Archive for January, 2009

New York, New York

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

After almost two hundred days of travelling, we arrived into our penultimate destination (the last before home!), New York city on the 16th of December. Riona spent a summer working in Manhattan back in 2000 and I’ve visited a few times on short trips, so we were both familiar with the city and very, very excited to be back! It didn’t disappoint. The city had donned her festive attire for Christmas and she was looking lovely! I could have happily spent a few hours looking at some of the window displays, and nearly had to be pulled away from the windows of Bergdorf Goodman, the super-fancy department store at the top of 5th Avenue.

Window Display at Bergdorf Goodman Department Store

Window Display Window Display Window Display


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Galapagos islands – Part II (+ coastal Ecuador)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

We’d spent a lot of time online researching the different options for Galapagos trips in the weeks before we went, and the message from the majority was to go on a multi-day cruise or don’t bother going at all. The islands are an expensive place to get to – the only real option is to fly, and the price is set at about $400 US for a return ticket from the Ecuador mainland, regardless of which airline you take. Add to this another $100 per person park entrance fee and you’re at $500 just to step foot on them. We wanted to make sure we got it right (plus we like being on boats!) so we booked a five-day cruise, even though we couldn’t really afford it at the time. The cruise was fantastic, but it turned out that the five days we spent off-board were equally as good.

Lazy Summer Days


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Galapagos islands – Part I

Monday, January 5th, 2009

On December 1st we left Quito for a ten day trip to the Galapagos islands. The islands, which are owned by Ecuador, have national park status and the primary reason to visit them is to see the wildlife and observe their behaviour. Wildlife experts may not agree, but to my mind this is the main attraction for the average tourist: not the variety of animals (as there really aren’t that many different types) but the fact that their behaviour around humans is so unique. They have no fear of us so you can get quite close to them, indeed at times you have to walk around them as they make it quite clear just who is in charge. On the uninhabited islands we visited, where tourists are only permitted to walk along certain trails with a guide, the iguanas and sealions who littered the path provided a constant reminder that we were mere guests in their territory.

Dueling Iguanas

We spent five days on the Archipel II and visited five of the main islands in the group: San Cristobal, Espanola, Floreana, Isabela and Santa Cruz. We had read online that the islands, which are all volcanic, are not that pretty and so were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the place as well as the excellent wildlife watching.


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