Hallo!

Hi anyone who’s still following us after not writing for a couple of months! We are now in Germany. I’m going to try to pick up where we left off…
So we went to Samaipata and camped for a week. It was nice enough, sort of reminded me of NZ but not as cool. We ended up leaving a bit early and heading Santa Cruz because we heard it was going to rain heaps which isn’t fun in a tiny tent. So we headed to our final South American destination (technically) where we had to stay for a week coz we were flying out from there. It was a really weird big dirty smelly hot city, I wouldn’t recommend it. Our flight from Bolivia to London took 2 days…we had a connecting flight in Argentina which was cancelled so technically we’ve been to Buenos Aires as we were put up in a hotel in the city for 4 hours (so generous). We did finally make it to London despite thinking we may be stuck in Argentina for ever.
WOW sorry that was a really depressing paragraph! But that’s how it was, our last two weeks in South America were pretty average, but I suppose that made breaking-up a bit easier, and also the rad times far out-weighed the crappy times.
We hired a car for the 2 1/2 weeks we had in the UK, and as soon as we jumped in and started driving, big grins spread across our faces. Aaah the Western world, it’s not that we didn’t enjoy our time in South America, but it felt like coming home. The countryside was so lovely and all the houses matched with their cute window-boxes and manicured gardens. It took a while for speaking English to people we didn’t know to come naturally, and it felt like such a luxury to be able to make small-talk to the lady at the supermarket checkout! …haha and it took me weeks to feel ok about flushing loo paper down the toilet again. We traveled through Wales, Scotland and England, and marveled at the age of the uk; we stayed in a house from the 1600’s…that’s crazy old for us folk from New Zealand!! I was also pretty stoked about seeing so many castles. We really liked staying in Bath with its cobbled streets and pretty buildings…and good cafes (that’s the main thing after all). Our time in the UK was mainly spent wandering small beautiful towns, drinking lots of beer and cider, and catching up with family friends. It was also great to have been able to get a feel for where some of the ancestors are from.
We arrived in Germany at the end of August and have been based in Hamburg, staying with Hannah, Thomas and Otis. It’s been really lovely having time to just hang out with these guys after wizzing around the UK, and being able to get to know Oti properly; he’s pretty cool if I may say so myself. Ma and Pa were over for a couple of weeks too and it was great to all hang out together. Hamburg is a rad city with heaps of big trees and over-grown side-walks and about a million parks, lots of cool graffiti, cafes, and pretty much everyone rides bikes. I think NZ is really behind when it comes to biking – here they actually have a special lane on the footpaths just for bikes, and you don’t have to wear a helmet. We had a tourist day and took a boat ride up some of the canals and visited st. Nikolai cathedral which was bombed during a raid in the war by the allies. Half of it was destroyed and has been left like that as a memorial for those killed, and was a pretty powerful reminder that their really aren’t “goodies” and “badies” in war.
Me and Dave went to Berlin for a few days, visiting a Jewish Memorial and museum, and taking a walking tour of the city. I guess I’m a bit stupid but I didn’t realise how recently the wall was taken down and how crap it was for so many people up until so recently. We met up with our German friends Martin and Anke who we met in Ecuador and travelled a bit with (and did the Santa Cruz trek with in Peru) there too and went to a great flea market in a cool smaller part of town. By the way, there are awesome flea markets in Germany.
A couple of weeks ago we went on a wee road trip with Martin, Anke, and their friend Jack . We drove round in a camper van and made our way down to Switzerland stopping in different wee towns along the way. It was heaps of fun. We made bonfires on the lakefront in Budensee, went swimming in the river in Bern, Switzerland, and also biked around the beautiful town which the river looped around. In Titisee we ate so much cured and smoked meat and cheese and drank lots of beer and honey liquor. It was really picturesque with those houses with roofs that go nearly to the ground, and cute wee gardens. AND Dave bought (for his birthday) a Swiss army knife FROM ACTUAL SWITZERLAND!!
In the weekend we went with Hannah, Thomas and Otis down south somewhere cute to a wine region and stayed there for the weekend with their friends. It’s “new wine” season which is where they make wine which is only fermented for maybe 2 or 3 days so it’s quite sweet and cloudy and can be a bit fizzy depending on how long its left, and is around 8%. You buy it in a quarter or half litre tumbler and it’s delicious! We also tried yum German dished, mostly meaty goodness, and ate roast Chestnuts. Then we collected some and brought them back with us and roasted them in the oven last night, we felt so old-timey.
We’re off to see Rens and Rob (who we meet in Ecuador) in Amsterdam tomorrow, yussss. It’s my birthday today and I’ve had a great time drinking coffee and eating cake and generally being spoiled. It’s very autunmy here now – the trees are changing and it’s getting chilly, I’d love to be here in winter time when it gets properly cold!
If you’ve made it all the way through this mammoth post – ka pai.
See you in 2 weeks xox
Ps. We may put some photos up once we’re back from Holland.

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