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Entries about seaside

Coromandel - Day 59

24 °C

The first night in the van was a success! With team work, we managed to cook, wash up, put away everything we'd used, turn the back into a bed, brush our teeth and wash our faces - in cold water! You have to work together to do everything as the space is so small. Andrew being tall is handy to put the tent on the back and sort the awning velcro out and me being small means I can make the bed even with little space and move things around inside the van without injuring myself! Perfect! And we slept well too. We were warm, especially with the extra quilt, and the bed was comfy enough too.

We drove up to Coromandel Town, on the western side of the peninsula, via a little town called Thames. The roads were so windy and relatively narrow in places too, we had to concentrate on every turn to make sure we didn't drive off into the sea! It was a very pretty drive though, with sea, beach and hill views along the way.
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Both Thames and Coromandel Town are small with, to me, a 'small town' America feel to the towns and houses, which are made out of wood. We kept a look out for camp tables in the charity and camping shops, but there was either none to be seen or they were very expensive.

Andrew wanted to travel down the 309 road, as apparently it was a scenic drive, but there wasn't much there! There was a waterfall we could have walked to see, but Iguassu Falls has spoilt us for waterfalls and everything seems tiny now, and there was a walk to see their native kauri tree but we weren't sure we'd know what one looked like if we saw it, so we decided to research that and try and see one later! What is interesting down here is the vegetation, that we also saw a bit of yesterday and this morning too, which is much more tropical than I had expected. It reminds me a little of Brazil.
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Once we got the end of that road we headed north to somewhere I wanted to see - Cathedral Cove. After parking the spaceship, around about 20 other campers and caravans, we walked the 45 minute track to get to the cove. The day had turned out lovely and warm, so lots of people were on the beach enjoying the weather. We had to run through the cove to get to the beach on the other side, trying to time it right so we didn't get soaked by the waves. I still got wet! The beach, cove and rocks were really beautiful and I could have stayed their all day.
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But we had to carry on! It gets dark about 8pm here so we need to be at our campsite before then to cook in the light. We drove down the eastern coast, stopping at a few beaches along the way, including hot water beach, where you can make your own hot spring pool in the sand, but it wasn't the right time of day that.
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We arrived at Wentworth River campsite in Whangamata, which is a big place with good facilities and even hot (outdoor!) showers that you put a two dollar coin in for 4 minutes of water. The woman at reception asked us whether we'd booked as their little town of 4,000 people was being taken over this weekend by another 80,000 people attending the Beach Hop - a 50s/60s festival with music, stalls and classic cars. luckily they still had space for us, but I did wonder where this town had put 80,000 people up?!

Everything was a bit easier tonight as we're starting to learn where we can put things! To think I thought we lived in a small place in London?! Here is our home and bed!
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We're already jealous of the some of the other campers here though, they seem to have every luxury...separate tents for cooking and sleeping, a gazebo for relaxing under, full size caravans with head height and a real bed. A middle aged couple next to us popped open a bottle of champagne under their canopy! What's worse, everyone has a table to eat from but us!!

Posted by staceywaugh 05:56 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches trees views seaside campsite campervans Comments (0)

Lima - Day 20

Foggy Lima Town

27 °C

After our 3am arrival we didn't get much sleep before having to get up for breakfast, so when we were given scrambled eggs and strawberry jam (not for eating together!), it made us feel better about being awake. We also had to start taking anti-sickness tablets this morning in preparation for being at altitude in Ollantaytambo and Cusco and throughout Peru and Bolivia...it should be interesting to see whether or how we react.

We only had one day in Lima so we got up and out, only to find that there was thick fog and mist rolling in from the sea, which meant you couldn't even see the top of a ten storey building.
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We walked towards the sea, but we have no idea what the view out was like?!The Miraflores area in Lima seems built for tourism, an area where visitors can feel safe in a city that doesn't have the best reputation. There were police and street cleaners everywhere, a nice promenade with sculptures, flowers and paved walkways.
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We walked down some steep steps in the cliff to get down to the sea. There were enormous birds in the water, alongside so many surfers, and we sat and watched for a while.
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A surfer guy told us it would be a good day for us to learn surf as we wouldn't burn our skin...obviously the Buenos Aires tan, if ever there was one, has faded! Down the opposite end was a pier, just like at the English seaside, but unfortunately they don't just take anyone on their Peruvian piers - Andrew was turned away for wearing shorts.
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So we tackled the long walk back up some more enormous steps in the cliff side and out of breath and sweaty, we headed to a shopping centre to cool down. Inside was a big supermarket, so we had a wander round and saw this, which made us giggle:
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We had lunch of falafel and chicken pittas and iced lemonade at a Turkish cafe called Tarboush and had a look in the shops. Around the square they have clothes shops that look like jumble sales, piles and piles of non-descript cheap clothing. Andrew was looking for another vest as it had been so hot, so he rummaged through the piles for ages pulling out women's vest after women's vest, to find nothing! I think he was a bit addicted in the end, trying to find a cheap deal.

Back at the hostel we had an email to say that in Ollantaytambo, the town we were supposed to be staying in when we flew into Cusco the next day, there had been a flood that had knocked out all the water to the hostel and some of the electric and communications. This was the first time we had to juggle our plans and we were worried we wouldn't be able to change our hostels around, but luckily it was a simple swap - we'd go to Cusco first and then Ollantaytambo to see Machu Picchu. I was concerned about the altitude as it would be worse for us starting off in Cusco, being higher than Ollantaytambo, and I was sad we couldn't go to Machu Picchu on Valentine's Day as planned, but obviously these were very minor things in comparison to the poor people of Ollantaytambo having their town and homes wrecked by floods!

That night we went for dinner at a Chifa restaurant in the square. This is a type of Chinese cooking in Peru that apparently uses Peruvian ingredients as substitute for those originally used in China that can't be found here. I didn't notice a great deal of difference taste-wise to be honest and I would have thought any traditional cuisine of another country in a new country would have to substitute some ingredients? So I assume I have oversimplified the description of Chifa! Anyway, we had steamed dumplings to start, I had an enormous three roast noodle dish and Andrew had a massive pork and rice dish. With drinks, the bill came to £15 - the start of the cheap food in our South American adventure.

We didn't make the most of Lima, mainly because we were tired, so after a walk around the tiny market in the square, we headed back to the hostel. On the way, we went down a street packed with bars and restaurants with people shouting and pestering for you to come in - it felt like being on the strip in touristy Spain or (closer to home for me, from my 'getting people into bars' days!) Ayia Napa, the only difference was instead of young men and women it was just old men. I think maybe they need a trip to Europe to see what works, or better, maybe just lose it altogether?

Posted by staceywaugh 13:43 Archived in Peru Tagged art birds fog funny mist pier seaside Comments (0)

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