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Showing posts from 2015

Campervanning - Spain Road Trip

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My New Project "Transit camper" 
Crew cab with factory fitted windows.

The Plan*:
The project is underway, with juggling work and converting my new van, for Road Trip "Spain" 2016. Going to keep it simple; the van has a workshop in the rear with storage for 2 bikes, generator, etc..... The living area will have buck beds, cooking area, table & chair. 

*The plan did not happen, also the beard got shaved off! I got as far as north of Bordeaux, returned to England and flew to Colombia. But I am sure I will get there again soon.........

By campervanning you can travel Europe with ease and is the best way to do it, as it gives you more freedom. You can prepare and cook food, just think of all those coffees. Its becomes more cost effective and you can travel for longer. You can stop at beautiful locations, take in the tiny, out-of-the-way villages and enjoy the life!

Spain has more than beaches, it has history on every street corner and spectacular scenery.

The campervan …

Visiting Coffee Farms. Rovira Tolima Colombia

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A taste of coffee plantation life!
Always a pleasure to get away from the big city and get to what I call the real Colombia.
And visit the Fincas small coffee farms set high in the central Andes. This time of year the rain can be heavy, but makes a nice view with the clouds when they clear or sit low though the valley. This trip was a long weekend staying with a family and walking to other fincas visiting more family, as you know Colombians have large families. This coffee area is known as Buena Vista and another coffee area from Rovira I like to visit is LuisaMost Colombian coffee growers live in fincas whose coffee cultivation's plots do not surpass 2 hectares (5 acres) on average.

1 hour off road drive from the town of Rovira in a Willie's Jeep. 
High in the central Colombian Andes between the clouds.
Scorpion being removed.
Typical Cooking on the finca
View of lush slops looking down to the coffee fincas we visited for lunch.
Two of many parrots found in this area

Panasonic 52mm Lumix Filters

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At some point a filter is a good idea as it can make your photos more intense and reduces reflections and deepens blue skies if used properly, that photo-shop can not do. 


"Photography is still a learning curve, for me - meaning an excuse to travel and experiment"

My latest accessories: 

1. Panasonic 52 mm Lumix G Neutral Density Filter DMW-LND52E. Use to reduce light entering the camera in extremely sunny conditions. (ND8) Filter reduces the amount of light to 1/8th without affecting colour balance. Best used in very bright sunlight, to prevent overexposure (whitish photos especially the sky that will lack contrast) This will allow the use of wider aperture or slower shutter speed.

First play with Panasonic 52 mm Lumix G Neutral Density Filter DMW-LND52E

See: Full waterfall in large Image(Note: overexposed at the top of the fall, as sunlight was not at 90 deg to the camera but direct to the waterfall)
2. Panasonic 52 mm Lumix PL Filter (Circular polarizing) helps to reduce refl…

Havana Cuba

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I don't like cities but a trip to Cuba would not be complete without a visit to Havana.
This is my kind of city - Music, great people, Rum, Cigars & old American cars.
Spending my last few days of traveling Cuba in Havana, as I feel I can enjoy more after acclimatizing to the heat and knowing a bit more of the culture, as Havana can be very hot in October and with a lot of pollution from the old cars..................

 Old American cars Havana
While spending your time in Havana, you can just go with the flow. This can be enjoyed with out feeling you are being ripped off, while still supporting local businesses and meeting locals. But be-aware there are many scams in Cuba and Cubans know how to use their friendliness to pull you in.

An up to date view of Havana: www.havanatimes.org
You can set the standard for fellow travelers by Doing a little research first before arriving in Cuba/Havana, places you like to visit, where you may like to eat or drink. If you are staying in a goo…

Soroa & Las Terrazas Cuba

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On our trip back to Havana from Vinalas, we stayed 2 nights at casa Los Sauces, Candelaria. Only 2ks from the autopista were the bus Viazul drops you off. Only $8 cuc. Ask to be dropped off at the bridge "Puente Cupe Zoroa". We got picked up from our casa owner, you can call the day before 52289372 to make arrangements. The casa has 3 rooms and the garden is very large with many plants. The casa is only 6 kms from Soroa and our casa owner took us and returned us for only $5 cuc. Only 84kms from Havana, we waited under the bridge (Puente Cupe Zoroa on the autopista to Havana) for a bus and we took a collective taxi for $5 cuc each.

The waterfall at Soroa
Car and driver/guide all day $25 cuc Entrance fee to Las Terrazas $2 plus $5 to visit attractions and lunch included.
Rio San Juan, swimming pools and where you can buy lunch

Cayo Jutias Cuba

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Nice beach, few people and Cubans, can get busy at Cuban holiday time, is a nice place to relax.
You can make this a day trip, 65km northwest of Viñales and is attached to the mainland by a causeway.
You can ask your casa owner in Vinales to book a taxi to take you and arrange a time to return.

Causeway.
View from resturant
Taxi from Viñales $15 cuc each, (5 people) for 6 hours on the beach.  Food 8 cuc, Beer $1.50, Mojito $2.50. 
Where you get drooped off and walk on to the beach at Cayo Jutias, you can walk to the right along the beach and though a tiny mangrove covered area and find the beach above. 

Music in the restaurant at lunch time.

Viñales Cuba

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Pinar del Río Province. Took an collective taxi from Play Larga for $35 cuc each about 5 hours with a stop at a restaurant close to Havana.
From here you can do a day trip to Cayo Jutiasand visit the hotel "Loz Jazmines" that you can use the swimming pool, bar and for a  great view of the valley.

Stayed at Casa Nene, half way down Calle Adela Azcuy Norte. 0152238860
This time of year it can rain, but makes great rainbows
Lots of Bread
 Dinner at Casa Nene
Out to the tobacco farms 

Playa Coco, Play Giron, Bay Of Pigs. Cuba

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One of my best beaches for me in Cuba, small easy to relax and forget. I have managed to visit this little beach 4 times. Those who follow/read my posts know that I like out the way and not over built places. Play Giron is growing with the increase in tourism, but at a very slow pace. I like to base myself here for a few days then staying 1/2 hour from here at playa Larga. That is much or as little as you want to do or visit from here.

Monkey

Cuban food cooked right on the beach, by this kind lady who we spent some of our days with and her family. Who made us very welcome and shared their rum. Liliana also helped cook and we had a mix of Cuban/Colombian lunch.

Nice fish lunch


Playa Caltea Buena - Only 15 minutes from Giron on the local bus.

Last day in Playa Giron - Taking the bus to playa Larga from Giron - Happy as we just left the beach and a empty bottle or rum :)


Trinidad Cuba

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A very nice Spanish colonial town that was not built with traditional straight streets going North to South & East to West. As this was meant to make it harder for pirates to find their way around.

View of Trinidad from our casa with Convento de San Francisco in the back ground
Casa Luis XVIIIAddress: 68 Jesús Menédez, Trinidad 62600, Cuba Phone:+53 41 992292
See Trip Adviser

Children at school

My Home Cooking In Colombia

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While living in Ibague I mixed some of the typical local foods with what I like to eat. While trying to cut out or at least cut-down on processed foods! Including bread and sugar. Below is a bit of a mix as I was cooking for a family, but they liked to try different things.
But they were not all keen on eating hot chilies!
Lunch tends to be the biggest meal of the day. But as the family soon found out, I like to eat 3 large meals a day.

Some of my experiments:

Colombian breakfast. Arepas with cheese and hot chocolate
Spanglish breakfast (Tocineta) Bacon, eggs, arepa, tomatoes, avocado.
Oven for cooking plantains 
Spanglish lunch. Home made burgers with pineapple and fried egg. Salad and chili 
Chorizo, scrambled eggs, avocado and fried plantains
Making coconut oil
Chopped coconut, mixed with water and then squeezed
After living the coconut milk for 24 hours, the cream forms on top, remove and heat for one hour until the oil separates. 
Pour the oil into a jar when cooled down