vickygoestravelling

my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations


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Basel Fasnacht – Europe’s largest carnival

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The alarm goes off at 3 am. Quickly we pull our clothes on and rush to catch one of the few buses that are operating at this time of the morning. We are here to witness the famous Morgestraich, the first event of the world-famous Basel Carnival or Fasnacht.

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New year, new ski season

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I never tire of this view of the majestic Dents du Midi – now covered in masses of snow

 

We have always spent Christmas and New year in Champery since my mother died in 2009. There seemed no need to remain in England after that; and even less so after Louise died in 2011. The three of us come here and try and avoid the madness that overtakes even rational people at Christmas time. The only presents I give are to Ross and Tommy; friends may receive small tokens from our travels, Christmas biscuits from the Basel market or home-made chutneys, if I’ve made any! Continue reading


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Costa Rica – Pura Vida

Blue-grey Tanager

Blue-grey tanagers

We leave lovely Ometepe by the ferry, and arrive at the border after an hour or so. Here we say goodbye to Bayardo, our driver for the past 10 days, and lug our bags through the Nicaragua border formalities – all smiles – and into Costa Rica – all grumps. It’s blazing hot and there is no sign of the rental car, which Diego has nobly volunteered to drive (great job Diego!). We mooch around in the scant shade looking in wonderment at the massive pantechnicons which ply the Transamerica Highway from north to south. Their line to cross the border is at least 1-2 kms long. Awful. Continue reading


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Nine days in Nicaragua 2: Léon and Granada (birthday blog!)

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View from Le Merced bell tower over Granada

The drive from El Jaguar to Léon, Nicaragua’s capital (founded in  1524) until Managua took over, takes us through fields of maize, legumes (the famous red beans for the staple dish of pinto gallo – or rice and peas) and the usual motley array of horses (sometimes with dashing gauchos astride), cows, dogs and pigs. Round here where it is poor, they are all a bit thin, ribs sticking out, apart from the pigs who root around contentedly. Sometimes the animals are tethered, but mostly not. The houses are as poor as ever, with the occasional school, and people going about their daily business. Religion plays a huge part in daily life – and the bigger churches are full of effigies of saints and, of course, the Virgin Mary. Continue reading


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Nine days in Nicaragua: Part 1 wildlife and wetlands

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Concepcion volcano in Ometepe

Nicaragua and Costa Rica: our holiday destinations this autumn. Central America is terra incognita for us. Luckily we have cousin Christine and her Chilean husband Diego as our tour guides, who are both Spanish-speakers; Tim and Annie, also from Champery, make up the six. On arrival we are greeted by the electric trees (cost $25k) which line the main road from the airport  in preparation for the Pan-American Games next year. And a huge portrait of Hugo Chavez! Continue reading


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Recovery Road is slow and hard!

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The problem with the NHS is that while hospital procedures are of a good standard, the minute you leave it all goes to pot. There is no home support. Gone are the days of the District Nurse, and when I go to the hospital for my 15 minute ‘physio’ this entails bending my leg in all directions and measuring the angle of movement, and comparing it to the last. Tick the box. Continue reading