Our time in gorgeous South America has come to an end and it seems impossible to summarize our Andes adventuring, urban exploring, jungle whacking and beach baking into a single post but we'll give it ago. For everybody who has had at least a vague interest in what we've been up to but who were perhaps too overwhelmed by the wordy blog entries to follow us week by week, here is a numbered list of the best and worst.
1. Strolling the walkways in/over/under/around the magnificent Iguazu Falls. Argentina.
2. Watching and waiting for ice shards to crack off the surface of the immense Perito Moreno glacier. El Calafate, Argentina.
3. Waking up before dawn and hiking all alone in the dark through an eery forest and windy canyons to the see the Torres del Paine peaks in the early morning light (even though we got lost and missed sunrise). Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.
4. Sliding down the ice-slides carved into the Villarica Volcano. It was an excruciating 5 hour climb to the smoking crater but it only took 45min to descend! Pucon, Chile.
5. Snorkeling with the unbelievably tame sea lions and penguins - as well as the rays, sharks, eels and abundance of colourful fish - in the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador.
6. Waking up in the bamboo shack (dubbed the "Penthouse Suite") on a coffee farm to an incredible view of the lush valley and the massive palm trees peppering the opposite hill. Salento, Columbia.
7. The Indiana Jones-esque jungle hike to the ruins of 'El Pueblito' followed by lazing on the beach, foraging for mini mangoes and sleeping in hammocks. Tayrona National Park, Colombia.
8. Trekking the challenging but rewarding Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Near Cuzco, Peru.
9. Boating through the 'pampas' swamplands, spotting alligators, monkeys and sloths, fishing for pirañas and swimming with the pink river (mutant) dolphins. Rurrenabaque, Bolivia.
10. Attempting photographic trickery in the middle of the infinitely white Salar de Uyuni salt flats. Bolivia.
11. Winding down our time on this wonderful continent cycling between vineyards and sipping Malbec in the Maipu winelands. Mendoza, Argentina.
1. Sweating in the scorching-hot bus from Cuzco to Arequipa covered in dust which bellowed in from a hole in the ceiling panels, one of which fell on Andrea's head. Peru.
(The rest are mere inconveniences or disappointments and are in no way comparable to the discomfort of that bus ride).
2. Seeing the conductor unload our backpacks from under the bus in the middle of nowhere because he had lied to us about the destination of the bus when we'd bought tickets. Then having to chase down the spritely old man who was running away with them. Colombia.
3. Walking the considerable distance through the wrong side of town to the bus station in Rio de Janeiro, treading very quietly under the motorway overpasses so as not to wake the people sleeping in cardboard boxes. Brazil.
4. Eating a way-too-cheap meal in Cuzco that looked like raw chicken in the soup and featured a mystery meat stir fry with week-old chips. It made Andrea cry and we had to get burgers after. Peru.
5. Paying for last minute flights and an exorbitant reciprocity fee for flying into Chile because the land border between Argentina and Chile was closed due to snow and our flight to New Zealand was booked for two days later. Chile.
Not bad for 5 1/2 months!