So its another year with plenty of trips being fulfilled. I have managed to tick off my hit-list it has been wonderful with plenty to write about. Last year (2017) I missed out a trip to Helsinki and Tallinn with the winter proving too expensive for me to finish the year off, however 2018 fulfilled this plan.
Below are just some of the places ive managed to visit, click on them to read some of my write-ups. Next year I already have plans to go to Cambodia, Turkey and Chamonix in France. Other places that are a possibility are Morocco, USA and a return to South America.
South American Trip
Sao Paulo, Mar 18 – First trip of the year and entering South America for the first time on a Brazil and Peru trip. The city was safer than I thought I used public transport and walked everywhere.
Lima, Mar 18 – The Peruvian capital was a pleasure to visit, its museums were different to any other in the world.
Cusco, Mar 18 – The city is beautiful, old churches and Incan ruins was out of this world. Be very careful when visiting this place as the high altitudes do affect people in different ways.
Ollantaytambo, Mar 18 – One of the smallest but most beautiful places I have stayed. Me and my brother stayed next to a river with some of the best views of the surrounding river.
Aguas Calientes, Mar 18 – The main stage for the world famed Machu Picchu, one of the best places I have been, truly majestic.
Rio De Janiero, Mar 18 – As long as you’re extra careful Rio is a safe place to be, maybe a few money hustle form a few taxi drivers or vendors but other than those it is safe. Its scenery and beaches are some of the best in the world.
Cardiff, Apr 18 – A short weekend in the welsh capital, a place full of investment in order to establish it as a shopping haven.
Philippines & Japan Trip
Manila, Jun 18 – Its that time again where once a year I visit Philippines. A base to srelax before we head off to Japan.
Osaka, Jun 18 – Our entry point in Japan, smaller than Tokyo but a metropolis nonetheless.
Kyoto, Jun 18 – Beautifully preserved temples and religious places. Home of the world famed Geisha entertainers and the most cultural traditions preserved.
Tokyo, Jun 18 – Last city visited in Japan, a beautiful busy metropolis. Very crowded and bustling 24 hours a day. Bright lights, most modern technology and cuisine were a huge plus for this city.
Finland & Estonia Trip
Helsinki, Dec 18 – The Finnish capital had little to offer in attractions however the beauty of the capital is its people, arts and history.
Rovaniemi, Dec 18 – A true winter wonderland, the coldest place ive visited and the most magical place for families.
Tallinn, Dec 18 (post coming soon) – Outstanding pagan churches, Medieval Castles and modern festive market. Spookiest place ive ever been to with many stories of haunted past on many building in the old town.
A successful weird little venture which started off in Brazil over to Peru and then ended in Brazil in a quick 10 day holiday. Ive made a compilation of my whole journey.
(please click the city for more about the trip)
Straight from London and my first stop. This part of the trip was and insight to one of Latin Americas richest metropolis.
After a glimpse of life in one of South Americas most developed and rich citiy I go to one of its most undeveloped capitals (In my opinion). Nonetheless the experience was a valuable learning curb. In this Leg I visited Central Lima and the Larco Museum to build the flavour of my trip ahead.
And now it was time to acclimatise and get ready for our main purpose (Machu Picchu). A quick roam around the city, into their market and main points of interest. Getting a feel of rural Peru.
Basing at Ollantaytambo the night before Machu Picchu, so we could get an easier transit to the mountain attraction. However I just fell in love with the village and wished I could have stayed longer. The scenery was just amazing.
Again this village was amazing, it felt like a movie set. A quick snack before and after our trip up Machu Picchu. Very touristic but still a pleasure.
A spectacle to see, the most amazing place I’ve been to. Hiking up Wayna Picchu was also something I’m glad i did, the challenge of those slippery un-barricaded steps was a worry but seeing the famous Machu Picchu from another height and view, it was all worth it.
After an adventurous time across Peru’s smaller rural villages it was time to head back to Cusco and roam the city a bit more. Excursing outside the city with the ATV tours showing us Moray, Salt Mines and more.
Finishing Peru its another round of Lima but this time it was the wealthier Mira Flores, here we did shopping in Larcomar and the Indian markets.
Although the bad reputation, I needed to see the paradise destination for myself. In my opinion well worth the visit and what a way to end the trip.
“The First stop in my 10 day South American Trip”
Type : City
Best Date : May – Sep
Expense : Fair
Things to do : Shopping, Dining, Visit Museums/ Galleries/ Park
Points of Interest: Sao Paulo Cathedral, Sao Paulo Arts Museum, Ibirapuera Park, Estadio do Paceambu, Municipal Market, ect
The Good: Much safer than other places in brazil, plenty of culture and arts
The Bad: There is not too much to see and do, 1-3 days is enough
Sao Paulo is a city in the south east region of Brazil about 500 km from Rio De Janeiro. The city is the most wealthiest and populous in the country. Furthermore it is largely influenced by many different nations (largely by Arabic, Italian and Japanese immigrants) and it is seen by the city’s communities, food and even architecture.
Brazil is a beautiful tropical nation which boasts one of the largest and most diverse rainforests in the world. However Sao Paulo is anything but a place to see the natural world and you would be disappointed if you went to the city to see wildlife. Nonetheless Sao Paulo is a very important city as it is deemed to be the financial centre for Brazil.
In a tourism aspect Sao Paulo offers fewer than its neighbouring municipality ‘Rio De Janeiro. It is centered on its culture, museums, monuments and arts although the city does have its green space for tourists to unwind.
Firstly one of the main places to visit in Sao Paulo is ‘Paulista Avenue’ this is Brazil’s version of time’s square (how it was described to me). It is their business district which stretches more than a mile and hosts many financial institutes, museums, churches, shops and restaurants. Sao Paulo’s ‘Museum of Arts’ resides here and in my opinion the museum doesn’t really have a brilliant exterior but inside which has some of the most notable artwork in brazil is where the brilliance is, so for those art fanatics this could be the place to visit. Apart from that the strip itself is a pleasure to roam for shopping and dinning and should be a place to go while staying in Sao Paulo.
Another place to visit in the city is ‘Centro’ location of the ‘Sao Paulo Cathedral’ which is considered as one of the city’s main attraction. Anoth
er point of interest around Centro is the popular ‘Municipality Market’ which was built on 1933 and till now the building itself trades fresh fruits, vegetable and other Brazilian products. This area is a bit more dangerous than Paulista Avenue as there are plenty of dodgy homeless people, but a little vigilance and everything should be fine as there are plenty of security and police around. It is advised not to visit this area at night as it could be very dangerous
Another area of interest is Vila Madalena which is popular for its street arts, music and nightlife. This is the area where the majority of backpackers stay because there are many hostels and cheaper restaurants here.
Football is huge in Brazil and Sao Paulo has one of the countries most important stadiums in the ‘Estadio Municipal Paulo Machado de Caravalho’ or ‘Estadio do Pacaembu’ which is more popularly known as, is the city’s resident stadium. The big four resident football clubs that use this stadium are Sao Paulo, Corinthians, Palmeiras and Santos who share the ground for their respective games. Away from matches the stadium still has one of the most sought out football museums in Brazil, a definite place to visit for football fans.
Sao Paulo has a very high influx of Japanese immigrants and this has resulted in a popular area within ‘Liberdade’ known as the little Tokyo. Here there are plenty of Japanese shops, restaurants, cafes and even Japanese gardens. A very popular place for tourists to visit, buy souvenirs and even have a snack.
Last but not the least away from the city rush, there is an excellent place to unwind in ‘Ibirapuera Park’. A peaceful location away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is a green space where many unwind, run, cycle, picnic, skateboard and do other leisure activities in their free time. Furthermore the park is also home to a few museums and important monuments such as the ‘Monument of Bandeiras’ a famous sculpture at the entrance of the park to commemorate the settling expeditions of inner Brazil.
In Conclusion, Sao Paulo is a beautiful city that distances itself away from the bad reputation of Brazils crime rate. Although tourists still need to be vigilant, I felt safe enough to bring out my camera and phone (except for Centro). I was also fine with using the ‘metro’, it was easy, cheap and safe to use just like any metro system in Europe. Food in the City is also very easy to find and you will be spoilt for choices with either local, fast food or international cuisine. Overall do make sure you visit this lovely Brazilian metropolis but staying here longer than 2 or 3 days could result in boredom, out of town excursions would be a good idea.
Its now 2018 and i’ve got more travel plans on the agenda, this year I’m looking for something new, somewhere I’ve never been, doing activities I have never done.
So my initial plans for this year are:
- Lima/ Cusco/ Aguas Calientes (Peru)
- Sao Paulo/ Rio De Janiero (Brazil)
- Edinburgh (Scotland)
- Marrakesh (Morocco)
And many more across the UK and the Philippines.
To start off this year (in March) I’ve got my first ever trip west from Europe and I have chosen ‘South America’ instead of the richer more developed ‘North America’. With only 7 days to spare from work, ill be visiting 2 different countries, 5 different cities and 2 of the ‘7 world wonders’.
Firstly I fly to ‘Sao Paulo/ Brazil’ where ill spend a single day. I plan to visit the city’s Cathedral, Municipal Market and other attractions allowable within my time frame. I will then leave Sao Paulo for a short layover at ‘Lima’ in ‘Peru’ where I will arrive late night and only have a few hours till I leave early next morning for a 5am flight straight to ‘Cuzco’. I’ll probably stay at the airport due to it being late night and only having a few hours, not a problem as I will have plenty of time to roam Lima on my way back. ‘Cuzco’ will be my base for the next 4 days but will excurse to one of the world wonders ‘Machu Pichu’ whilst staying overnight at the nearest town ‘Aguas Calientes’ where I’ll have a whole day to roam the small town before heading back to Cuzco. After returning to base at ‘Cusco’ I plan to visiting many more attractions within the Inca trail including the ‘Moray’, ‘Sacsayhuaman’, ‘Coricancha’ and plenty more. I will then return to Lima for a longer period to roam around the capital, probably at the city’s central. Then to end the vacation its back to Brazil but this time into ‘Rio De Janiero’ the samba and carnival capital of the world where I will stay for 3 days. Here I am not sure what I’ll be doing but I will most definitely visit another of the world wonder in the ‘Christ the redeemer’ statue. Overall its somewhat of short boomerang trip.
There are a few potential problems in this trip, from my busy jam packed schedule, the hurdles of Peru’s undeveloped cities and Brazils reputable crime rate. My daily itinerary is so tight and busy that if I miss a single flight, it will ruin the following sector and mess up my whole schedule which could result in wasting valuable time, missed reservation and higher spending. Furthermore even with early planning I’m finding transport a little difficult in Peru where trains and buses seem less straight forward and find myself with a huge chance of getting lost. The two countries also speak very little English which will toughen my trip should I need assistance or enquiries. Another precaution of this trip is the altitude of ‘Cuzco’ and ‘Machu Pichu’ peaking at 2,430m which will probably be the highest I’ve ever been, hopefully altitude sickness is something I don’t get. Finally the main thing I’m cautious about is safety in the regions I’m visiting more so for Rio De Janiero, with the city being a metropolis for snatchers, pickpockets and robbers that sometimes carry weapons, the dangers loom and I’ll need to be vigilant.
So why am I going?
Apart from all the negatives and risks these two countries retain, they both have the most beautiful landscapes, attractions and culture in the world.
According to Lonely Planet’s 500 best places, Peru’s ‘Machu Picchu’ is 3rd behind only to the ‘Great Barrier Reef’ 2nd and the ‘Temples of Angkor’ in Cambodia winning the title of best place in the world. Brazils ‘Christ the Redeemer’ 170th and ‘Ipanema Beach’ is 440th. Visiting these places will just be a spectacular and an amazing experience the reason for taking this trip even with 7 days.
What I expect form this trip?
Well its not going to be a relaxing trip, that’s for sure!
In Peru I expect to experience new cultures, somewhat familiar to the influx of tourist but still hold ancient values some maybe influenced from the Inca empire. I expect to find tourism to be the breadwinner in Cuzco, so maybe people will be very welcoming but also aggressive on selling products, tours and food as it has been in many rural tourist spots I’ve visited in the past. However I hope to find new ways of life that I’ve never seen before and lastly to witness probably one of the most majestic villages left by the ancient world in ‘Machu Picchu‘. Lima would probably be a developing city, a metropolis of Hispanic influence.
Brazil is probably more livelier as I’m visiting two huge cities ‘Sao Paulo’ and ‘Rio De Janeiro’. I expect ‘Sao Paulo’ to be a busy business and industrial centre, whilst ‘Rio’ will be the messy but beautiful party and cultural region. I am aware of the dangers in Rio and although I wont ignore them, I will try and enjoy the city for what it is. In the country overall, I envisage to find a division between the rich and poor as shown in many movies, shows and documentaries.
South America will be very new to me and although the two countries can have influences and similarities to places such as Spain and Philippines, I expect to find a new side to Hispanic cultures.
Picture Credits: Cover Photo Machu Picchu -Lonely planet (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/peru/machu-picchu) Christ the redeemer - https://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_category.php?id=210814&name=Christ+The+Redeemer+Wallpapers