South America - DONE!

Trip Start Sep 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 14, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, December 11, 2008

So, 109 days, 6 countries and 2756 photos later, here we are back in Wellington in our own house, with our own bed, kitchen, shower, car - Amazing how much you appreciate the little things once you've been backpacking for a while, like people speaking English, not having to fight for space on the hob to cook dinner, different (and clean!) clothes to wear!  Heaven!

In spite of all the Lonely Planet warnings and first hand stories from fellow travellers, we managed not to get robbed, mugged or conned, and didn't get lost or leave important items behind in any taxi or hostel safe like some people we met!

To stave off post-holiday depression, we've been discussing our favourite experiences and thought we'd share a few with you:

Favourite countries:
Jen: Brazil (for sunshine and fabulous friendly happy people and for finally visiting my birthplace) and Uruguay (for clean, safe towns and beautiful sunny golden beaches)
Nige: Argentina - Steak, Red wine and football...say no more; closely followed by Brazil.

Favourite hostels:
Hostel Lao in Mendoza, Argentina - thanks to German, Maria and Astor the cutest dog
Lighthouse Hostel in Rio, Brazil - fabulous Silvia and her great friendly home-from-home
Hospedaje Pehunia in El Bolson, Argentina - hilarious Claudio and his gorgeous family, pastries for breakfast and cosy duvets - what more do we need to say!

Favourite places:
Jen: Stunning desert, volcanoes and salt on the Salt Flats tour in Bolivia; thundering waterfalls at Iguazu; Totally chilled, beautiful, sandy, sunny Punta del Diablo in Uruguay
Nige: Machu Picchu - little known Inca ruin! Rio de Janeiro - stumbled across this little gem, city by the sea with lots of hills and beaches...could be the new Wellington!

Favourite food and drink:
Jen: Caipirinhas - how have I lived so long without tasting one?; Delicious kiwi-style brunch at Jack's Cafe in Cusco
Nige: Argentinean steak, Choripan (chorizo sandwich) and cheap red wine. Brazilian churrascuria, where the BBQ comes to you.

Things Nige has learnt:
..drinking everyday, eating loads of bread and steak leads to you putting on a bit of weight.
..saying you're from New Zealand rather than the UK prompts a far more enthusiastic response.
..nothing tastes better than a ice cold beer in the morning sat on Ipanema beach in Rio - fact.
..facial hair rocks!

Things Jen has learnt:
..communicating with the locals in Spanish is fun and pretty satisfying, but it's nice to get home and speak English to everyone
..don't leave buying the local handicrafts until the end of the trip - buy them when you see something you like, however much your husband complains about shopping!
..kissing a moustache is yucky!

Adios amigos!......
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