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  • Trekking | New Zealand > Banks Peninsula > Akaroa
    Updated at May 22,2013

    A nice option for a long day hike is to walk up all the way from the Akaroa tourist information center to the summit road above the town. If you are in reasonable shape, the walk shouldn't be too hard but it will take you the better part of the day to complete. Views of the Akaroa bay & the entire peninsula are superb. To start, simply walk eastwards from the town center uphill onto Balguerie st, then continue on Purple peak road until you reach the summit. You can go back the same way you came or opt for a longer walk down using one of the alternative routes that are found to the south. For more information and possibly a small map you can consult with the local tourist information center found in Akaroa.

  • Trekking | New Zealand > Nelson Lakes National Park
    Updated at May 22,2013

    Overlooked by some backpackers, but known among more 'serious' trekkers and locals, This national park offers several hiking & trekking options, ranging from a few hours to a full week haul in the mountains surrounding Lake Rotoroa Lake Rotoiti.

    You can find all the information you need regarding the area in the local DoC center, at the park entrance. Most overnighters either stay at the lake or climb via the Robert Ridge route Speargrass track all the way to the Angelus Hut (which you need to book in advance with the DOC due its increasing popularity). However, if you are up to the task and you somewhat experienced with trekking - I strongly recommend to devote extra time and go for the full 5-7 days in the Travers Sabine Circuit. Although not an official 'Great Walk', it rivals with more famous tracks (Routeburn, Kepler etc.) in terms of scenery and natural landscapes. Aside from the Angelus hut, the track does not require any booking in advance. If you have DOC's Backcountry Hut Pass you can stay in the huts along the track for free. Best of all, you are not likely to find the crowds that flood the more popular tracks in Fiordland / Mt. Cook / Abel Tasman. The starting point for track is St. Arnaud. You should head out pretty early so you can continue upwards to the John Tait Hut. 

    On the 2nd day, its best to continue to the Upper Travers Hut and overnight there instead of attempting to cross over the Travers Saddle to the next hut. The Upper Travers Hut is located in a picturesque mountainside, below the saddle and is one of most memorable places I overnighted in New Zealand.

    From there, on the 3rd day, continue over the Travers Saddle all the way to the West Sabine Hut, deep inside the bush. From this hut you can do an optional side trip to the Blue Lake Hut but you should know that this will longer your trek in about 2 days, since you will have to go back the same way you came. With or without doing this side-trip, the next stop will be at the sandfly-infested Sabine Hut, which is located next to the shores of lake Rotoroa.

    From here you can continue through the Speargrass Hut back to St. Arnaud, but the real treat is go all the way up through the very strenous climb via the Mt. Cedric Route to the Angelus Hut. The views here are absloutely amazing and are worth the very long climb up. It is recommended that you stay overnight in the Angelus Hut but if you are very fit and you start very early, you can continue directly back to St. Arnaud via the Robert Ridge route (this day is going to very long and exhausting - so come prepared with plenty of water as there's isn't much of it until you reach Angelus Hut). 

    As always, the best source of information for detailed track notes, maps or weather forecast is the DoC itself, either in the national park's visitor center or the Doc's website (http://doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/nelson-tasman/nelson-lakes/travers-sabine-circuit/)

  • Trekking | Spain > Madrid
    Updated at May 22,2013

    See the below map - it's marked with arrows the tour i would do if i where you, and with dotted lines optional detours.

    (1) Skip this number and start at (2), Puerta del Sol the old center.
    From there to Plaza Mayor (3) entering through this lateral gate, from there go to (4) my favorite gates to Plaza Mayor are facing this side. Around this plaza are places for having lunch or dinner, a bit touristic but you may try one of them.


    At (5) there are more touristic places known as caves 'cuevas' despite only one or two places here are called that way (cuchilleros street).
    http://www.gomadrid.com/rest/luis-candelas.html

    Go to (6), Plaza De La Villa with the old city-hall  and Lujanes tower, one of the oldest buildings of Madrid. Madrid was a small village when it was designated as capital of spain. There are few remains before the 16th century. Some remains of Arab walls, that may sound good but are just a few stones that could be anything, in the back area of the Almuden cathedral.)


    (7), viaduct in Bailen street over Segovia street -  nice views from there. The high fences are to avoid suicides.

    (8)  - Almudena Cathedral, finished about 20 years ago, started at 19 century but the construction was stopped for many years. As it's a recent cathedral is somewhat empty comparing with other old cathedrals. Despite it's modern it fits very well with the royal palace in front.

    The Royal palace is just in front 9 you may consider paying to get in, I liked it a lot inside.
    info about tickets at
    http://www.patrimonionacional.es/


    (10), Plaza de Oriente, nice square, with the building of the opera, from here you could return if you don't want to go on anymore, following the dotted arrow.

    (11) Sabatini gardens, part of the royal palace and separated from the big gardens of Campo del Moro at (12).
    I prefer Retiro park to these gardens. If you feel you won't have time for everything then leave these parks.

    (13) Plaza de España - With two tall buildings from the 50's when Spain was still starving from the war,... two of the highest buildings in Madrid. In the center the monument to Cervantes.

    From here you could go to the commercial center Principe Pio following the dotted arrow to the south trough Cuesta de San Vicente. (14)

    (16) From Plaza de España i recommend to go to the Temple of Debod at Oeste park, great views from there also it's the most ancient building of Madrid (and Spain ) as it's a Egyptian temple gifted by Egypt when Spain helped them to move the abu simbel temples. It's small but very nice, I strongly recommend you to visit it from outside at least, it won't take you too much time.

    Avoid (15). Use the pass at level street - there is pass underground but its  used by homeless, mainly illegal immigrants. The police is trying to move them out of the area. 

    Go up by Gran Via street (16). This big avenue have typical buildings from the 1900 style. At (17) you could return by Preciados Street.

  • Trekking | Costa Rica > Rincón de la Vieja Volcano
    Updated at May 22,2013

    From Samara we planned to continue to another beach town called Monezumma, on the far end of Nicoya peninsula; but when we talked to a nice waiter in the coffee shop where we started the day, she said the town was full of tourists and recommended us to visit a less traveled volcano – Rincon de la Vieja. She told us you can climb up to the pick, and on the way pass through all the different climate systems which are found in Costa Rica. Her vivid descriptions convinced us, and we headed on to the Volcano, only this time, learning from past mistakes, we made sure to check the weather forecast first.

    On the way we stopped in another beach town called Tamarindo, a popular resort among American tourists, and picked up 2 American hitchhiker girls, which for some reason got excited from the sound of the name “Shahar”’ and demanded to hear more Israeli names. They burst into laughter when they heard them… After we dropped them off we continued to the place where we planned to spend the night, near the entrance to the national park Rincon. We planned to visit the park and the volcano the next day, but the nice man at the check in informed us that the park was closed on Mondays, and since it was a Sunday that day… we were disappointed, but understood the massage: somewhere, someone doesn’t want us to visit a volcano on our trip in Costa Rica. Well, there was not much to do about that.

  • Trekking | United Kingdom > London > The Thames Walk - The Queen's Path
    Updated at May 22,2013

    The Southern Bank - from West to East - Bridge by bridge

    Syon House - a view from the southern bank of the Thames

    The Thames from Richmond Hill

    All Saints Church + Inlewort Aie near Richmond

    The Thames near Richmond

    Twickenham Bridge

    The Thames from the southern end of Kew Bridge

    A view from the southern bank to the northern one - near Kew Bridge

    Another view from the southern edge of the Kew Bridge

    Kew area

    Along the southern bank of the Thames from Hammersmith to Barnes

    Hammersmith Bridge

    The Parliament, the Big Ben from Lambeth Pier

    The Big Ben and the Parliament - west to the Westminster Bridge

    The Parliament from the Southern Bank

    Westminster Bridge

    County Hall and the Aquarium from Westminster Bridge

    The London Eye

    Jubilee Gardens

    The Hayward Gallery

    The National Theatre

    Waterloo Bridge

    Waterloo Bridge

    Gabriel's Wharf

    Oxo Tower

    Blackfriars Bridge

    Founders Arms Pub - East to Blackfriars Bridge

    Tate Modern

    St. Paul and the Millennium Bridge

    The Globe Theatre

    Bankside Pier

    The Southwark Bridge

    The Cannon Bridge 

    The Golden Hinde boat near London Bridge

    View from the southern bank - from London Bridge City Pier - East to London Bridge

    Hay's Galleria

    HMS Belfast and the Tower Bridge

    Near the City Hall

    The City Hall

    The Tower Bridge

    The Thames from Shad Thames

    Shad Thames

    The Design Museum

    New Concordia Wharf + Butlers Wharf
    Bermondsey Walk West area

    The Tower Bridge from Wapping in the Southern Bank

    Wapping Pierhead

    Canary Wharf from the Limehouse

    Shadwell Basin

    The Limehouse project on the Thames

    Canary Wharf from the Southern Bank

    The Thames near Greenwich Tunnel

    The Canary Wharf from Greenwich Pier

    The Northern Bank - from West to East 

    Chelsea Bridge

    The Northern Bank between Albert Bridge and Battersea Bridge

    Westminster Pier

    Westminster Pier - North-east to Westminster Bridge

    The Sphynx near Victoria Pier

    Cleopatra Needle

    Blackfriars Bridge

    St. Paul Cathedral from the Northern bank

    The Fishmongers Hall west to Cannon Street Railway Bridge

    THe Northern Bank - East to London Bridge

    The Monument

    London Bridge and the Shad Thames from the Northern Bank

    The Hay's Galleria, the HMS Belfast, St. Olave's House, The City Hall from the Northern Bank

    The Tower Bridge from St. Thomas tower in the Tower (on the Northern Bank)

    St. Katherine's Pier

    St. Katherine Dock on the Northern Bank east to the Tower Bridge

  • Trekking | Myanmar > Hsipaw, Shan, Burma > Namhsan
    Updated at May 22,2013

    Our basic plan, based in the instructions we got from the guest house owner, was as follows:

    First Day (a 7 hours walk):

    1. Start at Namshan (Top orange point on the map)
    2. Go on the road to a small town called KyaukPhu (pronounced 'Chai-psu') (appears in the map south of Namshan)
    3. Continue to a small village pronounced 'Laicam-Sip'
    4. Continue to a placed pronounced 'Hoi Chaung' 
    5. Continue to a relatively big village called ManNok (pronounced 'Mannau') (appears on the map)
    6. Go to sleep at an empty monastery named "Eilong" (appears in the map), located at a top of a hill

    Second Day (a 7.5 hours walk):

    1. Start from Eilong and continue to a place called KwanHai (pronounced 'KounHau') (appears in the map)
    2. Continue to a small place pronounced 'Om-Te' (appears in the map as #7 point) 
    3. Continue to a small village pronounced 'Phan-Son' (appears as #8 point in the map)
    4. Go to Kun-Hok and sleep there at a local small guest house. 

    Third Day (a 9.5 hours walk - mostly climbing a hill):

    1. Starting early from Kun-hok climbing the hill and walking all day south to back to Hsipaw.

    Well, this was our plan. But as usual in Burma (did I say Alice in wonderland?) what really happened was a little different... 

  • Trekking | Netherlands > Hoge Veluwe National Park
    Updated at May 22,2013

    The next morning we visited the national park De Hoge Veluwe. The park covers 55 square Km, and you’ll find there a wide variety of plants and animals – some of them are extremely rare. We traveled the park on bicycles, which you can use free of charge, and visited the Kröller-Müller Museum houses, where we sew paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and others.

    A ticket to the park is 8.4€, and there’s an extra charge to get in with a car.

  • Trekking | Canada > Ontario > Niagra Falls Funiculars, Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
    Updated at May 22,2013

    We did an amazing trek in the Niagara Glen nature park. It offers walking trials were there were once waterfalls, some 8,000 years ago! In the park we also visited the butterfly conservatory, which was really nice.

  • Trekking | South Africa > Gansbaai
    Updated at Jun 19,2013

    We did a tour in the town and found the tourist information, and the super market and we gathered all the information. Everything was super expensive and we couldn't afford the whale and white sharks trips. So we decided to go hiking along the beach and watch the whales from afar. The hike was really nice and pretty, and we saw many whales on the way, and even small ones. 

  • Trekking | Peru > Machu Picchu
    Updated at Jun 27,2013

    We got the longer ticket,  it was written the hour in which we should start climbing. In order to ensure that not all 400 people will huddle on the peak at the same time, we were divided into groups. The road up starts with a narrow path that goes up, down, up and down and then turns to steep uphill stairs. I felt much older than many of the elder tourist which past me, with light clothes and explained to me I had to inhale from my nose and exhale from my mouth. What the heck was I thinking? It's only the fourth day in South America! Couldn't I wait just a bit longer? How much prettier can it be up above?

    The road ends with a crawl under a big rock and climbing a small ladder. At the peak you see huge rocks dropped on each other, as if a moment ago a volcano erupted. Machu Picchu looks very small down below, small and faded. 

    It took me several minutes to shake off the fatigue, and find the enormous beauty around - the ridge of green mountains surrounding us,  and behind it a taller snowy ridge. Far below the river flows, and its sound overcomes the sound of the train. 

    The Huaiana Picchu is a small fortress which was probably meant to watch and defend Machu Picchu. Several centuries ago, people were going up and down on this taxing road each day.

    Everything is high and steep in the Inca land. Only the narrowness of the stairs indicate the real size it was when the people built it all.

    Going down is done using the same path, and you can't help but to feel pity as people cross, panting on the way up, but also jealous of them, as they will soon stand also above there, tickling the angles in heaven. "A bit more, it's worth it..." we encourage them.