Crusing down the Oregon Coast

2015-07-23 07.54.53First stop when we reached the west coast again was Port Townsend in Washington. A cool little town west of Seattle. An old friend of David´s live here. Buzzy showed us around town and we had a lovely meal in town. We also visited the old movie theater. Buzzy also took us to the SolDuc hotsprings.

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Dinner at the Silverwater Café, Port Townsend.

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Beautiful Port Townsend.

After one night in Forks (The twilight town) we continued south with a stop in the Hoh Rainforest National Park.

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This huge tree was destroyed by a storm in 2014.

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Hall of mosses, Hoh rainforest.

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Can you spot AE at the end of the tree trunk?

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Coming in to Oregon. Next stop Seaside.

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Early morning in Seaside.

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We are now in Yachats in a AirBnb house by the beach.

Bears and deers in Yellowstone National Park

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From Kemmerer, Wyoming we headed northwest to Idaho Falls for one night. We drove into Yellowstone thru Jackson and The Grand Teton National park ending up at our destination Creek Side Lodge at the east side of the park. We stayed for three nights at the lodge 7 miles form the east entrance to the Yellowstone Park.

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Idaho Falls.

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Some horse shoe trowing at Creek Side Lodge

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What does the fox say? There were four foxes living at our lodge. This fellow had hurt his leg and got medication and food from the owners of the lodge. His name is Freddy, and he was very curious. We also saw deers around the lodge.

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These bison walked around by the road a few miles from where we lived. This is outside the park.  They came very close to the road, sometimes they walked in the middle of the road. I can see why they are not afraid of anything. Huge beasts.

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Hard to stay the mandatory 21 meters from all wildlife when the bison is in the road. Safest in the car during these encounters.

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We also saw two black bears inside the park. Unfortunately our photographer, Lucas hanging out of the sunroof did not see the bears. So in this picture it is more people looking at bears than bears..

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Two of the many small geysers and hot springs Yellowstone is famous for.2015-07-16 11.01.46

We did visit the biggest geyser Old Faitful but did not have the patient to wait for her to blow.

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Breakfast ride. None of the other travelers in the extended Reiseselbekk clan were interested i horseback riding, so AE went alone for this activity. Real cowboy breakfast in the mountains.

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In Cody we visited the Buffalo Bill Center. Lucas inside the Buffalo Bill hologram.

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The last day, we drove north and out of the park, going by the Mammoth hot springs.

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Terraces of mineral in different colors.

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Deers hanging around the Mammoth hot springs.

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From Yellowstone we had a long driving day ending up in Coeur D´Alene in Montana. Next stop; the Oregon Coast.

Unable to sleep in Seattle..

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Met the mother of all jet lags in Seattle. Sleepless in Seattle; what a cliché! Coming to the US from Japan and crossing the date line is never fun, jet lag vise, but we have done it three times before, and never had this trouble sleeping afterwards. Three nights the whole family was up and about until 3 or 4 am, and feeling tired  the rest of the day.  On our way to Seattle we flew from Osaka to Tokyo with Jetstar, just to put our “flying with carry on luggage only project” to a test. Jetstar has a 7 kg carry on allowance only. We made it to Tokyo and further with Singapore airline to LA. (We checked in two of our carry on so we did not have to carry them around at the airport. Is that cheating?).

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This is our entire luggage.

The plan was to fly directly from LA to Seattle on July 3. But we were late with the airline ticket booking so the price skyrocketed and we decided to stay one night in Los Angeles. Traveling to Seattle one July 4. via Phoenix. The of July we were invited to join Bjørn´s american relatives in Camano Island for independence day celebration. Since we were already one day late and got further delayed when we arrived Seattle and all the rental cars were gone, we were not sure we were able to go up north to Camano Island. But it all works out in the end, we finally got our pre booked rental car and joined the family up in Camano. We got there before sunset and had a lovely evening with the relatives.

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Sunset at Camano Island

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On Sunday Bjørn 2. cousin and his wife took us for a sightseeing in Seattle. The line outside the Space Needle was to long so we enjoyed the view from the ground.

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We visited the famous Pike Place Market fish market, where they are throwing the fish around. And had a lovely lunch at The Pike Brewing Company.

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Pike Brewing Company with Bjørn´s 2. cousin Terry and his wife Julia.

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Lucas outside the first Starbuck café in the world.

We were staying north of Seattle in a wonderful AirBnb house. The house was close to a Premium outlet, so I think the plan of traveling with only carry on got crushed in Seattle.

It’s time to contact Norwegian airline and buy some checked in luggage.

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The first rule of shopping: Do not buy more than you can carry.. All and all we loved Seattle and hope to come back one day!

Fushiokaku our stay at a Japanese ryokan.

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June we left Kyoto and traveled to the Osaka region. North of Osaka, close to a town called Ikeda, we checked in to a Japanese traditional spa hotel. Fusiokaku has several indoor and outdoor hot springs, divided in a men and women section. A lot of rules apply to use the hot tubs. No clothes what so ever is one of the rules. (No cameras of obvious reasons, so the picture is borrowed from trip advisor). No tattoos is allowed either. You have to cover them up with tape. The hotel was rather old and in desperate need of a renovation, but the food was delicious and after overcoming the first moments outside our comfort zone, we rather enjoyed the wandering around in morning robe and the hotel slippers. The spa was so nice and Lucas loved all the spa products provided for you. We stumbled upon a beautiful Japanese garden a few blocks from our hotel, were we spent our day hiking. Turtles, butterflies, koi fish and toads made the children’s day.

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The outfit we wondered around the hotel in. Notice the slippers..

2015-06-30 19.10.52We manage to convince the waiters in the restaurant that foreigners was able to sit on the floor to eat, and got our own Japanese style dining room.

2015-06-29 17.42.01We even slept on the floor.

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Kyuanji Temple is a Buddhist temple that was first established by Gyoki priests who came from Nara in 725.

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Beautiful park by the temple.

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Turtles and toads in the ponds kept the kids busy.

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We also went hiking in the forrest nearby the temple.

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Outside the hotel.

2015-07-01 10.09.08When we left the hotel staff bid us farewell with a banner. Have no idea what it said. English was not a language widely spoken in the hotel. They did however have the words “no can do” nailed down to perfection. A great experience to have been there.

Next stop Kobe! Stay tuned.

The Amazon – It´s a jungle out there.

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After a relaxing day in Cusco it was time to leave the highlands and head for the jungle. Off with the alpaca wool and into the shorts again. From Cusco our plane took us 400km east to Puerto Maldonado, almost at the Bolivian boarder. The temperature difference from the highlands in the Andes was huge. The guides from Eco Amazonia met us at the airport and took us down to the river Madre de Dios. 30km up the river by boat to the Eco lodge. We installed ourselves in our bungalow right next to the dense jungle. You could hear a cacophony of birds, monkeys and insects. The eco lodge had electric power from 18.30 until 22.00, no wifi and no cellphone reception. But some really nice hammocks, a pool and a bar with pool table and dartboard. So in between all the jungle trekking a nice book in the hammock was pure joy!

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Hammock relaxation, Lucas with a butterfly on his toe.

After lunch the first day we went to Monkey Island just a 5 minute boat ride from the lodge. After trekking trough the jungle for 15 minutes we came to the feeding station. Four types of monkeys inhabited the island and they all came for bananas. Brown and white capuchin monkeys, Spider monkey and a black one that I do not remember the name. Forgive us if we do not get all the names on the animals right..

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White Capuchin

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Brown Capuchin, greedy little fellow.

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Spider Monkey, a bit more shy.

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Maybe you know the name of this one?

The guide gave the monkeys the bananas and we came really close to them. On the way home from Monkey Island we got to se the most beautiful sunset. It get really dark fast in the jungle and we had to pas a river delta with quicksand. The guides put out branches to step on but Lucas tough it was a bit scary. Walking on quicksand was a new experience for all of us. Good thing we had rubber boots on.

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Shuffeling through the quicksand.

The second day we went hiking in the jungle. 6 people and a very skilled guide, named David. All together we walked 8km in the jungle. Lucas managed the hike very well. The hike involved a lot of stops to smell a tree, or fish for a tarantula, og listen to a red howler monkey. Very entertaining and educational. The guide told us a lot about the different trees and what it could be used as. Different trees for curing malaria, prostate problems and rheumatism.

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Tarrentula fishing with a straw.

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Two Hoatzin birds

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A 500 years humongous Saba tree.

The destination for our hike was The Lost Lake, Cocha Perdida. Cocha Perdida is a swamp that is the home of caimans, turtles, and a lot of other species. On the Lost Lake David took us rowing looking for turtles and caimans. We saw both up close. All over is big clods of beautiful butterflies and a lot of birds.

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A squarl monkey on the way to the lake.

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Drinking water from a liana.

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On the board walk

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Can you see the Caiman?

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On the Lost Lake.

We climbed a watchtower to get an overview of the huge jungle. Lucas made the top without any fuss. Not afraid of heights at all..

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The Watchtower

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On the top.

On the way back from the Lost Lake we got to try our paddling skills. Not likely that any of us will join the olympics any time soon. But we manage to paddle 3km without any mayor incidents.

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Padeling down the swamp.

After lunch we had a stroll in the botanical garden on the lodge and visited the parrots and orphan baby monkey that live behind the restaurant on the lodge. The baby monkeys were just too cute. Before we left we got to hold them and cuddle them.

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Parrot kissing.

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Baby Red Howler monkey.

After dinner we went on a night safari to watch the magnificent night sky and to look for caimans. I have never seen a more spectacular starlit sky; southern cross, the lima eyes and the scorpion… There was also a lot of caimans to be seen. Caimans are the alligators in the Amazon.

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Caiman in the dark.

Next day was fishing day. We went up a little side river to Madre de Dias and went fishing for piranhas and catfish. We did not get any piranhas but David got a catfish. Fishing was entertaining still and we got to study the butterflies while doing it.

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Fishing for piranhas.

After we finished fishing we visited a native family on the riverbank. They showed us how to use bow and arrow and how they made fire in the jungle.(I bet they use a lighter now, but they demonstrated how they used to do it anyway). Lucas was trilled to hold the parrot the family had as pets. (Until on of them bit his finger that is).

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Feeding the parrot with papaya.

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Do we have a volunteer for trying bow and arrow?

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Old fashion way of making fire in the jungle.

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The kids in the family.

After lunch we went hiking again this time only for one kilometer behind the lodge. David brought chicken meat to feed the caimans living in the lake. From a viewing platform we could see the baby caimans up close as they came to eat chicken. The big papa caiman came as well, but it seemed like he was only a bodyguard for his young one. He just sat there on the shore and watched as the kids ate.

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Tiger Heron

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Flock of parrots

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Baby caimans

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Papa caiman

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You Tarzan, me Jane.

A Tiger heron also came to visit and ha huge flock of parrots flew over our heads. A lovely afternoon by Caiman Lake. We were in the same group of people the whole time and got to know Georgio from Peru and Catie and Laura from Chicago. Always a pleasure to meet new people.

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Yesterday we had a new travel day. From Puerto Maldonado to Lima to Quito in Ecuador. Tomorrow a new adventure awaits us at the Galapagos Islands.

Machu Picchu

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Hard to find words to describe places like Machu Picchu. Go see!

When we started planning our journey Machu Picchu (MP) was high up on the wish list. That is why we chose Peru as one of our South American destinations. The journey to MP started with a very beautiful  train ride from Olleantaytambo to the little village, Agua Calientes, on the foot of Machu Picchu. The train ride went trough the Sacred Valley and was a one and a half hour scenic train ride. It was not so easy to get a decent photo as the train was moving.  Agua Calientes is only serving as a tourist village, with a lot of hotels and restaurants. Still it is rather cozy. We stayed at a hotel close to the train station, and close to town. In the evening we went swimming in the hot springs in Agua Calientes. Our guide Haime picked us up at the hotel at 06.00 so we could be at Machu Picchu at sunrise. From Agua Calientes there are shuttle busses going up a steep serpent road to Machu Picchu. That is if you are not walking the Inca trail. Haime took us up high over MP to have the best spot for taking pictures as the sun rose over the mountains and lit up the Inca ruins. A magnificent view from where we stood. While we waited for the sun to come up. Haime told us what the different buildings in the ruins had served as. Really amazing how the Incas manage to build the city high up in the mountains with irrigation systems and water supply to the city.

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Train ride trough Urubamba Valley.

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Hot springs in Agua Calientes.

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Lucas and Bos in the hot springs.

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The village of Agua Calientes.

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Waiting for sun rise.

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At 06.50 the sun comes over the mountains.

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The Inca placed the city so it would get the first sunshine in the morning.

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Some of the terraces used for farming.

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The houses where the farmers lived.

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Farmers houses.

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Lucas liked the lamas that grazed between the ruins.

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They were quite friendly.

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Badboy Chinchilla

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And a hummingbird.

It is always harder to write about places that makes an impression on  you. You feel that words do not describe the experience . Extra hard when you write in you second language.. Our best advise is to go see for yourself. Machu Picchu was magnificent!!