The New Detroit Discovery Trip

After a wonderful evening at the rodeo, we leave Canada. Despite the late hour and fatigue, we all feel a great wave in the soul, leaving this wonderful country, where we were so well received. We think back to Tadoussac, the whales and the white bear in Quebec City and Montreal. We visualize amazing landscapes like Point Pelee and Kettle Point, and remember the amazing people we met on the way.

So to cheer us up, after we promised to return one day to Canada, we decided to spend this first night in the US Great Lakes area in Detroit in Michigan. Although we were close to it, we had not dared to cross the border. After a difficult passage at the customs (search of our car, fingerprints taken and payment of a fee), here we are in the USA.

US customs officials do not laugh. As we had not arrived by plane on the American territory, we had the same formalities as at the airport. Our hotel is not located in Detroit itself as we read in the travel guide that Detroit was not safe and the most dangerous city in the USA. It was not so much, since we were careful not to go to certain areas. Here Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile industry and the courageous Rosa Parks spent part of her life.

We reach our hotel in the suburbs of Detroit in Southfield and it is nice to be in front of a receptionist, who is smiling and pleasant. She told us the road to get to the center of Detroit and told us that we had to follow this road and that there would be no problem. We visited the waterfront district. At no time did we feel unsafe and Detroit is a pretty city with tourists, a city like the other US cities we visited.

We will not take advantage of all the opportunities of the establishment this Sunday. We programmed the visit of the Henri Ford Museum and the Greenfield village, and tonight we must be in Chicago in a typical roadside motel that we have seen in thousands of movies.

Why the Henry Ford Museum? Because it's the must-see museum in Detroit although there are many other very interesting ones. This museum does not only concern cars which everyone knows but also all industries in which Mr Ford participated. And God knows how he had a touch to everything.

We start with a little tour in downtown Detroit (we want to see the Windsor towers and say hello to Canadians). The baseball stadium is super impressive with its giant tigers at the entrance! We see that the economic crisis of this decade has left its mark. We do not count buildings and abandoned buildings or for sale, not to mention the abandoned factories. Even if things were getting better there was some damage.

This part of the city moved me a lot. It's a very strange atmosphere and it seems to be a little voyeur watching the decline and misery of others. But I still think it's important to see and be aware of the extent of the drama. It really hurts to see such beautiful homes in such a state and it is even more terrible to imagine the families who had to abandon them.

Currently, there is a lot of vacant lots between abandoned houses as many of them have been razed to prevent them from being used as squats. On the other hand, there is the city in reconstruction, where all things are done to renovate the buildings by respecting their architecture.

Although it is a ghost town, we must not exaggerate anyway, because even on early Sunday morning at 10 am, we see some people in the streets. There are still some beautiful buildings, certainly obviously older that we discover over the streets. We had a brunch of American food in the classic restaurant where the waitress fill our coffee at the tables next to the windows.

We then reach Greenfield, in the southern suburbs, and quickly notice that something unusual happens. It's the big party of the inventors, with all the weekend, in the museum but also in the gardens and usual car parks. We see hundreds of exhibition booths and experimentation, activities focused on engineering. Under a blazing sun we decide to start with the museum (air-conditioned).

So we visit the exhibition. We see Automobile in American life (being redeveloped) but the main cars are aligned. There are semi-recent or old presidential vehicles (such as the limousine of President Kennedy. We see car collections (quadricycle or Bugatti Royal type 41), and the bus in which Rosa Parks refused to give way to a white man.

We also discover some beautiful specimens of locomotives of unimaginable size. The locomotive Allegheny was one of the largest steam locomotives ever built as well as the one equipped with a snow plow nose.

We continue with Heroes of The Sky, the adventures of the first flights. We have an exceptional guide who obviously knows everything about aviation as he had to learn a whole of the history of the Air Force. And there is the story of the Wright brothers (who managed the first kilometer traveled with successful landing in 1903, in North Carolina).

We learn about Otto Lilenthal who wrote the principles of the Aerodynamics and Aeromodelling, in the late 1800s. We pass by Floyd Bennett, of Josephine Ford in the Arctic or aerial voltigeurs that we discover in the form of very interesting stagings. A model show us the evolution of the passenger space in a plane. We see the DC-3 Douglas of 1939 who traveled more than 19 million km and spent 83000 hours in the air, for almost 10 years!

A glance at Made in America, and we find entire windows of old objects that have gradually revolutionized everyday life. We see our first computer Amstrad, or the Mac, the first Game Boy. And here and there we see some amazing objects, not to say explosive. So much for the main exhibitions.

There is also Your place in time, and With liberty and justice for all, completely furnished exhibitions among which we did not linger. Regarding all the stands of the inventors, it would be much too long and uninteresting. Finally, we cannot walk and abandon the idea of ​​walking the streets of the famous Greenfield village.

It has the distinction of having preserved many homes and workshops intact as the beginning of the 19th century. It is really too hot at 40 degrees. So we head to the picnic area. At the end of the day, we went on a tour of Belle Isle from where we could admire the city from further afield. It is already late and we take the road to Chicago! I would describe it as a city full of parking spaces that is interesting, incomparable, different, lonely, rare, and gray but for us it was a unique experience.

Detroit travel images

Travel through Araku Valley and Borra Caves in Andhra Pradesh

We travel to the unknown tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh after cuddling for a couple of days in Vizag. Vizag is famous for its beautiful shores of the Bay of Bengal. The only place worthy of note in this area is Araku Valley, a small hill-station between green hills. Here Indian tourists come to relax from the torrential and chaotic cities around.

India is an extraordinary country that has a lot to offer to those who want to discover its secrets. In almost every state there are wonders and mysteries. But do not expect to find these things in the lonely planet guide or on the most popular blogs.

You need to look for information in obscure sites, forums, and blogs that are often beyond the Page 10 of Google. Ask for information about the venues, and above all leave the usual backpacker trails.

In my recent trips, I have seen that the old history of India is too touristy. The reality is that very few are willing to leave the beaten track and visit the unknown. The prize for those few is the chance to discover uncontaminated areas. You can come face to face with ancient cultures and mysterious tribal groups.

The tribal territories of central India are between Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh. They have been on my list of places to visit for many years, but for some reason or the other, it has always got postponed. Anyway, as usual, I decided to go and check in person and start my exploration without prejudices.

The train trip is amazing and is one of the tourist attractions in the area. The slow Kirandul passenger train left the coast. After a short stretch of plain, it climbs to the Eastern Ghats. It follows an arduous path excavated in the rocks and crosses dozens of galleries. The scenery is spectacular. We find lots of kids on the outskirts of the Borra caves. It is the main motif that attracts tourists from here. At every tunnel, the kids would shout, sneak and beat their feet on the ground.

In the last stroke, we find many tribal avalanches. We find women carrying big barbells of large wicker baskets on the head. There they have various things to sell in weekly markets. The landscape in this latter part is bucolic, although the harvest has been a couple of weeks ago.

There are few people working in the fields. The predominant colors are yellow, red and green. For a moment I have the impression of being in Africa. The villages are very beautiful, with mud houses and roofs of stone slabs.

At Araku we settle in a classic hotel opposite the station. The next morning two guys take us to see the center. The air is cooler and the sky is cloudy for the first time!

Soon I discover that the real village, where there are hotels and shops is Araku Valley.

It is about 2 miles away. There is an efficient public Tuc-Tuc service. It is a very small village that is in the heart of the valley of the same name.

With two boys who act as our guide, we enter the chaos that reigns through the stalls of fruits and vegetables. Here the tribes of the neighboring villages come to buy things on the market or to socialize. Men seem more or less all the same. Women, depending on the group, wear different ornaments, tattoos. They have a distinctive way of knitting the saree. It is not a real saree, which is usually very long, but often a simple bigger towel.

We find women selling fish, household products. Finally, we move to the place where people sell the goats and other cattle! For some years now it has become an area frequented by tourists. We then continue to other villages. I felt like living a week in one of these villages where peace and serenity reigned. I wanted to dance to the beats of tribal music!

The next morning before plugging off to Hyderabad we visited the Borra Caves. These are deep caves that are on the way back. Illuminated by colored disco dance style lights of the 80s, the caves were full of bats. Kids screamed in the caves.

Although we had not yet reached the end of this trip, I was lucky to see things that normal tourists would not see. We met people, who told us magical and supernatural stories. Here I saw the most beautiful eyes and expressive as ever. And deep down I would continue this experience!

We proceed to Thorrur. In the evening the women make an endless little show of dances and songs to welcome us.
Next day we visit a small tribal museum. It was quite interesting and useful to have an idea of how these people live. I find out that from the next day a 5 day tribal festival with markets and folk performances will begin. I cannot ask for anything better. It was a great opportunity to get to know this fascinating culture.

The festival was more interesting than expected. There were local artisan workshops and folklore groups from other regions as well. After the long inauguration, the dances began. The first group was one of the local tribals who performed the Dhimsa. The women dancers hugged each other as the men played strange traditional instruments. It was a very fascinating and unique experience.

A Trip to Chicago - The City of Blues

Chicago was the first stage of a trip to the United States when I also visited San Francisco, Los Angeles, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. The main theme was the west but as I had a few days with my travel companions, I took the opportunity to get to see the windy city.

I spent three days walking between buildings and running from here to there to see everything possible in a short time. Although I love to make more relaxed trips, I also enjoy those architectural marathons that I do every now and then. The big cities fascinate me and I have a great time going through them. I'm not afraid of getting bored, as the city accompanies me. So yes, I spent three days walking between buildings, taking all the photos I wanted combining subways, trains and buses only to go to see a building, getting up early, walking all day and lying exhausted.

12 Hours in Chicago

The flight left at 11 o'clock in the morning on time for Chicago. I arrived at O'Hare Airport at about 10 in the morning after a very long trip of more than 24 hours with stops in Santiago in Chile and Miami. We take a taxi that was not worth the amount of time it took to get to the center. There was enough traffic but the trip was very short. The very modern taxis with a screen tells us where the taxi is going.

We arrived at the hotel that was behind the Trump Tower, on Hubbard Street. We got a huge room with two large beds and free internet, pool, and gym. As soon as we arrived, to adapt to the schedule we decided not to rest and go for a walk to see where we were. We went to the river where we started to see the impressive buildings of Chicago. Then we saw, as I said behind the hotel, the Marina Towers, and the Trump Tower and we entered the Loop.

The Oriental theater was very close, at the beginning of State Street. Here we saw one of Chicago's coolest things. It is the elevated subway that runs between the buildings. Sure it sounds like a lot of movies. Turning left, we passed through the Chicago Cultural Center and arrived at Millenium Park.

The Millenium Park is within Grant Park and represents one of the most modernized areas of Chicago that in recent years has undergone a great transformation. The park's most famous work is the Jay Pritzker Concert Pavilion, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry.

Then there is Cloud Gate, by Anish Kapoor and the garden. We cross near the Art Institute of Chicago, which is one of the most important museums in Chicago that preserves the old facade but the building is new.

Then we saw the Crown Fountain. It was very hot and there were a lot of children bathing in it. After a while, we went to the famous Bean, a sculpture in the shape of a polished stainless steel bean in which everyone takes pictures because it reflects the buildings. There were so many people that it was quite difficult to take good pictures.

At this time we were tired. My back hurt a lot and we were hungry. An acquaintance had given us the name of the restaurant that was right in front of the park at Michigan Street. It was a kind of Irish tavern-restaurant where we ate fried chicken and not very expensive for the place where it was. It was very busy when we went around 6 in the afternoon and the portions were huge.

As soon as we finished dinner I could not take it anymore and my back each time hurt more. On the way to the hotel, we bought a cream at the pharmacy and we went to sleep.

24 Hours in Chicago

The jet lag makes a dent in us and we woke up at 5 in the morning without being able to go back to sleep. At about 9 we start. We go to the Grand metro which is 3 minutes from the hotel and we bought a card. We did not find the option in the machine to buy it but a security girl helped us. I have to say that it has been a while since I found a city with people as friendly as in Chicago. They helped us without asking!

We went down the red line to Chinatown. It was very early and the truth is that we saw nothing, but a small neighborhood like many others with its shops and restaurants. It seemed like it was going to rain immediately!

Here we tried to take the first bus that would take us to the Campus Museum area but we waited for 15 minutes. We went back to take the subway to go up one stop and get off at Roosevelt to walk to the end of Grant Park and there to the Campus Museum. The sky was very dark but we had to take risks.

The first thing we came across at the end of Grant Park is the Agora sculpture, a set without legs. Chicago is full of outdoor sculptures and they are great. Then we enter the set called Museum Campus with the Field Museum on the right and the Shedd Aquarium a little further on the left.

We went to the aquarium and from here we had the first panoramic view of the Chicago skyline and we started taking photos like crazy. And here, as expected, the sky broke. It started to rain a lot and as we did not know how long it would last we decided the easiest thing to do is to enter the aquarium.

The entrance was very expensive with the dolphin show. The aquarium is fine. It did not drive me crazy because we have seen other beautiful aquariums too. I have to say that there are fish from all the seas and oceans and especially the children got crazy. The dolphin show seemed a bit of a bummer but we had a nice time. They have a terrace in one of the cafeterias with very good views and one can touch a lot of fish like rays, starfish, and barracudas. I did not dare to touch almost any.

When we left, it had stopped raining miraculously and a splendid sun came out. We continue walking to the planetarium where the best views of the skyline are. We enjoyed the ride a lot, constantly stopping to take pictures.

Here we peered at 12th Street Beach, which, although was small, was the first beach we saw on Lake Michigan and we were very excited. It would be 4 in the afternoon and it was very hot. So we walked back and decided that we would enter for a while in the Field Museum of Natural History. We saw a lot of animals and the famous dinosaur Sue, the star of the museum.

When we left we were quite tired and took a bus to get to Millenium Park. In the map, everything seems to be close. We took the bus that left us at the entrance of the Arts Institute of Chicago. We took Adams Street and entered the Loop. We went through the Route 66 sign where the famous route that ends in Los Angeles begins and we arrive at the Willis Tower.

I liked the view from the Hancock Observatory that is closer to the lake. The most striking are some glass balconies that protrude from the tower. When we went down, we decided to walk to the hotel on Franklin Street and then turn by the river on Wacker Street.

We rested for a while and had dinner at an Italian restaurant very close to the hotel.

Chicago food restaurants travel images

48 Hours in Chicago

Today was going to be another intense day. After having breakfast with a donut and a nice coffee we took the metro in Grand towards the north until Adisson to see the baseball stadium of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field.

When we arrived there was an ice hockey game at the United Center, the stadium of the Chicago Bulls. We could only enter the store where we did not buy anything but take a few pictures with the famous statue of Michael Jordan. From the stadium and after looking at some shops where we did not shop anything especially because it was not exactly cheap either, we walked around Clark St.

My USA travel guide said that this area was full of shops. We started to go down Clark St and see bars and restaurants that were closed at this time. So there was almost nobody anywhere. We walked a lot. It reminded me of Los Angeles. We wanted to go down to Lincoln Park.

We pass Belmont St subway stop and finally found a bus that at least took us down a few streets to Belden Street. We rested at a cafe and we walked to Lincoln Park. At least we enjoyed the neighborhood because between Clark St and Lincoln Park there were some very cool houses. If we were ever going to live in Chicago we wanted to live there although they looked like they were expensive. And finally, we arrived at Lincoln Park!

It is huge. The greenhouse is a wonder, as there are thousands of rare and exotic plants and it is beautiful. There is a pond with super nice koi fish and waterfalls. I loved it and the entrance is free. At the exit on the right is the zoo. Yes, the Chicago zoo that is also free. It was full of children and we enjoyed like them.

There were rhinoceroses, zebra giraffes, monkeys, bears, lions, a house with birds and reptiles, and another with insects. Of everything, even a polar bear and sea lions. It was like any other zoo and on top of it at the exit of the zoo, there is a lake with beautiful views of the city. We spent a good time taking pictures.

I had thought about leaving to the park on Michigan Avenue near the Magnificent Mile. We took a long time to arrive. This beach is called North Avenue Beach and there was an incredible atmosphere. There was a boat-shaped bar with changing rooms and a lot of people on a bike, running, and swimming. It looked like a sea instead of a lake!

But the best was to come. Past some rocks, there were people lying on the cement sunbathing from where the views of the skyline are simply great! We had a good time resting there! We continue walking along the water to the Oak St Beach.

Finally, we arrived at Michigan Avenue, the street of the stores in which we had not been yet. We see the cheesecake shop and because we were hungry we decided to go for lunch. There was a little queue. We waited about 20 minutes and we were able to enter. The food seemed brutal to me. They put a caesar salad on a platter that was so much that I could not eat half and also eat a sandwich that was just as gigantic.

For dessert there were cheesecakes but I was so full that I almost did not enjoy it. With the gut full we walked back to the hotel on Michigan Avenue without stopping much in the stores. At the hotel, we rested for about an hour. We changed and at about 6 we took the subway to go to Addison to Wrigley Field.

We passed right away. The seats were pretty good and we enjoyed a lot. People went up and down with puppies like in the movies. The band came out to play the national anthem and we all stood up and well, in general, it was very cool. The game was a little complicated to understand but we had a lot of fun.

We did not stay until the end. I did not have dinner. We went down to the hotel restaurant to eat a giant hamburger. At 9.30 there were fireworks at Navy Pier. We were too lazy to go back because we did not know the frequency of the buses at night.

We went to Trump Street Bridge where we took some pictures. Although we lost the bus as soon as we got to the stop, we took another one that also came down State Street and goes towards Navy Pier.

The fireworks were on the right side and the truth is that there were enough people. I have to say that they were cool and since there was no fog and it was not raining we could appreciate the skyline at night with its lights.

We took another bus that this time was behind the hotel and stopped us on Clark Street. So we took the first one we saw that left us near the hotel.

We were tired. Our flight to New York left was at 5.55 in the morning. We had to leave the hotel around 3 because although it was assumed that there would be no traffic we preferred to go with time to pass the police control and not have any problems.

Chicago had enchanted us. We missed a lot of things to do. We did not ride a bike, see the Blues, eat the famous pizzas and cruise on the river and the lake. We also did not go to the neighborhoods of Pielsen, Greektown and Hyde Park, the area where Obama lived and the Gold Coast with its shops. We will repeat for sure.

Travel in Paraguay Between Nature and Jesuit Missions

Paraguay is a country added to the route. On the map, wedged between Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil, Paraguay looks very small. Make no mistake, it's bigger than Germany or the UK! Geographically, this allows me to see Iguazu more or less economically. Culturally, Paraguay allow me to attend its beautiful carnival in Encarnacion, less grand than Rio de Janeiro but just as fun. And then, it is rare to have the opportunity to visit a country so little touristy.

Another night bus and I fall asleep to wake up in Paraguay. I leave the richest country in Latin America for one of the poorest (penultimate in front of Bolivia). My timing is a little tight to have time to discover Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. I have just one day, because the next day, I head to Concepcion in the north of the country.

I spotted the cheapest hostel on the Internet and book a private room, with private shower, air conditioning and cleaning. Air conditioning is an indispensable element here! Coming from Bolivia and dressed as if it was -5 degrees, I must switch immediately in heat wave mode. It is only 32 degrees but the sun is very strong here.

For information, geographically, Paraguay is more or less at the same latitude as the gold coast in Australia. Hello heat! The lack of trees does not help. In Posadas, Argentina, a bridge allows us to cross the enormous Parana river and enter Encarnacion, the third largest city in Paraguay.

Three hundred and seventy kilometers separate us from the capital Asuncion, to the west, on the banks of the Paraguay River. And we will cross right through this part the most populated, the richest, the most fertile of the country where 90% of its population is concentrated.

The bus is traveling on a good road where traffic is low. The plain seems infinite, like a kind of pampa. Sometimes, however, a small mountain range that does not exceed 600 meters, quickly gives way to the pampas. Soybeans, sugar cane, sorghum hedges protect from the wind, potato, soybeans, corn field, but there are also many cattle, to which some horses mingle.

With groves, and forests on the few hills, the landscape is not as monotonous as I would think. From time to time I notice a corral, a large enclosure where are gathered, behind wooden barriers, a few hundred or two hundred animals probably waiting for transport. Not far away, one or two gauchos on their horses come forward to take care of the animals.

I arrived at the end of the afternoon in a estancia which offers accommodation in a few modest but well-equipped rooms. In the small park, well planted and flowered, they planted pretty palm trees that each bear the name of one of the family members from the grandfather to the youngest who has his tiny tree. We immediately enjoy the perfect calm of the countryside, and a starry night where no light hides the stars and it smells of trees, vegetation, garden.

paraguay travel images wallpaper Iguazu Falls

Day 2 - Encarnacion

Ten kilometers south-east of the city center of Encarnacion I find the Shrine of the Virgin of Itacua, a place very frequented by the pilgrims who are very numerous until the cave overlooking the Parana and where is the statue of the Virgin of Itacua. It is one of the most important representations of the Virgin Mary in southern Paraguay.

Founded on March 25, 1615 by the Jesuit Roque Gonzalez Santa Cruz, the first Paraguayan saint, Encarnacion was initially a mission on the left bank of the Parana located on the site of the present city of Posadas in Argentina. But the mission did not stay long in this place and was moved to the right bank of the Parana on the current location of the city of Encarnacion.

It was not until April 8, 1843 that the village was elevated to the rank of city, connected to Posadas by the San Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz Bridge.

The Encarnacion Omnibus Terminal is located right in the city center, right next to the Cathedral. From Encarnacion there are many buses to Asuncion. The duration of the trip to Asuncion is about 6 hours. Oriented by one of the touts, we are in a hurry to buy our tickets. The clerk finally tells us to take our time because we will leave in an hour and a half.

We did not play the competition to get the lowest price, but given the state of our future bus, we are convinced to travel low cost. The seven-hour journey is lively, at each stop. People get on the bus to sell drinks or empanadas. We have the right to music of the highest quality. The good old dance music in South America.

Across the window, the landscape is a little more chaotic than those we have seen lately. In the countryside, people live a little out of the way. The men of the villages gather around a net of volley ball. It makes me think a bit about India. It's all but orderly. I'm happy to find such an atmosphere!

We arrive in the capital, get out of the station, negotiate a taxi, and go to the hostel. A young man, with a beard of a few days, and a smile opens the door. Past the reception counter, he moves to the rhythm of the music! I enter the dormitory, visit the large living room decorated with a sofa and a flat screen, a common computer, a few tables.

Day 3 - Asuncion

I wake very early. The boat leaves at 7:00 am and cannot buy its ticket in advance. To be sure to have room, especially a bed in the cabin, I'm on the dock at 5:30. The sun rises on the port of Asuncion while the crew finishes loading the cargo.

At 7:00 we can finally board. Fridges, bags of cement, fruit and vegetable crates are piled up at the front of the tub. At the rear, is the common area for passengers, the engine room, and the kitchen. On the upper deck is the cockpit and cabins for first class passengers. Most of the passengers will actually spend the night in hammocks or on the ground in the common space on the lower deck.

Only tourists like us, or Paraguayans who have the means, pay extra to have a real bed. The cabins are small but clean, and there is even electricity! Well, for toilets, it's not great and it's a pipe above the bowl that acts as a shower but hey, it's just for two days.

And off we go for two days of quiet crossing on the waters of River Paraguay. Asuncion and Concepcion are only 300 km away, but it takes 30 hours of boat to reach both cities. The ship frequently stops to unload some of its cargo in villages along the river, isolated in a country where most roads are unpaved.

The day flows slowly to the rhythm of the green banks. The heat is quite overwhelming and I read sitting well in the shade on the lower deck, in the middle of bags of onions and potatoes. Children play and adults sleep in the hammocks. Among the little unusual passengers, a cock comes and goes among the goods. I get friendly with young medical students, who make the trip to spend the weekend at one of their friends in Concepcion. The afternoon ends with good card games.

After watching a fabulous sunset on the shores of River Paraguay we have dinner with some chips and a can of tuna. Fortunately, we can still buy a drink and start the evening with good fresh beers. The boat is quickly plunged into the dark, and especially literally invaded by mosquitoes. Long sleeves and repellent are barely enough to deter them and everyone goes to bed early.

It is hard to fall asleep in the cabin overheated by the sun of the day. Fortunately the lukewarmness of the night is gradually making its effect and I fall asleep soundly, lulled by the purring engine of the boat.

Day 4 - Concepcion

I wake up gently this morning. The freshness of the first hours of the day is very pleasant, and we take the opportunity to hang out in the sun on the upper deck. I have light breakfast with coffee and dry cakes. We should normally arrive at Concepcion around 1 o'clock in the afternoon, but the boat is delayed, we learn in the morning.

It takes another six to seven hours, with an arrival around 8 in the evening. Not much to do on this boat I just enjoy the scenery, reading, playing cards, chatting, tweeting. Just before Concepcion we are entitled to a second fabulous sunset. At 8 we arrive at the dock. It takes 36 hours to reach 300 kilometers. What a record of slowness! My new Paraguayan friends invite me to come home for an asado (barbecue).

Travel Texas to the Midwest and the Home of the Cowboys

Great plains, big cowboy hats, the ranches, the barbecues and big cities. This is Texas but Texas is much more. The Lone Star State goes beyond the topic. Dallas has a great variety of nightlife. So we planned a car route to cross a part of this huge state. Here we tell you all about our road trip through Texas!

Our road to the west continued in the direction of Texas. We left the state of Mississippi behind and we went to our next stage, which would take us to spend a few days in Texas. As soon as we cross the border of this immense state, we stop at the state tourism agency, which is on the same highway. Here we load maps of the area, maps of the most important cities and a magazine with discount coupons for motels and hotels.

Day 1 → Houston

The big flight is already there waiting for us to leave for Houston. The stopover in Amsterdam goes smoothly. The meal was not bad. There are empty seats on the plane. So I have two seats for me. I have to sleep a little as the day will be long. The trip is very pleasant and without problems.

It is 1:10 pm when I arrive in Houston as planned. It's great because it leaves a little time in the afternoon to discover the city. There are no difficulties to enter the US, and the recovery of baggage is easy. I am super happy to meet myself again in the USA.

By bus, I go to the rental car avenue where all the car rental companies are. A choice of 6 or 7 new cars is proposed to me and I choose a black Jeep Compass. I load my luggage and install the GPS but the windshield is too far! After a multitude of manipulations, I leave the airport taking the direction of the city center without the help of GPS.

Suddenly I remember that it is possible to make a reset. And miracle the road finally appears on the screen. I continue to Houston. The weather is nice and even hot but I'm fine, and not even tired! I did not plan to stay in Houston at the beginning of the tour. It is 4:00 pm when I arrive at the first site that I selected during the preparation.

To complete this quick discovery of Houston, I planned a drive in the avenues of Rivers Oaks, one of the chic neighborhoods of Houston. This district gives a real glimpse of the American dream. The houses are huge and beautiful with beautiful parks. I take photos of the houses, stopping occasionally with the car. A man returning home with a huge car from the 1960s comes to see me wondering why I take the house in photos.

It's almost October 31 and is Halloween. The houses are already decorated for this holiday that Americans never miss. I walk the almost deserted streets. The night begins to fall when I return to my hotel via Uptown, the shopping district in Houston. It is a riot of light on both sides of the road.

The streets are lit up like Christmas. I'm hungry and I easily find a parking space near a restaurant! I'm a little tired and I find a counter to eat a chicken sandwich. It's the first day, but I already feel like I've done a lot of things.

The road to the hotel is easy and I fully appreciate the GPS that takes me easily there! Arriving at the hotel, I go around the car and I realize that the right rear tire is almost flat. I do not know if it's just deflated or dead. Anyway, the shop is in my direction because I have to go back to the airport to take the road to Dallas tomorrow. So I will have a small detour.

I'm tired (like the car) after this very long day. Tomorrow is another day. Everything should be okay at least that's what I thought.

texas travel images wallpaper

Day 2 → Dallas

The night is restorative and I feel a good mood. With a little apprehension, I leave the hotel this morning with a car whose rear tire is deflated. The 20 km course is a little stressful. Well, I can make myself understood and the employee tells me that I have to change car and choose another. So quickly I choose another car, unload my luggage and reinstall myself in a white Chevy that will carry me for the rest of the trip.

All this will take a little over an hour, and I leave satisfied with the delivery. To reach Dallas, I take Interstate 45, an extremely busy highway with a large and fast traffic. While driving, I think I would have liked to see the famous Southfork ranch, but it is over an hour east of Dallas while my course goes west!

By the way, this morning's shutdown will force me to change my schedule a bit and cancel the visit to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. So I head straight for the center of Dallas and especially Dealey Plaza. It's funny but when I'm on the site, I feel like I have already come there so these places seem familiar.

Before going to the JFK Memorial, I visit the Sixth Floor Museum, the JFK Museum. The museum entrance is on the side of the building. The Sixth Floor Museum located at Dealey Plaza, chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. It presents a contemporary culture in the context of the history of the time.

The museum holds in its collections about 45,000 items related to the assassination of JFK. But besides this part of history of America it is especially an immersion in the life, the culture and the social context of the 60s in the USA which particularly interested me. Over the visit, with an audio guide (included in the price of the entrance), I walk this iconic place that remained in the state of the time when it was the Texas School Book Depository, a warehouse of school books.

A collection of objects, recordings, films are presented to the public. The cameras of the reporters of the time are presented but also a camera Bell & Howell, 414PD model identical to the one that Abraham Zapruder used to make the most famous amateur film of all time, that of the assassination of President Kennedy .

On the seventh floor, there is a photo exhibition and especially the portraits of JFK. I leave this place with a little sadness. As everywhere, the merchants are present on the memorial to sell objects, DVDs and other magazines relating the events of the time.

I enjoyed discovering these places steeped in history, and thus better understand this event that upset the whole world 50 years ago. The weather is very nice and I continue to enjoy my discovery of Dallas, passing the Old Red Courthouse to the Reunion Tower.

At the top of the tower, there is an observatory that offers a 360 degree panorama, a bar and a restaurant that turns on itself in 55 minutes. Access to the Observation Deck is via the main entrance next to the hotel reception. I'm surprised that there are few people. I have time to take pictures and admire Dallas from the top.

The rise and descent is done through a glass elevator, which allows to see the city while along the way. Time flies and I move to Pioneer Plaza, which is about 1 km from the tower. I am looking for a bit in town because I do not have a very specific plan. With sandwich in hand, I walk the streets and I easily find this very original site located in the business district not far from the city center.

In 15 minutes I arrive on the spot next to the Dallas Convention Center. By far it's impressive. The Longhorn (typical Texas cow) are in front of me in the street. Pioneer Plaza is a park that commemorates the beginnings of the city of Dallas. On the site are native plants, trees and a stream flowing in a natural setting. The animals and the characters are perfectly imitated and give the impression of being alive. Each work of art in bronze was created by the artist Robert Summers.

The statues of cowboys and longhorns give a very realistic effect. A small stream that comes from the upper part, winds in the middle of the park and gives a magical effect instead. Bucolic! On the hill is a cemetery with very old tombs dating back to early Dallas history. Four former mayors of Dallas, as well as famous people from the Texan Revolution, are buried there.

It is a very photogenic place, perfectly arranged which allows a good moment of relaxation. The sun begins to decline when I leave the center of Dallas, but it is still very hot in the late afternoon of October. I head to White Rock Lake which is approximately 8 kilometers northeast of Dallas. The route is no problem, and I appreciate these great avenues typical of major American cities, which can quickly reach the suburbs.

I do not want to go back to the hotel. So I continue hoping to find a small road. After a few kilometers along the lake, I find a road that leads to the banks. It's quiet and peaceful. Some bushes attract butterflies. The night begins to fall offers pretty colors for the photographer in me.

It's almost night time when I leave this place after a good breath of fresh air. The road to the hotel is fast. I give one last glance at the Reunion Tower that is all lit up. The day in Dallas was hectic, but very interesting because of different and varied visits. I do not regret my choice during the preparation.

Day 3 → Fort Worth

This morning around 8:00 am I leave the hotel in Dallas to reach Fort Worth which is about 50 kilometers away. Despite the first impression, the night was quiet at this hotel with average service.
This morning, it is much less beautiful than yesterday. The sky is overcast and the temperature is cooler. I head to Fort Worth and the historic Stockyards. Instead of taking the direct route to Fort Worth, I make a small detour to Irving

I see the Mustangs at Las Colinas located in Williams Square. This is a huge, very realistic bronze sculpture of nine wild mustangs galloping across a stream of granite. It is very well done. There is even the splash of water under the feet of the horses. Nearby, a small museum tells the story of the creation of the artist Robert Glen and presents other works. The visit is fast because it's the only thing to see in this office district.

It's not yet 10:00 am when I arrive in Fort Worth and Stockyards is not busy yet. At this hour there is hardly anyone. Would the Cowboys get up late? As the activity at Stockyards has not started yet, I take a tour to explore downtown Fort Worth. The Sundance Square is the point of convergence.

This urban center is architecturally in good taste. Today is no longer a (stockyard) cattle park, but rather a sort of big amusement park in a historic place. Here there are cowboys, saloons, rodeos, and longhorn parades (Texan cows with big horns). There is also a lot of restaurants, shops, and other mercantile places.

Everything is there for a beautiful discovery and to soak up the Texan culture. Located within the perimeter of the Stockyards, Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. This is the museum I preferred because it is a place totally dedicated to the cowboy culture. There are hundreds of objects and beautiful collections of saddles.

But the most impressive is the collection of means of transport of the time. The Sterquell Wagon Collection is the world's largest collection of horse-drawn carriages. Now it's time to go to the Stockyards Shopping Center. The site is full of shops of all kinds, for tourists but also for locals who come to buy professional equipment.

I was looking for a beautiful Texan hat, but I had some concern about having to wear it on the head in the flight back home. So I preferred something more transportable! It's almost 4:00 pm, but before the Longhorn parade, I have time to visit Stockyards museum. When I finish the museum tour, near the exit, I hear sounds like those of the auction house. I approach. Bingo, the door is open and that's what happens in this room. I am happy to have witnessed this always spectacular scene of auctions for the sale of cattle.

After this original moment, I go behind the building to see from the walkways the preparation of the parade. The footbridges overhang the corral where are gathered the animals. The major attraction of Stockyards is the Longhorn parade. All the beautiful, placid cows are framed by cowboys with cowboy boots, belt, blue jeans and broad-brimmed hat, the traditional outfit of the male Texan.

The beasts are accustomed, and quickly travel the few hundred meters in front of a delighted and enthusiastic public. Everyone seems happy. Time goes fast in this place where there is always a few things. It is now time to think about eating to gain strength for the rest of the evening that will be long.

Under the train station hall, this restaurant is a mythical place in Fort Worth. Opened by an immigrant this former grocery store now offers barbecue and homemade grill. It's night, it's busy, but I find a table quite easily. The place is in the image of the neighborhood. It is illuminated, noisy, happy, and actually friendly.

The decor is loaded with ancient symbols but the flat screen TV on the walls immediately puts us back in the modern mood. The Tenderloin filet was good. It was a very nice time in this typical restaurant before going to the rodeo.

When I enter the arena, there are not many people. A tractor lit by searchlights is in the center of the track. The room has places in boxes close to the track and bleachers. I chose a place in the stands and I do not regret my choice.

The rider begins to spin and sounded a music that some Americans consider the unofficial national anthem: God Bless America. Everyone sings and the rider runs faster and faster. It was magical, intense, and moving to see this fervor and participation in the behavior of Americans.

The evening begins with the Bull Riding which is a pretty dangerous game, which requires skill and physical strength. A bull is in a kind of cage. On top of it, a young guy rides on the beast and the doors open. It is spectacular, as the rider clings to a rope passed to the animal's neck.

The riding of a wild horse is the most classic event of the rodeo. The whole arena screams and encourages each rider. It is a delirium. It is difficult to take pictures because the movements are extremely fast and I'm not equipped for this kind of shots. So the photos are a little blurry.

In fact, it's the daily chore of ranchers on the ranch, recovering the little calves. All Texan Cowboys and Cowgirls participate in this activity. Today in the arena, it's a fast sport and a race against the clock.

After intermission that allows you to relax a bit, comes the time of fun for the kids. Time passes and the last event announced is the Barrel Racing. It is already late when the show ends that I liked a lot. This evening was a really good time in the culture of cowboys but I I also better understand the subtleties of the rodeo.

It is already late and the night is well advanced, but it remains a must in Fort Worth, to dance on Billy Bob's honky tonk. From the entrance we notice many bars, restaurants, billiard halls, a rodeo, a concert hall, a shop, and a huge dance floor. This Honky Tonk prides itself on being the largest in the world. The atmosphere is warm mixed in a kind of collective madness as we rarely see.

And of course, what I feared happened! I used up the two batteries of my camera and the Ipad that I have in my backpack did not give me good enough photos to be put online. Tonight one of the most legendary artists in the country is in concert at the iconic Billy Bob's but it is late and the concert is underway. Too bad. I would have liked to see a full concert of country music.

After a busy day, strolling through music and entertainment is a bit tiring. I decide to return to my hotel which is 10 minutes from the Stockyards. Returning to the car, and following my battery problem, I suddenly think that I have a small camera in the glove box that I reserve for the photos to take on the fly while moving.
I search everywhere but I cannot find it. I'm sure I put it in the trunk between the seats in the Jeep I traded in Dallas due to the deflated tire problem.

Tomorrow really begins the immersion in deep Texas with a great milestone of 520 km that will take me further west on the Mexican side of the border.

Day 4 → Odessa

The night was really restorative after a long day in Fort Worth. This morning, the weather is good when I take the road to cross a part of Texas from east to west. Today's stage is about 520 km. The US 20 that I will follow, is the road that connects Boston in Massachusetts on the East to Newport in Oregon on the West Coast.

The road is long, but not too monotonous. The weather is nice. The country music is nice. The car is comfortable, and I like to drive on these roads. It's a pleasure! On both sides, the vegetation is poor. There is no tree only a few stunted shrubs. It is very hot in this autumn.

The road is wide and rolling. The habitat is sparse and the few street-crossed villages seem empty of any inhabitant. I stop to refuel because the service stations sometimes are far enough apart from each other. I arrive at Abilene around noon after traveling 250 km without a problem. The city is desperately dead.

I do not see a nice place to take a picture of this city except for some nice buildings in Downtown. There are churches on every street corner! I just take pictures of the magnificent bronze buffalo located in front of the Frontier Texas museum. And the pretty flowerbed of the park's shrubs.

I quickly take the road to leave this place without a soul. The road is always straight and rolling. In the distance, I see a large column of smoke rising from the ground. For a moment I think of a tornado such as we sometimes see on television. But the closer I come, the more I see it's dust. Here everything is dusty, all the way to Odessa.

But here, the dust is due to a car race that takes place on an ocher dirt track. I stop and as the entry is free, I sit in the stands where there are only a few people. The cars are spinning like hell in an intense dust. I emerge from this dusty and thirsty complement, but this little break was pleasant to me.

The more I walk, the more I see derricks, large black carcasses placed like warts in the fields. For a few years in Texas and particularly in this region, shale gas wells have sprouted like mushrooms. I see entire fields of derricks with pipes that run from one pylon to another to meet in large black tanks located on the edge of the ground.

From the city of Sweetwater the aptly named city of wind turbines, I see on the horizon, more and more wind turbines that stand in the blue sky. Now on the road too, there are many trucks carrying wind turbines or maintenance equipment.

The landscape is the same, always arid, and windy. I at this time approach one of the largest wind farms in the world in Roscoe.
I cannot believe it's impressive 360 degrees view with wind turbines everywhere. I can not translate the feeling and the photos reproduce only partially the spectacle that is offered to me when I arrive near this place.

You might think that the presence of all these wind turbines pollutes the visual landscape, but here in this flat country, I found it very beautiful. Slowly the wind turbines disappear to leave an arid and dusty landscape where the horizon seems blocked by a cloudy halo it is the region of Odessa.

The entrance to the city of Odessa is not very pleasant. The warehouses and trucks raise a hellish dust. Before returning to my hotel, I stop at a pharmacy and buy an SD card for my camera. In the parking lot, a car catches my eye and the driver is thrilled to give me an enthusiastic demonstration of his limousine.

I booked the hotel quite late. So I struggled to find a reasonably priced hotel and stay overnight at one of the most expensive on the circuit. The establishment is perfect (normal for the price). Within the room, a small kitchen allows me this evening to dine in front of the TV. There is a very international menu with local sangria grape wine. A little tired, I do not want to come out tonight and nothing seems attractive in this city.

Day 5 → Fort Davis

The night was very nice at this hotel but I really want to leave this part of Texas to a little more austere one. I want to see a little more green landscapes and a more cowboy atmosphere. At 8 am, I go to the side on the Wild West. Here the sky is blue and even at the beginning of the day it is already very hot.

The landscapes are still as desert, but with some green spots. A few miles from Odessa, I planned to visit Odessa Meteor Crater. I read on the internet sharp reviews on the site. The comments today reflect perfectly my opinion. This site on many guides seems completely abandoned.

Anyway, it's just a tiny crater surrounded by barbed wire and oil wells. It has nothing to do with Meteor Crater on the side of Flagstaff which we saw in Arizona. I took US 20, which starts next to the city of Kent in this desolate West Texas oil region, through the cities of Odessa and Midland, and makes the transition between the Panhandle Plains regions, Big Bend and the Prairies and Lakes region. I leave US 20 at Monahans to follow the road to Fort Stockton.

There are few people on the road. Since the departure of Odessa, I cross only a few cars. I drove well in this sunny morning and I arrive at 10 o'clock at Fort Stockton. There is no one when I arrive at the parking lot in front of the museum which is also the entrance of the site. After the discovery of the outside, I visit the small museum that offers objects and weapons era and explanatory panels on the site.

The visit is quite fast because the interior of the buildings is not open to the public. The sun was very pleasant. I'm starting to enjoy this day and I'm riding with real pleasure to discover other aspects of Texas.

I will not go to Marfa where is this totally anachronistic stuff. The famous Prada shop is planted in the middle of the desert. On my way, is the city of Alpine (an original name for a desert city). It is 12:30. I go quickly to the Visitor Center but I feel like disturbing the good lady. I take a plan and I run away quickly.

In fact, I want to have enough time to visit the Fort Davis site which seems more interesting. A stroll through the city allows me to see gigantic wall frescoes adorning the walls. The closer I get to Fort Davis, the more green and mountainous nature becomes.

One of the first buildings I see when arriving at Fort Davis is the bank. A true image of West, it misses only the horses and the cowboys. The Fort is located in a canyon on the eastern slope of the Davis Mountains where forest, water, and pasture are abundant.

The visit of the buildings of the fort is very interesting. The bugle sounds giving the impression of being immersed in the heart of this military life of the time. At the foot of the mountain, at the bottom of the site, a path allows climbing on the heights to discover the Fort from the plateau. This trail is quite easy. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the belvedere overlooking Fort Davis National Historic Site. It allows us to see the extent of this military fort in its natural environment.

I then go down the path to reach my car after this visit which I liked very much because it allows to combine the discovery of the historic Fort but also to see the vastness of these places in Texas .

I have a little trouble finding, not that the site is unknown, but the inn is at the bottom of the RV Park of the same name and the house is not very visible in this vast place. The owners are not there. The door is open. A note for me is in the entry. Feel like at home. I visit and am super happy with my choice. The house is superb.

But I think it's still early to stay home and at 6 pm, I leave for Davis Mountains State Park, which entrance is a few miles away . I know I cannot do much, but I want to see the landscape. I take a small road that leads to the heights. And along the way, I discover deserted landscapes, bare, beautiful in the setting sun. It is so beautiful and calm that I decide to stay until the disappearance of the sun on the horizon.

It's almost dark when I leave Davis Mountains State Park. The return is fast on these busy roads and it's dark when I arrive in Fort Davis. I enter one of the few main street restaurants still open. Tonight it will be hamburger fries! My accommodation is only 2 minutes towards Marfa. I quickly join my beautiful home for a night of rest after this beautiful day in the heart of Texas.

Day 6 → Terlingua

I had a great night at this Bed and Breakfast in Fort Davis, and the breakfast was perfect. It is 8:30. The sky is blue. The temperature is already hot, but it has frozen that night because the windshield of the car is still studded with frost. There is incredible temperature difference between night and day.

The weather is nice this morning and I have a lot of fun taking the road for this new day of discovery of Texas. The road is perfect and there is almost no traffic, except for a few big trucks carrying huge bungalows. After Fort Davis, it is again desert with poor vegetation but the scenery is beautiful and there are no oil derricks like the side of Odessa.

The city of Marfa does not present any particular interest, but it seems to reign there a certain languor. It is related perhaps to the little hippie population who resides there, lost in the middle of the desert. The city of Marfa regularly hosts the filming of many movies. And it is here on the road 90 towards Van Horn, that the brand Prada has its famous improbable shop (today deserted) in the middle of the desert.

Every day that passes, I see the immensity of these almost desert lands where often. While preparing my tour, I thought that in Marfa, I would easily find the road that leads to Ruidoso. No indication, no directional signs, and the GPS does not find this destination! I will only find the indication of 2810 South much further.

I ask several people, but none was able to give me direction. It must be said that Ruidosa is more than 85 km from Marfa. I go back and forth to find the famous road and find myself by mistake on the road 90. In this desert nobody, except a car stopped at the edge of the road. This is my chance. The lady is nice, but does not know the road! She offers me to follow her to the city and there with her phone she will guide me to the junction of the good road.

With a little delay on my schedule, I'm finally on the right route. The Pinto Canyon Road begins with the 2810 South, straight in the desert but then, it turns into a track and passes through the Chinati mountains before emerging in the Rio Grande Valley. Of the 85 km, about thirty km is still unpaved track, part of which before reaching Pinto Canyon is particularly steep and rugged.

On both sides is the desert and in some places there is the indication of a ranch. It is very rolling and pleasant with this wonderful time of the month of October. The first sign of life I've seen for half an hour's drive is a red pick-up truck on the side of the road. I stop to ask confirmation of the way to the farmer who comes to see her animals.

She confirms to me that it is the road. The landscape is beautiful, but that the road becomes a little difficult. And it's a few hundred meters after I arrive on the unpaved runway. The landscape becomes more mountainous with rare vegetation, and the road more scabrous. The soil of this place is reddish brown, with sand and clay loams the ground is stony. The vegetation is some rare herbs, cacti and shrubs of the desert. It's arid!

My car is a SUV that for the moment behaves perfectly on the sandy track. The trail goes through private properties that are indicated by signs. I am a little apprehensive to venture on private land, but it is clear that it is possible without access to the surroundings.

Some places are particularly difficult in places a little steep, in ascents where the paved track is downright smashed but stable. In addition I have more and more the question: Am I on the right road? How can a road that connects two cities (finally a track) be so bad? I'm a little worried.

Looking back, I see that I did not take pictures in the most difficult, steep and beautiful places. I was focused on driving. I ride a long time and I do not see the end. Finally I see a car in front and run to ask if I'm on the right road. This meeting really reassured me!

Being alone, I cannot stop to take pictures because I do not dare to get off the vehicle. The descent to the bottom of the canyon is spectacular but easier and above all offers a beautiful landscape. While being a little worried, I am super happy to be there alone in the world, in the middle of the desert in Texas. It is a real moment of happiness!

I take the road again passing by the private properties without seeing any of the inhabitants. During the preparation of the circuit, I planned to go take a bath in the natural cavities of Chinati Hot Springs that are in the vicinity. Chinati Hot Springs has been a meeting place for desert travelers looking for rest, loneliness or rejuvenation in a natural and unspoilt place. I travel a few miles to get to a barrier. The site is closed!

I am disappointed because I really wanted to see this place described as quite magical. This is the best place to take a break from the world and all its problems. I quickly return to Hot Springs Road, with a small detour via the Crossover Road to Ruidoso. On the 85 km of this road, I crossed two cars on the coated part and only one on the track.

The arrival in Ruidoso and its few scattered houses finishes this very original course that I really appreciated. Afterwards, I had some frights to be alone in such remote places. In this place, the flash floods are frequent and the gauge indicates a passage of water of an impressive height.

The afternoon begins. I take the direction of Historic Terlingua Ghost Town by the route 170 which runs along the Rio Grande, natural border with Mexico. In a few minutes, I already see two green vehicles. It is very beautiful, but hot.

Immediately after the Pinto Canyon Road I take the road back to Big Bend National Park, especially the small town of Terlingua which is a few miles from the park entrance. We are mid-October. It's hot, and the sky is blue, but it's very pleasant to ride.

I follow a scenic drive that starts in Terlingua next to Big Bend National Park. It runs along the Rio Grande through the most remote lands of the United States forming the natural border with Mexico. This road is listed as one of the most beautiful scenic spots in Texas and I check it all along the route where there is always something to see.

Route 170 is also known as the "River Route" which crosses the most isolated area of the region for 185 km. I arrive at Presidio. It is often a stop for tourists visiting Big Bend, but it is also the largest city on the Rio Grande between EL Paso and Del Rio. I refuel the car. The price of fuel is a little more expensive here than on the side of Dallas or Austin.

On Route 170 to about 60 miles from Terlingua, lies the Fort Leaton Historic Site which is approximately 4 miles east of Presidio. I visit this fort which is very different from the ones I saw previously as Fort Davis.

The site is close to the road. The visitor center is in the fort. A small museum retraces the history of this place. It's the middle of the afternoon but there is nobody! After this break, I take the road again. I made the choice not to visit Big Bend Ranch State Park, another park of this corner of Texas.

The road is really fast, with beautiful scenery on each side. This scenic route is one of the highlights of this trip. On the road 170 to 7 miles from Presidio, I move to Casa Piedra Road, a dusty trail that seems to lead nowhere. I find the road to the hotel for the night in Terlingua.

Time flies and there is always something to see on this road. I soon reach Terlingua. I take a short break at Colorado Canyon River where I have the opportunity to meet some bikers from Dallas. About 9 miles after Lajitas, I'm not very far from a place known by moviegoers as the Contrabando site. It is a film set built in 1985 that has been used for the production of many films.

It's really a very nice landscape! The arrival at Terlingua Ghost Town offers a rather surreal landscape. The city has a few houses and shops scattered in a rare vegetation and covered with dust. In fact it is a ghost town. I take a ride on the heights to visualize this place. The mining town went bankrupt and the miners left leaving their homes behind.

Today, there is a ghost town of dilapidated buildings, mine shafts, ruins and ugly beasts! There are cactuses, and rattlesnakes. The city totally abandoned in 1940 still feeds the legend of the wild west. I see a drugstore, but also a bar cum restaurant. A fresh local beer freshened me at the end of the day. It tastes great in this heat and dust.

I take a track that starts just behind the motel. I run the track for 2 or 3 miles to see the sunset and the beautiful colors of the end of the day. The night falls quickly.

After this return to the past, I go to my hotel which is 2 miles to the Big Bend National Park. The room is simple but it's enough. There is a tv but no fridge. I would have preferred the opposite in this country where it is still 30 degrees in the middle of October.

That ends one of the beautiful days of this road trip. The eyes are full of beautiful images, but a little tired. I will surely spend a beautiful night.

Day 7 → Big Bend National Park

This morning, we have a quick breakfast at the cafe next to the resort where I had a great night. Before I left, I spent a lot of time trying to organize this day's itinerary to optimize the movements.

I made the choice to take directly this track which allows to reach Santa Elena Canyon in 14 miles instead of 42 miles by the normal road thus to save time and especially of avoid a return trip on the same road.

This track goes through the badlands on the west side of the park while progressing towards the Rio Grand and the Canyon of Santa Elena that we can see far off. The road is sometimes rough and sandy with one or two fords with little water at the moment, but sometimes completely impassable because flooded ..

On the track is a place a little out of time. In the distance one can see the majestic Santa Elena Canyon, a kind of notch in the desert vegetation mountain. It is the abrupt change of direction of the Rio Grand that has created this narrow and deep gorge visible more than 10 miles around.

They are the most beautiful cliffs of Big Bend National Park which form walls of 450 meters high. It is still early when I arrive in this magnificent landscape. I discover alone because there is no car on the carpark where begins the path that leads to the end of the canyon.

I cannot wait to do this first trail, to discover Santa Elena Canyon. For my part, I found the surroundings of Rio Grand Village even more fantastic and more typical of Texas. The beginning of the trail is in sandy fields. Then there is a steep climb through stairs to a vista where the view is magnificent.

I advance in the canyon, where the shadows play with the sun. We go down gently to return to the edge of the water on a nice green path until the walls meet the water. Here is the end. It is impossible to walk beyond this small beach. The Rio Grande passes between two large walls that rise to more than 1500 feet (450m). The huge cliffs return the sounds and echo there is quite fabulous.

I remain a moment in this end of the world, alone, shouting things that the echo sends me back. What a joy to be there. The weather is nice. It's calm and I love the place. On the way back I meet a couple, the only people I see during the two hours of the trek. I really liked this place for the calm and serenity that emerge.

I return to my car happy to discover this natural wonder. On the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, I have a last look at Santa Elena Canyon. It's time to take the path to new discoveries from Big Bend National Park towards Castolon.

The site of Cerro Castellan lets burst its different colors to the right and to left of the road. It's really beautiful and quite surreal. It looks like snowy. The Cerro Castellan mountain has a conical shape. It is now hot, when I arrive at the car park of Mule Ears Spring Trail. I am always alone in the world in this desert vastness. With a bottle of water, sun protection, glasses, cap, I leave for this hike.

This path crosses the foothills of the Chisos mountains. It runs along a small mountain range and crosses several small streams dry at this time. As in many places (where I want to come back) I see a small stone totem. On the course, I see a lot of lizards and small birds.

After this journey, I start to get a little tired when I get back to the car. To reach the site of Burro Mesa Pouroff, we leave the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive on the left at Spur Road. A trail in the meadow with sand or gravel, leads to the foot of an ocher cliff.
At the end, the trail ends against a narrow canyon where the water carved an imposing vertical furrow. The rock is smooth and polished which indicates the power of the waters which flood this canyon during the torrential rains of summer.

It is a beautiful oasis of greenery in the desert and a great place for bird watching and wildlife. There are still fruit trees, like cashews. There is not much left to see. The road that leads towards the Chisos Mountains becomes more mountainous and the landscape greener.

A few miles from Chisos, I start the Lost Mine trail. There is a lot of people here. The small parking barely contains the cars of the hikers. I start without knowing the distance and I have not seen today the indication of the distance on the panels. After 15 minutes of walking, I wonder about the duration of this ride, knowing that it is already 1 pm and that I also want to spend time in Rio Grande Village.

So I limit my route to the first mile where I discover a breathtaking view of Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon. Then, the trail climbs steeply in the juniper trees, oaks, and pine forest. On the heights, we can see Pine Canyon and the Sierra del Carmen in Mexico. In a few minutes, I am in the Chisos Mountains and I discover the nerve center of the park with the only lodge there.

Here it's green. The weather is cooler. The mountains are covered with trees and it's the place where the wildlife is most impressive. I only have a short time, only to book my room. The Christmas trees are already on display in the lobby.

It takes about 50 minutes to travel 30 miles to reach the river and the Mexican border. The road is perfect with signs of bears that I have not seen! The trailhead starts at Rio Grande Village Campground. The entrance is not obvious to find. We have to go to the bottom of the campsite to see the small path hidden under the foliage that leads to the site.

The trail begins with footbridges placed on the water, sometimes completely surrounded by dense vegetation. It is here that I see the first small objects made by Mexicans and deposited on the ground so that visitors put money in a box in exchange for an object. I will see much more directly on the banks of the Rio Grande where crossing a few meters on foot we are in Mexico.

The track is very picturesque and particularly well thought out to visualize the flora and the fauna and in particular the birds. Then the path climbs gradually a limestone hill with panoramic views of the Rio Grande and the Chisos and Del Carmen Mountains.

At the top we discover the Rio Grande which forms a natural border between the two countries. I return to Rio Grande Village where Campground seems to be particularly welcoming. But we are in the middle of October and there is hardly anyone. Yes, I have seen and talked with Dutchmen in a motorhome with NL registered plaque. It's funny and unusual to see a European plaque in the USA. There is a young couple finishing a big trip around the world by the USA.

It's already almost 6 pm when I approach Boquillas Canyon. Before taking the trail I get busy photographing the objects deposited on the ground by the Mexicans who take care of their horses on the other side of the river. The Boquillas Canyon trail starts at the foot of the cliff. From the summit, we discover the sun which slowly declines. From the top, we descend to the banks of the river. There the track is no longer visible. We must follow the edge. It's wild and sometimes a little swampy.

It is 6.30 pm. The evening will soon fall but I'm not alone. A couple of young people just started the trail at the same time as me. That reassures me a little because of the location and the immediate proximity of the border, which is a few meters away. This time I'm almost at the end of the canyon. The river narrows and the path is more difficult. It is necessary to stick to the wall to advance on this last part rather rugged.

It's the end. The trail stops, and only the steep cliff falls into the water. It's the end of the trail. This trail is fantastic. It allowed me to see different and changing landscapes at the end of the day. The proximity of the border was not a problem for me, despite what I had read before going on the subject.

On the way back, the night begins to fall. We arrive in Chisos where the sun still shines on the summit of the mountain. The accommodation in the motel is fine. It is perfect no frills for a good night's rest to continue the next day.

I had considered the restaurant tonight, but I'm too tired and I have dinner on the bed in front of the TV.

Day 8 → Del Rio

If during the day it is very hot, the nights are cooler in October.
The night at the lodge in the heart of Big Bend National Park was very relaxing. Like every day, it's an early start to a new day of discovery of Texas with today a step a little long to reach Del Rio, a border city with Mexico.

The road is easy, and straight. The weather is beautiful. I see a huge train and I stop a few miles later to make a little video. The trains here are huge and often have an impressive number of cars. I am talking about Border Patrol because in this region they are omnipresent. Green and white cars are often seen everywhere.

At the roadside, and especially at the entrance of roads, I noticed big abandoned tires (like tractor tires) tied together by chains.
I asked myself the question what could this do? And I finally had the explanation by seeing several times the use of this system by Border Patrol. In this very sensitive border area, this technique makes it possible to see if a car has passed on the way.

In the distance, I begin to see the expanse of water upstream of the Amistad dam, my next destination. The dam is a crossing point for Mexico but I do not want to cross the border with the car because the renter does not allow this option. I imagine that there is parking on the dam before the passage in Mexico.

When I arrive at the US border, there is no one. No car seems to head to Mexico. I get out of the car and ask the agent who controls the arrivals from Mexico. I understand that he gives me permission to go with the car. So I understood that I could go on the bridge with the car and come back without crossing the border post of Mexico.

I left and am happy to be there, on the road that precedes the bridge which is about 1 km away. After the dam, the river resumes its normal course. So after an hour spent on the bridge, I come back to the border post to enter the US territory. It's not the same agent now, but a lady. As soon as I present her my passport, she makes a funny face. She asks me stuff that I do not understand, speaks fast and loud. She even screams.

I try to explain to her that her colleague has allowed me to pass but she does not want to hear anything. In fact, I just understand that I should have parked my car and walked. She asks me to get out of the car. I must say that at this moment she seems intractable and tells me that I cannot pass.

I imagine that by crossing the border post with the car, I am supposed to have left the US territory, and there I come from Mexico and I have no stamp on my passport. It's been over 10 minutes that I am stuck. I see them consult a screen with the guard that I had seen at the entrance. She makes big gestures, while the others are calmer. When she returns, I expect the worst.

I tell her again that I misunderstood and that I'm on a tourist trip to Texas. She notes the references of the car, asks me the address of my hotel in Del Rio and hands me my passport. I quickly leave this place that gave me cold sweats.

I quickly make the last miles to arrive at the border town of Del Rio, a Texas city with a very Mexican style. Before going to the hotel, I go for a ride in the wash to give a good look to my dusty car. The night is not yet there. I'm going to walk on the side of the river and the border. Along the river, it's green and bucolic.

I walk on the banks. It's super photogenic, but in the distance I see a military boat heading towards my direction. I prefer to get away. The sun goes down when I get back to the hotel with a small stop on the side of the historic center that gives me a very Mexican view of Texas.

At the end of a street, on a small square, dancers repeat in the setting sun. The reception of the hotel tonight also gives in the color and eclecticism of decoration.

Day 9 → Bandera

I had a bad night at this motel. The occupants of the room above mine, moved boxes all night between their car and the room. So a little grumpy I leave this morning to discover new landscapes to Bandera where I will spend the night.

The road continues along the Mexican border. While driving, I quickly see the change of scenery compared to Big Bend where I was yesterday. Now it is plain and it is the country of ranches and horses. The entrance of the ranches is always materialized by a portico.

It is really nice to ride on these roads along the areas huge crops in this part of Texas, where there are many ranches. I arrive early in Bandera. Bandera is also the city of bikers in the region, almost all in Harley Davidson. Upon arrival, I make a quick tour of the Frontier Times Museum.

I go into the countryside to discover the ranches. I continue my discovery of the surroundings of Bandera. In the huge meadows, I meet an old Texan, who travels the country in a cart like in the days of the pioneers. The American flag which is part of the culture of the Texan accompanies the trolley.

On the return, I stop at the camp of a family. Friendly, they invite me to drink a beer with them and allow me to discover their world of horse lovers. It's quite spartan but they are passionate. I drive a few more miles to visit the ranch, more rustic and more typical than the first.

In fact, in the middle of October, there were few people in the area and the ranches seemed to be bathed in a soft torpor. The end of the day approaches. I return to Bandera. I stay at one of the few hotels in the area.

Before dinner I go for a walk along the River Oak, very photogenic river at sunset. The sun declines on this day which was hectic and rich in discoveries. It is beautiful and peaceful but I am hungry! I have dinner in the restaurant next to the motel.

Day 10 → San Antonio

We went straight after getting up to Alamo. In the morning we arrived and check-in at the the oldest hotel in the southern states. After checking in the old hotel, we walked right to the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is a kilometer-long path along the banks of the San Antonio River (in the city with other man-made canals). In the city center there are countless restaurants, bars, small shops and a few clubs along this route. We did an interesting boat trip across the San Antonio River along the Riverwalk.

Afterwards we rented bicycles and made a tour of the city. We visited among others La Villita, an old artists' quarter with small shops. We move to the Hemisphere Park, the Mexican market which incidentally is the largest in the US and includes many small shops that reminded me of Mexico City.

We went to the Buckhorn Museum, a very large Texas hunting museum with several exhibits. There are many hunting trophies, rattlesnake pictures, an exhibition on fishing, an exhibition on crazy misbehaved animals with two heads. Then we walked back and went in heavy rain on the Tower of the Americas, the highest tower in the city. There was also a 4D movie about Texas (which was not so good). In the evening we were in a British pub with very good live music.

Day 11 → Austin

In the morning we went on to Austin, the capital of Texas, only about 80 miles from San Antonio.

We stayed at a cheap motel this time which, however, served its purpose well. After checking in we went again on sightseeing tour. We started with the Capitol, where the Texas government meets.

We participated in an interesting, free guided tour. Incidentally, the Capitol is very large. The statue of liberty could easily be placed in the dome. Then we walked a bit through the city and wanted to visit the Barton Pool (an old natural spring bath). Unfortunately, that was not worth seeing, as it was only a concrete pool for swimming.

We drived to Houston. First stop was the Houston Space Center. We did a tram tour where we saw several rockets (including a giant Saturn 5) and the Control Center. We see a documentary about Mars and watched a spaceship exhibit. Of course, I also photographed the space shuttle.

Then we drove on to Galveston, a town on an island on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. We looked at some nice villas (cities on the coast are mostly European because of the earlier settlement and look very fancy). Then we drove on to the Battleship Texas, which stands next to the Independence Monument of Texas.

Unfortunately, the guards were about to close the parks so we could not look at the ship. It is a warship, which has participated in both world wars and thus is very old. Incidentally, the San Jacinto Monument is similar to the Washington Monument, an obelisk, except that the monument is huge in Texas. We drove back to Houston.

In Houston, there was not so much to see. Contrary to many statements, there are sidewalks in Houston and there was absolutely nothing going on in the city. Afterward, we made our way back to Austin again. Unfortunately, it was already too late for the bus. So we had to take a shuttle into the city, which let us out directly at the party center.

So we just walked around the area, but there is not really much to see in Austin. In the evening we made our way to the Congress Avenue Bridge. At night, millions of bats are supposed to start their hunt there and darken the sky. We waited 2 hours and saw millions of bats, startled by tourist boats with red light bulbs under the bridge.

Austin is known for its party strip (6th Street) and calls itself the city with the highest density of live music bars. This, unfortunately, is not true because there were not even half as many live music bars in New Orleans or Nashville. The party mile was still really good.

Next morning we flew back home.

Travel to New Orleans to the Cradle of Jazz

We arrived in New Orleans in the morning. On the way to the hotel the driver told us of the tragedy create by the Hurricane Katrina. It is overwhelming to observe the dimensions of that catastrophe, from which they are still recovering. We see areas still uninhabited in the outskirts, and even government buildings in the center of NOLA remain unused.

We arrived at our hotel. It is a perfect hotel in every way with its cleanliness, services, swimming pool, and the location in the middle of the French Quarter. We find a charming boy in the reception, who helped us in everything. We did not lose a minute and we reached the beautiful neighborhood of Faubourg Marigny after crossing the Presbytere, a building from the late eighteenth century that houses a peculiar museum.

We went down the French Quarter. As always it is one thing is to see it in photos and another to be there. The environment of the south has something that the northern states lack. Neither better nor worse, it is simply, different, and magical. Its buildings date from the XVIII-XX centuries and are protected by law (any restoration or new construction must respect the architectural style).

Despite being called the French Quarter, many of the buildings were built during the Spanish era. We see the beautiful facades with the railings of the balconies of cast iron filigree. We visit the 1850 House, a museum-dwelling that represents the life of a wealthy French Quarter family. The rooms are decorated as they would have been at the time, both those of the lords of the house and those of the slaves or servants.

At the entrance they give us a brochure with information about the rooms to follow an itinerary. The visit takes us about an hour. We go around the French Market, a covered market that has innumerable souvenir stalls, clothes, food, where we buy NOLA magnets. We arrived at the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, whose interior is worth visiting.

There we sat for a while in the cool and then bought a pendant of St. Jude in the gift shop of the church. Upon leaving we find a bohemian atmosphere with painters, tarot readers, fortune-tellers, street jazz musicians, painters and artists and freaks of the most diverse in the street. In a corner of the square is the famous Cafe du Monde, but the line was so huge that we declined to enter.

The next stop could not be any other way. We head to the House of Blues in Decatur Street. We continued walking through the French Quarter and found ourselves in front of a rather ramshackle house that housed a mysterious voodoo store where we went to see all the objects that had been exposed. We visit its various food and beverage areas, beautifully decorated in the Nola style with voodoo, jazz, witchcraft, and blues.

I left the place happy and excited to be there, and we went to eat, before visiting in the afternoon various souvenir shops, art galleries, music stores and Voodoo. We got Voodoo dolls, with their corresponding instruction book and pins. Thus, between the main arteries of the French Quarter we made the next stop at Pat O'Briens stop, in which we tried one of its famous Hurricanes.

A strange mixture of liqueurs that with a sweet taste strangled our brain, and made us lose the notion of spacetime, while we watched the NFL for a while. We left there to the shore of Mississippi. We continue the walk that runs along the edge of the river to the ferry pier, having the opportunity to see the famous Natchez boat docked.

This name comes from a tribe that lived in the State of Mississippi but also from the city of the same name. It is a steamboat, similar to those that plowed the river during the nineteenth century, but currently offers tourist cruises, dinners and jazz concerts. At one of the piers, just in front of the Riverwalk shopping center, we took the ferry that sails to Algiers Point.

We mounted the Ferry and crossing the Mississippi, took us in front of the city, a good place to enjoy NOLA and take good pictures. We also saw the monument to Louis Armstrong, a native of NOLA. Back we walked along the riverwalk, again heading to the French Quarter, to put on our best clothes and taste a succulent Cajun dinner. The south of the USA is known for its Cajun and Creole dishes.

When we went down we found the cavalcades of the Latin Carnival, so we stayed dancing and collecting necklaces, a practice that goes back to the 19th century (and directly related to the great carnival of NOLA, the Mardi Gras). Initially, glass necklaces were launched, but for a while they have been made of plastic, made in China.

We toured the Bourbon St bars, while they threw necklaces from the balconies. I thought that was only in the mardi gras, but no, we took some grenades in the tropical island, and ended up listening to good jazz in Fritzel's. We crossed again the French Quarter and we had the luck to cross with a wedding, very musical, like everything in NOLA.

The streets were full of art galleries, spectacular houses like the one of Delphine LaLaurie, a well-known assassin of the city, famous for torturing a large number of slaves. There are companies that offer night tours that speak of voodoo, Marie Laveau, ghosts, vampires.

Bourbon Street makes Las Vegas strip look like a child. It is wild. There everything is in excess, alcohol, prostitutes, smells on the street that reminded us of India. In short, it is the authentic American desmadre not suitable for all audiences. Regarding music, the authentic Jazz is hidden from the general public in small venues that it is hard to find among bustling pubs that put their music to the limit.

Undoubtedly, Bourbon St. was once the cradle and source of inspiration for some of the best jazz musicians in the world. There is practically nothing left of prostitution and its tradition and musical heritage. To drink we ordered a beer, a mojito and water, where there was a young woman singing accompanied by several musicians.

Luck makes us sit next to an adorable lady who is the wife of one of the musicians. We were there dancing for a while, surrounded by friendly people from all backgrounds. When the rest break arrives, the lady sneaks into the backstage and introduces us to everyone. The first day and we are already with the famous Southern Hospitality.

We get in touch with our new friend and we promise to meet again at the end of our route. After dinner we walked back to the hostel, very happy with all our necklaces, especially one that I was thrown to me with lights included.

new orleans travel images wallpaper

Day 2

We woke up around 8, got dressed and left the room in search of breakfast. We have breakfast at the famous Cafe Du Monde, to try its famous Beignet, a fried and sugary donut and frappe coffee. Charged with energy, we walked through the French Quarter and passed the Preservation Hall, a concert hall, an institution in the city for promoting traditional jazz for more than 50 years. It is a mystery to me why it does not appear in all tourist guides.

The visit to the swamps was quite good. We were explained many things about the flora and fauna of the swamps and of course, we saw crocodiles in abundance a few meters from our small boat.

In the afternoon we taste cajun food with jambalaya, gumbo, oysters, poo boys, crawfish. We walk along the Mississippi River, visit the cathedral, the voodoo museum, and go shopping. We have more of Cajun food, beers, and of course, enjoy jazz. We went to Canal Street and bought a day pass to use the tram.

We were not able to take it out on the machine so the driver sent it to us. We got off at Washington Avenue, in the Garden District, because we wanted to visit the increasingly famous Lafayette Cemetery. It is small but nice. So in a short time we saw it, and it was full of tourists. We left the cemetery and took a walk around the streets, in order to see the beautiful houses in the Garden district.

We took the tram at the same stop where we had left in order to continue the line to the end. The truth is it was a nice walk, because we saw the Loyola University and Audubon Park. We let ourselves go. In the end the whole line became a bit long, because it was very hot. The tram was full of people and there was a lot of noise.

Once back on Canal Street, we walked to a deli of Sicilian origin, in order to taste the famous muffuletta. In this case, the muffuletta was invented in this place and consists of a sandwich of Sicilian bread round with sesame stuffed with capicola, salami, mortadella, emmental and provolone, in addition to a salad of marinated olives mixed with pickled vegetables.

We ordered a large one. We ate it in the premises, because they have some tables in the background. It was very tasty, and there was not much left over. We approach the Treme neighborhood, with beautiful colorful houses, all different from each other. There is nobody walking around here that shows that it is not a tourist district. After one last walk through Bourbon st. we get back to the hotel.

We like NOLA. It has been quite an experience to walk walking through the French Quarter, to see the Mississippi, to taste the cajun food, to immerse ourselves in the world of voodoo, to walk through the marshes.

The little things that we did not like so much, are forgotten, buried by all the good memories, and now, from the desk of my room the songs transport me back to the South of the United States where I am sure that one day I will return.

Time Travel in Timeless Ohio in North East USA

Today it's time to get up early! At 6:00 am, we fight our way out of the beds, get together and sit at 7:00 am at the terrace restaurant where we eat delicious croissants and omelets for breakfast. Then we go back to the hotel room to get the suitcases and check out. Unfortunately, we arrive too early at the car rental, because our car is not yet ready for pickup. So we pass an hour sitting on a bench and watch the passing yachts.

Back at the rental agency we get an unkempt, old, red car. In our booked car class currently supposedly nothing else is available. We immediately plan a trip to the nearest airport to book a car there. No sooner said than thought after a quick trip to the supermarket, we stock up on drinks. We drive just a few miles to the nearest car rental branch at the airport.

Here we get a brand new car model with the very best equipment, and this time in innocent white. The salesman introduced us the car, in the size of a cruise liner, as pretty baby but giant baby would be more appropriate. Something smaller than this battleship is supposedly not available at the moment. Even me, who is crazy about big SUVs, looks a bit unsure as we get into the car.

We leave the state of Illinois and reach Elkhart County in the north of Indiana. Here we make a detour to the Amish Acres and drive through Shipshewana. As the time slowly announces the hunger, we get to a food house where we can eat a delicious Amish home-style food in buffet form.

In the evening we reach the state of Ohio, and finally around 23:00 o'clock finally our hotel for this night in Toledo, where we fall into bed exhausted.

Ohio travel images

Day 2 in Ohio

At 8:00 clock the sun is already out of the feathers! Since breakfast is being served at the hotel today, we stay in bed until the hotel staff bring the breakfast. Then it is packed together, checked out and we drive to the next gas station so that pretty baby as we now call our battleship can also be fed.

After a short stopover at a supermarket, where we go on a shopping spree, we drive to Berlin a cute place, which is entirely in Amish Country. We get completely out of our mind when we see the town sign because we thinks we are already on our way home.

Here we stroll a little through the town and through the numerous shops in which the self-made products of the Amish are offered. I am especially interested in the home-made ice cream. Of course I encourage myself to take a courageous decision and defeat any caloric fears.

When we want to get back into our car in the parking lot, we are actually asked by a lady, if we would rent our car. She drives only a normal SUV and needed for the planned furniture purchase but rather a truck that is our giant baby. Luckily I do not cheat on fright on ice cream!

By car, we drive through Amish Country, where we play paparazzi and try to get as many Amish as possible in front of the lens. These industrious people are more concerned with their daily work in the houses and are not too keen on involuntary photo shoots. A few snapshots succeed us anyway.

In Kidron we stop and look at Amish household items and machines. Later on the freeways towards Cleveland, we find ourselves in an extreme downpour that turns the road into a river and overwhelms the windshield wipers. So we're happy when we reach our hotel.

Every guest gets a warm cookie as a welcome present when checking in! This nice idea can also be taken up by other hotels, we think! I am convinced after a bite of the delicious nougat. Although it is not yet 18:00 clock, the city that looks like extinct. Also, the shopping mall are actually only open until 17:00 every day.

Unfortunately, we cannot solve the puzzle of how such a thing is possible in a city with almost half a million inhabitants. Since it is still dark and cloudy, the whole thing seems a bit surreal and we are on the look out for wobbly zombies for safety's sake. Fortunately, at least a cafe was open.

When we got a cafe discovering what has actually opened, and in which even living, breathing people are staying, we no longer need to think about what is on the menu. Today we happily exterminate our beloved burritos.

Travel Jamaica between Reggae and Rastafari Culture

Jamaica is a big island and in a week you will not see a tenth of what it is. It has many corners to discover. This first trip, I loved it and I do not doubt that I will repeat, but with more days. Having said that, I tell you that this trip has been made by chance and without any planning. One day I went to the agency of a friend who always takes me out on trips. He offered it to me, and without thinking about it, we went to Jamaica.

Day 1 - Jamaica

We left for Jamaica. In total it was about 10 hours of flight until we reach the international airport of Montego Bay. Once in Montego Bay, we get off the plane and walk along a long corridor until we reach the immigration counters. We present our passport and a survey paper about the reasons for our trip and some other questions, which we have previously filled in.

Once we collected our bags, we left the airport and the tour operator was waiting for us with lists of travelers and hotels to distribute on buses. Just approaching the driver who was carrying the suitcases, they were already offering me marijuana. We got on the bus to the hotel that took us an hour and a half.

We arrived at the hotel, like a herd of little lambs, all lined up, to receive the power bracelet, the keys to the room and the key to the safe. And a refreshing fruit punch, with rum! Before, on the bus, the girl who picked us up gave each of us an envelope with the towel cards and a diptych, with the hotel map, restaurants, and schedules.

We arrive at the room, take a shower and go for dinner with a buffet waiting for us. I have to say that the buffet disappointed me a lot.

Day 2 - the excursions begin

Well, after resting after the first day we got up at 6:30 to enjoy the first excursion of the week. We were preparing to make the trip to Port Antonio. It is one of the less explored areas of the island. We were going to spend a full day seeing nature in all its splendor. It is perhaps the greenest and most voluptuous area of ​​the island. At 7.30, very punctual, the bus and the guide arrive, a Jamaican girl, who I must say was very nice and nice to us. To not make the trip very long, we first stopped at a roadside bar, which just looked like that. Behind it hid a spectacular natural beach, where we could have a beer produced in the country, stretch our legs and take pictures.

After this break, we continued to Port Antonio, where we arrive at a market where we stop to buy crafts and souvenirs. She also showed us the house of a retired cruise ship captain. Then we got on the bus to reach the incredible Blue Lagoon, where the famous movie of the same name starring Brooke Shields was filmed. It is a lake that is submerged up to 80 meters without touching bottom. It is a turquoise blue lake, in the middle of the jungle. Here hot and cold water currents mix, and where we can bathe without fear. After the bath, we went to a nearby beach, La Playa del Frances. There we ate at a buffet that we had prepared and then go for a bath, sunbathe and relax.

After eating, bathing, sunbathing and resting we went to visit the Somerset waterfalls. They also seemed spectacular. I had never seen a river with a waterfall with turquoise waters. At the end of the route that we take along a path parallel to the river, we had a little boat waiting for us. A Jamaican gentleman takes us with the little boat to the hidden waterfall, which we cross and can see from behind.

We were arriving at the end of the tour. We returned by coach to the hotel when the bus stopped at a fruit stand at the foot of the road for whoever wanted to go down to try a coconut. I went down, and there was a Jamaican gentleman, who for a dollar, took one of his coconuts. With a saber he peeled it, leaving a small hole where to stick a straw to drink the coconut water. I must say that I liked it. It was already 6 pm and we returned to the hotel, to give us a restorative shower and to dine at the buffet. We had to be on the show with its corresponding daiquiris and other tastings of combined.

Jamaica Travel images wallpaper

Day 3 - relaxing excursions

The third day arrived when we had planned two excursions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. In the morning, as usual, at 6.30 o'clock our eyes opened. We take shower and have breakfast. At 8 they came to pick us up. What was our surprise, that day we were only 4 people for the excursion. The first thing I thought, is that everyone knew something about that excursion that we did not know that it was not worth the excursions or something similar. Later I changed my mind and I was glad that we were only four. It was an excursion with a Cuban guide. Well that day, we went to the province of Montenegro Bay, specifically to Falmouth, to the little village of Martha Brae. It is the rafting center of Jamaica, by the river that bears the same name as the town. The river is 48 km long and the descent covers 5 km of navigable waters that flow through a lush landscape. It is a very calm and relaxing descent, in rafts made with bamboo, by hand, and with capacity for two people. The best of all is that it is like a kind of Venice, with a Jamaican gondolier. While we sail in the middle of the silence of the jungle, he explain things that we see in your path. At the end of the descent we stop at a bar that is in the landing place and we take another beer from the country and also buy handicrafts made with bamboo at a good price, after bargaining.

Next, we go to the caves of Runaway Bay and Green Grotto. They are caves that are located on the outskirts of Discovery Bay where Columbus set foot on land for the first time upon arriving in Jamaica. They are a complex of grottos and caves that penetrate 16 km into the interior of the earth. We put on our hats and protection helmets, to avoid blows, and guano gifts from the bat colony that live inside. We toured the caves with a guide who explained curiosities, since there are paintings of the Arawaks Indians, which are not very well preserved, the stories of stalactites and stalagmites. Inside the grotto there is a descent, by stairs, from where we go to an underground lake, with crystal clear water, in which visitors could bathe before, now prohibited.

At 1:00 p.m. we were already at the hotel to eat. After a little rest, until 5:40 pm, awaited us another more impressive excursion. It was to the luminous lagoon. We came to pick up the minibus, because in the afternoon we were the same 4 as in the morning. The same, it was an intimate excursion. We go to the luminous lagoon. It has that name since in it live some microorganisms (dinoflagellates) that during the day accumulate energy. During the night they detach by rubbing with any object like fish, boats, and people swimming.

The bus took us along the north coast to the lagoon (past Montego Bay). We arrived during the day and we had to wait until nightfall, since it gets dark at about 7 o'clock. Well, we took advantage, as we meet a very nice customer from the pier bar. He invited us to a beer each. A little later, they offered to take us a fruit punch with rum and fried banana appetizers that looked like potato chips.

In the evening we went to the dock where the boat that would take us through the lagoon awaited us. They told us that if we had a bottle, we could take a sample of water. The microorganism survives about 5 days. It was fun because we see the silhouette of the fish when they get scared and change speed. They let us bathe, and I bathe, although the bottom is not very deep and muddy. It really gave me a bit of disgust but only to see how my body came out a blue aura. It was worth the pain. Then they dry me and I try to immortalize the wake of light left by the boat. It is a very difficult effect to capture with the camera.

After the guide gave us several turns demonstrating the luminescence of the microorganisms, we return to the hotel to dine and enjoy the cocktails.

Day 4: Last excursion and last trip of the trip!

The fourth day arrived and that day we had scheduled the trip to the waterfalls of Dunn's River. That day the tour was at 1:30 pm, so in the morning we were on the beach until 12. We had our lunch there. Punctually we were picked up. Dunn's River Falls is the most popular excursion of all. It is about 15 minutes or less we arrived at the place. It is like a kind of private place, where the guide gives us the entrance ticket and we pass through the ticket office and they put a stamp in our hand. Before entering and once inside it is full of souvenir stalls (with inflated prices). After seeing the waterfalls we go to the village for shopping. We enter the park and head towards the bottom of the waterfalls by stairs where there are also viewpoints. We arrived at the beach, where the waterfalls flow, and then (which I did not like) they put us in line and all of us hold hands to climb the waterfalls with a guide from the park.

Personally, I think it's easier to go up for free than in a chain, but, they have it set up and that's it. As we go up the waterfalls, there is another type of park. We make different stops during the ascent and one can bathe. The truth is that this excursion pleased me a lot. It is entertaining and refreshing and the landscape is worth observing. Once finished the waterfalls and well dried, we went to Ocho Rios town. It was the day we took to buy the rum and more things in the store where they took us because they had good prices. Once we finished, we were all at the door, observing the city, until then we were the ones observed by all who passed by.

Then they took us to another closed area of ​​shops, but hey, it was roll souvenir shops, run by Indians. I was looking at several things, and well, they are souvenir type things. After shopping we get back to the hotel and rest.

Well basically this is my diary of my trip to Jamaica. I must say that I was in love with Jamaica and the few people there with whom I could create a little confidence seemed great people.