TAAL VOLCANO Day Tour with kids

Taal Volcano which is in Talisay, Batangas is visible from Tagaytay that is few minutes away from my town. We always take this route going to Mendez or up north. Unless we want to avoid the traffic and take the Indang road. But I have never been there so it was a good opportunity to take the girls and their little cousins for a little day tour.

IMPORTANT THINGS I HAVE LEARNED

1.Only six people are allowed in the boat. We ended up taking two boats.

2.Negotiate the price. Though every operator have fixed their price we were able to lower down the cost of our 2 boats.

Once in the Tourist Reception Center, students who have their IDs do not need to pay the fee. Only one of my nieces has her number memorized.

3.Bring a towel and some extra clothes. There might be some strong waves and though they provide a tarp to keep you dry it would not be the case all time. I was worried for the children but immediately lighten up because getting wet became part of the adventure and we had fun. Just leave your stuff in the car.

Once you get back to your car after the tour and you’re soaking wet, you’ll be thankful to have some dry clothes going back home. Specially, when you and your family decided to eat in Jollibee.

4. Good walking shoes. It would get dusty and slippery at times, so to avoid slipping and falling down you need one.

5. Hike. There were horses for rent but it was more interesting to walk and enjoy the view. The girls ran,sang and chided each other all the way to the top. There might be few occasions of frustrations of not being able to ride a horse. But seeing its state with the guide and the client riding together (most of the time), I was glad we just hiked, besides during some stops we were able to chat with some tourists.

It was a lovely, sunny day.

contemplating the view

6. Bring your own water/drinks. Because the cost of everything usually tripled and when you have 5 children with you, wow, that would hurt the budget.

Though some slid and ended on their bottom, we came down safe and sound. It was a fun a day which culminated of course in Jolibee, where else?

And we’re HOME!

DECEMBER 2018

We arrived on the 20th of December in Manila from Bangkok and were excited to see my brother, Rolan, cousin, Pogi and some of my daughters’ cousins at the airport to welcome us. It felt great to be back in my home country.

our family

We have spent Christmas with the whole family and met most of our relatives during this festive time.

My sister-in-law,Zem who was supposed to spend Christmas with us, went back to Bangkok after spending a night with us due to her boyfriend’s accident.

JANUARY 2019

Instead of partying with a friend and her family, we opted staying in our town to spend the New Year with our family. My parents were happy that we were all together.

My friend, Fibs came home as well and we went to Puerto Galera without the girls.

The girls started their schooling after New Year. They both didn’t like putting on their uniform. But rule is rule and without exception. I usually woke up before 5h and prepare their pack lunch. They were up at 6h and should be on their way to school by 6h45 with their pack lunch and P20 allowance.(After a few days, my cousin, kuya Kawe told me that I should give them P30 more 😉 Then, they discovered the school canteen and everything in their”no canteen & no school allowance lives” suddenly changed.

They sometimes came home with their untouched rice and half-eaten salad. It seemed that french-fries and bbq in the school canteen tasted better. But the positive thing about all this was Karen dared to buy her food on her own.

Their days would vary from missing friends back home to settling well in their new school, then chagrin once again. But there’s family and relatives who showed them love. Making them feel at home and welcome.

Carlo on on the other hand went to Romblon on his own. He prefers this town to Boracay. He appreciated the former and loves its beaches.

While home in Cavite, I have stopped using the social media even writing. I did backyard veggie garden and take advantage of the time to be with my family.

We also went for a DAY TOUR of TAAL VOLCANO with KIDS.

It was also at this month that Marie and Zach came and stayed with us for a few days.

FEBRUARY 2019

I would organize after school meet-up with some of their cousins and did some fun activities with all of them. The goal was to lessen the Ipad use of everyone.

I visited this garden created by my sis-in-law and other parents. They used a vacant lot near the school and planted veggies using recycled materials. Apparently, this lot will be converted into new rooms in the future.

NO SMOKING

In most municipalities in Cavite, smoking ban is being upheld in public places. And one day, after exiting SM in Trece, Carlo lighted a cigerette and soon enough 3 persons with matching shirts approached him. “NO SMOKING, here, sir. Pls. follow us.” The situation irritated me, there we were ready to take a jeep to go home and suddenly… Anyway, we went with them along with my 2 nieces and our daughters.

Then their team leader came and talked to Carlo. Explained the ban and my husband resolved not to pay the fine but instead did the community service. The team leader,on the other hand, decided to give my husband a lesser time of service finding him more pleasant than the other foreigners caught smoking.

After my Mama’s birthday, we went out of town for the week-end and stayed in Quezon City. I soon realized that we were just in front of the ABS-CBN and some meters away from Bahay ni Kuya.

Karen and I did an AirBnb experience with teacher Roxy. Then we saw one of our Swiss favorite personalities in this shop. Saw a cousin by chance in a restaurant and met, George, the husband of Carlo’s friend, Sophie.

Raised bed by February

MARCH 2019

art by the church

And with my family’s help, I had a garage sale near the church. It was also an occasion to be with some relatives for a day. We set up our tent and a table where kids and kids at heart can paint, draw or just sit. This day was made possible by my family.

After the girls schooling, I took my nephews and nieces for a road trip to Banaue to see the rice terraces. Then a day tour in Batad and later on headed to Baguio.

PASSING BY BAGUIO

Afterwards, we went to travel at some parts of the country. We have met Carlo’s friend and new people along the way. I will soon post about it here.

APRIL 2019

A day before our departure, we celebrated my father’s 69th birthday. Then, it was time to go. I cried buckets, really sad that our vacation was over.


It was a great 3 month vacation. Seeing everyone in my hometown. Talking to my family and relatives, laughing and crying with them. It felt good to just sit down and catch up.
We didn’t take any souvenirs with us this time given that we still have 2 months before going back to Geneva but those times spent with everyone was enough as our souvenirs.

We are really lucky to have all of you in our lives, dear family and relatives. Thank you for your generosity & time spent with us.

Thailand

Our ride to Noi Bai International airport was scheduled at 6h and I wondered if the driver would arrive on time. My apprehension came to a halt when the car arrived 5 minutes before. Then, there was traffic but fortunately our driver carefully and easily maneuvered us on the road.

Our plane for Bangkok was at 10h35 and we arrived in Suvarnabhumi Airport after 1h50 hours. From the arrival area,we went down the ground floor where we bought our tickets for  a shuttle bus for Khao San Road. The staff provided us with bottled water and then dropped us off by the road near our accommodation.

We stayed two nights in La Rivetta  before heading to Ko Pha-ngan and on the first night we bought our tickets (train, bus & boat combined).  Our train for Surat Thani was at 19h30.

Night time in Khao San road is so busy and animated. Walking around gave me an exciting vibe plus the fact that we’re few hours away from my country. We’d be seeing more of this, having Bangkok as our stop during our stay in Asia.

Our family met with James, my friend’s son and who is currently staying near Khao San road. We had dinner near our guesthouse, by the street where we were welcomed by an enthusiastic man. Their food was so good and really affordable.

Are we ready?

Our things are always arranged the night before our departure. I make sure that everything’s pack but sometimes there were little things left behind like a cap and this time it was my phone.

I charged it while waiting for our time to take a taxi and kept telling myself that my phone was charging.

Then it was time to go, fortunately there was no traffic and we arrived at  the Hua Lamphong station before 19h. 5 minutes later I have realized that my phone was still charging in the hostel. Panicked then Karen and I took a taxi (150 bht) to get my phone. I asked the taxi to wait for us and would pay him later but he kept telling me “money, money”. After paying him and making sure he understood to wait for us, we hurried out the taxi and recuperate my phone. Then we went back to the station. All along, praying that there would be no traffic. 15 minutes before our train departs, we arrived at the station. Grateful.

Trip to Ko Pha-ngan

Ours were combined tickets (bought from an agency in Khao San road) to Koh Phangan. The train from Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok left at 19h30. After a few minutes the staff started converting our seats to beds. Our girls were excited of the transformation. We had dinner in the train’s dining area, where the windows were all open and bringing in some breeze with the night scenery of the life outside.Then we found out that my husband had made an error on the reservation date for our bungalow in Ko Pha-ngan . He reserved for the following week.


The night in the train was fine though it was so chilly. I have asked the staff if he could lower the AC’s temperature but he might have forgotten about it. Luckily, we have our malong with us and leggings in our backpack, except of course for Carlo.

We arrived early morning in Surat Thani, someone asked we if needed help, our destination and pointed the bus we should take to the pier. It was almost 2 hours of bus ride and at the pier there was a restaurant where they served pad thai and fried rice. (Don’t hesitate to ask for some nam pla pric). Then,we were told to walk up to where the ferry boat for Ko Pha-ngan was docked.

Arriving at Ko Pha-ngan , we were approached by a guy and showed us some flyers. As my husband made an error on our reservation(remember, he made the reservation for the following week), we agreed to see the guesthouse and our taxi cost us 300 bht from the pier to Baan Haad Yao guesthouse. We stayed there for a week and have enjoyed the beach which  is only away from us. The mistake turned out to be a blessing.

A week later, we transferred to our new bungalow in Haad Gruad. There would be intermittent rain during the week,nevertheless, we have enjoyed our stay.

While in Haad Gruad, we went to a nearby beach resort called Salad Beach where we had massage, swam and relaxed. I was able also to exchange one book and we ate in Prung Tip restaurant which is not far from the beach just behind Jack’s bar.

27.11.18  7 minutes before 10h and the car has not arrived yet.  It should be here at 9h and we were supposed to be out and exploring the island. The moral of the story is: Do the business with the main man.

Anyway, after an hour the car arrived and we were able to drive around. We did not take lots of pictures though we had a great time going to a bookshop and eating in the market.

28.11.18 It rained last night. The waves are making their presence felt in front of our bungalow. Erin is reading her book found in a 2nd hand book shop yesterday while Carlo and Karen went to get the laundry. They might pass by 7-11, I was told. Lucie is in her post. Lazily lounging, seems to enjoy the cool morning breeze.

30.11.2018 The car came at 10h45 which left us ample time for our 12h30 departure from Ko Pha-ngan . By 17h30 we were at the pier where a bus would take us to Surat Thani train station.

While the others were boarding the bus, I have told the driver that we’d go to the toilet and he answered: “hurry, hurry.” So with my daughter Karen, we hurried to the toilet but when we get back our bus was nowhere in sight. They left us….We were told to go to the other waiting area, we ran then I hailed the other bus coming our way. Once in the waiting area, a lady told us to take another bus. This one took us and drove for 5 minutes where our bus was waiting for us by the roadside.

While in Bangkok, we stayed again in La Rivetta for two nights and there was a meet up with some families who are also travelling like us. We had a lovely time with the families of Poly,Celine (we met them in Bolivia) and Maxime.

The following day, we decided to go to Lumphini park with Celine and family but taxis would not take us with our proposed fare. Finally one came and our family took it. At the park while waiting for them, we walked around and came upon an activity called “Knowledge in the Park” in the Lumphini Youth Center.

Afterwards, we took the MRT and went to Siam.

Celine’s family was not able to join us that Sunday afternoon, we later found out that they were not able to get any taxi.

03.12.2018 We took the bus for Cambodia.

No *soucis! Only sushi, please!

Tokyo

Japan has always fascinated us. Admiring its culture, food and scenery from afar. That’s why we were thrilled to visit Tokyo and eat tons of sushi (as Erin planned).

While in New Zealand, I have reached out to a Facebook group concerning Japan and realized that it was too late to follow most of the tips given. I was worried.

No, this Nanay was not Japan ready.


We arrived in Tokyo on the first day of November and stayed for three days in Tokyo 2020 hostel.  Our room has a bunk bed for our daughters and a tatami for the adults. There are common bathrooms in every floor and a kitchen downstairs.Laundry service is also available. My husband and I hanged our clothes at the rooftop, all the while enjoying the view. 

During our stay, I would take our two luggage outside our room in the morning as we get ready for our day trip. We were not spoiled with room space here in Tokyo. However, our host,Tom and Kimiko, were very helpful and accommodating. Moreover,we have met  fellow Pinoys in the hostel, making me feel closer to my home country everyday.

We did not purchase JR pass or bought the IC card. No pocket wifi neither. What we did was purchase our tickets every time we’d use the public transportation. With regards to directions, I googled our itinerary  and screened shot everything and use our hostel’s wifi connection. I had some difficulty with Maps.me, so I gave it up entirely.

Of course, we would get lost or even perhaps looked helpless at times,but what fascinated me was- there would always be someone who would offer an unsolicited help EVERY TIME. If and when we were lost, this was a privileged time for me to unlearn my being introvert.


 
While searching for this tower, we chanced upon this bookstore. Do not forget to bring your passport to avail of the VAT.

Sushi course

I was keen for the girls to experience Japan. Knowing our youngest loves sushi, I booked us an Airbnb experience on our 2nd day. I have proposed several activities to Ate K. but she declined. There was no Mangga drawing course.

That night, my heart was bursting with joy as my daughter, Erin and I walked back to the hostel. She was cheerful and appreciative of our experience. For her, Nanay is the best.

Then we got lost. Yet there were  kind hearted souls to help us and language barrier was not a hindrance for them.


In our 2nd day, we took the girls to Legoland and bought a combined tickets for that and Madame Tussauds. At the end of the tour, we all agreed that the Discovery Center was not for their age bracket anymore.

However, we all enjoyed Madame Tussauds. No doubt about that even if Hugh Grant was not there. Anyway, I  found  Victoria B. but some tired dads were sitting next to her while their kids were strutting on the floor, so I just admired her composed figure from afar and promised to see her soon.

After sitting with President Obama and rocking with Madonna, we went back to Shibuya, eager to find this sushi train TripAdvisor has recommended. We found it but not without difficulty, blame it to my map expertise. Anyway, arriving on the 8th floor, the queue was so long. We waited for Carlo to finish his cigarette (yes, smoking room on that floor!) and decided that we would not wait anymore. We went to another resto nearby, disappointed.

After crossing Shibuya for the 2nd time, we went to get our books from the Kinokuniya bookstore. Then took the train at the Shinjuku station.

Nagoya

After 3 days, we took the Shikansen for Nagoya. I have booked our accommodation thru Airbnb.

We also planned to meet my college friend,Myra. We became friends during our freshman year along with 5 other girls.

She came bearing gifts of matcha tea, noris, a casserole pan and other Japanese goodies. Well, the pan..we bought some rice and I asked her if she could lend us one from her home.

It was an emotional reunion. The night was not enough for both of us,there were so many stories to be shared and reminisced. So the following night we had drinks and I spent the night with her and her family. She also joined us in our mini exploration of the city.

During our last night in Nagoya, she treated us for our long awaited sushi train dinner.

The next day, our tribe had a quick afternoon visit to the Atsuta Jingu shrine.

After Nagoya, we went back to Tokyo. We have booked at the Relief Premium hotel for the night.

In Keikyū Kamata Station, we discovered Ota City Tourist Center while trying to figure out how to go to our hotel.


The friendly staff, pointed us to the right direction and offered some activities.  A few minutes after settling in our hotel,we went back to the tourist office and the four of us immersed ourselves in folding, cutting and sticking beautiful Japanese papers.

I could stay all afternoon in that center, creating anything.  But after making our origami, Japanese fans and playing the chopstick game (Karen and I won), we went to explore the neighborhood and Daiso. Then walked back to our hotel,pleased with our day &  mesmerized by the night lights.

Love and drama

Everything enthralled us, from the vending machines to 7-11, from our hostel’s  luggage lift to the bathroom. We are in awe!

However,the day would sometimes not go as planned. There would be kids’ drama and helplessness for us, parents. We’d extend our vocal chords then  practiced patience all over again. Yes, we are constantly learning  with our children.

Giving them more love.   Remembering  that a few days back we were told that we were the best parents in this whole wide world . 😉  No voice records for that but they said it anyway  and that’s enough for us. 💖

The following day at 6h in the  morning, we were on our way to the airport. Next destination: Hanoi, Vietnam.

*worries

Our family’s New Zealand adventure

After months in South America and taking buses, we were eager to finally take a plane. We were so excited for a change of scenery and discover a little part of New Zealand.

Our flight was at 23h55.

Prior to our departure, I read the information here and emailed info@mpi.govt.nz to be sure about the things we could take with us. I, then declared few things so as to avoid any issue in the custom,even the bamboo fan of Karen. 🙂

Auckland

Arriving at the hostel, we found out that Carlo made an error in our reservation dates. We missed one night. After admiring the grandeur of our first hostel in New Zealand, we went out and explore a bit our surrounding, searched for a grocery store and went back to the hostel.

While Carlo was napping, I took the girls to the zoo.

It was not only the girls who have enjoyed the zoo but me as well.

Juicy Snooze

There’s a well equipped kitchen in the hostel. The family room is actually immense and for the first time after two months, we have a lot of space.  We were hoping to stay for one more night but apparently all rooms were occupied. It was then that we decided to leave the following day for Tauranga.

During the late afternoon, we took a walk and ended up in a night market. There were stalls of Asian food which made us so giddy. We lined up for dimsum and siopao. Then, I let Carlo and the girls looked for a  table while I get some bbq and bubble tea. No, there was no beer for sale.

We stayed for a while and listened to the live music. Surrounded by my fellow Asians. It felt like home.

The following morning, while checking out, the staff advised us to first book our bus tickets instead of heading straight to the terminal without reservation. He then called the ticket office, reserved our seats and afterwards, we walked to the terminal.

We stopped from time to time. Checking some shops and going ga-ga over sushi display. Erin and I went to buy some sushi, while Carlo and Karen went to a dollar store. Erin joined them while I waited outside.

Along the way, we found a bookshop called Jason Bookshop. The girls found one book each and we continued on our way to the terminal. Stopping once for some smoothies and reminiscing the abundance of fruit juice stalls in South America.

Our bus  for Tauranga was at 12h25. Our driver, Nigel is a funny fellow and his announcement during our trip would elicit some laughter from the passengers.

After almost 4 hours, we finally arrived and being Saturday, almost everything was closed by 15h. We took a taxi, after passing by an Asian shop, to our accommodation.

I have booked our accommodation thru Airbnb. At first, we thought that we could do everything easily by foot or public transport. Then after grocery shopping and walking to and fro New World, with two bags (one for each adult) and two small ones for the girls we both agreed that renting a car was not a bad idea.

We spent one afternoon, walking in the Moturiki Recreation Reserve.

We also drove to Rotorua and along the way stopped at Kuirau Park. We tried the thermal foot bath in the park then the girls played for a while.

At Rotorua’s visitor centre, we asked info about the Kerosene creek and bought some cute post cards.

It was raining cats and dogs as my husband drove away from the center while I held the map and guided him, positive that this time my map expertise would not fail us.

After having our lunch here, we continued on our way. And it was a loong one. As luck would have it, I missed the sign for the creek.

Desperate for that warm water of the creek, we followed a sign of a  mud pool ,thinking it was like a thermal bath, so we went, ready to take a dip. And we learned that it was not.  Then we drove on. After driving for almost an eternity, we turned back and finally found it. There were some cars parked near the creek. The latter was not that crowded but I thought that rain would not hinder some people to visit the river.

 

While the three were already enjoying the warm water and I was changing into my swimsuit, it rained again. I put everything in my  backpack and covered it with my umbrella. Didn’t even  bother changing into my swimsuit top, I joined the rest of the tribe in my bra. We had a lovely time, laughing as we bathed in the warm water of the Kerosene creek  and all the while letting the pouring rain add its magic around us .

Erin and I slipped as we changed. We laughed it off and wet back to the car with our muddy clothes.

Then as we were heading back to the house, a twin rainbow appeared. What an spectacle to end our day of adventure.

31.10.2018 Tauranga. It’s our last day here and the sunniest morning of all 4 days of our stay. We would have liked to have a weather like this one during our excursions. Anyway, the chickens are having a blast. Check out time is 10h as usual. The plan is for Carlo to drop us near the bus stop and he’d return the car in the garage.

sWe went to the library of Tauranga while waiting for Carlo. It is next to the tourist office. We were so excited for different reasons. The girls for the free wifi connection and myself being surrounded with books and magazines. The two shortly read their books and afterwards Erin being the smartpants hid the Ipad with a magazine while her Ate continued with her book.

When husband arrived, we headed to the seaside and had some drinks and nacho in La Mexica.

Our bus to Auckland was at 12h40. It arrived in Manukau City around 15h49. From there, we took another bus, direction airport. We have booked a hotel near the airport for our last night in Auckland.

We waited at gate 11 , where the shuttle service of our hotel picked us up.

During our 10 min stop in Thames, Erin went down with Carlo and it was then that the accident occurred. She later told me that she was holding it until she gets to the toilet. I saw her vomiting and thought of getting down while Karen napped but decided against it. I told myself that Carlo could handle everything. 

01.11.2018 5h27 Hotel. Our plane for Tokyo is at 9h50 today. I reached out to my Facebook group for Japan tips and realized that I should have plan better. Anyway, let’s hope for a fun Japan sojourn.


Mauruuru koe ki Aotearoa!


Travelling to Uruguay and Buenos Aires

Concordia-Gualeguaychu-Fray Bentos-Colonia del Sacramento-Buenos Aires

It was sunny when we left Puerto Iguazú. We had hoped for the same weather during ourtrip to the Iguazú Falls the day before.

From P. Iguazú we took an overnight bus for Concordia and fortunately, I had taken our blankets out from our luggage because it was freezing at night. I have asked the staff if he could change the temperature but maybe he had forgotten my request.

Arriving early morning, I could not recall where our tickets were. The stickers for our luggage were attached to them. It took me ages to find them (side pocket of my backpack) and of course, caused delay which was not appreciated by the driver.

Once in Concordia, we took a bus for Gualeguaychu.

Our trip was only 4 hours, yet we were served coffee twice.

We thought of staying there for the night but changed our plan and instead decided to go to Uruguay the same day. Our destination: Fray Bentos.

We have passed the border without any fuss andt while the staff was putting a stamp on our passport,  I was so excited having crossed another country mainly by bus.

The travel time to Fray Bentos from Gualeguaychu was 1h15mins according to our tickets. And yes we arrived on time.  Inside the bus terminal of Fray Bentos, Uruguay, there’s a tourist  office. After getting some information, we decided to stay for the night.



We stayed in Hotel Colonial. My husband likes this kind of hotel with high ceiling, wide windows and spacious courtyard. This remind us of the one in Arequipa and in Vigan.

Before searching for a resto, we walked in the plaza as the sun went down. The girls excitedly running everywhere. I guessed they were so glad to finally being off the bus, the parents as well.

In the morning, Carlo bought some bread and pastries from a bakery nearby. The girls had their breakfast by the balcony while we drank our instant coffee by the door. Then, it was time to check out and to discover another place.

We took a bus for Colonia del Sacramento. We stayed for 2 nights in a hostel called Hostal de los Poetas. This is run by Ariel and his wife,Carla. Only 3 months in operation when we arrived. Breakfast is included and there’s a kitchen as well which we appreciate.

The girls were lent some coloring books and pencils. I, on the other hand,was able to exchange one book.


We also visited the Barrio Histórico.

After two nights, we left Uruguay and took a ferry for Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires

Off shore, I was somewhat disoriented. Was it the heat, the traffic or the vastness which lay in front of us? Thinking that taking a taxi instead of a bus would be better, we waited for  one to stop in front of us. Then, when nothing was happening we crossed the street where a couple of them were taking passengers. We waited for another taxi to come which could accommodate us and our 4 luggage. 

Our hotel is right in the middle of the city. The staff were nice, but we were glad it was only for one night.

Second day in Buenos Aires

On the second day and the day of our departure, we were to meet Celine and her family. We decided to walk going to the resto, but we missed a turn and felt like we were moving far from the street where we should be taking, when we decided to take a taxi. We were getting late for our appointment.

That day, the street was full of life, people and ….traffic. There was a street demonstration going on. So we get off the taxi and walked again, until we reached our restaurant. Fortunately, we were not the only one who were late.

And as we walked around the city, the hotel staff let us leave our luggage till it was time for us to go to the airport.

As we cruised along the busy street of Buenos Aires, our taxi driver and Carlo chatted away. Football, politics and a bit of family. The girls were starting to dozed off. I was half listening to the men in front of me,  concentrating my gaze outside, as it changed from busy street to a long line of greens and trees.  We were almost at the airport.

In the land of parilla and chimichurri

Jujuy to Salta

Everyone was getting off the bus, while someone was shouting Jujuy! So, we went down as well. The drivers knew we were going to Salta but did not take us to the new bus terminal.  I asked a man for direction but he said that the terminal was 1 km  and he indicated a bus which would take us to the Nuevo terminal. And yes, we were glad to take the bus.

We took the Salta bound bus at 15h30 and arrived after 2.5 hours. We had sandwiches while we waited for the departure.

I was amazed by the Nuevo terminal and its buses. A far cry from the buses, we used to take when I was a small girl.

13.10.2018 We have booked two nights in a hostel called Gaucho Backpacker Inn. There’s a kitchen and shared CR and bathrooms.

It was a bit difficult find a money exchange being Saturday. Most ATMs charge fee which would make one cringe in disbelief. We also forget that from 12h30 up to 16h or even 17h the shops are closed.

We found a restaurant called La Fogata. We were famished and so ate almost all the bread served to us before the main course. This was a big mistake. 😉 given the  hefty portion of the parillada for 2 that we shared. Good service, by the way. The lady even served a small portion of fries for the girls.

14.10.2018  7 am We had a long night. Our neighbor partied from 23h last night and the music is still on. It felt like I partied the night away minus the apéro.

Before midday, we returned to the center and  visited the museum near the plaza 9 de Julio. We were not able to visit the one in Arequipa so this time I have insisted on going.  It was an interesting one but left me feeling uneasy and disturbed.

Our bus for Corrientes was at 17h. During one of the check points around 22h, IDs were checked and some passengers were asked to open their suitcases.Ours being one of them. Unfortunately, two passengers were carrying an important amount of money and interrogation process lasted  until half past midnight.

15-16. 10.2018  Corrientes  We booked in a hostel for one night and  arrived at around 10h in the morning, the day where there was a féria and almost everything was closed. Still craving  for some parillada, we found a resto which serves a buffet lunch but not as good as the one we had in Salta.

In the evening, we joined the rest of the residents in the Camba Cuá park for the féria.

In the morning of our departure, we walked along Parana River in Punta San Sebastián. We ended up in a small restaurant where we waited almost an hour to be served. Why we stayed? One has to pay the order first. So along with 6 or so people ahead of us, we waited for ages and could not do anything other than wait.Verdict? Not worth the wait.

Our bus for Iguazu was scheduled at 21h30. Anna Lia, the staff of the hostel let us stayed in the girls’ room until 16h as we vacated our own room at around 10h. Having known that we’re leaving late, she agreed that we leave our bags till 20h30.So with a few hours to spare before our night bus, the fambam went malling.

For someone who doesn’t like the AC, remember to bring a sweater 😉 It could get too chilly inside the mall. And bring a book or something to read while the others dance battle.

video-1540974177

Corrientes to Puerto Iguazu

  • Bus company : Rio Uruguay
  • ticket price : 1055.-/ per person (no discount for the girls)

17-19.2018 We arrived in Iguazu at 6h40  and headed to a bakery shop near the terminal. We planned to stay for 3 days then head to Uruguay. Afterwards,  back to Buenos Aires where we would take the plane for New Zealand.

We planned  to see the falls on the 2nd day of our stay here. Unfortunately, it was raining but we went ahead anyway.

The next day was sunny and was a good day to return to finish the tour in Iguazú falls but our shoes were all wet. And no one has the strength to go back after our rainy trip.

My quest for chimichurri

What I found was not the chimichurri I’ve hope for, a bit disappointed so will just stick to my version.

Next is our trip to Uruguay…

In the land of parilla and chimichuri

11.10.2018 From Tupiza bus terminal, we took a Villazon bound bus at 9h30 and by 11h15 we arrived in our destination. We exited the terminal and took a taxi to go to “frontera”. Before passing the border, we changed the rest of Bolivianos and some Argentinian pesos.

We lined up and showed our passport with the rest of our form filled the first time we arrived in Bolivia. Baggage were scanned and then we were in Argentinian soil. It felt unreal that we finally arrived. With only some difficulty in understanding the way some Argentinian talk, it felt we were still in Bolivia.

Few meters away, we took a taxi which would take us to the Terminal de Ómnibus de La Quiaca. Our destination: HUMAHUACA

Humahuaca, Argentina

I thought we’d easily find a supermercardo  in Villazon border or the terminal in La Quiaca, unfortunately, we didn’t and the bus for Humahuaca in La Quiaca (12h30)was about to leave in 10 minutes when our taxi reached the terminal. We had 2 checkpoints in a span of 45 minutes.

We were famished when we arrived in Humahuaca at 16h.  And despite the sandwich milanese & hamburgersa in the terminal,  we longed for a better dish. Nanay’s lesson: dried fruit/fruit bar in the backpack–all the time!!

As we got off the bus, a man asked for our luggage sticker and then handed our bags. I didn’t understand,at first, that we need to hand him some money for the effort.

Our cabana is not in the center. It’s a room with one double bed and a bunkbed, an area to make some coffee and bathroom. There are still some construction going on but despite that, the sunset and the horses complete the beautiful paysage.

Our neighbor was a kind Argentinian couple in their 60s traveling to the south. In the evening as were  leaving to have dinner, they were preparing their parilla. We hoped to find some but ended up having some llama for entrée. 😦 It was good, actually but our  girls were not happy and Erin was so devastated having tasted what she called her 2nd favorite animal.

12.10.2018 Carlo and I woke up early. The sun was slowly coming up and we let the girls sleep longer. We chatted while having some coffee, mountain and horses in front of us. It made me so happy to have moments like this with him where I could cry with gratefulness in my heart. ❤

Anyway, I cut my drama short and started to pack. Our host was a nice fellow and though crisis has recently affected their country, he said, tourists, especially french ones are coming steadily in Humahuaca.

We checked out and went to the terminal. Taking advantage of some time left, we walked around the center and looked for a café.


Heading to the terminal we found out that the bus bound for Salta was full, so we decided to take the one going to Jujuy around midday. Cutting our trip in two.

missed our  ride..  😦

Next is our stay in Salta.