A D’Arenberg Degustation

At the end of last year, I was getting ready to take some time off work and head to Bali to celebrate a close friends 30th, when Mount Agung started to get a little restless, flights got cancelled and I was left with $500 worth of Jetstar credit. For a while I was a little bit at a loss about where to go. Melbourne again? Was it time to venture down to Tasmania? I was still umm-ing and ahh-ing over the decision when, during one lazy Sunday morning in bed, I scrolled past a Jetstar advertisement for $200 return flights to Adelaide and made the snap decision to visit the wine regions of South Australia to celebrate my 30th birthday. Little did I know at the time it was going to lead to one of the most interesting meals of my life, a degustation full of delights at the newly constructed ‘cube’ at D’Arenberg in McLaren Vale.

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Buenos Aires

Touching down in Buenos Aires (all that time ago now!), all I could think about was all the Argentinian food I was going to eat. This was the part of my trip where I planned on rewarding myself for the long, gruelling hikes across Peru by stuffing myself silly, and washing it all down with some hearty Malbec. I was in for more of a treat than I thought though – while I did expect the steak and red wine, I didn’t expect the breadth of amazing meals I had there. From the most spectacular Mexican/Korean fusion food, to the creamiest gelato and the most amazing range of pastries on every corner, I could have easily spent a second week exploring this beautiful city.

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Salta and Iguazu Falls

After being back from my big trip for a couple of months, I think I am finally ready to finish off the final few blog posts. I was on such a roll while I was away, but for a while there was something about being back in Perth and at work that made it difficult to return to writing about being away in so much detail. But that seems to have passed now so I will pick up where I left off – crossing the border from Bolivia to my last major destination, Argentina.  As much as I enjoyed our crazy week in Bolivia, I have to admit I was pretty happy to about the prospect of crossing the border into Argentina. Bolivia was full of stunning, unique landscapes but the high altitude was really taking its toll on my body – between the cold and the frequent breathlessness, I was pretty ready to be descending back down to sea level. First we were heading to Salta, which is the home of empandas, before flying over to the northwest of Argentina to check out Iguazu Falls before heading down to the big smoke, Buenos Aires.  Continue reading

Lake Titicaca, La Paz and Salar de Uyuni

With the excitement and exhaustion of the Inca Trail behind me I was off towards Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border of Peru and Bolivia, for what was planned to be a relaxing few days lakeside before hitting the hustle and bustle of La Paz and paying a visit to the worlds highest salt flats, the Salar de Uyuni. Bolivia was the part of this trip that I was most unsure about – from stories of sketchy characters and neighbourhoods in La Paz to the extremely cold and dry environment of the salt flats, I was excited but also a touch nervous about what the next week was going to bring.  Continue reading

Cusco and the Inca Trail

Well, after about four weeks of travelling through South America I was in Cusco, getting ready to go on the adventure that was the genesis of this entire trip.  I had secured one of the very limited and highly sought after Inca Trail permits in December last year, and I was set to hike 46km over 3 days and one very early morning, past ancient Incan sites, up and over Dead Woman’s Pass at 4150 metres, through the cloud forest and past the sun gate to one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. I was excited and nervous all at the same time – it was going to be a major physical challenge (particularly as I had spent the last 4 weeks drinking a lot of beer  and eating everything in sight) but I hoped one that I would conquer and be proud of for a very long time.  Continue reading

The Colca Canyon 

Only 5 hours drive from Arequipa you can find the world’s the second deepest canyon, the Colca Canyon. It’s well suited to trekking, if you’re into that sort of thing, and there are numerous tour operators in Arequipa who are more than willing to show you around its depths for two or three days. I did have a few doubts about my abilities, but I signed up to subject my body to the strains of a two day trek anyway – I was ready to really find out how well my body was going to handle exercise at high altitudes before hitting the Inca Trail! Continue reading

Arequipa 

I arrived in Arequipa at 5am, tired and bleary eyed after a long and cold bus journey from the sunny sand dunes of Huacachina. As with many overnight journeys that I’ve had on the trip, I wanted nothing more than a hot shower and a bed on arrival, but once again it wasn’t to be. Instead I asked for a blanket and resigned myself to snuggling up on the couch at my B & B until the sun rose and I could find somewhere that would serve me coffee and eggs.  Continue reading