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Back in Scotland

Murray and Lynn's Bunch of Fives

overcast 15 °C
View round the world - murray and lynn on murray2701's travel map.

Hello everyone

Well Lynn and I are back in good old Scotland after a 50 week round the world adventure. It is time to think about going back to work, decorating our flat and otherforms of reality after a year of living the dream.

So this is our last blog. Our Bunch of Fives travel awards for the year 2007/08.

Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed making lists of my favourite things - bands, songs, football players etc etc so this our list of favourite things from our travels.

Top 5 beers
1. Quilmes, Argentina
A cool label, refreshing taste and former sponsors of Boca Juniors
2. Chang Beer, Thailand
A wopping 6.5%, less than 50p for a 1 litre bottle and easy to drink, too easy!
3. Monteith Zesty, New Zealand
A lager with a dash of lemon twist to make it zesty and extremely refreshing on a hot day
4. Cusquena, Peru
A beer for drinking after a hard days hiking
5. Escudo, Chile
A nice colourful label and a lovely lager

5 Cool Cities
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Top steak restaurants, football, greta bars and shops. What more could you want?
2. Sydney, Australia
Jointfirst place with BA, Sydney is truly stunning.
3. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
This place goes nuts during carnival, the energy, enthusiasm and effort put into partying has to be seen to believed. Again truly beautiful with mountains, beaches, sea and rainforest all around.
4. Cusco, Peru
A small city but beautiful with fresh air aplenty and stunning old buildings
5. Auckland, New Zealand
A very relaxed city with very relaxed and friendly people.

5 cool towns
1. Lunag Prabang, Laos
One of our very favourite places in the world with old French colonial buildings, nice bars and restaurants, a brilliant night market and beautiful waterfalls and pools
2. Hoi An, Vietnam
The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site with great old buildings and lovely cobbled streets
3. Queenstown, New Zealand
Adventure capital of NZ set among jaw droppingly beautiful scenery
4. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Great town fpr spending 4 or 5 nights in as you tour round the Angkor temples during the day
5. Cafayate, Argentina
Small town with 10 wineries and a cheese factory. Very relaxed.

5 Great Places for trekking
1. Inca Trail, Peru
Jaw droppingly amazing scenery on the way to Machu Picchu
2. Torres Del Paine, Chile
Truly beautiful, fresh and at the end of the world
3. Blue Mountains, Australia
Again, amazing scenery to take your mind off your aching feet
4. Pucon Volcano climb, Chile
Climb and active volcano outside Pucon in Chile and take in 360 degree views of mountains, lakes and forests
5. Kings Canyon/Uluru, Australia
In the middle of a huge country is a huge barren landscape that looks amazing in the scorching sunshine

5 crazy things to do
1. River Boarding, Queenstown, New Zealand
Absolutely crazy and the hardest thing we have ever done, we were aching for 3 days afterwards after using muscles we didn't know we had. Throw yourself down grade 4 rapids on a body board!
2. Worlds Most Dangerous Road, Bolivia
Cycle down the Worlds Most Dangerous Road, keep your eyes on the road!
3. Canyon Swing, Queenstown, New Zealand
Jump off a cliff and swing through a canyon!
4. Hang Glide, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Jump off a cliff and soar like a bird.
5. Climb an active volcano, Pucon, Chile
Great views, sulphur smells and an totally fun slide back down

5 Great Places to Eat
1. Silver Elephant, Saigon, Vietnam
Exceptional Thai food with equally exceptional service
2. La Cabrera, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Unbelievably good steak, cooked with real care. So good we went 3 times.
3. Soul Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand
Cool place where we spotted an All Black, great food and service.
4. La Tomat, Quito, Ecuador
Brilliant pizza, the best we tasted all year
5. Chaing Mai Nightmarket, Thailand
The best mussells ever

5 Great Football Matches
1. Boca Juniors 1 v 0 River Plate
2. Flamengo 1 v 4 Fluminese
3. River Plate 2 v 2 San Telmo
4. Japan 4 v 1 United Arab Emirates
5. Melbourne 0 v 0 Sydney

5 Great Beaches
1. Haad Yao Beach, Ko Phang An, Thailand
So nice we stayed for 9 nights in a little beach hut
2. Lopez Mendes, Ihla Grande, Brazil
You can only get to it by boat and then a hike through a rainforest
3. Little Beach, Augusta, Australia
4. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
The real number one, white sands and crystal clear water
5. Boracay, Philippines

5 Great Places to get away from it all
1. Fiji
Remote, quiet, friendly, beautiful, sunny, unspoilt, clean...
2. Pai, Thailand
Little hippy town. Buy some books and rent a bamboo shack by the river for £1.50 a night
3. South West Australia
Rent a campervan and travel through picturesque small towns and have beaches to yourself
4. Ihla Grande, Brazil
Only accessible by boat, chilles with great beaches
5. Haad Yao Beach, Thailand

22 jaw droppinly beautiful places (5 wasnt enough)
1. Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, Peru
2. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
3. Great Barrier Reef, Oz
4. Angkor Temples, Cambodia
5. Halong Bay, Vietnam
6. Torres Del Paine, Chile
7. Whitsundays, Oz
8. Fraser Island, Oz
9. Franz Josef Glacier, NZ
10. Milford Sounds, NZ
11. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
12. Lake Titicaca, Peru
13. Salt Flats, Bolivia
14. Blue Mountains, Oz
15. Ihla Grande, Brazil
16. Lake Wanaka, NZ
17. Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
18. Sydney Harbour, Oz
19. Mount Cook, NZ
20. Great Ocean Road, Oz

All the best
Murray and Lynn

xxx

Posted by murray2701 03:52 Archived in Scotland Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Boca stadium tour, Evita´s grave and Boca

sunny 15 °C

´Zipping up my boots, going back to my roots´
´Not talking ´bout the roots in the land, I´m talking ´bout the roots in the man´

Going Back To My Roots - Lamont Dozier

Hello

Well we are in our final week of our almost year long adventure. We flew out from Glasgow on June 19th 2007 and on June 4th 2008, if flights go to plan, we will be touching back down on Scottish soil.

We are really looking forward to seeing family and friends and enjoying some bacon rolls!

The last week has been remarkably quiet as our trip to Iguazu was our last ´real´ bit of travelling and sightseeing. So I´m not going to do a day by day blog for this entry, I´ll just run through what we have been up to.

Stay tuned though as we intend to do two more blogs, one of our route and highlights and our last blog will be Murray and Lynn´s Bunch of Fives - our travel awards for the year 2007/08. So stay tuned to find our top 5 places to chill out, top 5 beaches, top 5 places to eat and the all important and hotly contested top 5 beers.

So what have we been up to in the last week.....

Boca Juniors Stadium tour - On Tuesday we went to Boca, a working class suburb of Buenos Aires to do the stadium tour and visit the Caminito area of Boca. The Caminito is a colourful selection of buildings made from corrugated iron, it´s a rough area but it has been transformed into a tourist attraction. The colourful buildings are surrounded by beautiful but slowly deteriorating old buildings that are bars, restaurants and tourist shops.

The stadium tour was pretty basic but well worth going on if you are a football fan. It started in the club shop before taking you round the stadium. We went pitchside and got our picture taken with a replica of the Copa Libertadores Cup and saw Maradonna´s box. The highlight of the tour was when we were in the dressing room and the guide took me to one side and asked if I had heard about the virgin that Maradonna once brought into the dressing room. My jaw dropped and before I could speak the guide showed me a small doll of the Virgin Mary!

The Caminito area is lovely. It is full of amazing Boca Juniors and Maradonna merchandise, restaurants, tango shows and bars. Sadly it is only safe to go there during the day and the restaurants and bars close at dusk as no tourists will visit Boca at night due to lack of security. We enjoyed a beer in the sunshine and bought a few tshirts.

Evita´s grave - Before the Champions League final on May 21st we visited the stunning cemetary where Evita Peron´s remains are housed. The cemetary is in the lovely area of Recoleta and the graves are absolutely beautiful. They are more like little houses and the cemetary is more like a little village. Worth going to but you only need half an hour max. Thankfully the pub we were watching the football in was right across the road from it. See the previous blog for details about that!

Evita Museum - The Evita Museum is good, but it is not really geared up to English speaking tourists. Still, you get a good idea about how important a role Evita played in the lives of Argentinians from that period. She fought for Women´s rights and stood up for the porr, campaigning for and succeeding in getting better housing. She was also a total babe and style icon and some of her clothes were on display. She was pretty cool!

Indiana Jones 4 - We went to see Indiana Jones 4 and laughed out loud. Classic. You cannot beat Indy.

Apart from that we have been very quiet, going to the gym, enjoying the odd beer, bottle of wine and meal out and also enjoying staying in our apartment watching films and saving money. As we don´t have a lot left.

Over the next few days we will be very quiet. We move out our apartment on Monday and will stay in a hostel/hotel on Monday night before catching our flight home on Tuesday!

What a year!

Lots of love
Murray and Lynn
xxxx

Posted by murray2701 13:27 Archived in Argentina Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

The Champions League Final in Buenos Aires

United are the Champions, European Champions

sunny 20 °C

We are the pride of all Europe, the cock of the north
We hate the scousers and cockney of course (and Leeds)
We are United without any doubt
We are the Manchester boys na na na

Well it is now 4 days after the European Champions League trophy was won by United in dramatic circumstances in Moscow. I am absolutely delighted for Alex Ferguson, his reign at Old Trafford deserves more than one European Cup, his ability to mould players, bring on youngsters and his thirst for success and attacking footall is unrivalled in the modern game. Another famous Scottish manager, Liverpool´s legendary Bill Shankly once said 'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.' That may be taking things to the extreme but for supporters of Manchester United and Chelsea that quote must have rang true in the build up to, during and after the match.

Could either team handle losing to one of their fiercest rivals? I certainly could not begin to imagine Chelsea winning and then coming to Old Trafford next season and rubbing United´s noses in it. The thought provoked chills down my spine.

Thankfully, all worries were erased from my head after Edwin Van Der Sar saved former Arsenal and Liverpool player Nicholas Anelka´s penalty kick to take the trophy back to Old Trafford for a third time. For supporters of United around the globe there was sheer joy and exuberation, for Chelsea supporters it must have been a feeling worse than death. Refer back to Bill Shankly´s quote.

It was an excellent game, more open than most could have anticipated. We wathched the game at the fantastic Locos por el Futbol in Buenos Aires. A huge sports bar with massive screens and table service. Thankfully there were other United supporters in from Norway, Holland, Argentina and Manchester, including two season ticket holders in the Strefor End, Bernie and her daughter Catherine. There were a few Chelsea suporters in as well including two very mouthy Israeli´s at the table next to us.

Ferguson went for his strongest line-up, allaying any fears I had about him starting with one upfront. With Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo on the pitch United have the ability to beat anyone. Back up that forward line with a midfield consisting of the maestro Paul Scholes, an ever improving Michael Carrick, both offensively and defensively and the superfit and superfast Owen Hargreaves. Then you have the rock solid defence of Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra. A team worthy of Europe´s finest prize.

United started strongly and took the lead just before the half hour mark through a powerful Ronaldo header, after excellent work on the right wing from Scholes and Brown. United had chances to sew the game up before half time including a Tevez diving header after a breathtaking move involving Rooney and Ronaldo. Chelsea equalised before half time and it was all square at the interval.

Chelsea looked more confident in the second half, but both teams had their chances with Drogba hitting the post for Chelsea. Giggs came on for extra time and could have won it but for an excellent clearing header from John Terry. At that stage penalties seemed inevitable though and they were soon upon us, not before my most hated man in football, Didier Drogba was sent off. What a complete TWAT.

United scored their first two then the unthinkale happened, Ronaldo missed. The two Chelsea supporters next to us jumped up almost into my face and I had to bite my tongue and clench my fists to avoid a reaction. Chelsea scored to take the lead. Hargreaves and Nani scored under pressure for United, leaving the last penalty kick and the chance to win it to Chelsea captain John Terry. At this point I gave some money to Lynn to settle the bill and said that if he scored I would be making a sharp exit to get away from the Chelsea supporters. Instead it was my turn to turn to the two Chelsea fans next to me and scream ´get it right up you Chelsea´ and run to celebrate with the Norwegian reds. In the joyous scenes my glasses were knocked off and I was scrabbling about on the floor looking for them, only just getting them in time to see Anderson score the next penalty. Chelsea scored as well and then it was Ryan Giggs turn to step up.

Giggs was breaking Bobby Charlton´s appearance record for Manchester United and he tucked his penalty away. Next up was Nicholas Anelka. As if it wasn´t bad enough that this guy played for Chelsea, he has also played for Arsenal and Liverpool. Van der Sar saved and the place went nuts, with me shouting a few choice words at the Chelsea support in the bar.

We danced and sang with the Norwegian Reds and then ordered a bottle of champagne with Bernie and Catherine from Manchester. Bernie´s son was in Moscow and she got a couple of text messages as we sang United songs and had our picture taken by the local press. Bernie is 59 and she had been at Wembley in 1968 to see United win the European Cup for the first time and I had been in Barcelona for 1999, so it was quite fitting that we should meet in 2008. I am a great believer in fate when it comes to football, especially European Cup finals!

Bernie told us that her best friend was the former official photographer for the George Best fanclub. When I cheekily asked if he friend and George had ever, you know. She would only reply ´well George was a bit of a lad you know´ and wink at me.

We had a good chat about United and the history of the club and our love of it. After the champagne and a few more beers we waved goodbye and went back to our flat where I collapsed in a happy drunken heap and had a strange dream about being in a bar with my friends from the Glasgow Manchester United Supporters Club.

UNITED ARE THE CHAMPIONS, EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS, STRETFORD ENDERS SING THE STORY, OF UNITED´S PRIDE AND GLORY

Posted by murray2701 08:43 Archived in Argentina Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Iguazu Falls

sunny 22 °C

´Now you´re at the wheel, tell me how, how does it feel?´
Waterfall by Stone Roses

Hello all

After the last blog this one is a little more exciting as we returned to travelling and sight seeing mode. It has been great chilling in BA though and having our own place after a year in hostels and hotels is just fantastic.

Since the last blog we have been to the amazing Iguazu Falls. Read on for more details.

Thursday 15th May
The alarm went off at 5am and we booked a taxi for 5.40am to take us to the domestic airport for our flight to Iguazu. The 7.10am flight left on time and in under two hours we were in Iguazu, a far cry from the 26 hour bus journey that was our other option.

We had checked into Hotel Carmen by 10am and as we didn´t have anything planned for that day until a boat cruise at sunset we decided to ge a taxi to the falls as there wasn´t a lot to do in the town. The falls are 12km out of the town and we paid the 40 ARG park entrance fee and went in. As we only had a few hours we decided to go to what many people refer to as the highlight of the park, Devils Throat.

We went on a little train and arrived at a walkway across the river. The scenery was already spectacular but nothing could prepare us for the sight just over a km away. The spray from the 75 metre waterfall rose in the distance and we could hear the water thundering down. Word cannot really describe how beautiful, powerful and stunning Iguazu National Park and the 275 waterfalls that are in it.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about them...
Upon seeing Iguaçu, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed "Poor Niagara!"[1] Vastly larger than North America's Niagara Falls, Iguaçu is rivalled only by Southern Africa's Victoria Falls which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe (this is excluding extremely large rapid-like falls such as the Boyoma Falls). Whilst Iguazu is wider because it is split into about 270 discrete falls and large islands, Victoria is the largest curtain of water in the world, at over a 1600 m wide and over 100 m (350 ft) in height (in low flow Victoria is split into five by islands; in high flow it can be uninterrupted).

The water falling over Iguazu in peak flow has a surface area of about 40 ha (1.3 million ft²) whilst Victoria in peak flow has a surface area of over 55 ha (1.8 million ft²).[4] By comparison, Niagara has a surface area of under 18.3 ha (600,000 ft²).[5] Victoria's annual peak flow is also greater than Iguazu's annual peak—9 100 m³/s versus 6 500—though in times of extreme flood the two have recorded very similar maximum water discharge (well in excess of 12 000 m³/s). Niagara's annual peak flow is about 2 800 m³/s, although an all-time peak of 6 800 has been recorded.[5] Iguazu and Victoria fluctuate more greatly in their flow rate. Mist rises between 30 and 150 m (100 and 500 ft) from Iguazu's Garganta do Diabo, and over 300 m (1,000 ft) above Victoria (sometimes over 600 m).

Iguazu, however, affords better views and walkways and its shape allows for spectacular vistas. At one point a person can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. The Garganta do Diabo has water pouring into it from three sides. Likewise, because Iguazu is split into many relatively small falls, one can view these a portion at a time. Victoria does not allow this, as it is essentially one waterfall that falls into a canyon and is too immense to appreciate at once (except from the air).

We went snap happy with the camera and will update our flickr site www.flickr.com/photos/murrayandlynn tomorrow

Friday 16th May
The alarm went off at 7am and after a buffet breakfast we were picked up by our tour guide for a full day exploring the Argentine side of the falls. We met a nice woman from Guatemala and 4 Argentine´s. We started off at Devil´s Throat again and despite being there the day before it seemed even more impressive in the morning sun, with the wind direction meaning that anyone who ventured out on to the viewing platform for completely soaked.

After a good 40 minutes admiring the power and beauty we got a train to the Upper Circuit and walked along, admiring the waterfalls and the greenery. After lunch we walked along the Lower Circuit and then got a boat across the river at the bottom of the falls to Isla San Martin and climbed some steps to get an amazing view of the San Martin waterfall. After a quick dip in the river we went back to the mainland and jumped in a powerboat for a brilliant experience. The boat takes you right up to the bottom of the falls and you get soaked. It was brilliant fun.

After that it was a 5km boat trip down some rapids to a 4x4 jeep that took us back to the park entrance.

I haven´t written a lot about this day, but I could have! The scenery is just amazing, like a film set, only real!

Saturday 17th May
The alarm went off at 7am again and after breakfast we checked out and got on the bus at 8.15am to Brazil to visit the Brazilian side of the falls. You can´t get as close to the waterfalls from the Brazilian side but the panoramic views were jaw droppingly spectacular. Sheer beauty. The world is a beautiful place.

We spent a good 3 hours going snap happy again, around 300 pictures from 2 days! After that we had an amazing buffet lunch on the way back to the border and then we transferred to the airport for our flight back to BA. At night we had a beer and sushi in the flat.

I have to say that if anyone has the opportunity to visit Iguazy Falls you should seize it. In 11 months of travelling it is definitely near the top, if not top, of our list of beautiful places in the world.

Thats all for now folks, I´m off to check on the latest CL final news. COME ON UNITED!

Love
Murray and Lynn
xxx

Posted by murray2701 11:10 Archived in Argentina Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Hanging out in Buenos Aires

sunny 22 °C

Hello all

It has been a while since my last blog so I will split our news into two seperate blogs, one for hanging in Buenos Aires and one for our trip to the simply spectacular Iguazu Falls.

We´ve been enjoying chilling in Buenos Aires, going to the gym, relaxing in the many bars and restaurants in Palermo, attending an amazing football game and loving having our own apartment.

Some of the diary entries may not be very exciting as we have been chilling quite a bit!

Wednesday 7th May
We went to the gym for an hour in the morning and then went to a funky New York style deli called Mark´s Deli for lunch. In the afternoon we wandered around Palermo Viejo and Soho areas and phoned a couple of friends before cooking in the flat and watching The Virgin Suicides on dvd.

Thursday 8th May
River Plate 2 v 2 San Lorenzo
We went to the gym again in the morning and we are already feeling the benefits of regular exercise. We had a quiet afternoon and then got picked up by Tangol at 6pm for the 2nd leg of the River v San Lorenzo match in the Copa Libertadores cup, the South American version of the Champions League. SL had a 2-1 lead from the first leg, so River were in the mood for goals.

The stadium was packed out, you could not move and God help you if you needed to go to the toilet, you simply couldn´t get out as people were standing and sitting in the isles. Every ticket was sold and a few people must have jibbed in. It was mobbed. The atmosphere was electric. I always like night games, the floodlights seem to enhance the occassion. It wasn´t just floodlights that enhanced the atmosphere, fireworks, flares and confetti went off as the teams took the field.

The game was pretty even until San Lorenzo had a player sent off and River took the lead. In the second half it started to get dirty and San Lorenzo had a second player sent off with River scoring the resulting penalty. The stadium erupted, it looked like River were cruising to the quarter finals. But San Lorenzo had other ideas. They had been playing excellent football all night and scored to bring it back to 2-1 on the night after sloppy defending by River. SL suddenly were on top and despite River having a 2 man advantage they could not keep possession. SL won a corner and scored, their fans went ballistic and the River end went deadly quiet.

Despite hitting the post and forcing several saves, River could not score and San Lorenzo went through. What a game, one I will always remember.

Friday 9th May
After a relatively long lie we decided to walk along Santa Fe Avenue to the Alto Palermp Shopping Mall. I bought a couple of Adidas tops and a pair of Red Converse. On the way back to teh apartment we stumbled across a funky dress shop and Lynn bought a dress for our friend Kenny and Marjories wedding on June 14th.

In the evening we ber hopped around the square and streets off it and had a few beers before getting takeaway Sushi and a dvd ´The Holiday´ to watch in. Also ended up getting a bottle of wine, so romantic!

Saturday 10th May
We got up at 10.30am and after breakfast we went to the gym for an hour and had leftover sushi for lunch. There was a market in the square and Lynn bought a couple of tops there. It is nice to be wearing some new and clean clothes after a year travelling! We did a bit of bar hopping in Palermo Soho and had pizza for dinner before another few beers on the way back to the apartment.

Sunday 1th May
Woke up at 10am and had breakfast in bed watching the Wigan v Manchester United game. United won 2-0 to win the league, full steam ahead to Moscow!

We had a nice wander around Palermo in the afternoon, we are still discovering new bars, shops and restaurants. At night we had booked into a local Parilla (steak house) called La Cabrera, one of the best in BA according to Time Out. We were not disappointed, the food was absolutely outstanding, washed down with a bottle of fine Argentine wine. The cost was under 30 quid, if we had been eating to that standard in the UK it would probably have been 70 or 80.

Monday 12th May
A very quiet day with not a lot to report. We are finally getting into the habit of relaxing and chilling after a manic 11 months travelling.

Tuesday 13th May
We got the subway into town after the gym and went to the Quantas offices to change our flight home to June 3rd, so we will officially be back in Scotland on June 4th, just under a year since we left.

We wandered around the Centre of town and bought a few presents to take home and then had a quiet night eating pizza in the flat and watching the Bourne Supremacy on TV.

Wednesday 14th May
We went to the gym in the morning and then went back to the flat for lunch. In the afternoon we went to a local Irish bar called Sullivans to watch the Rangers v Zenit St Petersburgh UEFA Cup Final. Rangers were poor and lost 2-0. The bar staff felt sorry for me as I am Scottish and gave me a free beer!

Read on for a more exciting blog about the amazing Iguazu Falls.

Love
Murray and Lynn
xxxx

Posted by murray2701 10:46 Archived in Argentina Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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