Marbella - my favourite town along the Costa

Marbella is definitely my favourite town along the Costa del Sol, I won't repeat details about Marbella that you can find elsewhere for example on the excellent website "The Blue Colour of the Sky".  But there's nothing nicer than to get up early (well relatively early) while the kids are still in bed and head into the Old Town.  The narrow streets are clean, colourful, and lined with flowerpots or wall growing bouganvilla, with twists and turns that take you to new delights around each corner: A chapel, fortress walls, a small art gallery or museum, the indoor market where they sell fish, meat fruit and flowers, the cathedral, little shrines where they keep the statues they march in the Easter parades, shops and boutiques, some for the rich others for the locals.  It's great when you find another little tapas bar where you've never eaten before.  The trick is not to go to places that have seats and umbrellas outside specifically to attract the tourists but to look for the hidden local haunts which at first look dingy but where locals enjoy cheap and fabulous treats.

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This week Sharon, here sister and I headed in and stopped at a local cafe where we had a light breakfast.  We headed around the town in the lovely sunshine, and very bearable heat.  Sauntering up and down the narrow streets and popping into the odd shop or two.  Sharon delighting in getting a few dresses in a boutique with a great sale. "Just perfect for that wedding coming up!" at home.

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Then off to the indoor market, though by now we are a bit late and many places are closed, you need to be early for the market.  But we get some fruit and vegetables and some very sharp knives for the apartment from Jesus.  All in all a lovely morning.

That evening we head back in with the two families and this time head down along the promenade to our usual Indian Restaurant.  At night and along the promenade the contrast is stark, it's busy, bustling with people of all ages, families, couples, and groups.  Street traders, mainly from North Africa ply their trade, weary of the local police, as they pester you with their counterfeit bags, sunglasses, DVDs, watches, bracelets, scarves and other bric-a-brac.  The restaurants of many nations try to entice you in, the bars are full, the streets are teeming with people ambling along taking in the atmosphere, music is playing, neons light up the street, and everything is just a little boisterous and the police keep a watchful eye.  It seldom boils over like in Benalmadena or Fuengirola, well maybe it does later at night but I've never seen it.  None-the-less it's lively and enjoyable.  We stop at a trendy cocktail bar for Mojitos, Daiqaris, beer and soft drinks and soak up the lovely balmy night and watch the world go bye.  Another perfect but contrasting day in Marbella!

Second week: Orlando

Our second week starts with us having to check out early from the Sheraton, but we hang around for a few hours by the pool as we can't check in until 4pm in the Westgate Lakeside Resort. So the car is packed, somehow, and we enjoy the afternoon by the lovely pool and get a lunch. I think our second week will be more leisurely, enjoying the pool and the parks and less shopping. We check in and this time skip the invitation to a free breakfast I never saw anyone withdraw his offers of cheap lunches and other stuff so quick when he heard us refuse. Anyway we check out our new pad, it's bright, airy and large with a nice patio out to the pool which is just outside the door only question is it going to be very noisy.

It's Eimear's today and she decides we will head to the movies but I've covered all this.

A latish morning for the girls and I'm proved wrong straight away as they decide to go shopping again after a big brunch in Perkins. Will it ever stop, I'll just have to put up with it. We're tired of eating out so dinner in tonight!

I don't know if it's the time of year, the schools being off, the weather or the recession but the parks are not as busy as we expected. For our next visit to Universal we decide to head over late, about 2.30pm we arrive. The perceived wisdom for the parks is to arrive early to get on the good rides. But we head straight to Hogsmeade and Harry Potter ride or whatever it's called and it's only a 45 minute wait. But it is well worth it, it has to be the best ride in the park, highly recommended and a must. We do a load of the good rides in Islands of Adventure and the wait times are great, including only 10 minutes for the Hulk.

To be honest at this stage all the days get confusing and I can't remember what we did on what days and even in what weeks. In the Studios one of my favourite rides is the "Disasters", a new ride since we were here 5 years ago. There is some good stage acting by our guide, some nifty special effects with Christopher Walkin who acts as a director of this supposed new disaster movie. It's very well done and good craic. The Simpsons ride has taken over the old "Back to the Future" slot, and Men in Black is still good fun.

We have had some spectacular thunder storms in the evening and nights. It's a long time since I've seen such amazing lightning, huge bursts across the sky and then when the rain comes it is torrential and very hard to drive in.

We have another day in Seaworld to catch the Shamu show the girls have their last go on Kracken and we head to SeaWorlds new water park Aquatica where the girls passed away a good few hours on the water rides. At this stage well parked out I think 10 days in Orlando is enough and then to head to the coast for a relaxing time on the lovely beaches, reading, sunning, walking and good food and drink. In the past we've done the Gulf Coast and its great along there.

All in all a great holiday but looking forward to getting home and heading to Spain for the month of July!

Cuba Photos

It's been nearly two months since we got back from Cuba, and I've been up to my eyes with renovations in the house which meant that I couldn't get near my PC and we've been away in Spain and Portugal for a few days as well, plus we had a confirmation in the house.  So now I've finally had a chance to look at my photos, and I'm pleased that I got a few good shots, you can see them here.

Follow these links, shots from Havana and shots from Trinidad to Cuba.

Cuba day 11 our last day, or so we thought!

Today we are due to fly home but we have a late flight home and are due to be picked up at 4pm so we still have time for a few more photos.  Keith, brendan and myself head off around the streets around our hotel.  We out there early in and around the small estates that live nearby.  We get some more good shots but the funniest thing is that we come across a group of elderly ladies duringt heir morning exercise.  There are a group in a small square of about 20 of them in a circle singing and doing gentle exercises.  They see us and invite us in amongst their group to take their phots while they sing Guantanamera.  They were great fun and even though they didn't speak a word of english they were very nice to us and told us their ages which all appeared to be in their 80's and 90's.  It was a great laugh not sure I got any good photos but a good laugh.

That was the end of the photos for this trip, or so we thought.  We headed off to the airport about 4.30pm for our flight at 8pm.  We were all on board for about two hours, but I knew something was wrong because after an hour of loading passengers I noticed the buses had come back again.  Right enough after two hours sitting on the plane we were unloaded. We later found out that the plane had been damaged when they rolled the stairs up to it.  The pilot said it would be the following day as they needed to get an engineer from Paris to sort the problem out.  Once off the plane and back in the terminal the fun started as we had to get our visas back, pick up our cases and we were taken to a hotel for the night.  As it happened we had to stay over for two nights.  But it did mean we were able to get back into Havana for an extra day of taking photos.

The trip was fantastic a brilliant place to go.  I'm not sure I would bother going there as a sun holiday to spend all the time at the beaches.  It's much better as a cultural holiday.  What really made it though was the company, we had such great craic, there was always a good laugh and there was no absolutely rancor.  Ramses was a great and a new friend to us all.  He looked after us so well and joined in just like one of the gang.  Any regrets, well a couple, I'm sorry I didn't get more great photos, but a holiday like this is a balance between times with friends and time taking your hobby too serious.  I'm really sorry we didn't get to hear more music and go to a few clubs to hear Jazz and Cuban music.  But it's always great to leave wanting more and a good excuse to come back.

 

Cuba Day 10

Our last full day and it's a Sunday, and it's a very easy going day. Lynn and myself take a walk along the Malecon to see if we can get any more photos. We are all really preparing ourselves for the long trip home, but Ramses has a real treat for us and in many ways turns out to be the highlight if the trip. He rings me to say that he has managed to get us a meeting with Liborio Noval in his house. We are to meet him on the corner of his street at 6pm.

Liborio is a very fit, lean and tall, and witty 77 year old who like all Cubans loves a cigar and strong coffee. He speaks little or now English and Ramses acts as our interpreter. Liboriao is also a famous photographer in Cuba in particular and worked for an advertising agency in the 50's, and during the 60's for the journal Revolucion the review INRA and the journal Granma. In the 60's he had taken photographs of Che Guevara and spoke and work with him for from 1961. From 1990 to 2001 he was the accompanying photographer of Fidel Castro during his trips. Liborio was a true gentleman and told us many fascinating stories from his life and career.  He should us portfolios of some of his work, and his house was covered with many of his brilliant images.  He was very gracious to sign copies of his book that some of us took and also to allow us to take his photograph in his house with the group.  I was very sorry I hadn't brought my camera.  We spent over two hours which just flew by but we were just so excited it was truly amazing, and something I will never forget.

Cuba, Day 1

Well we are on our way and it's going to be a long day, but we are all very excited and really looking forward to see Cuba. We fly to Havana with Air France via Paris so we are up at six for our Cityjet flight from Dublin to Paris. We arrive in Paris at 12.15 and we have about half an hour to get through the maze that is CDG airport.  After a few bus rides and plenty of queuing in CDG we get on board our flight and finally about 14.30 we take off and we have a 10 hour flight to look forward to. We will arrive 19.00 local time in Havana. So day 1 is spent travelling but we can't wait. Well we've arrived and we get our first experience of what we will come to believe is a Cuban pasttime, queuing.  The queues for immigration are huge even though there are over 20 stalls. But it takes forever. Then it's the bagsk, another delay, and then we spend an hour on the bus waiting for all the passengers. We tired, hungry and getting ratty. I say we will all sleep tonight!!  But tomorrow we will get to see Havana!

Cuba, here we come!

In August 2009 a number of friends from the local camera club headed off to South Africa, Kruger National Park and Capetown. We had a fantastic time there and you can see my blogs about the trip on this site, here. While there we decided our next trip would be to Cuba. All but 1 of that gang, plus an extra two who have joined us, are now heading off in the next couple of days.

We will be spending most of our time in Havana but a couple of days in Trinidad de Cuba. While planning this we met with some members of Drogheda Camera Club who had done the trip previously and they gave us some very valuable advice and contact names in Havana.

I belive it is a great time of year, hot but not too hot hopefully sunny and not much rain. Plus we avoid the rainy season.  I'm hoping to get some great phots and video and to see this great country which is locked in a time warp but which I expect will change over the coming years.  The people, although not wealthy, are supposed to be very friendly.  We fly with Air France via Paris on Friday and I can' wait!

Books from Blurb.com

As an enthusiastic amateur photographer I have thousands of images, but most of these don't really see the light of day, they never get printed, except the ones I want to use for competitions, and I always get comments like, "we never really see any photos you take".  This was one of the reasons I set up a couple of websites so I can publish my images and have family and friends see them.  Then there's Flickr, Facebook and a myriad of other sites where we can show off our work.  Slide-shows and videos can also be used.  But still a lot of people say, "I prefer to see actual real images" not just on the internet or a PC, iPad or TV.  So through a few members of the camera club I was introduced to Blurb.com, which is a website to make and publish your own photobook.  You can personalise the book in any way you want and you can include print as well as photographs.  I used the facility to download their software package that allows you design and create you book locally on your PC and once you have finished you can copy it up and have it printed and delivered to your door.  For printing there are a number of options of the type of book: softback, hardback and dustcover.  There are also a number of different qualities of paper.

For the last 5 years a number of us travel away each year as a group of lads for a few days to different places in Europe and we always have a great time.  To celebrate our fifth year and our seventh trip I published a book, called "Boys on Tour" with loads of my photos but also included some of the stories of the trips and the reflections of the lads.  It was a great success and the book itself is great quality and a marvelous memento of our time together.  Best of all everyone loves it. 

 

Pompeii

Luisa from our limo company, Sorrento Silver Star car services, suggested we take in Pompeii on the drive from the airport rather than return there another day which would save us both time and money. She also recommended an excellent guide Lucia whose knowledge of Pompeii and general Italian history was exceptional. We had a very good 3 hour tour of the ruins. It was amazing to see this city which was caught in a moment of time when mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79 and buried the city in lava and ash. Pompeii was originally founded in the 7th or 8th century BC. It came under the rule of many different regimes.

Touring Pompeii a number of different things strike you. Firstly and perhaps most obviously is the devastation caused by the eruption. People and animals are caught forever carved in the positions that they were at the time of the eruption and the agony and fear can be seen in their poses as they tried to protect themselves from the instant devastation that was forced upon them. You can see how they tried to breath in the all encompassing ash that was falling around them that was probably burning them and suffocating them at the same time.

The city was covered in over twenty feet of ash that solidified over time and Pompeii was forgotten until more than 1600 years and excavations began to uncover the city. These excavations have gone on for over 150 years. Many of the artefacts were stolen or are displayed in the museums in Naples or around Italy. However enough of the ruins and frescoes are left to show the majesty of the former city.

What strikes you then is how sophisticated society and civilisation was at the time of the eruption. Beautiful houses and mansions, theatres, gardens, frescoes, pavings, aqueducts, sewerage systems, the baths, the forum, basilica, temples, hotels, shops, markets, brothels and the cobbled streets. The architecture and engineering was incredible and ordinary life was not all that different than today. There were traders, farmers, shopkeepers, slaves, soldiers, politicians, and even the equivalent of what you might call fast food restaurants. In fact you can see the counter tops where the food was stored and served from little shop fronts to those passing by.

A truly amazing experience which was brought to life for us by our guide Lucia, thank you very much!

Some more Photos from Pompeii here.

Boys on Tour - Amalfi Coast

We're back on tour again all set and ready for another great adventure after the disappointment of having to cancel in May due to the volcanic eruption. Mind you we start with another volcanic eruption however this ones quite a bit older it's Pompeii. Up early and we meet at 5.30am so we get a full day when we arrive. Not a great start though as the flight is delayed 30 mins due to restrictions at Naples airport.

Our base will be in Sorrento in the Hotel del Mare near the marina. From here we plan to take the Amalfi drive along the coast and we plan a trip to visit Capri. It looks like the weather will be good, in the twenties, sunny and dry. We've booked a limo company to take us around and to do the airport transfers so that should mean we can just sit back enjoy it and take it at our leisure. We're here from Wednesday to Sunday so a good break plenty of time for sightseeing, relaxing, some good photos (I hope), good food, a few drinks and great company.

Here's a trailer of the video to come!

Amalfi Coast - Trailer from Shay Farrelly on Vimeo.

South America Day 17 - Home

Our final day and coming home. We have a good day here in Rio as we are being picked up at 4.30pm for the flight home. As usual the last day like this is a lot of waiting around and really you want to get going. The morning starts of wet and we think that a lot of the waiting will be indoors but as the morning moves on it gets much nicer and we have a pleasant day.

Off to the airport and Rio International isn't much to write home about, poor shopping and no restaurants. But eventually we board for the 9 hour flight home to Madrid and then on to Dublin.

With an hour to go to landing there's time to reflect on what was a great trip. The things that made it great? Well the good company of friends, great destinations, tours, accommodations, places to see and eat and drink. Nuevo Mundo arranged some excellent tours for us and some really good accommodation, so thank you!

What were the highlights and the bests?

Best accommodation: The Porto Bay International Rio was a good hotel in Rio, good location on the beach and friendly staff but the best was the Duque Boutique Hotel Buenos Aires. It's a small hotel with 14 rooms which are very well appointed although not huge. It has a lovely small lounge with a TV and a laptop with free Internet and WIFI throughout the hotel. Nice breakfast room. But the staff are exceptional. They are all young, cheerful, friendly and very helpful. So thank you to Eva, Flor, Facundo and the others.

Best breakfasts: The Porto Bay Rio had great breakfasts, loads of variety, great muesli, fruit, bread, juices etc and it really got you off to a great start to the day.

Best meal: Some great meals in Buenos Aires like the Don Julio in Palermo but just pipping it was probably the Cabana Las Lilas at the port where the steaks were excellent.

Best tour: This is where it gets hard to pick. We had some great guides in Valeria, Lourdes and Luis who made the trips all that more enjoyable. So again well done to Nuevo Mundo. Each trip had something different to offer but I suppose for the scenery, pure power and majesty of it all it has to be Iguazu Falls even with the poor weather.

Best scenes: It's hard to beat Rio for it's scenery. It's a lovely city with many contradictions like the difference between the rich and the poor and how it feels during the day and night. Views at and from the Corcovado and the Sugar Loaf are magnificent and the weather always helps enormously.

Finally having good friends and company really makes the difference in enjoying a trip like this. Thank you to you all. It's just a great pity that some had to drop out, we missed you Carmel and Ursula. Others didn't make it this trip either like Margaret, Jim, Anne, Tracey and Garth to name a few hopefully next time.

Bye bye South America until we meet again.

South America Day 16 - Rio

Last night we went to the Samba show at the Famous Plataforma. I had read that the show was a typical tourist attraction and partly because it was poorly attended last night it was, as one of the group said, a bit like the Irish dancing shows in Juries Hotel. Purely for the tourist and not of much substance. The costumes were colourful the acrobatics were good and one of the dancers was very good but overall a bit disappointing and not as good as the Tango night in BA which had much more to offer. A pity but I suppose everything can't be perfect. Afterwards we sat at one of the beachside bars and and a few drinks. An interesting incident somewhat sums up Rio and Copacabana. As we had just come back from the Samba club and I had my camera with me I wasn't going to bother putting it up in the room but just take it with me to the bar. But as I was leaving the hotel one of the hefty doormen looked concerned went back into the hotel and the concierge came out in a sort of panic and told me not secure to go out with camera and said he would hold it for me at the hotel counter. It reinforces the tension that one feels once it gets dark you never feel quite safe which is a great pity for such a beautiful city. It makes me appreciate more what we have at home but also in Marbella Spain where we feel safe to walk the streets even late at night and with the children.

Today we decided to head to Ipanema to see what it is like there. It is definitely a much nicer town with good shopping and little parks and a lovely lake. But it's also more expensive. There is not much difference between the beaches though. In fact the beach life is quite amazing. Different parts of the beaches have different crowds: teenagers, families, gays, etc. But they all have very good facilities. There are little bars every 50 meters or so. You don't need to bring anything with you as you can get your chairs, umbrellas, drinks there on the beach. There are volley ball, net ball, beach soccer-volley courts, outdoor gyms, cycle and running paths, free WIFI and of course the sea, beautiful beaches and beautiful people. A real paradise during daylight hours and a contrast to how it feels at night.

Tonight we have to pick a restaurant for our last holiday meal, that should be interesting.

We selected a Spanish Restaurant called Shirley. When we arrived we had to wait, it was a bit small, expensive, specialises in fish, and looked to be on a dodgy street so we decided to seek out a food bar friends had eaten at nearby. On the way we came across a lovely restaurant called Galleria 1618 set up in 2006 by two French ex-pats. And what a surprise it turned out to be. It has a lovely atmosphere, well decorated, friendly staff and the food was great. But the best part was the 4 piece Brazilian band, Furia Gitana (Passion Gypsie). Guitar, violin, a percussion and a singer. They are absolutely fantastic playing a mixture of Brazilian/Spanish music. Very similar to the Gypsy Kings in fact playing much of their hits. They are brilliant musicians with great voices. A fantastic last night to a great holiday.

In addition a Brazilian girl named Louisa and related to one of the band members says hello and asks where we are from. When we say Dublin she tells us she has been living in Dublin 3 The North Strand for the last two years with her Irish boyfriend whom she met in a bar on Copacabana. She's a lovely girl and great fun.

Tomorrow we head home with a late evening flight and we are looking forward to seeing the girls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MTy-qHHEl0

South America Day 15 - Rio

Today starts the lazy part of the holiday no tours it's now 10.45 and we've just finished breakfast and we are lounging by the poolside on the roof of our hotel. It's well into the 20s and due to be 32c today. By this time yesterday we had already finished the Sugar Loaf. No plans for the day but we may head to the beaches or down to see Ipanema who knows? The only plan is the Samba Show tonight and an Italian meal before hand.

South America Day 14 - Rio

Up early again for our second trip in Rio and the weather is brilliant again just perfect for our trip up the Sugar Loaf that overlooks the bay and its entry. Luis explains the origin of the name. When it was first named sugar cane was boiled and would solidify in a conical bowl. When the sugar was removed from the bowl it naturally took on the shape of the bowl and the mountain looks exactly like this shape hence the name. As we are there early we are on the first cable car of the day. There are two stages to the trip the first stage is to a mountain about half the size of the Sugar Loaf itself. Here there are shops, restaurants and of course great views. This is also right on the flight path to the domestic airport. In fact as the planes turn in towards the airport the are actually level or below you. After a look around and some information from Luis we head to the second cable car to the Sugar Loaf.

There is another platform area with shops and coffee areas though not as big as the first stop off. The views are naturally spectacular especially with the weather being so good and clear. From here we can see all around the bay, downtown and over the mountains behind Copacabana that would obscure our view from anywhere else of our beach. I don't like to keep using the word spectacular but it all is. Luis brings our attention to a family of tiny monkeys which I think he called Star Faced monkeys.

Our next stop is the Maracana soccer stadium which held the world cup final in 1950 and will again host it in 2014. When it was built originally it held 200,000 people but now due to FIFA regulations about all stadiums being fully seated its capacity is now 120,000 still very impressive. Luis arranges for tickets for four of the gang to go to a match here tonight.

The final two stops on our trip are the carnival stadium and the cathedral. Rio of course is famous for it's carnival held every year at the start of Lent. It lasts for nearly a week and everything closes down, including shops, banks the civil device etc. We are shown the main strip where the carnival passes judges and the stadium that holds over 80,000 people that view the procession. It's now coming up to midday and the heat is searing, it's hard to imagine how hot it feels during the summer.

Our last stop is the cathedral which is a modern building built in 1970 and is another fantastic sight. It is built like a bee hive. The walls are built with open squares which allows hot air to rise and cool air to circulate below. At the compass points north, south, east and west are exquisite huge stain glass windows that rise from above the entries to the top of the of the cathedral.

That completes the tour and we are brought to a restaurant for lunch but Ann and Mary decide to try the hang-gliding and Luis brings them to this. After a bit of lunch and some shopping we siesta before heading out for dinner while the 4 head off to their football match.

That finishes our tours although we considered some other options but in the end we decided that we would just go to a samba show tomorrow night and chill out and enjoy the hotel pool and beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.

View of Copacabana from Sugar Loaf.

Sputh America Day 13 - Rio

Up early for breakfast and Luis is ready for the 8 of us. Because the weather is so good with no clouds we decide to go to Corcovado and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Rio from one of the surrounding mountains. It's over 700 meters high and the statue is 39 meters itself. The statue is reached by a train that takes 20 minutes to reach the summit. Luckily we arrive early before the crowds but even so Luis gets us to the top of the queue and onto the train first to get the best seats.

The views around Rio from the statue are fantastic. You can see the mountains that surround Rio, the bay, the flavelas (shanty towns where the very poor live), the beaches and of course the magnificent statue of Christ. We have loads of time to see the sights and get our photos. On our way down we see the large crowds that are now heading up to the attraction, aren't we lucky we headed off early.

For the rest of the tour we are taken to see the beaches of Rio. At the first hang gliders take off from the local peak and land on the beach and it looks very exhilarating with a few of the group tempted to do it over the next few days.

We head to Ipanema beach and this is a beautiful area and we have a big lunch which finishes our trip. The rest of the evening the group breaks up to do their own things before dinner. We spend some time on our roof top pool with great views over Copacabana.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQceVeWGkbs

South America Day 12 - Iguazu Falls

Today we leave Argentina and our tour of Iguazu continues on the Brazilian side of the Falls. Weather wise our luck has changed its very wet and when we are half way round the heavens open. The plastic ponchos save most of us but our legs and feet are soaked. But as Valerie our guide in BA pointed out we are in a sub tropical rain forest and we can expect a little rain now and again. The views from here are further away from the falls but give a more panoramic view. From here we can see all the walks we took on the Argentine side and a great view of the Falls. Our guide here, Philipe, says that on the Argentinian side you are part of the Falls but from the Brazilian side you can see the panorama and immense power of the Falls and he is right. We get to the little airport in Iguazu Foz (the Brazilian side) early and change our trousers and socks and wait for our flight to Rio and hopefully much better weather we wait in anticipation!!

As we come to land in Rio the sun is setting over the city, it is beautiful and oh the lovely heat here. Luis our guide here we can already tell is going to be excellent. He is fun and very knowledgable and gives us some tips and information on the city. We book into our hotel on Copacabana beach and after a quick clean up we head around the block to a Lebanese restaurant where we have a mountain of great food. No late night drinks tonight as we are up for 8 am. Luis suggests the early start to avoid the queues for our first trip to Christ the Redeemer statute, as it's the winter break here too. A really great start to our first day in Rio!

See the photos here: Iguazu Falls Photos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP1c0VbbXL0

South America Day 11 – Iguazu Falls

We thought we would have to be up this morning at 7.30am for our trip but because we had booked a private trip we were picked up at 9am instead, just bliss! We were also lucky with the weather as although it was forecast for rain it held off. It was cloudy and overcast and not so good for photos but at least it wasn't lashing like when we arrived yesterday.

After arriving at the Iguazu National Park we were taken by a train to our first stop, from there is was a 1.2 km walk to the Devils Throat. This is right at the top of the fall looking right down into the gushing water as it falls over the edge. There are walkways that take you right to the edge of the waterfall and to say it was spectacular is an understatement. It was a bit packed as yesterday was the start of the winter break for two weeks when the schools are off. But it was well worth it. The views over the waterfall are amazing and how they manage to build the walkways and platforms that are right on the edge of the waterfall is quite a feat.

We take the train back again and head for our second walk called the upper walk this is about half way up the waterfalls. Again about another 1km walk to the falls. There are over two hundred falls in total on the Agrentinian side of the river. The falls are on the Iguazu river and the border between Brazil and Argentina runs along the river. Further down the Iguazu joins the Paranha River overwhich we have a view from our hotel window and over this river is Paraguay.

Our final walk, the lower circuit is about 1.3km (in total we walk just over 6 km). From the lower circuit you can see from near the bottom of the waterfalls and the power of the water is apparent and truly amazing to see. From each corner the views just kept getting better and better until eventually you arrive at a platform that is virtually in the waterfall itself. For the very adventurist it is possible to get on a speed boat that holds about 30 people and ride straight under the falls itself but the closest we got to this is taking video of the mad ones doing it. It was a great trip and we are now knackered after all the walking. So a little shower and siesta is called for before happy hour at 6pm and heading off to dinner in the town. Tomorrow we see the falls from the Brazilian side and take our flight to Rio around 4pm.

See the photos here: Iguazu Falls Photos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-874d8qb7Zw

South America Day 10 - Iguazu Falls

Well today we said good bye to Buenos Aires but spent most of the day traveling. Not that Iguazu is that far away about 1hr and 40 minutes flying but we were delayed. We arrived at our hotel eventually about 7pm so after a quick shower we headed out for a meal in the town. We are told there are about 50,000 inhabitants and tourism is the main industry. We have a day long trip tomorrow with a 7 km walk around the falls. Luckily it's a private tour and we will be able to go at our own pace.

The meal we had was lovely and only about €24 each so great value the restaurant was called Aqua on Cordoba Street. The staff were very nice including Jorge the owner from Rosario a city just north of BA.

See the photos here: Iguazu Falls Photos