great wall of china

The Great Wall of China…A Must See!

I was surprised I could fall asleep at all for my first night in a new time zone across the dateline, but an early morning flight and little sleep on the plane earned me six hours or so before I awoke at 4:30am.  I suppose I could have enjoyed a far less busy street at this forsaken hour, but instead I just had some coffee, eventually ordered room service since none of the coffee shops opened until 7am, and tried to entertain myself the best I could.  I found a note in my hotel that “in accordance to regulations in China, the following websites are not accessible including, but not limited to: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google, the New York Times, and Bloomberg.”

Fortunately, today I will be out of the city at the Great Wall.  I am very excited to see the beautiful countryside, and my guide is taking me to a less touristy area, so climbing the wall should be incredible!  I hope there will be less smog in the country too.  After my shower last night, I used a face wipe on my make-up free face which turned brown! Continue reading “The Great Wall of China…A Must See!”

unruly donkey and owner on trail to petra

From Little Petra to Petra…Phenomenal

Hiking from Little Petra to Petra

I count today as our first real day in Jordan. The forecast improved as it called for sunny weather with a temperature around 50 degrees. Much better than the fog, rain and snow of yesterday. Our guide planned to meet us at the hotel at 7:00am, so we went upstairs to breakfast when it opened at 6:30am. They cooked us tasty scrambled eggs to go with a buffet of pita bread, hummus, olives, jams, and za’atar (my new favorite spice).

We filled our bellies, met our guide (Ramiz), picked up our to-go lunch at the front desk, bought water (3 litres for only 1JD) at the convenience store and prepared for our long day at Little Petra and Petra which included a 6-mile hike between the two, not counting exploring both sites. We didn’t know what we were getting into!

lago viedma

Short Hikes Around El Chaltén, Argentina

After walking about 30 miles in the last two days, we considered an easy day of hiking today, especially given the crummy weather. We certainly weren’t going to be able to spot any tall granite peaks in the dreary, overcast skies, so we found some short hikes to enjoy just outside of town in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

Morning Hike to Mirador de los Cóndores and Mirador de la Aguilas

Our morning hike took us to Mirador de los Cóndores and Mirador de las Aguilas. Both began at the same trailhead at the south part of town by the park office. We followed the trail up rolling hills with some flowers. As light drizzle fell, we heard a noise in the grass to the right of a trail. We were surprised to see an armadillo! Frightened, it scurried down the path and dug a hole in seconds. Continue reading “Short Hikes Around El Chaltén, Argentina”

laguna de los tres

Laguna De Los Tres…The Most Sought After Trek in El Chaltén

Hiking to Fitz Roy

Yesterday we confirmed the weather with the hotel staff. Based on a sophisticated forecast system, it was suggested that today would be the best day to hike the Laguna De Los Tres trail for the closest views of Fitz Roy massif. While the trailhead may be reached by walking to the edge of town for an out-and-back trek, it is also possible to take transportation to Hostería El Pilar. I highly recommend arranging a bus/shuttle ride a few days in advance for $125 Argentinian pesos. It provided us the opportunity to see the Hostería El Pilar and the associated trail as well as the Laguna De Los Tres trail. Continue reading “Laguna De Los Tres…The Most Sought After Trek in El Chaltén”

martial glacier

Day Four – On the Way to Antarctica – Hiking Martial Glacier by Morning…Cruising the Beagle Channel by Night

As we began our breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant, an older lady passed by our table and asked, “Are you my roommates”? Puzzled, we quizzically looked up at her in silence. To which she added, “well are you on the boat?” We responded, “Yes, but we have our own room.” She replied, “Oh well, I haven’t met my roommates. Strange people are interesting.” Nicole and I weren’t exactly sure how to take that comment…were we strange? or interesting? and what made her think we signed up for a triple berth? Hmmm…I have promptly pegged her for the token, annoying shipmate…we shall see. Continue reading “Day Four – On the Way to Antarctica – Hiking Martial Glacier by Morning…Cruising the Beagle Channel by Night”

tierra del fuego national park

Day Three – On the Way to Antarctica via Tierra del Fuego National Park

Hiking Tierra del Fuego National Park

We started the day with our complimentary buffet breakfast, which I will politely say was not the greatest, despite the variety of choices…ham, cheese, bacon, eggs, cereal, and lots of pastries. Somehow I ended up with lemon milk in my frosted flakes, and we were served our coffee after we finished breakfast, but that’s ok. We weren’t hoping for a culinary delight. Just something to fill our stomachs before we ventured to the national park.

While I had been practicing my Spanish upon arrival in Argentina, trying to figure out how take a taxi from the hotel to town where you find a bus at a certain intersection that takes you the southern most National Park in World in Spanish was going to be a little much if I misinterpreted anything, so I resorted to English at the hotel reception. It’s a good thing…there were lots of tour company buses that transported hikers to Tierra del Fuego National Park from a parking lot by a gas station. Originally, I thought we were trying to get public transportation! Continue reading “Day Three – On the Way to Antarctica via Tierra del Fuego National Park”