315 Days Traveling Round the World
As of June 15th we have been on the road for 315 days. We’ve travelled over 108,500 km including one transatlantic cruise ship, one five day jeep tour, two canoes, three ferries, eight trains, 14 buses, 43 cars, and 27 flights. Add in some crazy mileage by tuk-tuk, bike, car taxi and water taxi (a favorite), songthaew, and lots of endless walking.
We visited 74 cities across 25 countries. Our longest stay iwas 30 days in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.. Our longest country visit was 35 days in Thailand and our shortest stay was three days in the United States.
We saw three of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World: Christ the Redeemer (Brazil), Machu Picchu (Peru) and the Roman Colosseum (Italy). In our view Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Iguazu Falls (Argentina), and the Ciudad El Canto (Bolivia) should be added to the list.
We saw the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Okay so we saw the ruined temple and the workshop where the statue was made!
We have now seen the three greatest Water Falls in the World – Niagara Falls (Canada), Iguazu Falls (Argentina), and Victoria Falls (Zambia).
We spent four days trekking in the Amazon Rain Forest, stopped in to view the Panama Canal, relaxed in a surf town in Nicaragua, spent Easter in Athens, did a Road Trip throughout the Pelopennese Mountains, did a Road Trip across South Africa, were charged by a raging elephant, climbed up Table Mountain in a rain storm, stood seven feet away from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and also the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and drank a pint of Guiness in Ireland’s oldest pub.
Rob also ran over 400 km during the trip to try and reduce the impact of all the beer he drank …
Colleen and two of the kids spent the first month of her retirement traveling the East coast of Canada. Hannah stayed behind to finish a summer class and Rob was wrapping up work.
United States of America
As our closest neighbour we have visited the United States many times. Our world trip started in Boston as a matter of the best airline ticket deal: Japan Airlines Business Class using Alaska Miles. Our three nghts in Boston were a great start. And not just because we got free sushi at our hotel.
We originally excluded Japan from our planning as it is known to be an expensive country. Ben had an obseession about the Samurai and the Ninja so we made this our first real destination. It was well worth it. Japanese hospitality for platinum members in Starwood properties was exceptional (pyjamas, bathrobes, shaving kits, great selection of food, beer and wine in the lounge). The Monkey Park and the Bonfire Festival in Kyoto were two of the highlights of the trip.
Japan Airlines (JAL) Business Class Sky Suites
Konnichiwa from Tokyo
Tokyo – a Taste of History with Temples and Shrines
First Impressions of Kyoto
A Lighter Side of Tokyo
Douvris Barrhaven – A Karate Family
Daimonji Okuribi – Bonfire Festival in Kyoto
Monkey Park, Bamboo Forest & Kimono’s
11 Nights in Japan – $1,630.16
The first few days in Vietnam were difficult to adjust to with the combined heat, crazy traffic and inability to withdraw money from ATMs. Once we figured out how to cross the road and get money we enjoyed the culture immensely. The street food was amazing, the people very friendly and the culture unique.
Vietnam Visa on Arrival for Canadians – How To
Live from Hanoi
Adventures in Eating – Vietnam
Adventures in Eating – Vietnam Part II
Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
Halong Bay – Northern Vietnam
Second Class Vietnamese Sleeper Train – OMG Never Again
Road Move – Hue to Da Nang
Hue – Eaten by a Dragon
Da Nang – A Beautiful Beach Town
‘Minor Surgery’ in Da Nang, Vietnam
Live from Hoi An – the Ancient City
Hoi An (Ancient Town)
Phu Quoc – A vacation from the Trip
Vietnam Money Woes
What about the Vietnam War?
The journey to Cambodia and crossing our first land border was interesting. Reading about corruption of border officials is one thing. Doing it, another. We loved Phnom Penh although it was a quiet time with the Pchum Ben holiday. A visit to the Killing Fields is not to be missed. Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat temples were exceptional and should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Crossing into Cambodia
Pchum Ben, the Killing Fields, Torrential Rain and Phnom Penh
Live From Siem Reap, Cambodia
Day 2 – the Angkor Temples
Day 3 – Angkor Complex
Ta Prohm – Temple in the Trees
A Day of Prices in Cambodia
The Labour of Leisure – Where in the World Does the Time Go?
Our visit to Thailand was incredible. Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city with excellent infrastructure, good food and interesting sites. We had to watch out for tuk-tuk scammers but other than that no problems. Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, and Chiang Rai were all unique visits that added to the wonder of the country. The highlight, and another bucket list activity, was the Chiang Mai Lantern Festival – another not to be missed.
Chiang Mai – Ice Cream and the Lantern Festival
Chiang Rai – Laundry and the White Temple
Kanchanaburi, Thailand – The Death Railway
Ayutthaya – a wonderful excursion from Bangkok
Live from Bangkok in the Land of Smiles
Bangkok (One night or more)
Our brief weekend in Singapore was highly enjoyable and reacquainted us with Western style civilization and infrastructure. English was widely spoken and the standard of living was high. Our highlight was Canadian pizza and a visit to the botanical gardens.
Everyone loved Italy! The food, buildings, history, sunshine, cooler temperatures and friendly people made it a memorable trip that was simply too short. It is on our long list of countries to explore more.
The repositioning cruise allowed us two stops in Spanish territory: Barcelona and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Our time in Barcelona was too short to really take in many sites, let alone appreciate them. Santa Cruz was wonderful and deserves the moniker of Eternal Spring. We are looking forward to a visit to Spain in the future.
We visited the port of Casablanca and it was not what we were expecting. It is worth a visit but it leaves you with the sense of a dusty under-developed city that needs some greater investment.
Our cruise itinerary had four ports of call in Brazil. They were all too short to soak in the rich history of this interesting country. Our visit to Recife was marred with a daylight robbery/assault. Maceio is a beautiful beach town with a great boardwalk. Salvador Bahia had beautiful architecture and Rio de Janerio fabulous beaches.
We diesembarked in Buenos Aires. Argentina. We enjoyed several nights there as well as Cordoba and Salta. But the highlight of our time in Argentina was surely our side trip to Iguazu National Park.
We escaped Buenos Aires and explored Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. Both cities are unique and worth a visit.
Aside from the Salt Flats, a longer stay in Bolivia was not in our original plans. The mountains (surreal), llamas, cuisine and of course the Salt Flats combine to make Bolivia a great country to visit and we stayed much longer as a result. We crossed the land border from Argentina directly to Tupiza and then took a multi night tour to Salar de Uyuni. It had a few ‘icky’ moments but is a huge highlight of our RTW travels — incredible views and a unique experience. We rounded out our time in Bolivia with time in La Paz and Lake Titicaca.
After a brief stop in Puno (on the Bolivia Hop bus) we made our way to the fabulous city of Cusco known for its Spanish Colonial charm and traditional Inca ways. It is a beautiful city and the gateway to the fabled Machu Picchu. We enjoyed our time and should have stayed longer. We moved onto Lima for several nights before heading to Ecuador.
We flew to Quito, Ecuador and were amazed by the comfort and cleanliness of the city. It is very modern with a great highway system from the airport to downtown that meanders through the mountains. Looking for a bit of a res, we stayed a week before our trip into the Amazon basin. Sadly we missed a trip to the Galapagos Islands and flew to Panama. We’ll be back again one day.
Our First Days in Athens
The Acropolis of Athens
Peloponnese Road Trip – Nafplio
Peloponnese Road Trip – Mycenae
Peloponnese Road Trip – Ancient Messene
Peloponnese Road Trip – The Palace of Nestor
Peloponnese Road Trip – Methoni Castle
Peloponnese Road Trip – Lake Kaiafas
Peloponnese Road Trip – Olympia
Peloponnese Road Trip – Delphi
We spent a month in South Africa and did an epic road trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town with tons of stops along the way. We bought a Wild Card pass which gave us unlimited access to most of the parks and did our own Self-Drive Safaris as well as guided ones.
Victoria Falls was on our Bucket List. Before leaving Johannesburg South Africa, we flew up to Livingstone in Zambia. Four nights were not nearly enough and if I was doing this RTW Trip again I’d spend less time in South Africa and more in neighbouring countries. Travel in Africa was not nearly as difficult as I’d read about.
From Zambia we made a side trip into Botswana. The safari experience here far exceeded those in South Africa. It’s mostly for controversial reasons though.
Victoria Falls really have to be enjoyed from both sides. The experience is completely different. We were there during high water and the falls were epic.
During our South African road trip, we skirted up and around the Mountain Kingdom of Lesothos. At the top, we drove into Lesothos on our own. The border officials and police on road checks were super friendly and thrilled to meet us. Certainly they were the friendliest we encountered on our travels.
London was another place not on our list. Flight routings from Cape Town back to Ottawa led us here so we made it into a six night destination. The British pound was quite hard on our Canadian dollar. Regardless we lived it up in a suite at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane hotel.
We’re part Irish. Isn’t everyone!? We did another road trip through the center and along the west coast of Ireland. Very cool place.
Back to Canada for Just a Bit – Launching a Kid
These aren’t all the posts for each country. Check out the Categories bar for everything on a destination. Or for more topics.
Turns out writing posts to keep everyone updated takes time. Who figured. Details are in the works for those last six countries.
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We’re back in Canada right now but have got more adventure coming up in a couple of months.