February 2017


Posted on February 27, 2017


A walk around the town of Punta Arenas 

Any wildlife will do for Xavi!

Ready to see the penguins

And there they are!!!

An hour's boat ride away on Magdalena island, there are loads of Magellan penguins - we just caught them shedding their feathers before they head off to Uraguay and Brazil in March. They head here around November and babies are born at the end of December if anyone is planning their trip!




Dolphins on the way home



Posted on February 24, 2017

About 1-2 hours outside Santiago (depending on traffic) is this city whose historic part is a UNESCO world heritage site. We didn’t really do our research before we took a day trip there and were a bit surprised at the scope of it – I got the impression that you could just hop on the funiculars wherever, but actually they were quite spaced out and we ended up walking up far more hills than we wanted to in the heat! We managed to catch a few down though and it was pretty cool and fun for the kids. 


The city itself has a reputation for crime and is quite rough and ready with lots of graffiti and dodgy parts alongside the pretty, colourful murals and beautiful buildings.

A quiet moment!

Another puss-cat!

More Santiago

Posted on February 24, 2017

Painting in the park



Just opposite our flat in the Central area of Lastarria was a huge playground and park – Parque Forestal. On the weekends they set up activities for the kids and there are musicians and clown shows. It has a real family atmosphere with everyone enjoying the sun – a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Museums in the Quinta Normal park

Science and Technology

Models of all the planets to scale and really helpful staff – none of us knew that the earth could fit inside the sun so many times!

There were a few pools in the park too where kids were splashing about – so cool – literally (hehe).

Fantastic free Natural History museum


When all else fails – Burger King!!

I didn’t particularly like the octopus balls in Japan, but the others all agreed these weren't as good! Sushi is interesting here – lots of nice citrusy flavours, but they focus more on the sauce than the fish and they use a lot of cream cheese.


Planetarium in Spanish - just about managed to keep Xavi interested between Robb's knowledge and my translations. Amber not so easy!


Posted on February 19, 2017


What a beautiful city, we love it here. It's much more developed than Peru and much easier to relax in! Gorgeous squares, interesting neighbourhoods, amazing parks and really friendly, chatty people.


Beautiful old buildings with just a few modern ones

Stunning cathedral - columns look like marble, but they're all painted

Parque O'Higgins (Chilean independence leader whose family moved here from Ireland if you're wondering about the name like we were!)

Xavi rockin' his panama hat

And of course we found more animals to fuss - this one was so chilled it fell off the wall, then looked all nonchalant like he meant to do it!

Smallest aquarium ever


Xavi still loved it!

Mercado Central

Poor Robb didn't get to go the fish market in Tokyo, but we managed it here!


Great food inside and looking forward to our salmon and clams tonight too

The Metropolitan Park is absolutely huge and within walking distance of our apartment in Lastarria (a really cool funky area) - we took a funicular up one side and a cable car down the other with walks in between, Unfortunately we forgot our camera, so here's a few images off the web!


Blogging on the balcony

Stopped for a swim in this gorgeous pool (one of two in the park)

Someone got upgraded on the way here - sadly it didn't last when they realized she was with us!

One more night in Lima

Posted on February 17, 2017

Circuito de las aguas

Stayed in a different part of Lima - San Miguel - a newish area with views of a beach they're developing and hoping to open within a year - very nice, but saw the more dodgy parts of the city on our travels this time! Traffic is crazy and it's pretty claustrophobic in parts.

We were exhausted, but determined to go to this park with 13 fountains and 3 light shows per night, as we knew the kids would love it. We weren't disappointed - it was brilliant!

Fuente Túnel de las Sorpresas

Lucky we wore our swimmies!





Bloody Marys for breakfast

Someone's happy!

Lake Titicaca

Posted on February 17, 2017

Breakfast by the lake

Robb was so excited that our basic little hotel had a trout farm attached - apparently he had no idea 😉 My translation was a little sketchy, but I was able to pass on that the owner had 25 years of experience in aquaculture and was the first to successfully breed golden trout (or something like that!). Xavi was absolutely fascinated too and changed from wanting to live on the Galapagos to wanting to run a dairy farm to wanting to run a trout farm – watch this space!!!



We went to this tiny little town 10 minutes away by very crowded minibus for a lunch of fried and grilled trout.


It was very sweet with lovely views, ice lollies, horse rides and animals to cuddle, so everyone was happy!


The Uros islands

Interesting to see, but not the most pleasant tour - we just went with what the hotel offered, don't think it was the best option!


We turned up at 7am and were herded like sheep onto one of the many boats waiting to ferry tourists out. Having already paid for the tour we were told at the first island that you need to pay extra for the islanders to take you on their traditional boats (it’s not optional!)

What do you do on an island with a house this small for you, your husband and your 2-year-old? It's so hard to imagine what life is like! I'm not ready to give it all up just yet, but it does make you think about all the stuff we have and what we could actually live without.


When we got back there was an interesting talk about how they make the islands, then each group got handed over to an islander to go and see their house. The men make things with the totora reeds and the women make tapestries. It’s hard to believe it’s not all a set-up when the islands are so close to the mainland, but apparently storms in 1986 destroyed a lot of them and they rebuilt closer in. Also I read that they were originally built as a defense, so it made a bit more sense. I also quizzed the lady we bought from who seemed quite genuine – she said she came from a different island (there are around 40-90 – no-one seems quite sure!) and came to this one with her husband. She said they go into Puno on Saturday and bring back everything they need. She said outright that they make all their money from tourists and you don’t really mind buying stuff since they’re giving up their time for you, although there’s unfortunately not a lot you want to buy – we ended up with some cushion covers and toys for the kids! 

There are apparently 3 schools on the island and kids are on holiday at the moment. So strange to think of them growing up here, so differently from ours, but interesting to see kids will make trains out of furniture wherever they grow up!


The second stop was this beautiful island. It looked very Mediterranean and was so peaceful.


Again - just so interesting thinking about how differently children grow up and how it shapes their lives - and how they have no idea!

Xavi's new favourite game


Andean Explorer

Posted on February 14, 2017

This 10 1/2 hour train journey from Cuzco to Puno was absolutely brilliant - with just 30 people onboard you could wander up and down freely to sit in the bar area or on the balcony part of the train at the back. The kids really enjoyed it too - they played with their no-mess glitter books, ate, drank, ran around and played games on the phone. It went really quickly!

Making friends

We did our Machu Picchu tour with the lovely Annie and Malcolm from Hampshire. It was great to meet them again in the waiting room for our train.


Xavi showed Annie all our Monterey Bay pix (lucky thing!) and Amber spent a lot of the train journey playing with her, trying on her jewellery, scarf and shoes - thankyou Annie!




Robb enjoyed posing too!

Great food

The entertainment

Music, dancing and a pisco sour lesson!


Ollantaytambo to Cuzco

Posted on February 13, 2017

We had a super friendly and helpful driver who was so knowledgeable about the area – only spoke Spanish, so I was translator for the journey!

The Sacred Valley

Apparently the weather is always lovely

Ollantaytambo – a pretty little town and another place to stay over to catch the train to Machu Picchu


For any adventurers out there, these are 3 pods you can stay in up a mountain – climb up and zipwire down!


We weren’t too comfortable with this stop – the llamas and alpacas seemed a bit scared and people standing all day in the sun just to please tourists was a bit sad, but they were so lovely with the children and Xavi loved the animals again!

This stop to see how they make the natural dyes was surprisingly interesting. It’s amazing the colours that can come out of plants and we saw real cochineals for the first time – Xavi loved crushing them up on his hand and adding lemon juice to change it from red to orange.

Poor little guinea pigs waiting to become dinner! Xavi didn’t seem to mind, he still wants one as a pet.




Typical Allman though, he did find a gorgeous little kitten and stopped off for a cuddle - so gentle and docile, it would have been a keeper had we been at home!

The outskirts of Cuzco

As soon as you go outside of the cities it's all a bit of a mess!


Posted on February 11, 2017

Machu Picchu

I'm going to post a lot of photos because it was so incredible, but photos cannot do it justice - the sheer scale of the mountains surrounding it and the whole of the citadel is just absolutely incredible - if you haven't been - GO!!! If I could go back tomorrow, I would - it's magical!



We were so lucky to have great weather the afternoon we arrived. The hotel we stayed at (courtesy of an article for online HK Tatler) arranged a Hiram Bingham guide who was brilliant and we took a 2-hour tour in the sun of most of Machu Picchu. It was wonderful to go to all the major sites and get a real sense of the place and she was perfect for the kids too showing them the family of 15 llamas who live there and the chinchillas who sometimes show their faces!

It was quite tough for the kids having just done a 2-hour car journey, a 1 1/2-hour train journey and a 1/2-hour bus journey (which they both slept through - so bumpy!), but they were fantastic waiting while we listened and entertaining themselves.

An amazing meal at the hotel

Such good food and great pisco sours too! According to Xavi the best trout he'd ever eaten and his first Shirley Temple too (diluted with soda of course, poor child)!!

The views from the back were breathtaking and so unexpected - I had no idea that the surrounding area was so striking as well as the actual ruins.


The second day the hotel provided a wake-up call at 5.30 if the weather was good. That never came. Apparently at this time of year it is in fog 85% of the time. At 6.30 we thought it was lifting and rushed to get ready and go in. Half way up it looked like it was clearing, but by the time we got to the top (the guardhouse) you couldn't see a thing. It was unbelievable and made you wonder if explorers had been close before it was discovered in 1911 and just couldn't see it! I would have been pretty annoyed if this was the only view we got, but it was really atmospheric if you'd already seen it.

Staying at the Belmond Sanctuary, we were able to pop back for a delicious breakfast of Eggs Benedict with local smoked trout before we headed out to face the rain again!

Although I think Xavi actually preferred it in the rain!!


Great train journey

We took the Vistadome Perurail train, which has windows in the roof so you can see the amazing scenery from all angles. It was brilliant - drinks and snacks and extra special treatment due to the article I'm writing - really special 🙂

They do a fashion show of Alpaca wool clothing (I could have bought lots!) and a dance from an Inca character.

Amber's first crush (unfortunately she was asleep most of the way home!) - Francisco - a lovely man who looked after us so well.

Aguas Calientes

The small town (also called Machu Picchu Pueblo) where you have to stay if not writing an article for Tatler 😉




And queuing to catch the bus down the hill which you can't avoid unless you hike or pay USD350!


Posted on February 8, 2017


Just as beautiful as Arequipa, but with a much older feel. The cathedrals and churches look very much South American, but the main square as a whole looks almost Shakespearean surrounded by low buildings with beautiful carved wooden balconies.

One of the best views from a restaurant ever

The Natural History Museum

This tiny little place (yes, that's all of it!) full of stuffed South American animals kept Xavi busy for almost an hour!

I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about all the varieties of potatoes there are with little plastic models of each - they really are proud of the little tubers here! 

Xavi was so impressed with this place, all the animals of course, but he really couldn't believe the ostrich egg - hmm...

Off to Machu Picchu tomorrow - woohoo!


Posted on February 8, 2017

Another beautiful South American city!



This city has such a chilled-out atmosphere and a lovely slow pace. It’s mostly a stopping-off point for trips to the Nazca Lines and Colca Canyon, which we decided not to do with the kids, but we found enough to do for a couple of days and you never tire of the views.

The Monasterio de Santa Catalina

This was well worth a visit – founded in 1579, it’s been open since 1970 as a tourist attraction, but still houses around 25 cloistered nuns. Described as ‘a city within a city’ with its own streets, cloisters and orchards, as well as rooms set up to show how they lived, it took us a good few hours to get around.  It was fascinating to wander through, see their cells and read about their daily lives – even more interesting to wonder what possesses a girl of 16-18 years old to want to cut herself off from society in this way. The kids really enjoyed all the nooks and crannies too and were surprisingly good at keeping their voices down and being respectful (except Xavi being fascinated by the white volcanic stone the buildings were made from and trying to pick it off!).

Not a bad start to the day!


We ended up in Norky’s fast-food chicken restaurant so the kids could have a play. Arequipa’s huge and beautiful parks with great play equipment only open on the weekend – so weird and quite depressing to drive round and see the gates locked! They love their roast chicken in Peru - we have eaten way too many! The play area was filthy, but the food was OK and the kids had a great time! We also had the whole upper floor to ourselves, which is quite a theme to our eating out, as a lot of places are empty in low season (quite a plus if the kids aren't behaving, although I must say they have mostly been brilliant!). 

A well-deserved relax

With some of Arequipa's traditional Alfajores biscuits


Chicha Beer

Mummy and Amber both enjoyed this 8% beer made from black corn - I only had one!

Hatunpa restaurant, owned by the woman whose airbnb we stayed in, served 7 types of Peruvian potato with a choice of toppings - yummy!

Wow - again!

Leaving Arequipa

Posted on February 8, 2017


We stayed in the lovely residential area of San Isidro, a mix of low-rise apartment buildings and large gated houses and a large avenue with some restaurants and a supermarket.


We visited the Bohemian district of Barranco first. It had a pleasant atmosphere with cobbled streets and pretty cafes.



Unfortunately the walk to the beach did smell a bit of wee! It seemed to be quite a hippy hangout with people selling friendship bracelets all along the way. The beach itself was what you’d expect from a beach in a large city, but the kids had fun.






Miraflores Larcomar had a very good view for a mall and provided a nice stop for a delicious gelato. The playground at the top had a statue of Paddington donated by the Brits in 2015, as if they’d decided Lima had to show some acknowledgment that he came from Lima!

Pisco sour on a rooftop and bananas with steak!



We weren’t keen on the ceviche we had, which was large chewy chunks of fish without as much flavor as we’re used to.

Gorgeous buildings in the centre of Lima

Posted on February 3, 2017

An afternoon in Guayaquil

Sadly we had to leave our farm early to take a35-minute flight to Guayaquil (avoiding the hair-raising drive back down the mountain - well worth it!). We'd previously decided to avoid the city having read and been told by our Quito guide how dangerous it was. The Hotel Wyndham we stayed in did come with a little security guide in the key holder telling you to lock your bedroom door, not answer the door to anyone etc., but the area we were in was part of an urban renewal project aiming to shed its reputation and was really lovely. 

Malecon 2000

Next to our hotel was a pretty street full of art galleries (sadly no photos, as we got caught in a rainstorm on the way back to the hotel!), which led to this wide open area along the river with viewing towers and playgrounds.

The highlight of our trip

As many of you know I love lizards, so we had to go to this park where iguanas wander freely. It was amazing! We'd read reviews that said how small it was and you could only spend 10 minutes there, but me and Xavi managed at least an hour watching and feeding these wonderful creatures (you could buy bags of lettuce which they loved). Lots of photos, I'm still in awe!







Guayaquil Cathedral

Oh, yes, there was also a beautiful cathedral next to the park!

Posted on February 1, 2017

Hacienda Chan Chan

The perfect antidote to busy, polluted Cuenca, this working dairy farm is a great place to unwind for a few days. The American family who run the farm are so welcoming and their 5 children ranging from 1-12 years old are absolutely lovely and so great playing with ours.

Our House

The Animals

A very pregnant pig

Due to give birth any minute, but it seems we will miss it!

Hope the Calf

Now 2 weeks old, but called Hope, as they didn't think she'd make it - fingers crossed.

Ben the horse

The owner, Luke, also took us down for the cow milking where we watched the 29 cows come up the valley into the milking station. It was really interesting learning about dairy farming including the differences between this small Ecuadorian farm and intensive farming in the US - for example there Luke had around 170 cows, which meant the process had to be much more industrialized. We learnt about using iodine to disinfect the cows teats and Xavi even had a go at hand-milking Bonnie, a beautiful Jersey cow! Forgot to put the memory card back in the camera, so no pix!

A delicious breakfast

Freshly-made bread and butter, yoghurt, granola, fruit and great coffee!

A walk by the river


So peaceful and beautiful.

About Us

Hi! We're the Arnulphy Family. In December, we sold our house and began 3 months of travelling with our 2 children, aged 3 and 6. This blog is our way of keeping in touch with our family and friends, letting them know where we are and what we're up to. Enjoy! xxx

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