Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on September 21, 2011
Andrea, whom we met whilst aboard the Grande Francia continues his journey around the World (do look for two intrepid travellers in the video…)
It seems like a long time since we were aboard the ship, though we’re still talking about it – people we meet are always amazed when they hear about our leaving London aboard a cargo ship and our voyage to South America, following the coasts of France, Spain, Africa and Brazil – an awesome experience that still lives long in our memories. But alas, all good things come to an end and we’ve had a truly awesome time, met some wonderful people and experienced many highs and great times.
The whole adventure had been really special and we both feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to see the World – pretty much on our own terms, having no plan whatsoever, only to arrive in Buenos Aires and go with the flow. Argentina was superb, we wish we’d met our tango instructor sooner though know we’ll take it up when we eventually settle back in the UK. The friends we met whilst learning Spanish will remain good friends – some of whom are already planning to visit London later this year.
Machu Picchu was everything and more than we expected – at one stage we had no plans to see it, so very glad we decided to get to Lima and onto Cuzco – it was mind-blowing. Having no plan saw us leave South America to meet up with friends in SE Asia, Jamie and Lisa in Vietnam, our little holiday within our trip – Vietnam was such a beautiful country and travelling by train, north to south we pretty much saw all of it and so want to go back.
Whilst Phnom Phen wasn’t for us, the rest of Cambodia was – seeing the small river town of Kampot was a highlight with many drunken nights spent in the Rusty Keyhole, drinking cold beers and enjoying great food to meeting up with our friends Dave and Katie, en route to London having been to a wedding in Australia. Seeing Angkor Wat with them both – we couldn’t have hoped for two better intrepid explorers!
Thailand was everything we though it wasn’t – we were both expecting Bangkok to be a little bit like Old Delhi, ramshackle and broken, dirty and not really for us so imagine our surprise to see multiple high-rise office blocks on a par with New York – an incredible metropolis though it the places outside of Bangkok we truly enjoyed – visiting the Islands and being able to climb in Krabi, a longish term ambition of mine. To visiting the north, making friends in Chiang Mai and our nights inside Pinkys – a fine watering hole with some great characters though none more than Fon and Graeme – unfortunately the photo I have of Graeme is long deleted though the image has been burned into my memory!
Then there was India and our being spoilt rotten by Ram Mama and Madhu Mami, both of whom gave up their bed and fed us plenty of home cooked food, which after being on the road for so long was very welcome. Rather than visit the same places we opted to see more of the north and the foothills of the Himalayas. Having now been to Leh I can categorically say that this is my favourite place in India – riding our Enfield in the mountains, riding over the first and third highest motorable passes was a real highlight. Seeing Goa in a monsoon (and meeting our friend Tony from Chiang Mai, randomly paying for something in a supermarket) and for me bathing in Ganga Mata in Varanasi, for no other reason than, why not!
We’re now in Greece, have been for about two or so weeks – relaxing before we head back to London and finding somewhere to live, rebuilding our careers and planning the next stage of our lives with memories of this year shaping our future. It’s been a wonderful adventure and I couldn’t have had a better person to travel with, be with and to share all these wonderful times with than my wife and co-pilot Shelley, none of this would have been possible nor as much fun with out her – it’s been a blast babes x
Posted in Brazil, Buenos Aires, Cambodia, Delhi, Greece, India, London, Peru, South East Asia, Tango, Thailand, Vietnam | Tagged: angkor wat, Argentina, cambodia, Cargo Ship, chaing mai, goa, Grande Francia, greece, india, kampot, ladakh, leh, machu picchu, moto guzzi, peru, pinkys, rusty keyhole, shelleytravel, stelvio2stelvio, thailand, vietnam | 16 Comments »
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on May 25, 2011
Yesterday Angkor Wat, today blasting through the Cambodian countryside aboard 2 Honda XR250’s, courtesy of Dancing Roads Cambodia!
We’ve had a great day-out (more photos here), our guide Chea was superb, initially we struggled to keep up though once we got going we were fine (though from time to time he would remind us who was boss!) The countryside is beautiful – passing through sleepy villages surrounded by palm trees, children with huge smiles greeting us as we travelled through, riding single track with paddy fields either side, that and a two foot drop which isn’t too taxing at 5mph, try doing it at 20mph!
We were very lucky as the weather has been incredibly hot recently and 15 minutes in, it started to rain – this kept the temperatures down and also meant that the dust was kept to a minimum – we were able to slide the bikes around with ease. There were a number of jumps through out the day and as we grew more confident we were attacking them with gusto – even managing to get some airtime (no doubt when we look back on this in the future we’ll be embarrassed by our attempts) much to the amusement of many villagers who would come out to watch us ‘grab some air!’
All in all, we rode 127km through stunning countryside, we’re shattered!
Posted in Cambodia, South East Asia | Tagged: angkor wat, cambodia, cross country, dancing roads cambodia, enduro, honda xr250, motocross, siem reap | 11 Comments »
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on May 24, 2011
Willard: My mission is to make it up into Cambodia. There’s a Green Beret Colonel up there who’s gone insane. I’m supposed to kill him.
Chef: What? Oh, that’s typical! Shit! Fuckin’ Vietnam mission! I’m short, and we gotta go up there so you can kill one of our own guys? That’s fuckin’ great! That’s just fuckin’ great! Shit! That’s fuckin’ crazy! I thought you were going in there to blow up a bridge, or some fucking railroad tracks or something!
Willard: I’m sorry. Look, I’ll cut you loose here and you can turn around and…
Chef: [interupting] No, no, we go together… on the boat! We came this far, so we go together. All the way! We’ll take you up there, we’ll go with you… but on the boat! Okay?
Meeting our driver at 6am, we set off for Angkor Wat – in search of Colonel Kurtz…
Rather than follow the tourist hoards, we got our driver Tung to set off in an anti-clockwise direction, beginning at the end so to speak. This was a great a tip given whilst we were in Kampot which meant we pretty much had each temple to ourselves and the freedom to explore and enjoy the coolness of the morning.
The temples were all stunning, each had their own characters. Preah khan was our first, a huge sprawling site with many corridors, derelict walls and moody corners, definitely a great starting point. Moving on to Neak Pean – a small island based temple, we quickly moved on deciding we’d only look at 3* temples from that point onwards!
Ta Som had some great carvings and a bit of ‘tree growing out of temple’ action which was pretty cool.
Shooting past East Mebon, our next stop was Pre Rup, as the book says ‘…a superior temple-mountain…’ it was.
Flew through Banteay Kdei onto Ta Prohm, which is the one I really wanted to see – the temple has been pretty much left to the jungle and had all the ‘tree out of temple action’ you could wish for, it was awesome and was a great place to lose yourself for a good hour – exploring all the nooks and crannies – for me, with Apocalypse Now being one of my favourite films, was the place that reminded me so much of the great movie – all that was missing was some atmospheric mist, a river and a cow getting its head chopped!
Through Thommanom and onto Bayon – one of the must sees, it was pretty cool – 37 standing towers, many of which have the instantly recognisable giant faces. Finally we made it back to the start and Angkor Wat. Finishing at the beginning (and by this time it was a little after lunch,) we pretty much had this ‘jewel in the crown’ to ourselves. It was OK – to be fair though we were a little ‘templed-out’ by this stage and all of us were knackered and keen to get back for a frozen margarita!
In my mind, the best of today was definitely Preah Khan and Ta Prohm.
We didn’t find the Colonel, Apocalypse Now was filmed in the Philippines!
Posted in Cambodia, South East Asia | Tagged: angkor wat, Apocalypse Now, banteay kdei, bayon, cambodia, colonel kurtz, neak pean, Philippines, pre rup, preah khan, siem reap, ta prohm, ta som, temples, thommanom, willard | 6 Comments »