We decided we may as well go to Astana while we were in the area, seeing it was the capital, as we probably won’t be back in the ‘Stans for a third time. We had no expectations, so were blown away by the incredible architecture, street art and night lighting. We also visited some more of China - around Chengdu and Chongqing
We’re heading to Kyrgyzstan today. We’ve booked a 15-day Explore “Mountain Kingdoms of the Silk Road” for A$3,140 each. The tour begins in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and finishes in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). The trip pace is listed as “full on” for travellers who like their holidays packed with activities and experiences, moving on quickly from place to …
We were waiting for inspiration for where to go for our next trip, when we came across an “Explore” trip from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. In 2008 we had done a 6-week Dragoman trip from Istanbul to Tashkent, so this was a good chance to fill in some “gaps”. We booked this …
We’re heading to Arequipa in Peru today by public transport. It’s about 425kms by road, but we’re expecting to take all day to get there. It is still dark, due to Chile’s weird time zone, when our taxi picks us up just after 8am to head for the Terminal Terrestrial for the first leg of our journey.
Today we’re off to Manaus, the major departure point for the surrounding Amazon Rainforest. We’re actually heading back to Santiago in Chile, but we can only do it by a series of flights, including the first one to Manaus. Decided it was too good an opportunity to miss, so will spend a couple of nights there. We were there in 1999, when we did boat trips up into the rainforest, so this time we’re just having a look around the city, and especially an Opera House Tour, which we missed last time.
We are now entering Guyana which boasts a remarkably rich ecology, but also has one of South America's poorest economies. Tropical rainforests - filled with distinctive plants and trees, teeming with exotic birds, insects and mammals - are a big draw for eco-tourists. But political troubles, ethnic tension and economic mismanagement have left the former British colony with serious economic problems
We knew very little about Suriname, but after some reading find that it is the smallest sovereign state in South America with an estimated 2018 population of 568,301, half of whom live in the capital Paramaribo, and 90% live in the capital or the coast. The first permanent European settlement in Suriname was established by …
Today we’re flying to Cayenne in French Guiana (Guyane) for the start of our 21-day trip with Dragoman. This was supposed to be in one of their expedition trucks, but a couple of days ago we got an email saying that the truck was not allowed into French Guiana, so the whole trip will be done in a series of minibuses.
We’re doing a 21-day Dragoman tour of French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana, the three countries in South American that we haven’t visited. By the time we worked out how to get to Cayenne in French Guiana, and added a couple of other places we’d missed on previous trips, we suddenly had a 7-week trip. We’re flying into Rio, then flying to Cayenne via Belem, which was a good opportunity to stop and have a look at Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon.
Today we’re off to our Paris homeswap..... it's a beautifully furnished apartment in a 6-storey building built in 1760, on the border of the 1st and 2nd arrondissement, and only 600 metres from the Louvre.