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 April 27, 2011
Following on from my whinge fest – being sat in a harbour for hours and hours, we finally made it aboard the tourist boat – Minh Quang. If truth be told the girls have done well, very well. Our Junk is a 2 berth floating palace which in contrast to the other Junks – carrying between 16 and 32 passengers plus crew – we’re indeed travelling in style (well done TCT and SSW!) –
Life aboard see’s shades of our recent Cargo Ship voyage – travelling slowly, barely cause a bow wave, minimal people, the freedom to do as we please and a chance to get to know the crew – though speaking very limited Vietnamese, we’re all on nodding terms!
We asked Duc, our guide about the larger Junks; he told us that they cost about $400US per day, per person – this to us is an astronomical amount, paying so much for so little. Granted, the Junks are large though with that many people, they also look very cramped. The food is supposed to be excellent but given the choice, I’d rather be aboard Minh Quang – of which we paid $125US per person for the whole trip – as previously said, the food is excellent and we’re not beholden to 30 odd other passengers!
Having been away for the last several months, some of which was aboard the aforementioned ship, I finally got to swim in the sea – it was glorious! As soon as we set sail from Cat Ba, Jamie and I had changed into our swimming costumes and demanded to swim!
Neither of us being put off by the Japanese whaling fleet tailing us (we were safe in the fact that Greenpeace were just behind them) Us two land whales gracefully entered the water – I thought with the grace of Tom Daly though apparently not, it was more akin to a couple of breeze blocks being tossed off a bridge!
Later that evening we anchored up; the crew cooking a fantastic meal of fried fish, baked fish, tofu and several other tasty morsels, we ate well, drank warm white wine before retiring to bed, nicely tired and very happy.
I awoke a little before 6am this morning so took the opportunity to go above deck to snap some phots – it’s really beautiful here, there are several fishermen’s huts all of which are floating around us and numerous limestone cliffs rising from the water. One of the fishermen has some Vietnamese music playing in the background, in a strange way it enhances my morning rather than detracting from the peacefulness of this area.
Again, I’ve started a day with a dip in the ‘oggin – I really could start each day like this, diving off the boat into the emerald green waters. It’s our final morning aboard the Minh Quang, we’re about to have breakfast then we’ll set sail for Halong Way to join our minibus back to Hanoi City.
Tonight we leave Hanoi; we join an overnight train to the Vietnamese city of Hue…
Posted in South East Asia, Vietnam | Tagged: Cargo Ship, frigging, halong bay, hanoi, hue, sailing, south east asia, vietnam | 4 Comments »
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on March 1, 2011
Renee King is a Travel Writer and authors the very good Travel Website/Blog, A View to a Thrill.
I’ve been following her blog for a while and prior to leaving the UK I read a very good article about travelling via a Cargo Ship and how it’s becoming more and more popular. I’d commented that we were going to be doing this, from London to Buenos Aires, via Africa, Brazil and Uruguay. Having kept in contact since arriving I’ve been asked to write an article for her site – you can read said article by clicking the link below:
The most conspicuous escape from the UK……ever
Posted in Buenos Aires, Sailing to Buenos Aires | Tagged: a view to a thrill, Buenos Aires, Cargo Ship, freighter travel, Grande Francia, guest article | Leave a Comment »