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a travel blog by billyandsophie

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Farewell Party

Kingston upon Hull, United Kingdom

Thanks to everyone who came to see us off, it was good to see you all and it was a really good night.

To see more of Disco in his shorts and other stuff, follow the link below.


permalink written by  billyandsophie on March 15, 2008 from Kingston upon Hull, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: South America
tagged BonVoyage and Farewell

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Hi everyone!

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina

Where to start?! I reckon food would be a good place to begin!... Me and Billy have been sampling the parrillas/asados which are grills/roasts. Meals have included black pudding, spicy sausage, pig´s tails and veal kidneys, all served from a guy single handedly manning a barbecue, spit and grill and served up at the table on a kind of mini barbecue. Other foodie highlight has been the rather amazing egg custard flans, I have become addicted to them and have had five in the last week. Billy is keen on the empenadas, little meat and veg pasties you can get everywhere. I also like Dulce de Leche-a sweet caramel spread which is good on bread for breakfast. Yeah anyway you might be more interested in what we have been doing rather than the contents of our stomachs!..

City Centre: We started the trip in the centre of the city, it was all very modern with big shops and posh restaurants. The first night at the hostel we took advantage of a free tango lesson. Billy was pretty good and as we had to swap partners ended up dancing with some pretty ladies. I on the other hand was hopeless and put off further by the sleazy american dance partners I ended up with pressing themselves aganist me, yuk!

Sightseeing included a trip to the parliament buildings, a look at the Casa Rosada with the balcony from which Evita and Maradonna adressed the crowds, a look round a catholic church and a former convent. We also saw demostrations against the goverments treatment of Faulklands veterens (it being the anniversary of the start of the conflict) and chatted to a a veteran himself who was v. friendly, advised us on places to go and had no ill feeling towards the english anymore.

San Telmo: Half way through the week we moved to San Telmo, an older part of the city famous for its tango bars. From there we went into Boca which according the guide books had v.definate no go areas however it all felt very safe as it was match day and the streets were flooded with police. Managed to get tickets for La Boca vs Banfield. The stadium was amazing, we were seated right at the top with a fab view of the supporters groups, banners and the pitch itself. The stadium shook with the sound of chants, people jumping up and down and the drums of the supporters band.

On sunday we headed to the outskirts for the goucho fair for abit of entertainment, more empanadas and plenty of lazing in the sun. On sunday evening we returned to san Telmo where a fair was also well under way. We watched people of all ages tangoing, it seems that the younger people feel quite honoured to be asked to dance by older more experienced dancers. In between the dancing (which was open to everyone and Billy even made me get up and make a tit of myself) a professional couple showed off their moves. The music was varied, me and Billy particularly liked the electro tango which included a tango version of enjoy the slience by depeche mode!

Other highlights have included visiting Recoleta - the cemetry where Evita was buried, seeing the museum about her life, seeing a massive flower sculpture which opens its metal petals at dawn and closes them at dusk and just relaxing and taking things at a more leisurely place for a change.

Weath: Its hot. I wont rub it in too much because Billy´s mum says it snowed in Newark at the weekend.

People: really really friendly. Theyve helped us out at every opportunity when we have been lost/confused etc.

Hostels: again everyone is friendly and you get free internet access, towels, sheets and a hearty breakfast all for less than a fiver. The only downer is that most of the dorms we stay in are predominantly filled with men so it smells of boys!

Anyway, Im off to enjoy a last lazy afternoon in San Telmo before heading off on a 16 hr bus journey to Iguazu falls in the north of the country.

Speak Soon, Soph n Billyxx

P.S. For Photos - http://picasaweb.google.com/trevallion74/BuenosAires

permalink written by  billyandsophie on April 9, 2008 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina
from the travel blog: South America
tagged BuenosAires

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Puerto Iguazu

Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

Hello again,

Since leaving the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires we have spent five days in the sleepy town of Puerto Iguazu. This is close to the Brazilian and Paraguay border. Due to strike action and demonstrations we were unable to see the waterfalls for a couple of days as the roads were blocked and were forced to pitch our tent and make use of the swimming pool. (Not all bad)

We visited Brazil for the day to see full panoramic views of the falls which were truly spectacular (see pics here - http://picasaweb.google.com/trevallion74/IguazuFalls and video here - http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x546l1_iguazu-falls-Brazil_travel ). The next day on the Argentine side we saw the waterfalls up close and got soaked. Throughout both national parks we saw a variety of multicoloured birds, butterflies and lizards.

Camping was abit of a challenge. As well as all the mozis and creepy crawlies,we endured a 13 hour tropical storm (we sat in the tent eating bread and jam and playing cards from 5 in the evening til morning) but thankfully our little tent kept us warm and dry.

Some statistics for you: Steaks eaten: 5
Flans eaten: 8
Billy´s beard growth: 1/2 cm
Hours on buses: 42
Tropical storms: 2
Number of stray animals adopted for the day: several cats and two dogs

We left Puerto Iguazu for Salta where we are right now. We´re off for a a parilla (grill) put on by the hostel, Speak soon,

Soph and Billyxx

permalink written by  billyandsophie on April 16, 2008 from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina
from the travel blog: South America
tagged IguazuFalls

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Salta, Argentina

Hello again,

We've been out in the sticks for a few days so its nice to get back to civilization...

Since the last update we have visited the north west of Argentina.

Salta was a small city in the middle of nowhere. When you were in it it felt really lively and there was lots to do and see but you only had to look down the street to see clear blue sky and mountains. The buildings were apparently neo-colonial, not sure what that is exactly but the main cathedral looked straight out of a barbie box and was baby pink with a purple glittery dome with cherubs on top.

We used the city as a base to explore some of the mountains and saw remains of pre-inca settlements and the multi coloured rock of the mountains created by the various minerals that are mined there.


From here we moved top Cafayate which produces a small but increasing amount of Argentina´s wine. We spent the morning in the bodegas for tours and tastings and had to go to bed in the afternoon. The wines smell really fragrant, something to do with the fact the vines are grown at high altitude, but they taste pretty rough which is probably why you dont see them on the supermarket shelves in the uk. Still, after several tastings it started not to taste so bad..

From here we stopped off at Catamarca where we visited a huge catholic church which had built a shrine to their virgin of the valley whose statue apperared to three lost men in a cave and guided them back to their town. Once there, they put it in the church but she vanished and went back to the cave. They took it back to the church and in order to keep her happy built her her own shrine complete with a marble stircase, two angels to guard her and a big glass dome which she sits in with gold stars on the ceiling. People constantly file in and out to pray to her and she has a whole room dedicated to gifts, flowers, poem and prayers that people leave her on a daily basis. Talk about diva status.

After having in been in well known and lively spots and often bumping into people we had met at other hostels, we decided to get away for a few days and visit the thermal springs in Fiambala. Its a ten hour round bus trip and a taxi ride to reach it and there are no phones or internet access just several pools of varying temperatures which you can camp beside. As its cooler in the mountains it was lovely to get into the really hot pools at night for a swim, lay on your back and look up at the stars.


We have just arrived in Mendoza, a major argentine wine producing area so looking forward to more sampling of the local produce!

Speak Soon,

Sophie and Billyxxx

permalink written by  billyandsophie on April 27, 2008 from Salta, Argentina
from the travel blog: South America
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Mendoza, Argentina

Hello again,

After lots of long bus journeys we spent a very relaxing five days in Mendoza. It is famous for its wine production although me and Billy decided to skip the wine tasting and get at 4 in the morning to trek to the base of Acongagua in the snow. (I know, I know...) However, It was well worth just for the contrast between the warm weather and greenery of Mendoza compared to the Bright white snow and freezing temperatures. We both got to wear our sexy thermal tops and long johns.

Before setting off we went to see the nearby Puente del Inca which is a bridge that has been naturally formed from water errosion.

The trek would not have been too taxing if it hadnt been for us being up to our knees in snow most of the time. When we reached the edge of the National Park we were accompanied by a pack of dogs who didnt leave our side until we had compltede the trek and guided us through when we were unsure which route to take. (See the picture site to see Billy as Doctor Dolittle).

Acongagua itself didnt look much higher than the mountains surrounding it although you could see that unlike the others it consited of glaciers making it a challenging climb. Numerous people have lost their lives attempting the sourthern face (the other routes are much easier) and a mummified body was found part way up that dates back to pre-incan times and it is thought it was used as a sacrificial site.

Billy will probably want it noting that we also visited Mendoza´s football stadium, originally built for the 1978 world cup but renamed the Malvinas stadium after the war.

Photos here - http://picasaweb.google.com/trevallion74/MendozaAconcagua

permalink written by  billyandsophie on May 9, 2008 from Mendoza, Argentina
from the travel blog: South America
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Santiago, Chile

Hi there,

It dawned on me and Billy that we are already a quarter of the way through our journey. Its going too fast!

We arrived in Santiago with no chilean currency and totally clueless as to where our hostel was. The confusion came from me not realising there were four bus stations in the city and so the hostel we thought was just up the road was in fact Miles away. Once we realised this things should have got easier but Billy had the map upside down and we were both really tired and disorientated. After an hour and a half trudging round the city we found a cash point which took visa and got a taxi.

Santiago is huge and very spread out. Most of it is pretty nondescript aside from an area called Bellavista which is filled with bars and restaurants covered in art work each with their own theme or style.

As usual me and Billy explored the parks and museums and I dragged Billy up lots of high buildings and hills and he got vertigo alot and I tooks lots of pictures of the views whilst Billy leant against the wall feeling sick. All good fun. We also saw I street parade of a cross between Morris Dancing and Rave dancing, in traditional Chilean costume, see video here, http://www.dailymotion.com/trevallion/video/x5bp5f_santiago-de-chile-street-festival_travel

A highlight was the house of Pablo Neruda. He led an inetersting life (poet, diplomat, politician, exile) and his house was a proper party house on different levels with several bars and hidy holes where he jumped out to suprise his guests. His wife was a chilean pop star and latterley filled the house with fab sixties and seventies furniture which me and Billy loved despite our guide being very snooty about it all.

Unfortunately Chileans are even more difficult to understand, they dont finish off their sentences and use lots of slang. We are getting lots of practice in though.

Bye for now xx

More photos - http://picasaweb.google.com/trevallion74/SantiagoDeChile

permalink written by  billyandsophie on May 9, 2008 from Santiago, Chile
from the travel blog: South America
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Valparaiso, Chile

We are at the beach! No need to get too jealous, its freezing!

Our first stop on the coast was Valparaiso, a town with multicoloured houses clinging to the cliffs and lifts taking people up and down.

There is an open air art gallery with art work on the walls of houses. There was some excellent graffiti too. We enjoyed sea food and took advantage of the bars and clubs. Billy's favourite was a rock bar which played really cheesy old stuff, lots of Guns and Roses and Skid Row. I reckon he is a closet mosher.

We stayed at a boarding house with a German/Chilean couple, two kids and two dogs. They made us feel really welcome, made us lots of tea, prepared us a feast of a breakfast and we sat in their living room with them drinking beer. They even took us through their German punk rock collection one night.

We hope all is well in England.

Here are some photos - http://picasaweb.google.com/trevallion74/Valparaiso

P.S. (Billy writing this bit) - while Soph was writing this post, I was phoning people and managed to phone Jarrod whilst he was on Medz's stag do in Barcelona, he was having to lie down in his hotel room at 7:45 on Saturday night as he was that bladdered, amazing!!! Jarrod if you are reading this - I hope you managed to get back on it.

permalink written by  billyandsophie on May 10, 2008 from Valparaiso, Chile
from the travel blog: South America
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La Serena

La Serena, Chile

Hello everyone.

We visited the Humboldt National Park from here. This is home to one of the smallest species of penquin which only lives in this region. The penquins were incredibly cute, jumping belly first down the rocks, although a highlight for us was the large community of sea-lions that posed for photos and sounded like Chewbacca. We were also lucky enough to see dolphins jumping out of the water.


La Serena has a museum which houses on of the few Maoi outside of Easter Island. The museum acquired the Maoi by accident. Originally the Maoi was donated to La Serena by the president at the time and resided in a local park for many years, (for drunks to pee on!). It was then moved to be part of an exhibition in Barcelona and suffered decapitation during shipping. The insurance money from this paid for it to be restored and to have a special home built for it in the museum. The crack in its neck hardly shows.
Also in the museum are mummies and shrinken heads from Pre-Incan times, one in particular looks like Billy with a hangover/the guitarist from Gorrilaz.


permalink written by  billyandsophie on May 17, 2008 from La Serena, Chile
from the travel blog: South America
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Vicuna, Chile

Hi there.

Spent a couple of days in the Elqui Valley.

We visited a collection of bugs, butterflies, fossils and spiders. The beetles were particularly gruesome, some bigger than your hand, with giant pincers and feelers. Reassuringly several of these are found in Peru and Ecuador, we shall look forward to that!

We experienced an earthquake which lasted around twenty seconds and made the windows shake, however it was quite mild compared to the one we recently had in England. They have them all the time in Chile and no one batted an eyelid.

The Elqui Valley is home to the oldest Pisco distillery and the largest Pisco co-operative in Chile. We visited one of the plants and tasted their new lines.

In the evening, we visited the observatory at Mamalluca where we got to see close ups of the moon with its seas, craters and even the American flag. We also saw Saturn, its rings and one of its moons as well as Mars and a number of constellations.


permalink written by  billyandsophie on May 17, 2008 from Vicuna, Chile
from the travel blog: South America
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San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Hello all.

Arrived in San Pedro de Atacama, an oasis town in the Atacama Desert. Got up the following day at 3:45 am to visit the Tatio Geysers, which are hot pools of steamy water caused by volcanic magma underground. It was 10-15 degrees below freezing (pretty cold), but it was worth it to see the huge steam clouds and feel the water bubbling under our feet.

Also visited Death Valley and Moon Valley which look like they sound, saw the sunset and the moon rise almost simultaneously (this only happens when its a full moon), then took great delight in running down a huge sand dune like a couple of kids.

For photos - http://picasaweb.google.com/trevallion74/SanPedroDeAtacama

permalink written by  billyandsophie on May 18, 2008 from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
from the travel blog: South America
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