Babymoon #1: Ireland (Day 5)

Day 5:

This day dawned with the kind of weather I had been expecting: pouring rain.

We first stopped off for quick photo opportunity at Bunratty Castle. I must admit to being a bit disapointed at the shallowness of the tour. At times it feels a little like you are simply taking a photo of something to check off that you have seen it. Rather than visiting the place.

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Our next stop was the Cliffs of Moher on the Wild Atlantic way. We did actually stay here for a while. It would have been plenty enough time for a decent walk if the weather had been better. Or I had the appropriate wet weather gear with me. These 700 ft cliffs are spectacular and felt even more wild due to the wind and torrential rain. However, they are billed as Ireland’s most popular natural tourist destination. Even on this dismal day they were busy. I dread to think what it would be like on a nice day.

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We drove through the Burren, a lunar landscape dating back 300 million years with unique features like underground rivers and waterfalls. We continued along the West Coast of Clare and Galway Bay, which would have given us great views of the Aran Islands. We stopped off at Corcomroe Abbey for a quick look round in the rain (yep, still raining).

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Our final stop of the day was Dunguaire Castle, again pretty much just a photo stop.

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The night was spent in Galway at the Sleepzone hostel. This was a decent hostel. But I must admit the novelty of pubs with no beer had worn thin. So I popped to the cinema for my evening entertainment!

 

Babymoon #1: Ireland (Day 4)

Day 4:

Our first stop of the day was Cobh (Queenstown) which was the last departure port of RMS Titanic. It wasn’t a terribly exciting place. img_2750

We then headed to Blarney Castle. This is another ‘proper’ castle. The Irish certainly know how to do a ruined castle. Of course here you can kiss the Blarney Stone, allegedly giving you the gift of the gab for 7 years. But I was more impressed by the beautiful grounds, which we for once had plenty of time to explore. And fortunately glorious weather to do so. There was a dramatically named Poison Garden, where I discovered that Mandrake is a real plant, not just a Harry Potter invention. Who knew!

We spent the night in Cork, where if you are bored of eating in pubs we can recommend a good Japanese place for a bit of a change – Wabisabi Sushi and Noodles Bar, on Oliver Plunkett St! The hostel here was good too – Kinlay House.

Babymoon #1: Ireland (Day 2)

Day 2:

This was rather a driving day as we took a tour of the Dingle peninsula. We did stop off in Dingle itself, a charming Gaelic speaking fishing village. We had a good wander about and lunch in a pub. Apparently Dingle is famed for having most pubs in Ireland for a town of its size. Most of the day was spent driving around Slea Head, stopping off to take photos of the views of Sleeping Giant Island and the Blasket Islands. We also stopped off to see some traditional Beehive Huts. I must admit it felt a little like we driving through the scenery rather than experiencing it. It would have been nice to have the time to go for a hike to get a bit closer to the surroundings. Another time… There is a full and a half marathon held on the Dingle peninsula which would be a perfect way to soak up the scenery at a more leisurely pace. Definitely one for the wish list.

The destination for the night was Killarney. And finally a Paddy’s Palace hostel that I can recommend! This one was clean, well looked after and in a great location. Which was fortunate as we were here for 2 nights.

I headed off for a walk while every one else got ready for a night out. The Killarney National Park is right on the doorstep of the town, providing some lovely walks.

Killarney definitely had more nightlife than a tiny Irish village; we ventured to The Grand to watch some live music. Turns out pubs are slightly more tolerable when you can’t drink if there is a band to watch.

Babymoon #1: Ireland (Day 1)

Ok, so a Paddywagon tour of Ireland is not your obvious babymoon destination choice… It made sense to me though, as a group tour like this will be impossible for many years to come.

Day 1: The tour starts in Dublin, so I arrived  a couple of nights early so that I could spend a day in Dublin first. I made the mistake of simply booking into the hostel that the tour left from, Paddy’s Palace Dublin, without doing some research. Why? Why? I never do that?! And this is a good lesson as to why you shouldn’t do that. A simple check on Tripadvisor would have revealed bad reviews and a plethora of better budget options. Oh well. I’ve stayed in worse I suppose. The main problems were: small lockers, broken beds, poorly equipped bathroom, noise (our room was under reception). I must admit that Dublin wasn’t a great location for a pregnant lady. Most of the sights involve pubs and Guinness. The free walking tour was good though.

I had been worried that the average age on the tour would be about 20. But even in my late 30s I was not the oldest. Thanks to a ‘comfort’ option staying in B&Bs rather than hostels attracting some older customers. There was a broad mix of nationalities too: American, Canadian, Kiwi, Aussie, Indian, Brits. Our guide for the week was Freddie, a very entertaining Irish chap.

So we started with a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, which despite not being able to sample the wares was interesting enough. I should have donated my complimentary pint to someone to make a new best friend. Then it was off out of Dublin and into the countryside. We stopped off at Castle Dunamase in surprisingly warm sunshine. This is what I would regard as a ‘proper’ castle i.e. some fairly substantial ruins for clambering about. It was very quiet so we had the run of the place.

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Our destination for the night was another Paddy’s Palace hostel, this time in the tiny village of Anascaul on the Dingle peninsula. This was possibly even worse than the previous hostel. I don’t mind places being rather tired and run down, but there is no excuse for them being dirty. It had a pub attached where we had dinner and got to know our fellow travellers. Bonding occurred over shots. Except for me, obviously. This may become something of a theme; there’s only so much time I can spend in a pub not drinking.

 

 

Vietnam in 10 days

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Day 1: Catch a direct overnight flight from London to Ho Chi Minh City with Vietnam Airways
Day 2: Land in Ho Chi Minh City early in the morning – we had pre-arranged a transfer from the airport to our hostel , Phan Anh Backpackers, to save time, but there are probably cheaper ways of getting into town. Our room wasn’t yet ready for check in (they offered us a room in their sister hotel that was ready immediately, but we declined – having just checked out the reviews on Tripadvisor, it looks like we made the right choice!), so we had a quick freshen up and headed out to explore (the traffic has to be seen to be believed; millions of mopeds heading at you from every direction. And the birds nest style electricity etc cables hanging at just above head height are unusual). We wandered around ultimately ending up at the War Remnants museum, which had some interesting American planes and tanks outside, but the inside lacked any real narrative about the events of the Vietnam/American war, so I wouldn’t particularly recommend it; I didn’t really learn anything about the war, so had to download a book to read instead. We popped to a nearby restaurant for lunch – which turned out to be one of the best restaurants, Hum Vegetarian Restaurant, in Ho Chi Minh City that had been recommended by a friend of mine – happy accident! It was to be our most expensive meal in Vietnam, but also one of the best, even Stuart thought it was excellent, despite being a vegetarian restaurant. I’d love to tell you exactly what we had, but their website seems to be down – a spring roll thing, a mushroom thing, and a hotpot thing were all excellent. We headed back to the hostel after lunch for a nap – the hostel was great value; an enormous double room, helpful staff, free freshly cooked breakfast, excellent location down a quiet side street but in the heart of the backpackers area, all for 10USD each per night. Excited by our lunchtime success, we headed out to another restaurant in the evening, Five Oysters in the backpacker district, which was cheap and good and for a beer in one of the many bars along the main backpacker street, Bui Vien St.

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War Remnants Museum

Day 3: We headed out on a daytrip to the Mekong Delta, organised through the hostel. This tour visited My Tho and Ben Tre, including minibus transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho, where we caught a boat to Con Phung island. On the island we tried honey tea, were rowed along a mangrove creek, saw coconut candy production, caught another boat, had lunch, heard some traditional music while eating tropical fruit… It was all horribly touristy as you were herded from one activity to another, which is what I expected, but as we were short of time, it was the only way we could see something of the area (oh, and it was cheap – about 11USD). If you have more time, I would suggest some other way of seeing the area. In the evening we headed out to Cyclo Restaurant, which has rave reviews on Tripadvisor, but we really don’t know why. The food was expensive (for Vietnam), not very nice, the drinks were really expensive, the location wasn’t very nice…the people were friendly, but nice staff can’t turn this into a meal worth recommending. Disappointing.

Day 4: We went on the second trip organised by our hostel, a half day to Cu Chi Tunnels. This was a better trip; the guide was really enthusiastic and it was interesting to see the tunnels and learn something about the resistance activities. The tour starts with a film of resistance activities, then you tour the local woodland seeing various traps and tunnels, before an opportunity to fire some weapons (for a fee) and to crawl through a tunnel yourself. That evening we popped back to Five Oysters for dinner before heading to the station for our overnight train to Danang. This takes about 17 hours but we thought it would give us an opportunity to see some of the Vietnam countryside. We pre-booked a 4 berth soft sleeper on SE2 from the UK using Vietnamese Impressions, who charge a hefty (15-20USD) surcharge for booking your ticket at the station and delivering it to your hotel, which is great if you are short of time like us, but if you are not in a hurry it would be much cheaper to go to the station and book the train yourself (there is no such thing as online booking available). The train itself was old but functional – we had been warned of problems such as being asked to move, or for more money, or finding people in our berth, but experienced no problems and every carriage has a guard and the berths are lockable, so it felt safe enough. Our companions for the journey were a 20-something Vietnamese girl with a little English and an ancient looking old woman who managed to wave us hello and goodbye! They both got off the train before us, so we had some privacy for the last few hours of the journey. The trains do not advertise food, so we equipped ourselves with water and snacks for the journey – in fact in the morning, there is a little trolley going up and down the train and it also stops for 20 mins or so at a place with lots of track-side stalls, so there are opportunities to get supplies, but have no idea of what quality! I never sleep very well on trains as I tend to wake up every time they stop – and Vietnamese trains stop a lot! They sit around for 20 mins at a time – in stations and waiting for trains to pass the other way – so it isn’t a quick way to travel!

Day 5: I gave up sleeping at dawn (5.30am ish) and just alternately gazed at the passing countryside and read my book on the Vietnam war to while away the remaining few hours. Oh and ate a huge amount of unhealthy snacks. And a chocolate brownie birthday cake for me. It was really useful having the GPS on my phone to plot our progress up the country as the stations aren’t very well signed and the announcements are all in Vietnamese. And try to avoid the toilet if you can – I’ve seen a lot worse, but they’re not that pleasant. We had arranged for a driver from the hotel to pick us up at Danang station and take us to the hotel in Hoi An, which cost twenty times as much as getting the bus but was considerably quicker and less hassle. I’d splashed on a nice hotel as it was my birthday – Rock Villas Hoi An – which was a very good choice (and I say splashed out – it was 14.50USD per night each). The hotel was lovely – it is only 10 months old and the owners are going out of their way to make sure it is a success; nothing is too much trouble. We were upgraded to a river view room which was large and comfortable, which turned out to be a good thing as the rainy season in the middle of the country really is rainy, so we spent more time in the room than we would usually, watching random movies on the tv while waiting for rainstorms to pass. The only tiny complaint we could find was that Stu found the mirror in the bathroom too far away to shave properly. When booking, I had imagined lying by the pool in the sunshine for the afternoon – in reality, we laid in the room away from the rain, before heading out for a bit of an explore. The hotel has free bikes for your transport needs, but we decided to head out on foot to see what was in the immediate area (bit of a mistake, Vietnam isn’t really designed for pedestrians) – mainly restaurants, it turns out, so we went to Red Dragon for dinner, which was good value, before heading to bed early (massive party animal birthday celebration there!).
Day 6: The breakfast included at the hotel is brilliant – you choose from a large range of options the day before and then it is all cooked fresh for you when you wander down the next morning. I had omelette and bacon, which came with a pile of toast, salad, bean stew, fresh fruit, juice, coffee…it was enormous! Stu went local and had fried noodles which he thought were very good. To work all that off (and because it wasn’t currently raining), we borrowed the bikes and cycled to Cua Dai beach for a run (1km from the hotel). At the time of our visit, it consisted of rubbish, sand bags, bull dozers, a steel wall running along the tree line and a ghost town – I don’t know if it is better in season, but it’s certainly not a nice beach right now! Anyway, we went for a run, but only managed about 4km because I was still suffering from a chesty cough which wasn’t aided by running or the humidity – oh well, we had our obligatory Eagles on tour photo. The rain held off until about half way through the run – we sheltered under a beach umbrella for a while to see if it looked like passing. It didn’t. So we cycled back in the torrential rain – somehow my trainers were still wet when I got home 5 days later – nice. After drying off, we took advantage of another break in the rain to head into Hoi An (about 3.5km on the bike) – if you like shopping, you will love this place, but shopping isn’t really our thing, so after a quick spin round, taking in the Japanese bridge, we headed for some lunch at Pho Xua. This turned out to be a great choice and we whiled away a couple of hours drinking beer while the rain (again) passed. The food was excellent and really cheap and we were supplied with a plastic poncho, obligatory accessory for cycling in the rain in Hoi An. After relaxing at the hotel for a while we headed out for dinner (this is beginning to sound like all we did in Hoi An was eat in gaps during the rain…er, yes ok, that is pretty much what we did). This time we headed to Son, again primarily because it was near the hotel, which wasn’t bad, but wasn’t particularly good either – it was the most expensive meal we had in Hoi An and all the other places were definitely better. It’s really difficult choosing restaurants and hotels in Vietnam using Tripadvisor as everywhere has about 4.5 star averages and good reviews, but in reality turn out to be hit and miss. The three restaurants form Hoi An so far all have a rating of 4.5 and are ranked 29, 31, and 45 – but in our opinion 29 and 45 were significantly better than the other one, ah well.


Day 7: Rain having put paid to our relaxing by the pool plans, we organised a private trip to My Son temple with the hotel (about an hour drive). This was fantastic – proper Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones style ruined temples (which weren’t anywhere near so ruined before the American bombs did their work). We just wandered round on our own for 90 mins or so, which was enough for us, as we were more interested in what the buildings looked like rather than all the history about their uses – I believe the guided tours take a whopping 4 hours. I really enjoyed wandering around taking photos of the ruins. We were back in Hoi An in time for a late lunch/early dinner before heading for the second of our epic overnight train journeys. This time we ate at Restaurant 328, which was again really good (ranked 30, but miles better than 31!). And again it was raining, so we had a couple of beers and lots of food (spring rolls, white rose dumplings, vegetable noodles, sweet and sour squid, banana pancakes – the latter were the butteriest, most unhealthy pancakes I have ever come across – delicious!). This time there was no chance of the rain easing off, so we enjoyed (?) a final cycle ride in the pouring rain before heading to the station in Danang. This time we were on the SE20 to Hanoi, which looked even older than SE2, but weirdly had a turned off flat screen tv installed in the berth and offered a better looking food trolley, although we had once again come equipped with our own supplies. We started off on our own and at some point during the night were joined by two unchatty Vietnamese guys. I don’t know whether it was because this was the second lengthy train journey, but this train seemed to spend even more time stationary than the first. I think if we were organising the trip again, we would have replaced this second train journey with a flight, giving us an extra half day in Hanoi.

Day 8: I managed to be wide awake by about 4.30am – great! The last few hours seemed particularly tedious as we inched towards Hanoi. We had considered walking to the hotel, but grabbed a cab instead, which involved a great deal of looping around one way systems, through traffic that didn’t look quite as crazy as that in Ho Chi Minh City, or maybe we were just used to it by now. The hotel – Hanoi 3B Hotel – was nowhere near as good a standard as the others, but was ok – the room was tiny and the bathroom very dated, which would normally be fine for 20USD, but given what we have got elsewhere in Vietnam for that price, it was a bit disappointing. Even more disappointing was the restaurant recommended by the hotel for lunch – the food was barely edible and definitely the worst we had in Vietnam – Neu Day, avoid at all costs! We decided to head to the Vietnam Military History Museum rather than the Hoa Lo prison, having heard that the latter is rather one sided so we were unlikely to learn any more about the Vietnam war than we had at the War Remnants museum. This museum was certainly more interesting that the War Remnants museum – it had a bigger collection of planes and tanks, from both sides rather than just US and had a much clearer, linear narrative about the military history of Vietnam. We only had about 90mins before it closed, which was a shame because that wasn’t quite enough time to see everything, even though some areas were currently being renovated. Once the museum shut we had a wander round the shops in the old town area – if you want cheap, presumably fake, Nike, Addidas, Vans, North Face, etc, etc, goods then this is the place for you! And we had a wander around the Hoan Kiem lake before heading for dinner in what was supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Hanoi. Cau Go was disappointing – we had read excellent reviews so had high expectations, but were disappointed with the food, the service, the price, the presentation…sure, the dining room is nicely decorated and there is a good view of the lake, but we expected more.

Day 9: The last day in Vietnam and off to Ha Long Bay on a trip organised by the hotel. This was definitely the best quality trip we went on in Vietnam – but then we did pay 4 times as much as for the others, but the cost was justified. We were transported to Ha Long Bay on a modern, comfortable mini bus that wasn’t crammed full with as many people as possible and were provided with water for the journey. The guide actually seemed to know what he was talking about and had good English. The seafood lunch provided on the boat was excellent and enormous. The scenery was amazing – it was a little cold on deck, but at least it wasn’t rainy season in the north! Unfortunately the floating fishing village has been removed to the mainland to try to encourage better education for the kids etc, so we didn’t get to kayak as this activity was provided by the village. An unexpected highlight was the visit to Thien Cung cave – this was very impressive, only discovered in the 90s. This was a good way to round off our trip and in fact a day trip is probably sufficient at this time of year – I imagine when the weather is warmer is it nice to sail around for a few days lying in the sun, but I think it would have got rather cold in the winter. After we got back to Hanoi we (finally) had a decent meal in a really naff touristy looking place – a chain called Geckos – which was cheap and cheerful as its tag line suggests. Just time to buy some ridiculously cheap “North Face” jackets before heading to the airport for the 00.05 flight back to London.

Day 10: Arrive back in London at 6am (could even have gone straight to work if I was really keen…)

What was in my bag for an overland trip through Africa?

Before I forget, I thought it might be useful to upload my packing list and detail what I think it would have been useful to take on my Absolute Africa overland trip through Africa.

Countries visited: Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia

Time of year: mid-April to mid-June (so either rainy season or winter, depending on country)

What I packed:

Hand Luggage
Travel documents (passport, booking receipt, flight info, yellow fever vaccination)
Insurance policy – we went for basic backpacker cover from Insureandgo
USD cash – we probably didn’t need as much cash (i.e. all of it) as there were plenty of ATMs
GBP cash
Credit card
Cigarette lighter – didn’t use once, no idea why it was on the packing list…
Glasses
Malaria tablets
Kobo – there were actually plenty of books on the trucks, so this wasn’t essential
Mobile phone
iPod – this broke on day 1 and I didn’t really miss it as I had music on my phone and laptop for when I wanted it
Camera x2 – useful to take a small compact for snapshots as well as my DSLR
2 camera batteries – didn’t really need the spare as it was easy to charge batteries on the truck, but better safe than sorry I guess
USB cable
1 Laptop – really useful for keeping in touch and backing up photos
Binoculars – didn’t really use them much, we were very lucky with close up wildlife
Pillow – took a proper travel pillow rather than an inflatable, essential for a good nights sleep when camping for 2 months!
Head torch – essential
1 Earplugs – used virtually every night
Lip salve
Sunglasses
Toothbrush and paste

Main Luggage
Sleeping bag and sheet – I took a 4 season sleeping bag, which was great from Zimbabwe onwards as it was cold at night. The beginning of the trip I just used the sheet on it’s own which was great for the hotter countries.
Eating utensils, including cutlery, cup, plate/bowl – we took the most enormous plates and bowls, could definitely have been smaller (and a plate/bowl combo would have been perfectly adequate). I would recommend a metal cup over plastic – I think plastic cups taste funny
Padlock
Water purification tablets – never used
Plastic bags, freezer bags and dry bags – really useful for keeping my stuff organised
Vanish soap bar, clothesline, universal plug
Emergency sewing kit
Mossie net
European and ZA adapters
Cards & puzzles – again, there were lots of these on the trucks, so not needed
Pocketknife and tape – used the tape but not the knife
4x Mosquito repellent (DEET) 50% strength – needed nowhere near 4 bottles, 2 would have been fine
Bug repellant for clothes – never used, would have been much more productive to use this on my clothes before packing
2x High-factor sunblock cream – again, 1 bottle would have been fine
Medical kit
Contact lenses
Towel and anti-bacterial soap – took a couple of little travel towels which were fine for showering. The anti-bacterial stuff was useful for when there were no hand-washing facilities
Toilet paper
Tweezers, nail scissors, nail brush – you will not believe how dirty your nails get
Wet Ones
Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Moisturiser, Deodrant, Dry shampoo – I took soap/shampoo/conditioner bars from Lush, perfect for travelling in terms of weight, space and longevity. The dry shampoo saved me on several occasions with cold showers – brrr
Beanies, hair ties
1 leggings
2 Long trousers Light, zip off – only needed one of these really
1 jeans
2 short skirts – useful for roadside ‘comfort breaks’
1 long skirt – wore on Zanzibar but could have lived without
9 T shirts
2 bikinis
1 sunhat – never wore
1 Flip flops
1 Walking shoes
1 base layer
1 hoodie
1 shirt
1 Rain jacket
2 Bras
7 Knickers
4 socks
1 Sarong – basically a light weight beach towel!

What I wish I had taken:
When we decided to skydive, had to purchase some extra insurance from Sportscoverdirect, which was pretty expensive so it might have been better to get insurance that covered more activities in the first place. But then we really weren’t planning on skydiving…
Mains USB charger so I didn’t have to charge everything via my laptop
Headphone splitter so that two of us could watch a movie on the laptop at the same time
More earplugs – had to buy some more as used them virtually every night and they get grimy – ugh
Would have been really handy to have a cover for my toothbrush, but replacements were readily available in the supermarket should you drop it in the dirt…
A non plastic mug – I bought a normal ceramic one as tea tastes horrible in a plastic one (I think).
Another pair of jeans and another hoodie – I had to buy these en route as once you hit winter there is no way you can handwash these in the morning and them be dry to wear in the evening.
Trainers – I only took my walking shoes which I don’t really like, so once it got too cold for flip flops I bought some cheapie trainers.

Day 58 – Swakopmund

IMG_1986We waved everyone else off to a further week of camping on their way down to Cape Town, before heading off to throw ourselves out of a plane. Carl and Stephen had lived to tell the tale the previous day, so I wasn’t quite as nervous as I expected. We were booked with Ground Rush Adventures, who I would definitely recommend (although do check out their fatal accident from 2007 to make a fully informed choice). They don’t really give you any time to get worried about it and are so relaxed themselves that you would feel a bit silly making a fuss. Obviously you have to first sign your life away and pay (you can also take up several expensive video/photo options, which we gave a miss), and then they drive you out to the drop zone. There were only 4 of us this afternoon – us and a Singaporean couple on their honeymoon. They gave us a quick briefing – your harness is attached to the instructor at 4 points, you then dangle your legs out the plane, with your head back and your hands holding the harness at the chest, and off you go. Once out of the plane you bend your knees to kick the instructor on the butt and, when he taps your hands, spread your arms out Superman style. And that’s pretty much it. Oh, except smile! You freefall for about 30 seconds before the parachute is opened (there is an automatic device that opens it at a certain height), then it is a total of about 5 minutes before you are back on the ground. The feel of the wind in your face in free fall is exhilarating and drifting down with the parachute open gives you a bit more time to look around and take in the views. You can also request a bit of spinning around and going faster if you so desire. The landing is surprisingly smooth – obviously the instructor sorts out the speed and direction – all you have to do is keep your feet up until you are standing on the ground – easy. It is definitely an amazing experience, thoroughly recommended (even if you are nervous of heights like me – the most nervewracking bit is the 25 minute flight in a plane with no door!). A fantastic end to a fantastic trip.

Day 57 – Swakopmund

IMG_1985In the morning we headed off to the main beach and the museum – although it had suddenly got much warmer, it had also got very windy, so all our activities were postponed until the afternoon. The waves here are enormous – you could definitely get in trouble trying to go for a swim. The museum was an average collection of stuff, but at 2 dollars you can’t complain. We also found a brilliant little café called Village Café with one of the wittiest menus we have seen – particularly the menu for dogs with a bowl of fresh, sparkling puppychino.

In the afternoon we headed out to the local dunes to try our hand at sandboarding – most people had snowboarded before but myself and Sarah were complete novices, so were a bit nervous. We got kitted out and then hiked up an enormous dune. On the other side was a nice gentle slope; the side we had just climbed up was steep. Oh good, I thought, a nice gentle slope for us to learn on. But oh no – we head straight off down the steep side. Fortunately the instructor gave us some good tips, first helping us traverse down on our toe edges, before trying to teach us to turn. It was pretty good fun – but the walk back up the dune each time was knackering – it might finally inspire me to try snowboarding again though after my broken wrist incident. The rest of the guys also had a go at the lying down boarding, but I designated myself photographer as I couldn’t be bothered to walk up the dune yet again. Fun stuff though – and followed by cold beers and snacks. (The trip was booked with Beth at Alter Action definitely a recommended company).

It was our final night with the group so we went out to Napolitana for dinner and a beer at the German Beerhouse, but it was pretty tame by our standards as everyone was tired.

Day 56 – Swakopmund

IMG_0243Ouch – definitely my worst hangover of the tour! We spent the morning pottering around Swakopmund, visiting the jetty and the aquarium (not that impressive – the pools looked pretty small, but at least they had local sealife and it was only 3 dollars). I was expecting a thoroughly German looking town, but it looks more American to be honest – I think it must be all the straight roads in a grid pattern. Stu went quad biking in the afternoon with a few of the others – apparently him and Carl were with a guy who is not normally allowed out of the office because he is nuts, so had the time of their lives. Stu and I snuck off for a meal at The Tug, overlooking the ocean – definitely the poshest meal we have had in Africa (and we booked again for our last night – I think there are several other good restaurants, but they all seem to be shut at this time of year).