Joined August 2016 Message
  • Day9

    Homeward bound

    September 18, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Just a quick post to say that we arrived safely back in Scotland. Greeted at the airport by James's parents with tea and bacon sandwiches!
    Landed on UK soil 364 days and 23 3/4 hours from the time we lifted off - talk about pushing a years trip to the limit!Read more

    Lyndsay McDonnell

    So sorry for you that your travels are over for the time being, shall really miss reading your blog and finding out what you have been up to (what am I going to do instead??). It was wonderful to see you both and hear some of your stories. Many thanks for the wonderful blogs and photos, love xxxx

    9/18/17Reply
    Tom Ralph

    Glad you guys enjoyed your short brake , Happydays Tom

    9/18/17Reply
    mg.bigadventure

    Glad you're home safely (though I'm sure you'll have mixed feelings about it). You could have stayed away for another 15 mins though, to push it to a FULL year! To echo other comments, we'll really muss your blog. Hope to see you in the not too distant future to catch up & hear more about your travels. Love from Julie, Laura & Solana xxx

    9/18/17Reply
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  • Day6

    Cape Town by Bus

    September 15, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Our last full day today and the weather has decided to help us acclimatise to UK with gusts of cold wind making our bus shake and a heavy downpour in the evening. We chose to sit up top on one of the 'hop on hop off' sightseeing buses for the day so got to see downtown, shanty towns, huge houses and the coastal suburbs. The wind was whipping the sea as though a helicopter was hovering above it and we couldn't see table mountain all day as it was covered in the 'table cloth', as the locals say. Having an apartment also meant we could have friends around for a swim and food which was a really relaxed last evening.Read more

    Lyndsay McDonnell

    Maybe you do not need to acclimatise as I have been told the weather is due to improve just in time for your return but not reaching the temperatures you have been experiencing. Looks like a really boozy way to finish your travels. See you soon, love xxxx

    9/16/17Reply
    Dave Warwick

    What a trip. Have a safe trip home guys. Very much Cape Town weather here too. Can't see the top of Craig Beag either! :-)

    9/16/17Reply
    mg.bigadventure

    Looks very similar to the picture frame in Oamaru, NZ!

    9/16/17Reply
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  • Day5

    Cape Town

    September 14, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We had a day walking around the city, looking at the colourful houses of a once poor area called Bo Cap. There are some impressive buildings around, many surrounded by some bad 1960's town planning and architecture. After coffee with a beaded giraffe we met up with friends for lunch at the world's best coffee shop! It was steampunk style decore with an amazing selection of coffee blends. We finished the day with more sightseeing before getting the ridiculously cheap uber taxi journey (a must at night) to The Bombay Bicycle Cafe for dinner and more good byes. We ended up continuing our farewells well into the early hours of the morning!Read more

    Lyndsay McDonnell

    Love the colourful houses and the giraffe. You two can't keep away from bikes can you even if it is only a cafe!! Your goodbye session sounds very long but good. Take care, love xxxx

    9/16/17Reply
    mg.bigadventure

    Very colourful! I'm still going through our trip photos, trying to get them down to a number people might actually want to see. We had 6,000 from our 4 months of travels - wonder how many you have from your much bigger trip?...

    9/16/17Reply
    Lynda Ralph

    Cape Town has a mixture of everything, but love the coloured houses. Can't see that happening soon in Houghton!!! Mind you, Tugby does now have a bike cafe & sells bikes & accessories 👍. Am going to miss your blogs, they've brought all your adventures to life xxx

    9/17/17Reply
    Tom Ralph

    Your snaps have bin fab, I'll miss my update of how the wild world is looking xx

    9/18/17Reply
     
  • Day4

    Robben Island

    September 13, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Started the day with a swim in the indoor heated pool then met up with friends and went on a 45 minute boat ride to Robben Island, where alot of political prisoners were held for years. This included Nelson Mandela who was held here for 15 years in a room alone with three blankets, no glass in the windows and only shorts and tee-shirt to wear. We had a guided tour around the prison by an ex-serving prisoner called Sparks who served 7 of his 15 year sentence before they were all released. He had to live with the same conditions as Mandela, because he was black, but in a large room that was shared amongst 60 inmates as they were not political leaders. They had three showers and two toilets to share amongst them but only had water for three days a week. Punishment was given for not folding the three blankets correctly that they had as a bed, or if they didn't wash in time. They spent most of the time locked up, then working in the mine. Sundays they were locked up for 23 hours and given 30 minutes to play rugby and 30 minutes to pray. We then had abus tour of the island where we got to 'find penguins' again as we saw some both resting and swimming. Later we had a late lunch and a look around the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, a very attractive tourist part of the city.Read more

    Lynda Ralph

    Remember Robben Island well, very atmospheric. Your guide could have been the same one that we had, gave so much info about life in the prison. V&A waterfront very touristy but lovely, plenty of bars, cafes & restaurants. Enjoy xxx

    9/14/17Reply
    Tom Ralph

    Life time trip , hope my baby is feeling better xx

    9/14/17Reply
    mg.bigadventure

    African penguins - cute and noisy! Now you've found pemguins on 3 continents of the world. They only live on 4 continents - so you must be planning your next adventure to.... ANTARCTICA!!!

    9/14/17Reply
    Lyndsay McDonnell

    You have visited several prisons on your travels but I am pleased that you have not been detained in any!! Robben Island is very interesting but living conditions sound dreadful. Glad you found penguins but what are we going to do next week when you are home and we won't be able to read FindPenguins, shall really miss it. Enjoy the last couple of days, love xxxx

    9/15/17Reply
     
  • Day3

    Table Mountain

    September 12, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    A group of us decided it was time for a little exercise so we walked up Table Mountain rather than take the gondola. It was a very rewarding way to get to the top as it was a steep rocky path up through the gorge with rewarding views all around when we got there. It was not as flat at the top as I would of expected so made for interesting walking about. We had views towards the Cape of Good Hope, the Indian Ocean on one side and the Atlantic Ocean and city on the other. As time was getting on we all took the gondola down, quite different from the ones we use at home. They each hold 65 passengers and the inside of it rotates so you get a view all around. It was lovely to have our own space, bedroom, bathroom, tv... for the first time in 75 days, as we are now staying in a 2 bed apartment with another couple from our trip for our last four nights.Read more

    mg.bigadventure

    Great views. Did you see any dassies at the top of Table Mountain? It must be strange coming to the end of such a long overland trip - I remember that feeling well from our 3 months on the truck together in S.America.... Cape Town is a great place to end your trip though - one of the world's great cities.

    9/13/17Reply
    Lyndsay McDonnell

    Unusual for you two to travel down on a gondola and not up - but it is strange that the gondola car rotates. Don't know that I would have wanted to climb up Table Mountain but the view looks fantastic. What another wonderful experience, love xxxx

    9/13/17Reply
    Dave Warwick

    As one adventure draws to a close, another will start. In fact I'm sure you've both been planning the next one already :-)

    9/13/17Reply
     
  • Day3

    Stellenbosch

    September 12, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    We had planned on going on a wine tour for the day with the group but decided against it since Lou had been sick the previous day so spent the day around this beautiful town. There are so many bars, restaurants and coffee shops so had to sample some of them. We got invited into a coffee shop's roasting room to see how they roast their beans daily. The town has 12,000 students at a university there and is quite lively. The houses, shops and cafes give it a lovely European feel but are much cheaper than any where in Europe. Once our group were back we had a transfer to Cape Town for our official last night of our 75 night tour. The majority of us went out and had a really nice meal in a local restaurant before staying in a hostel directly in the shadow of Table Mountain.Read more

    mg.bigadventure

    Looks delicious!

    9/13/17Reply
    mg.bigadventure

    A real shame you missed out on the wine tour - gutted... Glad you got to explore the town of Stellenbosch though - a great place to while away some time.

    9/13/17Reply
    Lyndsay McDonnell

    Do hope Louisa is feeling better, but although you missed the wine tour (especially the free samples) Stellenbosch looks a really interesting town to look around. Enjoy Cape Town, love xxxx

    9/13/17Reply
    Lynda Ralph

    Shame you missed the wine tour, Louisa, but hope you're feeling better now. Enjoyed Stellenbosch when we met up with Jenna there. Have fun in Cape Town xxx

    9/13/17Reply
     
  • Day1

    Driving through South Africa

    September 10, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We had a 4.30 start to get packed up, have breakfast and say our final farewell to Chui and our driver Often, who has been amazing on the whole trip. A hired big bus and a short while later we had crossed the boarder into South Africa. We have loved our time in Namibia and would like to return one day to explore it more in a 4x4 by ourselves. We then took all day, until 6pm, to reach Stellenbosch, in the south of the country about 1 hour away from Cape Town. Not ideal when Lou spent the whole time feeling nauseous from our first illness in nearly 18 months of travel. On the up side we managed to see some of the DH World Champs on tv when we got there, something that's not shown on tv at home! James enjoyed a meal out at one of the many bars in town with sone of the crew.Read more

    mg.bigadventure

    Such a shame you got I'll do close to the end of the trip Lou. Good that you've travelled so long without problems though... Hope you still both managed to enjoy some of the beautiful S.African scenery.

    9/13/17Reply
    Lyndsay McDonnell

    So sorry that Louisa has not been well and hope that it is only a mild dose and she will soon feel much better, (I am sure you have plenty of medical supplies to hand to help). Although the truck looks uncomfortable for long journeys I expect you were sorry to say goodbye to it and the driver. Have fun, love xxxx

    9/13/17Reply
     
  • Day13

    Fish River Canyon

    September 9, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We were at Fish River Canyon early this morning after a 5.30am start and walked from one view point to the next as the path winds its way along a small part of the edge of it. It is the second largest canyon in the world and has a double layer with the Fish River at the the bottom of the gorge. This is just another fine example of the scenery that Namibia has to offer ans a great place to eat beans on toast for breakfast too! It wasn't too long a drive to get to our final destination for the day, the Orange River, on our final journey in Chui, the big yellow truck. The rock formations on the hills and mountains was more impressive than before although we were very surprised to come around a corner and find huge vineyards in the midd of the dusty desert. We had to do the third and final truck clean in the heat of the afternoon but could at least cool off in the pool afterwards. A bit of a treat to be camping on grass after many nights sleeping on sand, dust and stones (it's the small things!).Read more

    mg.bigadventure

    Great photo.

    9/13/17Reply
    mg.bigadventure

    Canyon looks fantastic - very impressive. The vineyard looks even more attractive! Cleaning out the truck in heat of day looks somewhat less attractive...

    9/13/17Reply
    Lyndsay McDonnell

    The gorge, the river and the vineyard all look fantastic. Cleaning out the truck is just getting you used to work for when your travels are over and you are back to everyday life!!! Enjoy the last few days of your trip, love xxxx

    9/13/17Reply
    Lynda Ralph

    Great photos, very surprising to find a vineyard there. Is that suntan you 2 are wearing, or rust & dirt ??? Looking good, ready to return to the cooler, wetter weather back here, autumn has certainly arrived ! Enjoy your last few days xxx

    9/13/17Reply
     
  • Day12

    Namib-Naukluft National Park

    September 8, 2017 in Namibia ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

    We left in the dark and walked up the 150m Dune 45 to see sunrise. We were walking up the ridge with the sun rising on one side and the moon setting on the other. It was nice to have breakfast ready for us at the bottom of the dune. After that we had a long driving day, not getting to camp until nearly 6 o'clock, but the views continued to be very dramatic with lots of orix to see and truck trivia to keep our brains active. We camped by Naute Dam, enjoying our last campfire of this trip.Read more

    Lyndsay McDonnell

    Must have been very interesting to see the sun rise and moon set at the same time especially after a walk up the dunes and breakfast to look forward to. Can't believe your travels are almost over and will be seeing you both in less than a week - so enjoy the last few days, love xxxx

    9/11/17Reply
    Gavin Kona DH

    Nevis Range uplift for DH has been extended to end of October this year!!??!!

    9/11/17Reply
    Lynda Ralph

    Amazing scenery, fab pics. Nearly at the end of your fantastic experience, have enjoyed your blogs so much, have brought everything to life. Sure you'll have a great party experience, last night. Enjoy, have fun & safe trip home 👍😉🙄😍xxx

    9/11/17Reply
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  • Day11

    Sesriem Camp

    September 7, 2017 in Namibia ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    On the way to our camp at Sesriem we passed through only one very small settlement called Solitaire. It oddly had a collection of old used cars, great for photo opportunities. Past Sesriem we continued on to Sossusvlei where we went on a very hot, ruggid 5km midday walk across the dunes to get to Dead Vlei, a large ephemeral pan set amongst 200m red sand dunes. The tress have died many years ago from too much clay in the sand but will never really rot because of the dry climate. It was quite a site to see amongst the red dunes. After camp was set up we went to Sesriem Canyon to see the sun set, so after a walk through it we set on top of the truck for sun downers over looking the canyon.Read more

    Lyndsay McDonnell

    James I don't think you will get the car going - where's the engine?? Louisa you will have to run very fast - especially with the trick photography!!! Dead Vlie looks very interesting especially the trees. Have fun, love xxxx

    9/11/17Reply
    Lynda Ralph

    Tom's engine blew up the other day, after 230,000 miles !!! Mondeo has gone to the heavenly car park now !!! Amazing pics, love the shots of the trees &, of course, of you 2. 👍 Enjoy xxx

    9/11/17Reply
    mg.bigadventure

    Great photos. I remember that place well - very surreal and photogenic, plus hot and dusty!

    9/13/17Reply
     

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