The more that you travel, the more that you realize that the scenery of most places will remind you of some other place that you have visited. When we first started traveling we expected to be find everyplace that we visited to be strange and exotic, but were often surprised at how familiar the landscape actually was. Part of that is for obvious reasons. The various regions of the planet are by there very nature similar due to forces of nature and the climate.
During our trip to Ecuador, we stayed at the Napo Wildlife Center in the Amazon Rainforest. Considering that we were deep in the Yasuni National Park and far away from any city, the amenities at the lodge were actually very nice. We had hot water, plenty of fresh food cooked three times a day, and even a fully stocked bar. There was also Wi-Fi, but it was a little spotty and didn’t always work. The lodge and bungalows sit on the shore of Añangu Lake and we had to paddle in canoes for a couple of hours to reach the lake from the river.
Planning a trip is a fun process as you investigate where to stay, what to see, and make travel arrangements. However, if you are traveling internationally, there are several things that you should be sure to do in addition to the actual planning of the trip itself. Some of these things need to be done several weeks in advance, so be sure to consider them as part of your planning process. They are simple steps that could help you avoid your trip of a lifetime from turning into the disaster of a lifetime.
We were driving through the countryside of Bolivia outside of Cochabamba and we came across a tiny village with an old Spanish church. We stopped and talked to the locals, but apparently the church was no longer in use and they didn’t have keys to let us inside. We walked around the church and found a window with a mesh screen that was loose and peeked through to see some of the contents inside. It felt as though we were looking back over a hundred years in time.
Whether visiting Peru or Bolivia, it is definitely worth taking the time to visit Lake Titicaca. The lake extends into both countries and has several islands with Incan ruins that are thousands of years old. Obviously, we visited from the Bolivian side of the lake and we visited both Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) as well as Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon), which were fascinating. There are several tour companies that will take you out to the islands via boat or hydrofoil and it is even possible to spend the night on Sun Island. Our trip out onto the lake started out a little choppy as a single rain cloud seemed to follow us out to the island. We even saw a waterspout at one point and had to take cover inside of the cabin of the boat. We saw many interesting things during our time in Bolivia, but visiting the ruins on the lake was certainly one of the highlights of our time there.
We went back and forth on whether we would do “Death Road” while we were in Bolivia. Part of it was due to how much time we had while we were in La Paz and part of it was due to the reputation of how dangerous of an adventure it could be. In the end, we decided that we didn’t want to miss out on the experience, so we chose to be another couple who survived this treacherous experience. As we look back, it was definitely a worthwhile, but not without incident. It is a gravel road that is extremely narrow with blind turns and 1,000 meter (3,000 foot) cliffs all along the edge, which is why so many vehicles have plummeted into the jungle killing all of those inside. It certainly isn’t to be taken lightly, but it isn’t as bad these days as it was in the past.
Let us be clear, this is a complete tourist trap and has absolutely nothing to do with Vlad Dracula, the inspiration behind the Dracula legend. It isn’t really a castle, not in the true sense of gentry living, but literally the offices of border control agents. So why go? Well, despite knowing the truth, there is no Dracula, that the legendary leader of ancient Romania never lived here, perhaps stayed here, it is still an interesting place to visit. At the end of the day, it was more about Brasov and the general vicinity that we enjoyed the most, but seeing the castle was definitely a must for us to visit.
Read more at: https://livingtheqlife.co/2017/01/30/castle-dracula-bran-romania/
One of the things that we always recommend to people is that, if you are spending four or more days in a city, you take time for at least one day excursion into the surrounding area. While we were in Florence, we took our own advise and did take a day tour, which ended with a couple of hours in Pisa. Obviously the main reason that people travel to Pisa is to see the famous leaning bell tower. The bell tower is a freestanding tower, meaning that unlike most bell towers that are attached to the main cathedral, this tower is an independent structure. Rarely do you ever visit a location just to see something that was a completely unintended result.
Read more at: https://livingtheqlife.co/2017/04/07/the-leaning-tower-of-pisa/
Taking walking tours of a city can be a great way to learn interesting facts about a city as well as see important landmarks. The walking tour that we took in Amsterdam was interesting as it was a free tour where participants are asked to pay the tour guide what they felt was a fair price for the tour that they received. In some ways it forces the tour guide to be more creative, informative, and lively. We are sure that most people pay the same prices as the other paid tours, but you aren’t obligated.
Read more at: https://livingtheqlife.co/2017/06/12/walking-tour-of-amsterdam/
Located adjacent to the Colosseum are the ruins of the Roman Forum. As with many other ancient ruins, when walking the grounds of the Roman Forum, one can’t help but imagine all of the individuals who influenced the history of the world walking those same steps. There are so many historic ruins that come from a variety of centuries that purchasing a guide book to fully understand the history of the site is highly recommended.