate, we walked back down to the city. We walked and talked, while somehow navigating our way back toward the hostel.

We stopped at a supermarket and got some much needed supplies, such as toothpaste and a lighter (for the stove!)! Then we ask a travel agency about how to get to Equador. He told us that we would have to go to the border city, then cross over there, and then take another bus to Quito.

After we left him, we decided to get some food. However, everything we passed didn't really look all that great, except for Crapes & Waffels. So we got a waffel there and then walked back to the hostel. We ate some leftovers for dinner and then just hungout, and planned our next day trip to the border city! A simple, but nice day!

And the fun continues!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

South America Day 1: NYC - Bogota

Over The Ocean
October 12, 2010

South American Travels

We left NYC at 11 am only to arrive in Miami at 2:30pm. We had to do an emercancy landing for some unkown reason. We waited for them to tell us what to do for what seemed like hours. Finally at around 4pm, they told us that there was a flight to Bogota at 5pm. It was kind of fun, because we got to skip tot he head of the line in secutrity and rush to the gate. We made it with plenty of time to spare!

We actually landed at 7:15 which is at about the same time we would have anyway! We went through customs and exchanged some currency. Then we headed out to get a taxi. I was surprised that only one person asked us if we needed a taxi! We got our taxi and were are our way! It took us about 30 minutes to get to Hostel Fatima. Our hostel is alright. We have a private room which is nice but you can hear everything that goes on downstairs. All in all I would say the first day was successful!

Lets see what day 2 brings...