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Barcelona

After what felt like the longest travel day we’d ever done, we finally arrived in Barcelona, two hours and fifty-nine minutes after it was scheduled to arrive, and I’m not even joking, airline rules state that you can apply for compensation if you are more than three hours late to your destination, and according to the flight scheduling we arrived exactly one minute short of the three hours, the pilot must have put his foot down to get us there for that time.

We got off the plane, waited for immigration, waited another hour for the bags, then got to the train station and the ticket machine froze up for the final minute the train was in the station ready to leave, so we missed that and had to wait another half an hour for the next train.

By the time we got to the city center at 8pm, we had been travelling to here since 6pm the previous day, but the flight is only supposed to take seven-and-a-half hours.

Within ten minutes of being out in the city, we’d obviously forgotten all about the numerous delays and the fact we’d been awake for thirty-six hours already, we were throwing Cava back like we’d just discovered Barcelona for the first time all over again.

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Cuba

We’re currently sat in the airport in La Habana, Cuba, waiting to fly to Grand Cayman, I thought this might be a good time to write this post, whilst the roller coaster of travelling in Cuba is still fresh in our memories. We’ve both been trying for two weeks to come up with adjectives to describe how we have felt whilst travelling here, it’s been up and down for the whole journey, Cuba, in every sense, is unique.

Today, we’ve been on the road for eleven months, and we just can’t really compare Cuba to anywhere else we’ve been so far. When we leave a country, almost every time we summarise it based on the people, there’s the other important things like the food, the costs, the ease of travelling and meeting new friends, but the people are always the lasting memory.

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Mexico Road Trip

The flight from Mexico city to Cancun was only one and a half hours, and we had soon landed, got out of the airport, and went to pick up our hire car. It wasn’t exactly a smooth process, but an hour later, we’d got a decent, couple of years old Seat Toledo, definitely comfortable enough for driving around here for a couple of weeks.

We didn’t want to stay in Cancun, so we drove straight south to Playa del Carmen. This is obviously a very touristy part of Mexico, but until you see it for your self, you don’t really know just how big tourism is here. The hotels that we drove past on the Riviera Maya, which is the coast from Cancun going South, are insanely big, the biggest, grandest resorts you could imagine, with hundreds of rooms in each, and there are dozens of these hotels.

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Mexico City

We flew in the afternoon from Lima to Mexico City, but the flight takes six hours, so we didn’t arrive until almost midnight, we got to our hotel in the centre around 1am and just went to sleep ready to explore the city for the next few days.

Our first day, we got up and I was excited to try the street tacos and show Stac some of the Mexican food, Mexico city is a fantastic city, full of food, music and activity. It didn’t take more than five minutes of walking before we found our first amazingly tasty and spicy street food tacos, they were epic.

Later on, we ate a full set menu lunch with Chicken Mole, soups, drinks etc for just a few pounds each, the Mexican food might not be the healthiest, but its some of the tastiest food in the world. Washed down with an ice-cold beer for £1, it’s perfect.

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Lima

We left Santiago about 3am to go to the Airport, and flew at 6am to Lima, the capital city of Peru. We had always planned to go to Peru on this trip, but we had considered going to Cusco and Machu Pichu, unfortunately we had missed the chance to book the trek, and probably didn’t have the right gear with us to do it anyway, so we just had to settle for a few days in Lima, as a stop between South America and Mexico.

We landed in Lima around 8am, and went straight to the city centre to our hostel. We knew nothing about Lima really as a city, but I knew it was one of the biggest cities in South America, I was a little confused when on the drive to the city, we hardly saw another car.

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Chile

It was almost time to leave Argentina and pass over to the other side of the Andes in to Chile, we booked a bus for the afternoon and had a walk in the morning to a small waterfall and scenic area that our guest house had recommended and shown us on a map. The lady at the guest house had assured us it was about twenty minutes walk away, and that buses ran that way so we could get a bus either way.

We set off walking, a bus never passed us, and we eventually arrived over one-hour and about 6 kilometres later, then quickly realised that it was an hour walk back, our bus left in two hours and we hadn’t eaten yet today. We had a very quick look around the lake-front, then set off and walked the full hour back, of course, five minutes before we arrived back in town, the bus passed us for the first time.

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Mendoza & Patagonia – Bariloche & Villa La Angostura

Mendoza

Our first overnight bus in South America actually went much quicker and easier than expected, it was due to leave Rosario around 8pm, but it didn’t arrive until an hour later. Within five minutes, it was fully loaded and we were setting off towards Mendoza for the twelve-hour journey.

We got on, immediately they started a game of bingo and the winner got themselves a bottle of cheap Argentinian wine, after this, a Spanish film came on, that was actually an American film, dubbed in Spanish and then with Spanish subtitles also.

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Buenos Aires & Rosario

Buenos Aires

We arrived back in Buenos Aires and went back to Elena’s place, we were going to stay for another five nights, there hadn’t been a place on this trip so far, that we’d stayed at for 10 days total, so it shows just how much we liked it here.

We’d already seen most of the tourist sights to be seen during the day, but we still spent every day walking 8-10 miles each day just exploring this huge city. The metropolitan area of BA has a population of around 15 million, it’s big. Even the central districts can take half an hour to get between by bus.

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Buenos Aires

We flew from Auckland, for twelve hours, direct to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and experienced the strange sensation of arriving in Buenos Aires before we actually set off. Because we had passed the international date line, we flew at 8pm on the 8th of September and landed in Argentina at 5pm on the same day, now that is efficient travelling.

We had fortunately managed to land ourselves the business lounge in Auckland airport for free with Air NZ, so we had a few relaxed drinks before the long flight, but we were so excited for South America, we barely slept at all overnight.

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New Zealand – North Island

Wellington

The ferry ride to Wellington was, in a word; horrific.

“Better than Milford Sound” they said. “Incredible scenery” they said. “One of the best boat journeys on earth” they said. What they didn’t mention is, that’s only on a good weather day, and unfortunately we had a bad weather day, very bad.

It had rained relentlessly all night, and wasn’t showing any signs of stopping on the morning of the boat, we drove to Picton, boarded the HUGE ferry ship with the car, alongside a few hundred others and set off in to the bay. We’d heard all the superlatives about the Marlborough Sound and how beautiful they were, we just couldn’t see more than about 50 metres away because of the rain and fog.

As soon as we left the Marlborough Sound, and got in to the ocean, we were thrown around like rag dolls for the next two hours. You know it’s not going to be a good morning, when one hour in to your three and a half hour boat ride they’re already coming round with cups of ice and more sick bags.

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