We managed to get our well deserved rest. This is what we call a vacation from our vacations. Believe it or not, backpacking is hard work. You have to wake up early, walk a lot, party hard, it is just exhausting some times. So here in the comfort of our Modi'in home, we are enjoying the luxuries that we can get while it lasts.
We took the opportunity to get some of our paperwork together. I had to get my Israeli passport extended and Rebecca had to get a Russian visa for her Canadian passport.
Apparently, if you are married (male or female) you have to send the certificate to the Israel Consulate. This I failed to do back in Canada. The Consulate decided to return my passport with a little note saying that they have only renewed my passport for one year (instead of 10 years) until I send them the Marriage Certificate. Unfortunately, our time in Canada was running out before the trip and the cost to send "important" papers via mail is quite expensive. So we decided to do the paperwork here in Israel.
Well, the passport officer here did not like my Marriage Certificate because there is no official stamps (nobody told me that I needed to get it stamped!). Anyways, we decided to go the Canadian Consulate to asked them to get it stamped. When we arrived the officer told us that he won't be able to do that for us because he can only stamp Federal documents and a Marriage Certificate is a Provincial one. What the f***. What do we do now? My Israeli passport will expire before the end of our One Year Trip. To wrap things up, the nice passport officer at the Israel's Ministry of Interior gave me a one year extension free of charge so I can get back to Canada and send my forms to the Toronto Consulate.
On with Rebecca's Russian visa. This was kind of a nightmare. We started by going to the Russian Consulate. This was a complete mess, full of people. We weren't even able to get into the consulate. The people at the door would not give us any information. We finally, sneaked into a side door and we got someone to talk to us. We just wanted information about a tourist visa. The very nice woman (sarcastic) said and I quote: "it is impossible", and I said "but how do we get into ..." cutting me off she said "it is impossible", she turned around and left, that was nice. This whole ordeal took about 3 hours just so we can hear that it was impossible to get the visa. By this point we were just thinking of paying the penalty and changing our flight so that we don't fly to Russia.
Anyways, we decided to go to a travel agency to obtain our visa. This is another method to obtain it if you don't have an invitation from a citizen of Russia. Yes, you need one if you don't go through an agency, crazy!
Our intention was to go to Moscow and then St. Petersburg continuing to Riga, Latvia and then back to Moscow. For that we need a multiple entry visa, which the Consulate denied it to us. They are really a pain on the ass! I really think that their country is still a little bit behind in time. So we probably will have to cancel our Latvia section of our trip.
So, we are staying in Israel until the 19 of May when we have our scheduled flight to Athens.
We will keep you posted.
Wow, the time is flying. Two months have passed since we left Canada on January 11th. This year will go by really fast indeed.
So, we have left Brasil a country that we enjoyed alot. We wanted to thank the whole Glogowski family for being such nice people. We wanted to thank Bernardo for taking us out, Marcia and Niels for taking us everywhere around the city, Suzana and Cicero for letting us into their daily lives and providing us with a place to sleep and Luci and Clelio for letting us share with them their union in matrimony. We will miss, of course, the beautiful beaches and they unreal amount of fruits, love the juices!
We are now in Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America as it called. Let me tell you that I haven't been back for 9 years. I left when I was 15 years old and from a bad experience (being robbed and scared after that). I know see the city with different sets of eyes. These eyes see a city with lots of life. It is indeed a beutiful city. So much to do and see. This time I came as a tourist. I have gone to places I have never been before even though I lived here for 12 years.
As a tourist we went to La Boca and San Telmo (which has grown from a only Plaza fair to a whole section of the neighbourhood). We also recommend that if you come you try the BA Free Tours (www.buenosairesfreetour.com). They have 2 tours daily that go over the major attractions of the city. It is unbelievable the amount of tourist that are coming to BA. I has told that this is nothing compared to a few years back, I guess when the Peso was lower.
The most important of this visit to Buenos Aires is meeting all my old friends and family. Pablo Sukmann (my best man) has been great as always. He let us use his own bed while he sleeps at the couch.
Well, it is getting late and we are taking a flight on LAN Argentina to El Calafate to see the Glaciar Perito Moreno and make our way north.
We will keep you posted.
We have survived! The Inca Trail was way harder than what we expected. It was a 4 day trek thought mountains and jungle. We reached altitutes of 4200 meters above sea level and walked for 42 kilometers up and down Inca made steps.
The trip started quite well. We had a good sleep, took the bus to our first destination which is kilometer 82 from Cusco. We had our walking sticks and our sleeping bags attached to our small bags and I asked Rebecca to take a picture of me with all the gear. As she tries to take a picture of me, the camera does not turn on! Apparently after I charged the camera battery during night, I accidently put the battery and charger inside the wrong backpack, the one staying in our hostel in Cusco! We would like to thank the two British girls (Hayley and Kirsty) for taking pictures of us and lending us the camera the last day.
As I was saying, the trek was a bit though. So much that it also made Rebecca cry from exhaustion.
As it is summer it was the rainy season. And we did encounter a lot of the wet stuff.
We were super impressed and amazed with the ability of the porters that carried 20 kilos on their backs up and down the mountain at and incredible speed. We were carrying about 5 kilos and it was a struggle!
The culmination of the trip ended at Machu Picchu. This incredible place untouch by the Spaniards when they arrived in Peru. They did destroyed most of the other sites but this one was well hidden in the vast mountains.
It was and incredible adventure that we won't forget.
We are now at the Lima airport waiting for about 14 hours for our midnight flight to the city of Sao Paulo, Brasil.
I really like "To Do" lists. I like being able to check off things that we have accomplished so far. Unfortunately, I can't see the end of the list yet on one screenshot. On the other hand, some of the hardest To Do tasks are completed. We have sublet-ed our apartment, bought the Round the World ticket, bought (via Aeroplan points) our flights to Calgary and Vancouver (our starting point), filled out a lot of forms that that will cover our health and insurances and a few other things.
I am sure I will be able to continue checking my "To Do" list for a while.