Our Monthly Wrap #8: 27 January 2015 – 26 February 2015

Wow, somehow we’ve managed to pretty much evenly split this month between two countries, Colombia and Ecuador (although entry into the Galapagos Islands got us an extra passport stamp)!

That’s right, after 235 days on the road, we’ve finally crossed the Equatorial line and again find ourselves in a part of the world where toilets flush correctly (actually, did you know that it is a myth?).

Still smiling after a 6km walk!

All smiles as we started the month in Colombia with a day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia

Countries Visited:                           2             (Colombia, Ecuador)

Two countries makes it feel like we’ve slowed down a little, but in truth, we’re actually more time efficient than we’ve been in any of out other 7 months, the countries are just starting to get bigger again!

Cheapest Bed(s):                            Hostel Los Calibries, Salento, Colombia $20,000.00 COP ($10.53AU)

Most Expensive Bed(s):                Casa Viena, Villa de Leyva, Colombia $40,000.00 COP ($31.25AU)

Highlight:                                          Snorkelling with Green Sea Turtles

Wow!

For 24 days of this month, Valle de Cocora had a mortgage on being this months highlight.

Then, perhaps unfairly for it, we landed in the Galapagos Islands and well, I guess you can guess the rest…

Green Sea Turtles at Post Office Bay off Floreana Island

Green Sea Turtles at Post Office Bay off Floreana Island

Lowlight:                                           Colombian wine

True, we’ve only ever sampled one label, and a cheap one at that… But we really should have listened to our Colombian friends who said “Colombians don’t make wine”

Have you ever seen Vino Tinto that is brown?

Needless to say, it ended up in the toilet where all smelly brown stuff belongs!

Favourite New Food:                     Lechona

Wow, talk about clogging the arteries with some fatty goodness!

Picture this. Slow roasted pork, filled with rice, yellow peas and other spices all slowly flavoured by the dripping juices as the animal cooks.

Delicious!

Lechona, foodie heaven...

Lechona, our favourite from a month of good selections

Best Beer:                                         Aguila, Colombia

Most impressive Church:              Sanctuario De Las Lajas, Ipiales, Colombia & Basílica del Voto Nacional, Quito, Ecuador

Can you believe we have a tie, and even more incredibly, it doesn’t involve the incredible Catedral de Sal (a church carved underground in a salt mine)!

To say we were presented with a plethora of candidates this month would be an understatement, but in the end we couldn’t separate one which is in a most stunning location, and the other, it’s big, it’s grand, it’s just wow!

Almost a 3 way tie!

Almost a 3 way tie!

Bucket List Items:                           1

This was a big one to be able to tick off, See the Galapagos Islands, and to top it off, we still have a handful of days left here to kick off next month!

New Bucket List Items:                  0

Highest Elevation:                          4200m   Pinchincha Volcan, Quito, Ecuador

I’d expected this to be somewhere up the slopes of Cotopaxi (another Ecuadorian volcano), but as we didn’t make it there before our Galapagos trip snuck up on us, this little morning excursion represented this months loftiest heights.

Our morning hike to Pichincha Volcano

Our morning hike to Pichincha Volcano

Days in thongs (flip flops):           28

It was expected to change this month…

UNESCO Sites:                                 4 (San Augustin Archaeological Park, National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro, City of Quito, Galapagos Islands)

Some quality sites this month, but it is simply impossible to go past the beauty and wonder of the Galapagos Islands.

Less than 15 minutes after our departure from the airport, we’d already spied the Blue Footed Booby, Marine Iguanas, Pelicans and Sea Lions!

Number of towns:                          17

Number of beds:                            13

Nights in transit:                             4 (4 Buses)

Randoms:          

  • Colombia has the best street food we’ve seen since Mexico! Empanadas, Arepas, Raspadas, Buñuelos, …
  • Colombia also delivered back to back HOT showers (in two different lodgings) for the first time in 7 months!
  • …and it also now that we are again starting to see locals with freckles!
  • Incredibly, ‘Blundstones’ (a brand of Australian work boots) now seem to be an international fashion item (especially amongst Canadians and Israelis)
  • Despite it being the same language (Spanish) through Central & now South America, it doesn’t mean that it gets much less confusing. For example, in Colombia, all of a sudden Farmacias (Pharmacies) became Droguerias (now they’re called a Farmacia again in Ecuador)! Melacoton (Peach) is now Durazno again (as it was back in some parts of Central America). Other examples abound, but suddenly escape my mind as I type this…
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