Hola! Que Tal? … and that’s the extent of our Spanish! Craig and I, Two Scots Abroad, are now one month into our 18-month travels in the Americas.

We’ve touched down in three countries, slept in eight different cities/towns and flown, driven and cycled to get there.

Our first stop was New Orleans, affectionately called N’awlins by the locals. There, we stayed in a double shotgun house in Marginy. We dined and danced on the cool Frenchman Street where jazz spills out of every second building as well as doing what tourists do on Bourbon Street, that is, we enjoyed (?) a fluorescent yellow drink called ‘Hand Grenade.’ New Orleans is electric! Street art on every wall – we could not find the only remaining Banksy print unfortunately – and the houses are wonderfully colourful.

We spent one week in Austin, Texas, for the music festival South By Southwest (SXSW).

During the SXSW fortnight, it is also a film and interactive festival aimed at people in the industry, every bar, club, shop and trailer opens its doors to an eclectic mix of bands and artists.

If you pay $1000 you can buy an access all areas badge but because of our budget we focused on the ‘free’ SXSW experience. Is it really free?

Well, not entirely, you may not pay in cash but you pay with your time (queuing).

We saw the Scottish band, The Twilight Sad, at a tiny venue with an audience of about 100 partygoers, they did not disappoint!

SXSW is more about the discovery of new music and that we did.

Austin, the city itself, is awesome. It is vibrant with a well-used waterfront.

We enjoyed the natural springs at Barton Springs and found the food to be delicious – most notably Juan in a Million breakfast tacos!

Moving on to Peru. We’ve fallen in love with Peru’s ever changing landscape and the Peruvian people.

It has changed greatly over the past few decades, with some people becoming very wealthy and many of the working class better off.

The roads are safe (maybe not all of the drivers!) and although the tap water is not safe to drink there is decent sanitation and the younger generation are now preaching to the older generation about the need to recycle and protect their environment.

Terrorism is a thing of the past and upward mobility is evident, especially in the cities of Lima, the capital, and Arequipa. We took a bike tour around Lima, which is an easy way to get across the city.

The area of Barranco really grabbed us with its relaxed vibe. Miraflores – touristy – is busy and noisy but offers an outstanding sunset every evening. Paracas offered much needed beach scenery after busy Lima.

We took a boat ride to Isla Ballestas and saw dolphins, penguins and sea lions in their natural habitat, extraordinary!

Next stop was Huacachina – a town in a lagoon surrounded by sand dunes. We’ve never seen anything like it.

The ‘done thing’ here is to take a thrilling ride on a dune buggy and participate in sandboarding.

We took it further (always pushing the limits) and went sand-skiing.

Arequipa, The White City in Peru, is in good company. Three dormant volcanoes surround it, the most popular being El Misiti.

Arequipa is also a gateway to the Colca Canyon, where we trekked for three days.

This was the first time we had stayed in a canyon and the views were unbelievable. We are now in Cusco and it is raining.

We heard it is sunny in Scotland, annoying!

Cusco is the first stop before we begin our trek to the famous Machu Picchu. We have stopped for two days to acclimatise – Craig has ‘altitude cold’.

It’s also back to school for Two Scots Abroad – we are signing up for Spanish school! Next month we will be writing from Bolivia.

Don’t forget to follow us on our travels at www.facebook.com/twoscotsabroad ¡Hasta la vista!