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South America

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2: Brazil

3: In the middle of a political election march along the beach front. Saw the Jesus statue in the distance and Sugarloaf Mountain. Swam in the sea and Tom came face to face with a penguin. | Day 1 29/08/10

5: The weather was quite misty so we decided to walk around to the fort which turned out to be closed so we sat and drank our first caipirinhas. They were very strong! | We ate lunch at a restaurant called Porcoa. It was amazing but very expensive we didn't have enough money after paying for a taxi home. We met Marion today and played cards with her in the evening | Day 2 30/08/10 | Caipirinhas!!!

6: Went with Marion to the Jesus Statue. Got the bus there and then the little red tram to the top. Amazing views. | Ate chicken hearts at tea!! | Day 3 31/08/10

7: Walked from Lebbon to Copacabana via Ipanema. Met Kelly, Erin and Adam and went for pizza. Had a welcome meeting for our tour and met all the guys, had some beers and went to a sports bar for some more. | Day 4 01/09/10 | favela (slum)

8: Day 5 02/09/10 | Tom Agreed to a South American Beard growing with Rick | Took a bus down the coast and then a catamaran to Ihle Grande Island. Lovely calm crossing, feels very tropical. Went for a team meal and then back to the hotel for beers. | Tom agreed to a South American beard growing with Rick!

10: Day 6 03/09/10 | Got Acai for breackfast, a mix of blended frozen acai berries, granola, honey and banana- very nice.

11: Took a hike to Lopes Mendes beach. Hike was quite challenging. Went surfing, then took a boat back to town. Had BBQ for tea with very strong garlic bread (it burnt our mouths!).

12: Day 7 04/09/10 | Today we did a 40 minute walk to a natural pool, an ancient aquaduct and the ruins of a large building that had previously been used as a quarantine to prevent cholera outbrakes. Later we chilled in the pool and in the evening we headed to the seafront and had a few drinks.

14: Day 8 05/09/10 | Tom and Rick went to town in the evening to watch the Brazil inderpendence day celebrations | Got up early to go back to the mainland. Off to Paraty. Walked around the old town. | Jack Sparrow!

15: Day 9 06/09/10 | Was raining today, so stayed in the hotel and played cards, then went to the beach. Tom and Adam played football with some local kids on the beach. In the evening we went to a hostal and played drinking games. We got a lift back in a very sketchy VW camper.

16: Day10 07/09/10 | Today we left Paraty heading first for Sao Paulo then on to Foz de Iguazu. The first bus was supposed to take 5 hours but actually took 7.5 so after leaving at 11am we arrived in Sao Paulo at 6.30pm and had missed our connection. John managed to arrange tickets for another bus leaving at 8pm but couldn't get himself a ticket. This meant he had to get a flight and planned to be in Iguazu in the morning to collect us. The bus was supposed to take 16 hours but actually was a little longer. Just after setting off we had to change buses down some little alley which was strange, nobody had a clue what was going on. We did finally arrive at midday the next day.

17: Iguazu Falls

18: day 11 08/09/11 | Brazilian side of the falls, hard to describe in words...... | There are 275 different waterfalls, each with a different name.

20: 3 Musketeers

22: We went to a BBQ at Antonios house. | "Welcome to my house, Get Drunk!"

23: Day 12 09/09/10 | The Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls | eek!!! | Devil's throat

26: Jet boat ride under the waterfalls | Rainbows and Waterfalls

28: Day 13 10/09/10 | Today we took a quick visit to Paraguay as we were close to the border. It is a very different place, much poorer with more crime. There were armed police and security everywhere with pump action shotguns and AK47s, one even had a spiked knuckle duster. It is easy to see a huge divide in class. Within a mile squared we visited a street market selling knock off products (Hazel bought some nice Ray Bans). A small shopping mall selling electrical goods, sportswear and handbags and a huge 6 floored department store selling high end goods. We Quickly nipped back over the border and set off for Uruguay via Argentina. When we arrived in Salto after 16 hours of travelling we had been in 4 countris in 24 hours.

29: Uruguay

30: After a quick nap on arrival we all got the bus into Salto town. We had a lovely, cheap lunch then spent the afternoon soaking in the local thermal baths. | Day 14 11/09/10 | Sausage on a plate!!!

31: Day 15 12/09/10 | We arrived in Montevideo after a 6 hour bus journey. We had lunch in an amazing meat market. Each stall had been converted into a restaurant serving big portions of the most beautiful steaks. We had planned a surprise belated party for Amanda's birthday in the evening. Rick was taken ill before the party so wasn't there but we still had fun without him.

32: Tom woke up sick this morning so spent the day in the hotel bedroom. Hazel visited the Uruguayan National Stadium with Rick, Amanda and Adam. | Day 16 13/09/10 | Pele's Top!!! | Goooooaaall

33: Day 17 14/09/10 | We left Montevideo by bus and arrived in Colonia. We hired a 3 wheeled car. In the evening we went for a meal where they had a "frog game". Tom was really good at it! | Chocolate pizza!?!

34: Argentina

35: Day 18 15/09/10 | We left Colonia by ferry to Buenos Aires. In the evening we went to a tango dinner show. Before the show we had a 45 minute Tango lesson. During the show Tom had to go up and dance with one of the women from the show.

36: Day 19 16/09/10 | Today we explored Buenos Aires. We went to the Recoletta cemetry and saw where Eva Peron (Evita) was buried. From there we went to Plaza de Mayo and saw the pink house where Evita made her speech from. | Day 19 16/09/10 | Today we explored Buenos Aires. We went to the Recoletta cemetry and saw where Eva Peron (Evita) was buried. From there we went to Plaza de Mayo and saw the pink house where Evita made her speech from.

37: We jumped into a taxi and arrived at La Boca Caminita. The buildings are painted all in different colours. In the evening we had an amzzing steak dinner, followed by a night on the town to a Gay club. We rocked up to the hotel at 6am. | We jumped into a taxi and arrived at La Boca Caminita. The buildings are painted all in different colours. In the evening we had an amzzing steak dinner, followed by a night on the town to a Gay club. We rocked up to the hotel at 6am.

38: Day 20 17/09/10 | We had to change hotels at 10am which wasn't good after our late night. We weren't able to get into our new rooms so spent the morning wandering the streets. In the evening we said goodbye to the people who were leaving at this point then we went for a pizza and played cards. We met our new tour guide Christian and then went to bed. | Day 21 18/09/10 | Today we met Jo and the Bex and walked to Recoletta to look round the markets. Then we boarded a bus at 4pm to take us to Bariloche, some 20 hours away!

39: Day 22 19/09/10 | After arriving in Bariloche we checked into our hostel and went for lunch in the town at a place with toys hanging from the ceiling. After lunch we walked to a small chocolate factoy. In the evening we sat around the hostel drinking mulled wine.

40: Day 23 20/09/10 | Today we went horse riding up a mountain. Then back to the ranch for a delicious lunch. In the evening we had a BBQ then went out clubbing.

42: Day 24 21/09/10 | Everyone felt a bit rough today after the BBQ. Hazel stayed in while Tom went for a walk round the town. It was a pretty quiet day.

43: Chile

44: Day 25 22/09/10 | We left Argentina for Chile today arrving in a town called Peurto Varas. We had a beautiful seafood lunch, then a little walk before spending the evening round the fire in the hotel conservatory

45: Day 26 23/09/10 | We visited the island of Chiloe today. On the freezing cold ferry crossing we saw Sealions. We also did a seperate boat trip to see penguins. We visited the only Spanish Fort left in Chile. For lunch we went to a local families house where they had prepared a meal of mussels, clams, chicken, pork, sausages, potatoes and potato cakes all cooked on hot stones in the ground. It was amazing. In the evening we went with Rick, Amanda and Christian to play pool and made it back to the Hostel 2 minutes before we would have been locked out for the night!

46: Day 27 24/09/10 | We moved onto Pucon today leaving at 14.30 and not arriving until 21.00 only going out for dinner when we arrived. | Day 28 25/09/10 | We spent the day with Rick walking to the lake and along the black beach, then meandering round the town with our adopted dogs! In the evening we went to some amazing thermal pools, the hottest being 42 degrees.

47: Day 29 26/09/10 | Today 5 of us went White water rafting. Hazel got pushed in by the guides twice. In the evening we had a BBQ in the garden.

48: Day 30 27/09/10 | Today was a day of rest for everyone before our night bus to Santiago in the evening. It rained heavily during the afternoon and everyone in the hostle living room was treated to a little flood. | Why you do that?

49: Day 31 28/09/10 | Our bus arrived early into Santiago. Christian took us for a tour of the city. He introduced us to Terramoto, a local drink. In the evening we went to Christian's brother Sergio's flat. | Terramoto Ingredients 1. White wine 2.Pineapple ice cream 3. 1 shot Fernet Branca

50: Day 32 29/09/10 | Rick met up with his friend Nick who was over visiting his girlfriend. The 4 of us and Jill went to see the Virgin Mary statue which overlooks the city. We set off walking up the hill and tried to take a shortcut on the way which actually ended up getting us lost on the hillside. We eventually came out where we wanted to be and could laugh about it after. | In the evening we went back to Sergio's flat where we had an amazing BBQ on the roof. Yoyo Christian's other brother was there with some friends. We went to a club after. It was a great night.

51: Day 33 30/09/10 | Today we had planned to go to the coast but a few of us ended up being left behind. So we just had a chilled out day and ate way too much junk food. Probably the unhealthiest day ever. | Day 34 1/10/10 | We left Santiago today and moved on to La Serena a coastal town. We had a walk around the town before going to the cinema to see The Expendables. | Day 35 2/10/10 | We had a walk around a free zoo in the town this morning. There are lot's of animals in small cages. Not the nicest conditions. We then went for a tour around a Pisco factory, which makes high qualtiy Pisco for export only. We had a sample of the 80% fortified wine they produce during the process and then a sample of their Pisco. We then went to watch the sunset from the top of a hill before going to the Observatory. La Serena has some of the best skies for star gazing in the world. It was incredible.

53: Day 36 3/10/10 | We visited the zoo again today on our way to the beach. It was cloudy so the sea looked grey and so was the sand. In the evening we boarded a 17 hour nightbus to San Pedro de Atacama

54: Day 37 4/10/10 | The nightbus was the worst trip possible. The man sat infront of us was the worst snorer ever. He kept half the bus up all night. It was terrible. In the afternoon we went for a walk around the town then at night we walked out of town to go star gazing again. | Ceiling made from Cactus leaves

55: Day 38 5/10/10 | In the morning we went for another walk arond the town befoer boarding a minibus to the Death Valley to go sandboarding. It was hard walking up the dune at 2500m above sea level | After sandboarding we went to the Moon Valley to see the land change colour as the sunset. We also saw the 3 Marys rock formation and a salt mine.

56: 3 Sisters | Moon Valley | Death Valley

57: Bolivia

58: Day 39 6/10/10 | We crossed into Bolivia this morning climbing from 2500m to over 5000m in an hour. We met our 4x4s at the border ready to start our 3 day crossing of the Atacama desert and Salt flats. Along the way today we stopped at a few lagoons, one with a thermal pool, and some geysers. Our hostel for the night was just some buildings in the middle of nowhere. We had dropped back to 4600m but Tom was really suffering from altitude sickness and hit his head 6 times on the same door frame.

59: Day 40 7/10/10 | We visited the Lake of many colours and Red and Blue Lakes where we saw flamingos. Then drove further into the desert where we stopped at Tree Rock. We also saw an active volcano from a distance. We carried on towards the Salt Flats where we stayed in a salt hotel for the night. As the name suggests everything was made from salt. Tom played football here against the drivers. It was hard work!!

60: Day 41 8/10/10 | We drove out onto the Salt flats this morning. Tom got to drive the car. We stopped at an island made from coral which has survived from when the flats were actually a sea. In the middle of the flats we stopped to take pictures.

61: We visited the train graveyard outside Uyuni. After checking into our hotel we went out for pizza at a restaurant owned by a guy from Boston. Then we went to the Extreme Fun Pub. We ended up playing a drinking game with Roberto, the owner, until 6.30am. We had a great night but he now owns Hazel's soul!

64: Day 42 9/10/10 | After waking up at 11 we boarded a private bus to Potosi. It is the highest city in the world. We were shown a video in the hotel about the story of a 14 year old boy who works in the mines of the Cerro Rico Mountain. It is estimated that 8 million men have died in the mines since the 15th century when the Spanish invaders made the local Incas work 20 hour shifts with 4 hours off for 6 months without coming out.

65: Day 43 10/10/10 | Today we went to the silver museum. In the 16th century it was used as a mint producing most of the worlds coins. We minted our own silver coin.

66: Day 44 11/10/10 | We had a tour down the silver mine today to see the working conditions the men face. Tom had a turn at shovelling rocks and was knackered after 5 minutes. We were also shown the Tio statue. Once outside we got to see a dynamite explosion as Potosi is the only place you can buy dynamite without a licence. In the evening we moved on to Sucre. | Gifts for the miners: Coca leaves, Dynamite, 96% alcohol

67: Today we visitied an orphanage. We took gifts of nappies and milk powder. We played with the kids and helped the staff feed them their lunch. We had planned a suprise birthday party for Rick in the evening. We started at the Hotel before heading to a bar then on to a Karaoke place with a waitress from the bar. | Day 45 12/10/10

68: Day 46 13/10/10 | Everyone spent the day recovering from the night before. It was made better by the fact we were staying in a 4* hotel (for Bolivia). | Day 47 14/10/10 | A group of us went horse riding again today. It was a nice day. After the ride we had a BBQ and were given a local drink made from milk and 96% alcohol. It was actually nice. In the evening we boarded another night bus this time to La Paz.

69: Day 48 15/10/10 | We arrived in La Paz in the morning and went for breakfast while we waited for our rooms to be ready. Jo from our earlier tour was also in La Paz so we spent the day with her. We had a walk around and visited the coca museum where we learned about coca leaves and their history.

70: Day 49 16/10/10 | We spent the afternoon walking around the witch market and visiting little gift shops (doing our xmas shopping). In the evening we went to a bar called Olivers Travels owned by an English guy who looks like Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger's love child. | Day 50 17/10/10 | Today we went to watch a football match. La Paz FC against Blooming. The stadium was cool but quite empty for our game. There was another game straight after which had a better atmosphere, we could have stayed but had plans to go watch Cholita wrestling. It had been sold to us as real fighting but turned out to be fake wrestling in what felt like a community centre. We had a good time though. In the evening we went for a really nice Thai meal, then to a party hostel for drinks before ending up in the Hard Rock Cafe until 4am. We then went back to our hotel with a bottle of vodka drinking until 10am. | Day 51 18/10/10 | We spent most of the day sleeping after the late night/early morning we had had the day before. In the evening we met our new tour group for the final section of our South American adventure.

72: Peru

73: Day 52 19/10/10 | Today we left La Paz heading for Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca. We crossed the straights of the lake leaving Bolivia and entering Peru. We had a walk around the town in the afternoon. In the evening Tom tried Alpaca meat.

74: Day 53 20/10/10 | We went out onto Lake Titicaca today. We visited Taquile Islands and Luquina Island where we were doing a home stay. We played football against another GAP group before going to our families houses. We stayed with a family of 4. The day was called Jorge. We played with the kids before eating dinner. The in the evening everybody met in a large hall and took part in traditional dancing wearing traditional clothes.

75: Day 54 21/10/10 | Today we went to visit the floating reed islands. The entire islands are made from reeds that grow in the lake. Even the houses are made from them. Some of the inhabitants never leave to go onto dry land. Back in Puno Tom went for a walk up to a giant condor statue that overlooks the city.

76: Day 55 22/10/10 | We traveled by bus to Cusco today arriving in the afternoon. In the evening we went out to celebrate Sandra's Birthday. It ended up being a really good night. | Day 56 23/10/10 | Today we spent the day exploring Cusco. It is a very beautiful city with lot's of old buildings and small alleyways. We also visited the Inca museum and learned a little bit about their history.

77: Day 57 24/10/10 | We left Cusco for Ollantaytambo at lunchtime. It is a small town surrounded by mountains. There are some Inca ruins on one of the mountains. After a little explore we spent the rest of the afternoon playing poker in the hotel. Resting up ready to start the Inca trail the next day

78: The Inca Trail | Day 58 25/10/10 | We started the Inca Trail today. The start is called KM82 and this is where we met our 2 guides Efrine and Miguel and our 20 porters. The walk today was really nice with some easy up and down sections climbing a total of 300m. We saw some Inca ruins along the way. The food was also fantastic.

79: Day 59 26/10/10 | Day 2 of the Inca Trail known as Death Day!! It was cloudy all day and rained as we were reaching the highest peak of 4215m. It was hard work. We then dropped back to 3600m to camp. We finished about an hour behind everyone else and it was still only 11.30am. We spent the rest of the day playing poker and Monopoly Deal in the camp.

80: Day 60 27/10/10 | Day 3 of the Inca Trail and Hazel's birthday. The chefs had made Hazel a birthday cake for breakfast. Todays walk was much easier and by far the nicest scenery. We went through the Cloud Forest part of the Amazon Jungle. Arriving in camp that afternoon was great knowing we had nearly made it. We were also able to get a beer.

81: Day 61 28/10/10 | Day 4. We were woken at 03.40 and set off to line up at the gate to get into the National Park. We walked for another hour to the Sun Gate where everyone sat and waited for the cloud to lift from the Valley below. As the sun rose the cloud parted and we got an amazing view of Machu Picchu. We walked down to the site and had a 2 hour tour. We then took the bus down to town and ate lunch. We then got the train back to Ollantaytambo and a bus back to Cusco. Hazel started feeling ill on the way home so didn't go out to celebrate her birthday back in Cusco.

83: Day 62 29/10/10 | Today we went for breakfast after which Tom started to feel ill. We walked around Cusco then headed back to the hotel. Tom had a fever in the evening and went to bed early. Hazel went out with everyone else to celebrate her birthday. | Day 63 30/10/10 | Today was another chilled out day in Cusco, spent in an internet cafe using skype and relaxing in the hotel before getting the night bus to Arequipa

84: Day 64 31/10/10 | After arriving in Arequipa at 0700 we were unable to check into our rooms so had to wait for a while. Once finally in our room 4 different people tried getting in, 2 random women (1 while Tom was changing), the maintenance man and Amanda who had been given the key as the Hotel had confused the rooms. After Hazel stayed in bed while I went to the town square. In the afternoon we had a walk trying to find a supermarket, then played poker on the hotel roof terrace before realising we had lost our camera. In the evening we all went for dinner. All the streets were packed with all ages of peple for the Halloween celebrations which are obviously a big deal in Peru. It looked like it would be a good night but we had to get up early for our bus to the Colca Canyon

85: Day 65 01/11/10 | We boarded an early bus to the Colca Canyon this morning stopping along the way for photo opportunities. When we arrived our accommodation was great. It was on the edge of a small town overlooking the Colca Valley and had a pet LLama. We played the Machu Picchu board game with Rick and Khai in the afternoon which had cards like the community chest and chance cards in Monopoly except these instructed you to do things like a rain dance or stand on your chair and recite a poem. It was good fun. In the evening we had a meal at the hotel then a few of us watched Paranormal Activity.

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