After putting up the last blog, we began the long journey home. The first leg was from Los Roques back to Caracas. We were summoned by a man with a trolley when it was time to do the very short walk to the airfield, where the check-in procedures consisted of a woman sitting under a tree ticking off names on a list as passengers arrived. The flight back gave us stunning views of the coral archipelago, and the main excitement on landing was Ian bashing his head on part of the plane as he ducked under a wing.
Flying out of Caracas airport was a nightmare, with police checks and long slow queues meaning it took over 2½ hours from arriving at the terminal to reaching the departure lounge. Even then, we were frisked and our hand luggage searched as we boarded the plane to fly home via Madrid.
Claire met us at Heathrow, and we spent eight days in a hotel in High Wycombe. One day we took Charlie to Legoland at Windsor, which he loved.
On the 13th Claire drove us to Faversham, and we spent the next four days with Andrew and his family. On the Saturday it poured with rain, but we took Hope and Isobel to the leisure pool at Sittingbourne, which they loved.
Summary of South America trip
Now that we are back in England, we thought it would be good to do an overall review of our experiences in South America. First, some statistics:
We were away for 146 days, and visited ten countries (including the Netherlands!). We used 11 different currencies on the trip.
We stayed in:
- 3 flats
- 50 hotels
- 5 mountain huts or refuges
- 2 boats.
We travelled on:
- 26 flights
- 21 long-distance buses (8960 kilometres or 5600 miles)
- 2 hire cars (1605 kilometres or 1003 miles).
- Galapagos wildlife
- Easter Island
- Sambadromo procession in Rio
- Iguazu Falls
- Perito Moreno Glacier
- Ischigualasto and Talampaya National Parks
- Canaima and Angel Falls
- Bolivian altiplano.
Best things about South America:
- The fantastic scenery
- Many of the people we met, both locals and other tourists
- Long-distance buses (mostly)
- Warm weather (sometimes)
- Pisco sour and caipirinha.
Things about South America we didn’t like:
- Lots of dogs roaming the streets in some countries
- TV on loudly in most cafés, bars and restaurants
- Police checks on the roads (particularly frequent in Venezuela)
- Trying to talk Spanish and sometimes being met with an uncomprehending stare
- In some locations, feeling nervous when walking the streets, and apprehensive about possible muggings.
Despite some negative aspects, our South American odyssey was a great experience, with lots of memories to cherish, as well as all the photos and videos.