The first 8 months of our round the world trip took us from Costa Rica through South America and Europe to Turkey. According to our master plan, we’re halfway through the trip, and halfway around the world.
It’s already been the trip of a lifetime, and we’re just getting started in Asia.
Modes: Plane, rental car, bus, scooter, sailboat, gondola, mini bus, train, comi-van, horse, kayak, ferry
Long distance busses: 14
Long distant trains: 2
Car rentals: 5
Scooter rentals: 2
By air: 6
By bus: 2
By train: 2
By boat: 2
By taxi: 1
On foot: 1
Airbnb/apartment rentals: 17
Friends & family: 5
Nights spent in transit: 9
Best bed: Natalie’s cousin Ben’s guest bed!
Worst bed: The Corto 2!!
World Wonders: 3
Seas swum in: 4 — South Pacific, Atlantic, Ionian, Mediterranean
Jellyfish stings: 1 (Natalie’s arm may never recover)
Highest altitude on foot: 4,450 meters Laguna, Churup, Peru
Farm visits: 7
Most exotic carnivorous delight: Cuy (guinea pig) – tastes like a chicken and rabbit got it on
Favourite new fruit: Cherimoya – look of an artichoke, mouthfeel of a lychee nut, taste of a refined dessert
Fancy International Dinning Scene Restaurants (FIDSR): 5 – Restaurant Central, Lima | Oro, Rio de Jenerio | St. John, London | The River Cottage Canteen, Axminster | Tickets, Barcelona
Street eats: Too many to count
Food poisoning: 1 (not from street eats)
Favourite cocktail: Peruvian Pisco Sour
Favourite soft drink: Chicha (from purple corn)
Favourite coffee region: Zona Cafeteria, Colombia
New tattoos: 2, one in Peru (Natalie) and one in Portugal (Cliff)
Hair cuts: Cliff: 3 Natalie: 1
Sunglasses lost: 5 (4 in the Ocean, you’d think we’d learn…)
iPhones stolen: 2
iPhones returned: 1 – unbelievable story, maybe we’ll write about it
Most popular blog post: Our engagement, duh
Most street dogs: Athens — Dogs roam the street like they own them, because they do.
Most street cats: Istanbul — We counted 43 on a three-block walk one night. It’s unreal and pretty damn entertaining.
Travel stats FAQ
Cliff: Hiking the Inca Trail with our best friends Courtney and Charlie last March was absolutely my favorite week on the trip thus far.
Natalie: Hanging with my extended family in England; especially daily visits with my Grandma. Also taking an over night train with my folks.
Most interesting historic event borne witness to
Natalie: Around the world a lot of people are asking a lot of questions of themselves and their governments. We were in Rio weeks before protests sprang up across Brazil, and could really feel the energy rising. But being in Istanbul, in the young, politically active Karaköy neighbourhood, as the resistance movement was rekindled was an experience I’ll never forget.
Best eatin’ country
Cliff: This is a really tough and tricky question. If we taking into consideration learning, being awed, inspired, introduced to new flavors and techniques, I’d have to say Peru. Peru has an amazing food culture. The landscape is large and diverse, the country boasts some absolutely amazing natural resources. And the people, simply, love food, love to eat, and love to be social. There are over 40,000 students in culinary school in Lima. It’s really tough to compare the Peruvian cuisine to any other on earth, especially to the finessed and culturally dominating cuisine of Europe.
Natalie: I could eat Peruvian ceviche every day, would die happy if I could have one more meal at Tickets in Barcelona, and must learn to make the asparagus, ewe’s curd and poached egg salad from the River Cottage canteen in Axminster, England.
Tastiest street eats
Cliff: Heart skewers in Peru.
Natalie: Hands down stuffed muscles in Istanbul.
Cliff: Poutine at an Irish bar in Medellin, Colombia. Shameless.
Natalie: Stinking Bishop, at St, John’s, London.
Cliff: Our Airbnb in Garbatella, Rome – Not only was it our fist stop in Europe, but we stayed in the most peaceful and amazing local neighborhood that kept on surprising us with authentic Italian goodness. We will be going back to this apartment on our next trip to Rome.
Natalie: Casa Nuestra, Barranco, Lima, Peru. I love everything about this place. The rooms, the house, the art, the dog, the food, the housekeeper, and especially the owners, Carmen and Francesco. It was like staying in the Peruvian L’auberge de Español.
Craziest animal sighting
Cliff: The monkeys that lived above our cottage in Costa Rica. Every afternoon between 5 – 7 PM when the sun started to set, a large tribe of howler monkeys out feeding gathered in the trees above our street. It was amazing, I could sit there for hours and watch the monkeys eat and socialize with each other. I’ve always appreciated primates, but this experience made me love em’ even more.
Natalie: They’re barely wild, but the cyotes around Iguazu Falls are the most tenacious hunters I’ve ever seen.
Cliff: The San Blas islands off the cost of Panama are spectacular. If it wasn’t for a crazy captain we would have stayed out there for days. The islands are storybook-esq, and the water is clear blue and filled with beautiful exotic fish and coral reefs. It was my first time snorkeling in a habitat like this, and it was mind-blowing.
Natalie: Getting naked and covered in clay for a dip in the Ionian Sea with my lady friend in Kefalonia, Greece
Cliff: Being robbed at knife point in Medellin, Colombia. It’s never nice to mugged. Thankfully we were never touched, but threatened by two guys with two knifes. I remembering taking the gondola back down over the shanty towns in Medellin shortly after the incident, looking down on the people who live there, and thinking: I just hope that the robbers were from a family that actually need the money and not some punk wannabe cartel gangsters…
Natalie: Renting ATVs in the desert for Cliff’s birthday.
Most high adrenalin moment
Cliff: Renting ATVs in Huacachina, Peru. It was Natalie’s birthday present to me to not only rent ATVs, but to ride WITH me. It was exhilarating taking on the massive sand dunes of Huacachina together. Afterward we took a buggy tour on the dunes which is pretty much a rollercoaster on sand, and did some head-first sand boarding down some of epic dunes. It was a lot of fun.
Natalie: I kicked ass on the Inca Trail and it felt Tony the Tiger great. I love feeling my lungs work at capacity, seeing my muscle definition, watching my feet carry me. Basically, knowing that there is life after an office job.
Cliff: My Incan bolas.
Natalie: Everything in Istanbul.
Cliff: Gigi, my dog. When I’m having the worst days on the trip, sick, hung over, tired, whatever it is I think of my dog Gigi and how she can always make everything better. She’s the best and I miss her. She is on a vacation of her own at my parents’, eating table scraps and becoming a misbehaved spoiled brat I’m sure, but I can’t wait to see her again. Coming in close second: Mexican Food.
Natalie: Chatting with my mama on the walk to work.
What I’m looking forward to in the next 8 months
Cliff: The food in South East Asia.
Natalie: India. India. And India.