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Trip to Cape Reinga


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The first part of my journey in New Zealand, after having taken a deserved rest in Auckland for a few days, was to go North to the most northern point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga, where the Tasman sea meets the Pacific ocean. We decided then with a few friends to rent a car for 3 days and also take the opportunity to visit a few places on the way.

The landscape was indeed really scenic, as we expected, and the first interesting stop was to explore some dark caves and admire the famous glow-worms of New Zealand.

"In New Zealand and Australia, glow-worms are the larvae (maggots) of a special kind of fly known as a fungus gnat. Fungus gnats look rather like mosquitoes, and most feed on mushrooms and other fungi. However, a small group of fungus gnats are carnivores, and the worm-like larvae of these species use their glowing lights to attract small flying insects into a snare of sticky threads."

When switching off all our lights, the cave suddenly turns into an amazing sky filled with millions of stars. Truly spectacular.

Daniela and Ben enjoying climbing in the cave

Daniela and Ben enjoying climbing in the cave


Glowworms in the dark...

Glowworms in the dark...


This time with the reflection of the water running in the cave

This time with the reflection of the water running in the cave

We then carried on to the Bay of Islands, one of the very touristic places in New Zealand and spent the night in Pahia, while admiring the nice bay. The next day, still carrying north and after having picked up other people, we stopped several times along the way to enjoy waterfalls, beaches, sand dunes and to finally reach Cape Reinga and its famous lighthouse at the end of the day (see pictures below).

The way back the next day was less spectacular as we had a lot of road to cover but I could definitely had a first taste of what New Zealand is during those 3 days. And not a bad one!... :)

Reflections on Mataury Bay beach

Reflections on Mataury Bay beach


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The New Zealand fern

The New Zealand fern


Sandboarding on the Te Paki sand dunes, really fun!

Sandboarding on the Te Paki sand dunes, really fun!


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My companions for this short adventure

My companions for this short adventure


Finally, the lighthouse of Cape Reinga!

Finally, the lighthouse of Cape Reinga!


Bay next to Cape Reinga

Bay next to Cape Reinga


Another sunset... <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Another sunset... :)


London... quite far away!

London... quite far away!


The trip wouldn't have been complete without a jump picture! <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' />

The trip wouldn't have been complete without a jump picture! ;)


One of the biggest Kauri trees, the native tree in New Zealand

One of the biggest Kauri trees, the native tree in New Zealand


Kiwis ahead...

Kiwis ahead...

Posted by manolo84 15:03 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches trees caves english dunes Comments (0)

Oaxaca and Hostal Casa Angel

What a week!


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Next stage in the trip was Oaxaca de Juarez, a nice city located in the south of mexico, in the state of Oaxaca. Once again, this was a 4.5 hours trip journey by bus from Puebla. Arriving in the hostel Casa Angel, I could already seen some familiar faces seen previously in Puebla. I think pretty much all backpackers follow a "recommended" route and by booking hostels via the famous websites such as www.hostelworld.com, people end up in the same ones most of the time.

So far Casa Angel is the nicest hostel I have stayed in, not only because of the hostel itself which is great, but also for the atmosphere. Everyone spends time in the common area and it's not rare to share dinners all together, which is quite nice.

One could easily stay a few weeks in Oaxaca without being bored as there are so many things to see and explore. Besides for those who like the Mexican food, Oaxaca is a little paradise with all the different markets and restaurants, offering traditional dishes.

Here are a few things that I have experienced:

Hierve el Agua

Don't pay attention to my face, I had the sun right in front of me so it looks like I just woke up... :)

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Mezcal

The Mezcal is one of the most famous and most appreciated alcohol in Mexico. You actually drink it a bit like we would drink Tequila in France, in shots with a bit of salt and lime. With a few people we wanted to know more and went to see how Mexican used to make Mezcal, in a traditional Mezcaleria. With the heat and the different bottles we tried, I think pretty much everyone ended up quite drunk that afternoon!

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The little grasshopers you are supposed to eat after a shot of Mezcal... Hum, you'd be better to close your eyes and not to look too close...
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Another one? Of course!

The Tule tree

Supposedly the largest tree in Latin America, quite impressive. That tree is in the village of Tule, about 10 minutes drive from Oaxaca.

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Monte Albán

This was one of the best site I have visited so far. Monte Alban was a city built by the Zapotecs a few thousands of years ago. Work is still in progress to excavate and restore some of the monuments but you can almost go everywhere on this site. The pyramids are not as impressive as the ones of Teotihuacan (see previous post) because they are not tall but the overall feeling is more majestic if I can say. All the different temples are closer from each other and the whole site is covered with grass, surrounded by trees and on the top of a small mountain. It is actually easy to take a moment and try to imagine the city like it was two thousands of years ago, with all the activity and its 26000 inhabitants. As usual, pictures talk more than words so here are a few pictures I have taken that day, and more are in the gallery section.

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Ixtlán

Here we are, my first hike of this round the world trip! Well we actually spent more time in the transports than hiking but it was quite nice nevertheless, to spend about 2 hours climbing up and down the mountain overlooking the village of Ixtlán in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca.
There were a couple of 2-3 days hikes available in the area as well but all were requiring a local guide and were a bit pricey. Besides I think there will be more opportunities to hike as I am going down to the Chiapas (southern state of Mexico) or in Guatemala later on.

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Finally, I would like to do a big hug to all the Casa Angel team: Clinton, Paula, Kenneth, Marc, Hini, Ellen, Elo, Ray, Zach with whom we have shared some very nice moments during these 5-6 days. Take care guys and maybe see you soon!

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Posted by manolo84 12:50 Archived in Mexico Tagged trees cities ruins hostels alcohol Comments (3)

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