Gorillas

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You do get really close to the Gorillas.

So on Friday I gave a sneak peek of the Gorillas with this photo:

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Still my favourite. So cute but the whole experience was unbelievable. When choosing my trip to Africa and faced with so many choices of where to go it was the Gorillas that were my number one priority. After looking at so many tours I chose an Exodus tour that started in Rwanda. A country I really wanted to see and from the reviews sounded like the perfect place to see the Gorillas.

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Seeing them for the first time was surreal. I couldn’t believe that I was actually standing in Volcanoes National Park looking at Gorillas in the clearing. For the first few minutes I forgot to take pictures and through the one hour visit I often forgot to take photos. They are just so amazing to watch. To hear them grunting at each other, watch them push each other groom each other and a mom and baby. I just stood and went “Awwww” before remembering I had a camera with me.

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Everyone in the group was excited and even after the hour was up we all spoke excitedly about the gorillas and were all smiling. It was an incredible experience and worth every penny.

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Baby Gorilla

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Can I take him home?

My favourite photo taken of the gorillas. A little toddler who was so entertaining, he rolled and wobbled around and then sat and ate some grass.

With a hat and some sunglasses I think I could have snuck him out.

Volcanoes National Park

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The biggest reason I wanted to go to East Africa, Gorillas. There are two choices to see Gorillas, Rwanda or Uganda. I chose Rwanda.

Heading out to Volcanoes National Park I was really excited, months of anticipation and soon I would be hiking to see the Gorillas. I was going to see them in person. When you get to the park you are briefed on how to act around the Gorillas, how close you can get and are then put into a group of eight to head out to see your chosen group.

You have input on the length of walk but not much on which group you will see. My group was for a medium length walk to go see the Ntambara group. Then you get assigned a porter to help you on the hike. The porter is well worth the ten American dollars. My porter pulled me up some steep, slippery inclines, helped me avoid the stinging nettles and also reminded me to look at the beautiful views. He also carried my backpack, he was awesome.

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The hike is part of the journey and take it all in, Volcanoes National Park is a stunningly beautiful place.

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Seeing the gorillas for the first time, I actually squealed. After hiking for just over an hour and a half there was a clearing and there they were. It is hard to believe how close you can get to them, you can hear them chewing the bamboo.

The guys who over saw the gorillas and kept us at a safe distance:

Gorilla Group

My first view of the gorillas:

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Rwanda

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I just got back from a trip to East Africa. It was incredible, it exceeded every expectation.

When choosing a tour my main focus was Gorillas first and Rwanda second. I really wanted to go to Rwanda. Land of a thousand hills. It is, while travelling in Rwanda you find yourself constantly going up and down hills, getting a new view at the top of each rise. I had also heard that Rwanda was beautiful and it did not disappoint.

With the lush green and the red clay it is often breathtaking. It is hard to imagine what happened here and now seems to be doing very well. Kigali is the cleanest city I have ever been to and the people were warm and welcoming.

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Woodpecker

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An afternoon spent on Newcastle Island in Nanaimo, BC is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

The last time I was out there I managed to capture the photo of the above woodpecker. What you can’t see int he photo is just how red his feathers are. He was a noisy little bugger and I couldn’t get Woody Woodpecker’s laugh out of my head for the rest of the day.

Newcastle is just so beautiful and it was the perfect place to contemplate my upcoming trip to Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.

Here are a few more photos from Newcastle:

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For You Joanne…….

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My friend Joanne hates creepy dolls and well I think the above is one of the most disturbing dolls I have ever seen.

The Spooked in Seattle store also had a cabinet of other creepy dolls, if Joanne had been with me she may have left the premises:

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Also an infant in a coffin (WTF???):

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Very strange place but totally worth a visit if you’re in Seattle, they do ghost tours and also beneath the street tours. You can find them here Spooked In Seattle

Seattle Underground Tour

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It’s an interesting tour and there are a few companies that do them. I went with Spooked In Seattle. I would recommend them not only for the tour but for looking around their shop.

My memory being not totally reliable and full of holes in the story I was told about the Seattle Underground, here is a link to the full story Seattle Underground.

On the tour you see the corridors underground, what once were outside walls:

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Also if you walk over these in Seattle:

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They are for letting light into the corridor below:

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It was a really interesting tour and only takes up an hour of your time.

Beneath The Streets

Lady Coffin

I did a beneath the streets tour in Seattle. It started from Spooked In Seattle, they also do ghost tours and it’s an odd little shop. I booked myself on the afternoon beneath the streets tour and then had time to wander around the little store and look around the strange place.

There is the above coffin with a lady in it but what is odd is she has chicken feet hands, not sure what that’s about:

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There are skeletons everywhere:

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Including the bathroom:

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There are also books some on ghost stories of Seattle, self guided walking tours of spooky locations. There is art work and handmade dolls. It’s an interesting little place and if you go for the Beneath the Streets tour go early so that you can have a look around.