Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure

Tripoto
1st Jun 2007

South Africa

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Boulders Beach, South Africa

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Zorbing in Rotorua, New Zealand

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Sky Jump, Auckland, New Zealand

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Banje Beach, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Nadi, Fiji

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Machu Picchu, Peru

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Cusco, Peru

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Shanghai, China

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Sydney Harbour, Australia

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Australia Day, Sydney

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Machu Picchu, Peru

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

Marlborough, New Zealand

Photo of Around the World in 30 Days: My 2nd Solo Adventure by Jenny McIver

This was my second annual month-long trip around the world in 2007. This time I slowed things down a little and stayed longer in each place than on the first trip. Destinations included: Machu Picchu, Peru, Cape Town, Thailand, Croatia, Australia, New Zealand & Fiji. For this trip, I again used frequent flier miles for the RTW ticket which saved quite a bit of money. I will be visiting all new places with the exception of Cape Town, South Africa.  Cape Town was my favorite city on the last trip and I didn’t feel like I had enough time there. I am also going back to Thailand and China but to different cities within.  Other than that, all the stops are places I’ve never been before.

 This trip was different from the last in that it should not draw any parallels to “The Amazing Race.”  I had planned at least three days in each place and in some cases as many as five or six days. Again, like the last one I was travelling solo and hadn't planned a few parts of my trip hoping something interesting would prop up! 

It was rainy season when I visited but on the second day my persistence was rewarded with a sunny afternoon. My favorite part of visiting Machu Picchu was hiking Machu Picchu Mountain for a bird's-eye view of the ruins. For the uninitiated – as I was until recently – Machu Picchu was 'rediscovered' by Hiram Bingham in 1911. At the time, the Machu Picchu area wasn’t unknown, but the ruins themselves remained undiscovered by the outside world until Bingham’s expedition. No one knows for certain what role the lost city played to the Incas but the generally accepted theory is that Machu Picchu was an agricultural outpost used to maximize the rare and valuable growing zone between the Amazon jungle and the high valleys of Cuzco. Regardless of its original purpose, it is impossible to understate just how impressive the site is as you approach it (rain or no rain). It was much larger than I realized and you could easily spend days exploring every nook and cranny. Obviously, I didn't have that much time (or intense desire for knowledge) so I opted for the scenic route. Though the rain had let up considerably from earlier in the day, it was still cold and dreary and hard to get great pictures with the clouds covering most of the top of Huayana Picchu. I spent a few hours wandering around and taking in the beauty of my surroundings before calling it quits and heading back into town.
Photo of Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Peru by Jenny McIver
Dubrovnik is lovely in January, not too cold and there's not a tourist to be found. My favorite activity here was walking along the city walls for a fantastic view over the rooftops of the Old Town. My plan for the day was to explore the Old Town. Dubrovnik dates back to the 7th century and the walls that enclose the city to this day were built near the 9th century to resist barbarian invasions from the sea. The city was pounded with over 200 shells in 1991 and 1992. It is only in the past few years that tourism has begun to rebound to pre-war levels. In the afternoon, I took a tour of the city walls. For about 8 bucks you can buy a ticket to walk around the tops of the Old Town walls. The 2-mile long walls are definitely the city’s most striking feature. The next morning, I decided to take a walk to the other side of Old Town and up along the coast. I walked most of the morning and then spent a little time on Banje Beach. It had the beautiful greenish-blue, clear water that Greece does and a spectacular view of the city.
Photo of Dubrovnik, Croatia by Jenny McIver
On my second visit to Cape Town, I decided to rent a car and get out of the city to explore the surrounding area. Also, going on a safari is pretty much the #1 thing to do here in South Africa. I headed to the Fairy Glen Game Reserve. I saw three out of the African 'Big Five' in a day and considered myself lucky! My plan for the next day was to explore the southern Cape Peninsula including the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Boulders Beach – one of only a few land-based penguin colonies in the world. The Cape Town visitors guide calls this drive along Chapman’s Peak the world’s most scenic drive and from what I have seen, I would have to agree. I stopped at Boulders Beach, located in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, Boulders has become world-famous for its thriving colony of African penguins. Although it sits in the middle of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where penguins can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment. The next day, I decided to spend most of my last full day in Cape Town relaxing on the lovely Clifton Beach. Cape Town has some remarkable beaches right in the city. Clifton and Camp’s Bay are walking distance apart, but I just can’t get enough of the giant boulders on Clifton Beach so that’s where I spent most of my day.
Photo of Boulders Beach, Kleintuin Road, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa by Jenny McIver
For my second visit to Thailand, I opted for Chiang Mai. The temples around the city are beautiful, but it was the Elephant camp nearby that was my favorite experience. After a nice Thai Massage, I headed to Chiang Mai with a full agenda. I took a 30 minute elephant ride that seemed to have lasted longer. Post that, we visited Doi Suthep Temple on a mountaintop overlooking the city of Chiang Mai. Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s most famous temple and definitely its most scenic. The views from the temple are amazing and the temple itself is just as beautiful as the many that I’ve seen in Bangkok. I spent some time wandering around before walking back.
Photo of Chiang Mai Thailand by Jenny McIver
I accidentally timed my visit to Sydney to coincide with their annual Australia Day celebration. It was a happy accident as the city was one big party that day. Unfortunately, the Bridge Climb was booked up during my entire stay (always book that in advance!) but I did get to witness a terrific fireworks display over Darling Harbour. My first stop was the famous Sydney Opera House. It looks beautiful in pictures but I must say it was amazing up close. I’m not sure how many pictures one could possibly take of this building but I’m going for the record. The other major attraction in Sydney Harbour is the Harbour Bridge. It’s funny to see the constant stream of people climbing to its top. Wish I could have done that, it looks really cool up there. With the holiday, there were a TON of boats out on the water and since that looked like a lovely way to spend a few hours, I found the ferry terminal and bought a ticket to the far beaches at Manly. Mostly, I just wanted the ferry ride through the harbor but the beach was gorgeous, too. For my last day in Sydney, my plan was to check out the famous Bondi Beach. Bondi is a huge beach and was very crowded even at 10 am when I got there. I found a good spot and settled in for a while enjoying the atmosphere.
Photo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia by Jenny McIver
I spent my time in New Zealand wine tasting in Marlborough and driving through North Island up to Auckland. On the way we stopped for a little adventure in Rotorua and decided to try Zorbing (where they put you in a plastic ball and roll you down a hill). It was quite an experience! I have to say, Napa Valley is beautiful, but Marlborough is just amazing. Though the wine region there is very small by comparison, I enjoyed it so much more since all of my favorites are made there. And, we were able to taste a number of other wines that are not available in the States. However, the most fun part of New Zealand was the local invention: Zorbing. It was impossible to stand up once we started rolling and even more impossible to stop laughing as we sloshed around inside the zorb with water splashing everywhere; elbows and knees flying. Luckily, they gave us towels and there were hair dryers in the changing room so we were able to get pretty again before getting back in the car and continuing the drive up to Auckland.
Photo of ZORB™ Rotorua, Rotorua, New Zealand by Jenny McIver
At the end of this year's trip, I decided to throw in a little R&R. It was an excellent decision and my three days in Fiji were simply perfect. After some research on the hotels, I narrowed it down to Sheraton Fiji since it looked like it had the nicest beach. It turned out to be the best of the three. The rooms were a little dated in decor, but mine had a balcony with a perfect view of the beach and the stunning Fijian sunset. The beach outside my room was fantastic and I spent the better part of the next two days just relaxing and doing a whole lot of nothing. I’m sure there were a ton of things to do on the islands and if I’d had more than two days I probably would have gotten to them but I couldn’t tear myself away from the lovely beach right there at the resort. Amazingly, I pretty much had the entire place to myself. After two luxurious days my trip ended, and it was time to go back home.
Photo of The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji, Denarau Island North, Fiji, Виту-Леви, Fiji by Jenny McIver
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