The climb continues towards the second pass - Abra de Runkuracay -at a height of almost 4,000 meters. From here the trail starts descending steeply. Here is the beginning of the true Inca Trail, where the trail changes from a dirt path to a narrow stone roadway, which was laid during the period of the Inca Empire.
After walking for about an hour from the Abra de Runkuracay you arrive at Sayaqmarka ("Town in steep place"). The Inca ruins here, as the name implies, are shielded from three sides by cliffs.
Sayaqmarka. Photo by Alberto
The old part of Lübeck is on an island enclosed by the Trave. The town is surrounded also by the Wakenitz river. In a sunny day take (allow full day !) breath-taking walk around the Altstadt along the Trave.
What a rewarding experience !
Lubeck citizens are used to low temperatures:
You'll cross 8 bridges on your route around Lubeck along its rivers:
"…Fraser Island - The largest sand island in the world was discovered a couple of times, and it took a while till people realized it is an island after all… Of course, Mr. Coock didn’t pass it by, and two spots on the island are named after the nonsense he said. The walk on the sand is not easy, and after you pass the first 10 km, you definitely feel it… the winding road passes near marvelous lakes lined with white sand dunes and crosses forests with a mixture of rainforest trees, coastal flora and eucalyptuses. The beaches – sandy beaches, of course – are very beautiful and very clean. Here and there a dingo stared at us from the other side of the dunes, watching with suspicion and keeping a safe distance".
From the reindeer we continued to Khovsgol Lake. We located some tourist agent who offered three days of cool kayaking, but he was fully booked. So he organized us a horse tour, and he did so quite charmingly. Whomever is interested I can send you his business card.
We stayed in Khovsgol for 3 nights. We did a day horse trip around the lake. There's also a trek you can do from Tsagaannuur area to the lake. Plenty of things to do there.
Orientation: There's no wonderful examples of architecture to get excited about. But there's a real sense of energy here. There's an interesting market on Electric Avenue, there's the Brixton Academy for live music, and the Ritzy cinema for film (closed most of the day), and always pubs and clubs worth going to. It is, mostly, a nature trek: visiting number of South London parks and a stretch of woodland. Road walking kept to a minimum.
Start: Brixton Underground Station.
End: Crystal Palace National Rail Station.
Distance: 15 km.
Main Attractions: Brixton, Blockwell Park, Ruskin Park (Denmark Hill), Dulwich (quarter and Park), Sydenham Hill, Dulwich Woodland, Sydenham Weels park and... Crystal Palace Park.
From Brixton Tube Station turn left. Cross Coldharbour Lane and walk forward. Turn left and visit the market in Electric Avenue. Continue along Effra Road to pass St Matthew’s Church on the right, and Tate Gardens and Windrush Square on the left. Continue along Effra Road until Brixton Water Lane is reached, with the Hootananny pub on the corner on your left:
Turn left here, and, 50 metres after passing Arlingford Road, enter Brockwell Park through a gate on the right. Take the forward path, keeping close to the backs of houses. Towards the top of the rise, fork right to go past a children’s playground and, at the junction after, turn left to keep close to the block of flats on the right. Go over the next cross-paths and, in 20 metres, turn left on a path between railings to cross a bridge, then pass a small lake on your right.
Continue forward past a second and third lake, ignoring side paths, eventually skirting a walled garden to your left. As the wall ends, swing around left to enter the magnificient gardens of Brockwell Walled Garden:
Return to the walled garden entrance. Continue in the same direction as before, walking uphill to more gardens. Ignore the first path on the left but, in another 25 metres, turn left on the cross-path to pass to the right of an ornamental clock, known as Little Ben:
Go forward, with metal benches on your left, to pass Brockwell Hall, built 1811-13 on your right at the top of the hill. Continue forward, ignoring side paths, along a gradually descending path towards a railway bridge and road junction visible in the distance. There is a good view of the Canary Wharf complex ahead and, as you descend on the path, more London landmarks come into view, including the London Eye, the British Telecom Tower and Battersea Power Station. Cross the road junction by the lights, go under the railway bridge, and turn left into Milkwood Road. The heavy railway wall on the left soon gives way to an open fence with Herne Hill Station behind. Continue up Milkwood Road, cross Shardcroft Avenue and, as the road curves right, turn right into Gubyon Avenue and, in another 30 metres, left into Fawnbrake Avenue:
Follow this pleasant tree-lined street for 500 metres, then cross Poplar Walk to continue along Ferndene Road, shortly crossing Herne Hill Road. The imposing building on the corner of Herne Hill Road is the Carnegie Library, built in 1904. Continue along Ferndene Road and, in 25 metres, turn left into Ruskin Park. Ruskin Park was named after John Ruskin, who lived nearby, and celebrated its centenary in 2007. Now, you are in Denmark Hill. Keep to the path by the right-hand fence, next to the road with a field on the left. Continue forward past another gate until railings surrounding gardens are reached. Pass through the lower of two gates, turn left and then turn right through a brick-built walkway. The sunken area on your left used to be a bowling green. At the end of the walkway, turn left down to steps and keep to the left of a pond. The large building ahead is part of King’s College Hospital. Now swing around right to walk up the other side of the pond and, at its end, turn left on a secluded path, coming out by a broad flight of steps. Turn right up these, passing the portico on your right, and continue, to leave the park by the gate further on to the left. Cross the busy Denmark Hill (only with zebra & crosslights !). Pass in front of the Fox on the Hill pub (on your right). At the far end of the carpark, turn right and climb along Champion Hill. Continue to the crossroads at the top of the rise, then turn right. Pass in and turn left down Arnould Avenue, then quickly turn right into Domett Close. At the far end of this cul-de-sac take the stepped path through the estate to emerge by a small pub. Go forward slightly downhill along the footpath (Green Dale), eventually passing playing fields on both sides. Green Dale changes into a road, note the coats of arms on the railway bridge, together with the initials “AC” (Alleyn’s College) and the year 1866. Continue for another 100 metres to reach East Dulwich Grove. Cross East Dulwich Grove at the lights to enter Townley Road, then turn right into Calton Avenue after 50 metres. After more playing fields on the left, comes the church of St Barnabas, built in 1996 to replace its Victorian predecessor destroyed by fire. The spire, unusually, is made of glass:
Continue forward to the main crossroads in Dulwich Village. Turn left along Dulwich Village Road. Shortly pass a splendid Victorian pub, the Crown and Greyhound:
Look up to see the decoration above the entrance:
Further along Dulwich Village Road, fine 18th century houses on the left contrast with the more modest and newer ones on the right. A small traffic roundabout is reached — attractive with its granite drinking fountain:
The small white building opposite is the Old Grammar School. Continue on the left-hand pavement, past the bank and, in another 100 metres, turn left through Old College Gate into Dulwich Park. The entrance to this is by the low brick building on the opposite side of the road, just past the Old College Chapel:
Dulwich Park is a fine late Victorian public park, opened in 1890. Walk along the Carriage Drive and pass through the traffic barrier. Go forward along the left fork for 50 metres, then take the gravel path crossing the sanded horse-ride. On reaching the low railing, turn right then quickly left, to cross a bridge with a pretty shrubbery on the right and a lake on the left, which supports a variety of wildfowl. Continue alongside this lake, swinging left until a railed boardwalk over the lake is reached, then walk along this. At its end, cross over a path and take the forward path swinging right past rhododendrons. This emerges at a T-junction, where turn left up to toilets. The park café is over to the left:
Turn right at the toilets then almost immediately left on a broad tarmac path. In 30 metres, turn right on a gravel path, passing a play area on the right. Ignoring all side paths. This part of the park contains the American Garden which boasts a stunning display of azaleas in May:
Where the path divides at a wooden shelter, swing right then shortly left to cross the sanded horse-ride again and exit the park through the Rosebery Gate ahead of you. Now turn left along Dulwich Common, now part of the South Circular Road. On reaching the road junction after 350 metres, cross Dulwich Common at the cross-lights and enter little Cox’s Walk alley, just to the right of the church. The church was formerly dedicated to St Peter and was built between 1873-74. Follow the might-be-exahusting path uphill:
Just as gates are reached, turn left over the bridge. At the end of the bridge, turn right through a swing gate to enter the Sydenham Hill Wood Nature Reserve. Ascend steps on an earthen path. Ignoring side paths, keep to the mainly level main path. Go through a clearing and ease left to continue on the main path, which soon twists right, then forks left through holly bushes. Just past a post, numbered “4” is a mock ruin — a folly dating from Victorian times. The way out is a bit confusing. Now go forward over ridges to quickly find an obvious path with steps and follow this, initially besides a fence, at it twists about and descends to come out onto the broad crossing track of the former railway. It is worth diverting a few metres to the left to inspect the spectacular tunnel which took the railway to the Crystal Palace High Level Station (on your left). Returning to your previous point, go forward over shallow steps (offset slightly) and pass through a line of posts to continue more-or-less forward — the path is indistinct for a few paces, but soon becomes obvious. Continue for 50 metres or so, ending at a T-junction. Turn left here to find a twisting, but well-defined path. Eventually, allotments and a carpark come into view. After some distance, pass a cross–path with a litter bin and bench. Do not turn here, but continue forward for some distance, modern housing making an appearance on the right. The path comes out through a gate onto Low Cross Lane.
Turn left to ascend the lane. At the top of the lane, detour left for a few metres along Crescent Wood Road to view No 3, where lived John Logie Baird, the inventor of television. A little further along, across the road, is Six Pillars, an important modernist house. Retrace your steps and pass the Dulwich Wood House, then cross the busy Sydenham Hill via the pedestrian crossing and enter Wells Park Road opposite. Here see our Tip on the Dulwich Wood House Pub.
Follow the curving Wells Park Road downhill. Cross Longton Avenue and turn right into Sydenham Wells Park. This is one of the most beautiful parks I've seen in whole London ! Compliments to the responsible gardner (2nd picture) !!!
Take the right fork and descend into the bowl of the park, ignoring all cross-paths, to pass between two lakes. Continue forward up a rising path to leave the park. Cross Longton Avenue (again), go up Ormanton Road, and cross the busy Westwood Hill. Go forward into Charleville Circus, bearing left around the circle of houses, then along the remainder of the street to emerge onto Crystal Palace Park Road, where turn left downhill for 100 metres and enter Crystal Palace Park via Fishermen’s Gate on the opposite side of the road:
Turn left after 25 metres and, towards the bottom of the hill, turn left on a side path at the Capital Ring sign. Go over the next cross-paths, then past a carpark, and continue all the way down to a second carpark. The buildings now on your right contain toilets and an information centre.On the small hill ahead is a café. Go up behind this to reach Dinosaur Lake. Note the Gorila statue closeby:
Here turn right to keep the lake on your left. A group of Irish Elks marks the start of the Prehistoric Monster Trail.The 33 life-sized creatures were created in 1854 by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.They have recently been restored, together with replicated geological features. Keep left at successive junctions, then cross the bridge by the geological strata to bear left at a fine old oak and explore the main group of dinosaurs:
(see more pictures from the Dinosaurs Trail on our Blog of Crystal Palace in the Capital Loop section - under Greater London Trip).
At the far end of the lake, turn right twice to ascend a slope. Ignore the first path on the right, but take the next right at the flat-roofed building to keep the National Sports Centre on your left, eventually swinging right downhill:
In case you are exhasted - to connect with central London by rail, turn left downhill, exit the park right, cross the National Sports Centre approach road, then take the minor road to find Crystal Palace National Rail Station ahead.
At the bottom, turn left on a cross-path and go past toilets, then straight over the next cross-path and past swings on the right, to eventually arrive back at a path where you were earlier. Turn left here and, at the top of a short hill, turn left in front of the somewhat-hidden Fishing Lake. Go around a series of bends and, where the path becomes more open, look for The Maze on the left. This is a recreation of one of the park’s most famous features, originally created around 1870, but only recently restored. Explore at will before returning to the main path. Now go past the Concert Bowl bandstand. Ignore the paths in front of the first of the terraces, but continue forward to turn left through gates at the top of the hill, then swing right to gain the uppermost terrace, at the top swinging left past monumental sphinxes. There are huge views south-eastwards towards the North Downs, and on your right is the BBC’s Transmitter Mast, at 222 metres, the second-highest structure in Greater London:
Follow the terrace past the remains of statues until a further pair of sphinxes. Take the steps on the right, then turn left to reach the Crystal Palace Museum. Although this is only open on weekend afternoons. Admission is free.
The walk finishes here. For a bus connection back to Brixton (Route 3), climb further steps and ascend into a hedged garden to find the bus station ahead of you. Or, to connect with central London by rail, turn left downhill, exit the park right, cross the National Sports Centre approach road, then take the minor road to find Crystal Palace Station ahead.
From Black Friars Bridge to Chelsea - along the south bank of the Thames:
Start: Blackfriars Station.
End: Sloane Square Station (Chelsea).
Distance: 10 km.
We start at the refurbished Blackfriars Station. Cross the Blackfriars Bridge from the northern bank to the southern bank. Blackfriars Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames in London, between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge. On the north side of the bridge is a statue of Queen Victoria to whom the bridge was dedicated. The south end is 500 m. west of the Tate Modern art gallery and 300 m. east of the Oxo Tower:
Our direction is WESTWARD. In case it starts raining - Take a break and head eastward, walk 500 m. along the river (eastward !) until you arrive to the Tate Modern. Get a shelter and enjoy a free entrance to one of the famous museums in London:
Vietnam War - Leon Golub, Vietnam II 1973:
Joan Miro, Woman, 1949:
Francis Picabia, Portrait of a Doctor, 1935-1938:
Pablo Picaso - Nude Woman in a Red Armchair, 1932:
Pablo Picaso - Nude, Green Heaves and Bust, 1932:
Pablo Picaso - Nude Woman with Necklace, 1968:
Dora Corrington - Spanish landscape Mountains, 1924:
Before heading westward along the Thames - look at the stone carvings at the south end of the bridge:
We walk 300 m. westward and arrive to the Oxo Tower and Oxo Tower Wharf:
Oxo Tower Wharf is located towards the eastern end of London's South Bank cultural area, and is within the London Borough of Southwark. It is located east to other riverside attractions such as the Festival Hall, the National Theatre, the Globe Theatre, the Gabriel's Wharf and the Bernie Spain Gardens. The "Oxo Tower Wharf" has a set of design, arts and crafts shops on the ground and first floors as well as a few gallery spaces and gadgets shops.
View to the Northern Bank and London City from Oxo Towere Wharf:
Continue walking westward 1 minute later and turn left to the Gabriel's Wharf. It has been converted into a shopping area: a hodge-podge of restaurants, quick eats and , fashion boutiques or stalls.
View to the North Bank from Gabriel Wharf in the Southern Bank:
150 m. further west, along the river promenade brings you the National Theatre grounds. The theatre presents a varied programme, including Shakespeare and other international classic drama; and new plays by contemporary playwrights. The National Theatre building houses three separate auditoriums: Lyttelton Theatre, Cottesloe Theatre and the Shed. The riverside forecourt of the theatre is used for regular open-air performances in the summer months.
A Sculpture opposite the National Theatre:
n September 2007, a statue of Laurence Olivier as Hamlet was unveiled outside the building, to mark the centenary of the NT first artistic director:
The Southbank Centre Building is in front of this complex which includes the the Royal Festival Hall (RFH), the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery. Between 2004-7 a new glass-fronted building was created, providing office space for Southbank Centre staff, as well as a range of new shops and restaurants, was inserted between the RFH and the approach viaduct to Hungerford Bridge and along the low level Thames elevation of the Royal Festival Hall. Climb To the top floor of this building to catch marvelous pictures of the Thames, North Bank and the City of London:
Further along the river (south-west) we see the Hungerford Bridge. It is a steel truss railway bridge—sometimes known as the Charing Cross Bridge. The new bridge won many prizes for its planning and construction:
View to Westminster Tower and the Parliament Buildings from Hungerford Bridge:
View to Waterloo Bridge from Hungerford Bridge:
The North Bank near Westminster - the M15 Building and Government offices from Hungerford Bridge:
650 metres further, along the Thames (now the direction is - the south) and we are opposite the Westminster Bridge. On our way from Hungerford Bridge we pass the London Eye and the London Aquarium (and the Dungeon) on our left:
Street shows near the London Eye and the Jubilee Gardens:
View from Westminster Bridge:
Westminster Bridge is predominantly green, the same colour as the benches in the House of Commons at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament.
The Big Ben, Westminster Bridge and the Parliament from Westminster Bridge:
800 metres further to the south, along the southern bank of the Thames - we arrive to the Lambeth Bridge. After crossing the Westminster Bridge do not miss the view from the Thames promenade of the Parliament Houses:
The most dominant colour in the Lambeth bridge is red, the same colour as the leather benches in the House of Lords which is at the southern end of the Palace of Westminster nearest the bridge. The bridge is notable at road level for the pairs of obelisks at either end of the bridge. On your way along the southern bank - note, on your left the Gardening Museum opposite Lambeth Bridge:
After passing Lambeth Bridge - you see, on your right, the the Thamsis Dock - a restaurant-boat on the Thames, a few metres beyond the Lambeth Bridge:
Walking 1300 metres, further to the south, and we arrive to the Vauxhall Bridge. Vauxhall Bridge is a granite deck arch bridge.
Housing projects in ST. George Wharf immediately beyond Vauxhall Bridge:
Note the Battersea Power Station opposite Vauxhall Bridge. Although the whole area around is under a terrific wave of reconstruction and dust - you can approach the old, gigantic power station to appreciate its past glory:
The area beyond Vauxhall Bridge, Nine Elms, is reconstructed and huge amounts of money, planning, vision and sweat are invested to build another gigantic neighborhood (in the photo: the Tower - of St. George Corp.):
The next bridge is Chelsea Bridge - approx. 2 km. west to Vauxhall Bridge. Chelsea Bridge is connecting Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea on the south bank.
On the eastern side of the bridge at the southern end a major new residential development of 600 homes called Chelsea Bridge Wharf has been built as part of long term plans to regenerate the former industrial sites around Battersea Power Station (Berkley Homes):
After passing the Chelsea Bridge - the Battersea Park lies on our left. It is in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It was opened in year 11858. The park is home to a boating lake, a bandstand, a small children's zoo and several all-weather outdoor sporting facilities including tennis courts, a running track and football pitches.
The Japanese Pagoda in Battersea Park:
Albert Bridge is immediately beyond the western edge of Battersea Prak. The Albert Bridge is a road bridge over the Thames, connecting Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea and Wandsworth on the south bank. Its dominant colour is white. In 1992, the Albert Bridge was repainted in an unusual bright colour scheme designed to make it more conspicuous in poor visibility, and avoid being damaged by ships or boats:
It is our final bridge on the Thames - in this trip. There is no nearby tube station. We head into Chelsea. Head north on Albert Bridge Rd. toward Chelsea Embankment Rd. Turn right onto Chelsea Embankment Rd. Turn left onto Cheyne Walk. Continue onto Royal Hospital Rd. and the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be on your left after 500m. The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers and veterans who are in old age. The Royal Hospital was founded by King Charles II in 1682 as a retreat for veterans. In 2009 the first women in the Hospital's 317-year history were admitted as In-Pensioners. The 13 m. Hospital's chapel was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was completed in 1687. A 2.3 m. statue of King Charles II stands in the central court (the Figure Court) of the Hospital. The Great Hall was also designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was originally intended as a dining hall. The museum contains items associated with the Duke of Wellington, and other uniforms, medals, weapons, paintings and models.
Continue northeast on Royal Hospital Rd toward Franklin's Row. Turn left onto Lower Sloane St:
Head north on Lower Sloane. Turn right onto Sloane Gardens. Turn right onto Holbein Pl. The Sloane Station is on your left.
The last place we wanted to visit was Manuel Antonio, a small park by the Pacific Ocean. The park is a home to different kinds of trees and a variety of animals, and there are also some amazing beaches there… we hired a very nice guide with a mustache and binoculars, who’s job was to spot for us some of the animals roaming about and to point the binoculars at them. Unfortunately, he did not excel in either of the tasks he took upon himself… but luckily for us, he was very good at asking other guides to let us look in their binoculars, which was already pointing at the right direction…
Sunset over Jaco, a small town on the way to Manuel Antonio
One day walk along central section of the Thames
Barnes Bridge to Houses of Parliament – 17 km.
The nearest tube station is Barnes Bridge, on the bridge itself. The journey from London Waterloo takes around 20 minutes.
Start at the Barnes Bridge railway station. Cross the Thames via the railway bridge, which has a footpath running alongside. Take the steps down onto the north side of the river. Follow the promenade north past the boat houses on the river bank, on your left. The Thames is to the right. Continue along the promenade north and when the walk leaves the recreation area you can continue north passing the Chiswick Pier.
Near the church you leave the river course.You turn right and follow the Chiswick Mall road eastward. On your left you see houses. You stride along the road but there is little traffic and it is quite peaceful. Soon you see a small island (Chiswick Eyot) to the right. Continuing along Chiswick Mall road the houses, on your right, will block the sight of the river. Continuing along Chiswick Mall you soon have views of the river again and the road changes its name to Upper Mall with houses to the left. Follow the Upper Mall road east and pass through the Hammersmith Pier arriving to the Furnival Gardens. Follow The riverside promenade along the park. In the end of the park continue straight on along the riverside path towards the green painted Hammersmith Bridge. On the opposite side of the river can be seen the past Harrods Depository converted to flats. Beyond the bridge you continue along brief section of river side path and then you leave the rivers edge and take the Queen Caroline Street and immediately turn on the first right to the Crisp Road. At the end of the Crisp road you turn left into Chancellors Road and then take the first turn right to the Distillery Road. At the end of this road turn right into Wilnslow Road to face and follow again the Thames river. You turn left and continue along the river side past some modern buildings. When the Thames path comes to an end turn left around the buildings then follow the Thames path sign beside the pub's beer garden. You return to the riverside while turning left. You follow the river side path again all the way to the Fulham Football Club (FFC). Take the path left with the back of the stand to your right and then turn right into Stevenage Road. In the end of Stevenage Rd. pass the front of the ground, with its Café. Turn right into Bishops Park where you return to the river and follow the riverside promenade. To your left is Fulham Palace (free admission). Continue through the Bishops Park until Putney Bridge. On the opposite side of the bridge stands Putney centre. Turn left beside the bridge and then right where you can take the tunnel through the bridge. Under the bridge turn right to meet again the river side path. Follow the river path over a dock until you arrive to Putney Railway bridge ahead, Here you turn left and then right into Ranleigh Gardens under the railway course. Follow this road and ahead you can see the entrance to Hurlingham Park. DO NOT enter the park and turn left along Mapier Avenue and at the end of this road turn right into Hurlingham Road. Turn right just after this point to enter Hurlingham Park. Take the main path until it turns left and then right towards the car park. Before entering the car park turn left and then follow the path around the running track. and then turn left to take the grass between the football and rugby spaces and leave the park arriving to Broomhouse Lane. Turn right and follow the road all the way back to the Thames beside a small dock area. Turn left and you can briefly follow the river. When the way is blocked turn left along the path and when it meets the Carnwath Road turn right past the neglected wharf on your right and then take the path back right down to the Thames beyond. Meeting the Thames turn left and follow the path to the blue Wandsworth Bridge. Be careful, the road is very busy and you climb to the bridge and turn left beside the road. Cross at the crossing ahead and go straight on into Town Mead Road. Follow this road until you come to a Sainsbury supermarket on your right. Walk through the car park (!) and you continue along the riverside path and turn left past the shop. Continue north along the Thames bank through some houses and soon you come to the Imperial Wharf project around Chelsea Harbour. You come to the railway bridge and continue into Chelsea Harbour. You turn left and cross the bridge over the entrance to the marina. Return to the Thames and follow the river side path ahead. The path ends close to a past power station. Here you get round the power station. Turn left into Admiral Square and then follow the road changing its name to Chelsea Harbour Drive. At the end turn right and take the first road on the right (Lots Road) with a pub on the left and then houses and the old power station to the right. Continue along Lots Road until you see the small Gardens Park on the right (Toilets). Continue straight on along the road to join the main road where you turn right. The path now follows beside the Embankment to central London. Ahead you have Battersea Bridge which you need to cross via the pedestrian crossing. Once over continue along Chelsea Embankment with the beautiful Albert Bridge ahead. Follow the tree-lined embankment all the way to the Chelsea Bridge. On the opposite bank is Battersea Park. When you reach Chelsea Bridge cross the busy road and continue straight on beside Grosvenor Road. Immediately you pass under Grosvenor bridge. Beyond you have railway sidings to the left. Continue along the tree-lined road pasing Westminster Boating on your right. You briefly leave the river side past some commercial buildings and you return to the river approaching Vauxhall Bridge. On the opposite bank is the St Georges Wharf development. You face the coloured Vauxhall Bridge ahead. Cross the bridge via the pedestrian crossing to the left and then pass the river side gardens on the left. On the opposite bank is the Vauxhall Cross building. Now you are in central London. The Thames Path (The Queen's Walk) continues beside Millbank passing the Tate Britain art gallery on the left. Continue over the crossing to Lambeth Bridge and you see, to your right, the Victoria Tower Gardens with the beautiful Palace of Westminster ahead. There is a river side path through the park so follow this until the Palace of Westminster and the Houses of Parliament block your way ahead.
Namshan is a Palaung village north of Hsipaw. It's located in the height of around 2100 meters, and is surrounded by green hills covered with tea plantations.
My partner decided to go there with a motorbike (5 hours drive on a very bumpy road). I wanted to do a 3-4 days trek from Namshan back to Hsipaw, so we decided to split for few days. (Later I learned that he had a motorcycle accident and went to some local hospital). I met two girls who wanted to come along on the trek, and we met another person in Namshan who joined us.
The way to Namshan took us about 7 hours with a local pickup. We arrived before the sunset to a nice village with very friendly people. It had one main road, and at the end of it you can climb to a promenade that offers a great view of the area.
We tried to get a local map and information about the trek we were planning. In Namshan there's only one guest house, and the owner tried to convince us to take a local guide. When he realized that we're going to make the trek on our own, he agreed to give us some maps with local information about the path back to Hsipaw. He told us about the distances from one village to another, and recommended us where to look for a place to sleep and how to pronounce the local villages names.
You can download the map below to have a better resolution of the path details and location names.
Actual Second-Third days
We woke up early and had to leave this wonderful family. The father walked with us for a few hours before he went back to the village, and we continued our journey...
Few hours later we stopped at a tea factory where tea is produced from the local fields leafs. The manager was around my age, and unlike other Burmese people we met in the area, he was an engineer and graduated from a university in Yangon. He was a very funny guy, and gave us a complete tour in the tea factory, explaining about every machine and the trucks that were imported from China. He also invited us to a very good meal, and offered us some tea souvenirs.
Again, we didn't walk that much. We stopped a lot, because it was very sunny and hot... We arrived at a local village after dark, and couldn't find a place to sleep. Eventually we found a monastery where a few monks gave us blankets and allowed us to stay for the night.
The day after we woke up a bit late... We realized our 3 days trip is probably going to extend to at least 4 days, and went to some local school to watch the kids lessons.
We continued on our way, arrived to a small village, and guess what? another wedding! We didn't want to "crush" another wedding but they invited us to join their celebration, and we spent two hours eating, dancing and celebrating with the newly weds...
Our second wedding in the trek
On the 3rd night we stayed in Kunhok, where we were supposed to be on the second night. There's only one place in Kunhok that can act as a guest house, and we stayed there knowing that the last day is going to be the hardest one in this trek . Until then we were very "tranquilo", but had a 9.5 hours climb planned for the next day.