søndag 16. januar 2011

When travelling in South America...

  .. you might book a triple room with a private bathroom, except that the bathroom is not that private...

...you see somewhat misleading signs..

..and some signs you don't quite see the meaning of..

... experience that restrooms are not exactly like they are at home..

..or that some hostel rooms stick out from the rest..

 ...you can do some really good shopping...

..you might book a seat in the front of the bus to see the magnificent view...

..and sign up for a free dinner at the hostel and get this...

... last but not least; you get the chance to enjoy life and meet some really interesting people! :)) 

søndag 9. januar 2011

The perfect ending

As the rain poured down at Ihla Grande, we left for our final destination... Rio de Janeiro.

Despite having heard that this city is both cool and beautiful, we didn't realise how much until we where there! Beautifully situated between green hills and sandy beaches this city has more to offer than we possibly could imagine :). Stunning sights, relaxing beach life, topnotch food, delicious drinks, dangerously tempting shopping and a vibrant and longlasting night life.

And we needed to explore it all in 3 days! Where to start!? Not too difficult, really. We wanted to see the symbol of Rio, the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

We didn't have a second to waste and we immediately started to look for a taxi. The price offered was so good (i.e. low) that there was no doubt - go go go! :) And off we went.. Up the steep and winding roads. "What was that!?" we said anxiously, as we noticed the car going slower and slower.. not responding to the taxi driver's instructions. And then we stopped. Hm..not good, not good. We were only midway to our goal so there was no point in walking..

Luckily our taxi driver was also a mechanic, so after a couple of minutes with crossing fingers (and praying?), we were on our way again. This time we made it to the top where the 38 meter tall statue was awaiting us.

After the adrenaline kick from the drive,  we needed to celebrate - sushi and sparkling wine! :)

As the saying goes, to save the best for last, we sure did. On our last night, we went to Lapa to enjoy some samba! The samba bar "Beco do rato" is an amacing place with wall paintings and an atmosphere perfect for the great live music. It was impossible to stand still to those samba rythms.

At closing time we were not at all ready to go home. So we hooked up with our friends from the hostel, crammed ourself in a car and went to a samba school (Salgueiro) in the favela of Tijuca. The samba schools arrange big dance parties, in preparation for Carnival, and we really practiced until the early morning... A night we will never forget!

After just a few hours of sleep, we packed our backpacks and relaxed on Ipanama beach before heading for the airport, saying goodbye to the fantastic city of Rio. We loved it! :)

søndag 2. januar 2011

Feliz Ano Novo de Ihla Grande!

Ready for more beachlife we headed for Ihla Grande. 27 hours of travelling was just about the time we needed to realize that Tonje and Renate had left us to celebrate New Years in the cold, cold north.

Ihla Grande is an island 3 hours south of Rio, with rainforest and white, sandy beaches. To explore this we went on a small jungle trek. Our destination for the day was the beach Lopes Mendes, which is on the top five list of most beautiful beaches in Brazil. The hike was long, hard and muddy, but finally a beach appeared. We were so relieved and ready for a swim that it didn´t even cross our mind that we were not there yet... The beach was nice, but it didn´t look much like the postcards we had seen. It wasn´t until we started checking when the boats were returning that we found out that Lopes Mendes was another 40 minutes hiking away. Did we feel stupid or what? ;)
The next day we tried again, taking the boat this time. This was definitely more like the postcard!

It´s never too late to challenge yourself, so the last day of the year was a golden opportunity to go diving. Rut and Gro for the first time, and Cathrine as the more experienced one. So we signed up for some scuba fun! Swimming among turtles and colorful fish made this an amazing experience :)

As the new year had started in Norway, we were ready for the big celebration with dinner, drinks and samba! Three hungry norwegain girls got a bit surprised when we saw the fruit buffet at the hostel. But as we say in norwegian: "Det er mye god mat i god drikke". Let´s get the party started! :)

lørdag 1. januar 2011

Feliz Natal de Florianopolis!

After two days of energetic sightseeing in Iguazu, we still had more energy.. We arrived in Florianopolis slightly delayed and tired (after 10 hours of travelling), but very happy to hook up with Tonje again! And guess what..we had another friend managing to escape the cold, cold land in the north. Gro was arriving in a couple of days. Partytime! :))

Staying at Tucano House hostel is the ultimate way of spending Christmas! Supercool and always smiling staff, lovely breakfast with fruit salad, cakes and fresh bread (we are NOT used to that) and not to forget the delicious and cheap dinners! We loved it! :))

The perfect start to Christmas Eve was to be taken to a beautiful and remote island where the water is crystal clear and the sand white as snow.

And the perfect ending was to enjoy an excellent six course dinner including wine, together with the big Tucano family - 60 cheerful backpackers from all over the world. And who would have thought.. even Santa turned up! :)

As always there is a big party on Boxing Day (26th December) and we like traditions, but with a little twist this year. The biggest event of the year was about to take place and we didn´t want to miss out. We dressed up in our finest backpacker´s beach wear and got ready to pool party. The theme of the day was free champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and....Speedos!! ;)
Need we say we had a GREAT time? :)

torsdag 30. desember 2010

Wet wet wet

Totally chilled out after three days of rest & recreation, it was about time to use some of the energy. Tonje headed for the beaches in Florianopolis and the rest of us embarked a plane to Foz do Iguazu, to see the beautiful waterfalls situated between the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

"The bus is leaving in five minutes, so you´d better hurry up!" the guy behind the reception said, and we started running...a little bit too late. Hm, what to do? Well, there is always a taxi around. Roberto´s big smile and good offer (after a bit of bargaining) was hard to resist - taking us to both sides of the waterfalls including the border crossing for a small amount of money. After all we are backpackers travelling with style ;)

The Argentinian side of the waterfalls gives you a close up experience...

....whereas the Brazilian side gives you the greater picture..

Breathtaking is the key word! :)

lørdag 25. desember 2010

Rest & Recreation

The estancia San Pedro de Timote in Uruguay can be summarised like this: three days of eating, sleeping, horse back riding and relaxing by the pool.... :)

mandag 20. desember 2010

Girls just wanna have fun!


Sitting on a roof top terrace in Palermo Viejo with a cold beer in our hands. On the floor, a lot of shopping bags; shoes from Florida street, leather bags from calle Murillo, Havaianas and sunglasses from the streets of Palermo. Why did we bring 75L backpacks already filled up??!

We had just finished our beers as the rain caught us by surprise. While the streets were flooding we snuck on a bus and headed home :-)

Back at our hostel, we put on our party wear (deep down in our backpacks we managed to find something wrinkled). Glowing with excitement, we were picked up by our private driver and taken to the well-known tango bar "El Viajo Almacén" in San Telmo.

A backpacker´s happy surprise: a 3-course dinner, wine included! and the show hadn´t even started yet :-D
If you think tango is just a dance - think again! We found it both hot and steamy!  :-)

We were placed at our own small table in front of the stage watching professional dancers swirling to music played by a live orchestra - a magnificent show!

2 hours and a few glasses of wine later, we were ready for a girls´ night out. Posh backpackers as we are (at least for a night) we told our driver to take us to one of BA´s hot spots. And guess were we ended up? Palermo. Being back in our quite so familiar neighbourhood we entered the club Sugar.

We had a blast dancing to great music (i.e "Take on me"), hanging out with locals and backpackers and catching up with an "old" friend from Mendoza:-)

"What?! 5 o´clock?! You must be joking!" Somewhat tired but absolutely pleased, we found ourselves in bed with a big smile on our faces an hour later.

After spending four days in BA we are all agree - this is a GREAT city for girls who just wanna have fun! :-)