Splette's Travel Blog
  • General
  • April11th

    A seemingly obligatory part of backpacking in these parts of the world is that things don’t always work the way you expect. I may be a spoiled first-world kid but I do love my hot shower in the morning. In the three days I have been staying at the ‘Casa del Parque’ hostel in San Jose, the first day the thermoducha (electric shower) didn’t work and the next two days the power went off for hours (and therefore again no hot water and no WiFi either).

    Noooo, don't touch it! You'll get electrocuted.

    Noooo, don’t touch it!

    Thermoduchas have been fascinating me ever since I started traveling across Latin America. Basically, it’s two electric wires connected with the shower head to warm up the water as it flows through. Some people call it the suicide shower. One of my Tico friends got a shock once. But hey, I’m willing to accept some risk to get a hot shower.

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  • October18th

    Returning home

    Posted in: General

    I haven’t kept you in the loop about my current travel plans, really. My time in Costa Rica has come to an end and I am slowly making my way home to Germany. Of course not without visiting a couple of countries along the way. I definitely had to see Gonzalo in Mexico so he would stop bitching about what an awful friend I am.

    Because air travel within Latin America is not so cheap I take the bus. Who doesn’t enjoy 20 hour long bus rides across several countries? My first stop was Managua, Nicaragua where I spent a couple of days. Next is Guatemala City which is as dangerous as ever (I am being told) and taxi drivers still manage to rip me off while at the same time telling me how much they admire the German people and how intelligent we are. Ha, apparently not!

    Now I am on the way to the Mexican border. Should be there in 6 or 7 hours if all goes well and then switch to a bus to Mexico City which takes another 17 hours.

    After 10 days in Mexico my last stop on the way to Berlin will be Chicago for Halloween. Expect me to be back in Germany by November 2.

  • May4th

    Me at John Marshall Highschool attending a Spanish class.

    Me in class, explaining Hulk's stretchy pants

    I’m in Chicago this week, visiting my friend Marissa who is a Spanish teacher at a high school in one of the less nice areas of Chicago. It’s not a ghetto but also not the kind of neighborhood one would necessarily want to live in. Marissa suggested that I could visit her school for a day. That sounded like a great idea, considering my current Spanish skills and the fact that I have never been in a US school. Having had barely three hours of sleep, I had to get up at 6 am. Got a shower and prepared my lunch sandwiches. That alone brought back long lost memories of my school days. We got there early. I did not have to pass through the metal detector but I got a fancy yellow visitors badge and had to sign in. The security personnel (mostly women) seemed much nicer and relaxed than I had expected. The hallways look just like those from any movie involving a US high school, with the usual lockers for students, motivational slogans and countless sport trophies in showcases. The classroom is exclusively used for Spanish classes and was plastered with posters and signs with basic Spanish vocabulary and grammar. And yes, just to make sure the students don’t get confused and think they are in Mexico or Spain, there was also a prominently placed US flag…

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  • April7th

    Europe Visit MapAfter spending the last months in Costa Rica, it’s about time for some more traveling. I’m coming to Germany to check if everything is still the same way I left it. On the way, I’ll stop by in the US and Spain. The dates might change slightly because I am flying on standby:

    23-30 April – San Francisco
    1-7 May – Chicago
    7-15 May – Madrid
    16-23 May – Barcelona
    23 May – 3 July – Germany (Berlin, Strasburg, Münster, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Tübingen, München)
    3-10 July – New York
    10 July – San José, Costa Rica

    I don’t know yet, in which order I will visit the different cities in Germany or for how long. If possible, I’ll also stop by Wien.

  • February9th

    Beach time

    Posted in: General

    A surfer in Puerto Viejo (Costa Rica). This guy was really good.It’s high time for a blog update. And it was about time for me to hit the beach. I haven’t seen any beach since September 1st! Makes me wonder why I live here if I don’t take advantage of the great things Costa Rica has to offer.

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  • January5th

    Assembling the super cheap IKEA table as challenging because some parts got lost during the transport from the USA

    My room in San José

    Some of you might have wondered why I stopped reporting about new countries I am visiting or why my location status on the website never changes. The reason is that after visiting Colombia in October I decided to settle in Costa Rica for the time being. There were different reasons for my change in plans, one of them being my financial situation that still leaves a lot to be desired. I simply have no money to finish my trip at the moment and hope that taking a break and focusing on my work will fix that. Costa Rica is the safest countries in the region and has the highest standard of living. The central valley in which the capital San José is located has a great moderate climate with 20-something degrees Celsius all year round.

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  • August4th

    I am in Costa Rica and for the next three weeks or more I will be available under this mobile phone number: +506-57040651

    You know… in case you missed hearing my voice…

    Update #1: My SIM card stopped working after two days. I was told they distributed the same number twice (how is that even possible). Will have to get a new one…

    Update #2: I got a new SIM card: the number is: +506-85013762

  • June29th

    Yep, it's that pretty

    Semuc Champey

    It’s only my third day in Guatemala and I made it to Semuc Champey, a very beautiful but somewhat remote area of the Cahabòn river in central Guatemala. The place only opened as a tourist destination about a year ago. There is little choice of accomodation here and backpackers seem to be the only visitors. That’s a good thing. Our hostel ‘El Portal’, the Mayan owners and tour guides and even the other travelers are great. Marissa, my temporary travel companion from Chicago, and me decided to book the full package here. Crystal-clear blue water terracesIn the morning we went for a steep hike up the mirador, a lookout over-viewing the entire crystal-clear blue river. Waterfall at Semuc ChampeyFrom there we hiked down to the river and across the different terraces, which involved lots of jumping from one level to an other, sliding and diving into a tiny underwater cave. All in all very beautiful and exciting. Back to the hostel for lunch break and then going for some tubing along the river. The descent current and big rocks to avoid made that more fun than I expected.

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  • June24th

    Revised itinerary – cheating my way to Guatemala

    I’m on my way to Guatemala. By plane! Violating my self-set goal of not using airplanes to advance my itenerary. But well, I had to. Already a month ago, I had decided to not cross the Mexican border by bus for safety concerns. To be able to re-enter the US a second time in April, I had bought a one-way ticket from Los Angeles to Mexico city. But as always my plans changed again and I stayed in San Francisco for a little longer. Eventually I had to fly from there directly to Guatemala skipping Mexico altogether to meet Marissa, my long-term couchsurfing friend (she surfed mine, I surfed her’s). Marissa is going to accompany me for the next three weeks in Guatemala. Finally, I got a temporary travel companion again. She also a Spanish teacher. So, there is a slight chance that poco a poco I might pick up a bit of Spanish along the way…
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  • June4th

    Evolution of itineraries

    The sharpest amongst my visitors (Sampath was first) will have noticed that my current route significantly deviates from my initial plan. The reason was simply the weather. Backpacking in the cold is no fun (I didn’t take any photos of Montreal because I was afraid my fingers would quick-freeze and fall off instantly) and after a seemingly never-ending winter in the North (New York, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Fredericton) I arrived in Chicago in late April and is was still cold two out of the fours days I spent there. Enough. I changed my plans: visiting Oak Ridge National Lab and friends in Tennessee for a week, I decided to move further downwards and visit New Orleans, Austin, TX (what a nice discovery), Albuquerque, NM (an unplanned stop over), Flagstaff, AZ (lots of craziness and a great travel companion), Sedona & the Grand Canyon (just wow), Las Vegas (ridiculous, decadent, fun). As I hoped there was great weather all along the way and I finally arrived in San Francisco now. I have no regrets about my change of plans. On the other hand I missed Minneapolis, Yellowstone National Park, Vancouver, Portland and Seattle. Another time…

    PS. I have updated all maps on the website accordingly