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Brazil

sunny
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12.09.2022 BA - Campo Grande
Arriving from BA in Campo Grande at 19.00. I felt tired from the airports all day. Also very sad having to say goodbye to everyone.

Checked in the hotel which had a jacuzzi in the room. Only had an icecream at night. It was about 30 degrees.. after the snow.. I needed time to adjust.
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13.09.2022 Campo Grande
I walked around the city center for a bit. There are almost no people around!! Wow... This is odd. I am getting a weird feeling that this place is not what I thought it would be.

14.09.2022 Campo Grande
Time to check out and go to the bungalow I rented (Ninho do Canarinho) . The bungalow is very nice. A good garden where you just sit and work.
I walked around the neighborhood. Even quieter... This part of the city doesn't have much stores. This area is not designed for tourists.

15.09.2022 Campo Grande
Today I did not do anything. Getting the photos on the computer. Do some writing. I knew in advance that I was staying in one place for a long time. I thought that CG had some good daytrips into the Amazon. It does not. In a few days I will go on a group trip to see it anyway.
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In the afternoon I was checking my calendar. After the group trip I have about a week where I have nothing planned. Not even a place to stay.
I know one thing.. I am not staying in Campo Grande. Man it is boring here.

By the time it was evening I had booked the flights and hotel in Rio de Janeiro. Yes another city. But I know in that place there is more to do.

16.09.2022 Campo Grande
I went to a shopping mall (30 minute walk). The shopping mall is pretty new. What struck me was that there was almost nobody around.
In the afternoon I did the rest of the blogs. I have been putting them off. It takes more time to write them than I would have guessed.

Tonight I am having diner with Juliana. I met her online. I need the meet people one way or another :) We went to the Old Sheep. A combination of a restaurant and live music.
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17.09.2022 Campo Grande.
Off to Mount Morro. Yes.. with Juliana.

It was a nice little hike. Nothing special. A decent mountain, some waterholes and a sunset.
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In the evening we went to the local marketplace. Here you can get some different kind of food.
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18.09.2022 - 19.09.2022 Campo Grande
Okay, so my legs were completely destroyed by the mosquitoes.. I needed to go the local drug store for creams and repellent... The blisters were immense.

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20.09.2022 Campo grande - Corumbá
At 12.00 I had the transfer to Corumbá to see a part of the pantanal.

I arrived at the pick up point which was an hotel. No clear signs on where to be. The reception did not know either. There was a group of English. Apparently they were heading the same way. Then their pick up showed up and took them onward. I had to wait for mine.

30 minutes later my pick up arrived. To our mutual surprise the Englishmen were also in that bus. Great confusing.. ow well.

About 5 hours later we arrived at the lodge. Checking in, dipping in the pool, dinner and done for the day.

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21.09.2022 Corumbá
So mornings here start early. Breakfast is between 06.30 and 07.30…

Morning trip 07.30
We got on the boats. We were with about 20 people. Big group. The boats took us on the river. There was some wildlife, birds, cay-mans, capibara’s. Our guide was very quiet and did not tell anything. A shame..
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Floating 15.30
So okay, the scene: the Miranda river has cay-mans and piranhas… temperature is about 36 degrees.. on the boats we went and after half an hour we were told to jump in and go with the current back to the lodge.. “stay in the middle and you will be fine. Nobody has been attacked during this.”

Words of comfort you want to hear… Ow well… warm weather, nice water and swimming… all you need.

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Night trip 17.30
During the sunset we went on the river again. Just a small group of 6 this time in the boat. Still very warm, only this time with the boat going faster so we had a breeze going on. Only 2 other boats were on the river, so nice and quiet. Skipping over the water. Warm winds. What a feeling..

It gets dark very fast in these parts. During the twilight the bugs come out. But also the bats who hunts them. Seeing these creatures darting over the water, chasing the bugs.. some birds joined in.. on the banks of river the firefly's in the bushes.

What a beautiful spectacle of nature to behold.

As soon as it was completely dark, the guide took out the searchlight. Now we could see the red eyes of the cay-mans. And there were more than enough of them.. adults and baby’s. We were hoping the spot the elusive green eyes. The jaguar! Sadly we did not see these eyes..

After an hour is was time to turn around, back to the lodge.

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22.09.2022 Corumbá
Horse back 07.30
Back on the horse again woohoo! Ow wait, first there was a drive on a dirt road for an hour. Back breaking..

The horses were more playful this time. Going through the wetland. They even galloped sometimes. I say wetlands but it is the end of the dry season.. so not really wetlands.. still it was nice to be on a horse again.
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Canoeing 15.30
The weather was not that great this day.. so I guess that’s why there were only 5 of us going. The 3 Englishmen and an English woman (and me!). Since we had an odd number, I got in with one of the Englishmen. The remaining two got in with the lady.

The canoes.. these things are unstable.. but we had a nice rhythm going. Just 2 canoes on the river.. this was nice. We got to paddle for a good while. We went downstream so we had a good speed. After what seemed like hours, it was time again to turn around. The boat was waiting for us to take us upstream.

On the way back we got to see some otters. Funny creatures.

23.09.2022 Corumbá - Campo Grande
Last morning here. This time we had the jungle trekking. I wish I could tell a lot of what we saw. Truth is: there just was not much to see. It is the dry season so the area is very barren. So we walked through the bush, saw a couple of birds, an anteater.
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We were back at 12.00. Some lunch and back to Campo Grande. Our transfer at 15.00 was in a big hurry.. bouncing around in the bus.

At 21.00 I finally got back. The last bit of the transfer back got weird. The english lady (Liv) was also going the the bus stop. Only when we got in the downtown area, Liv was taken in a different car. Mind you, there was no warning. So we were a bit confused and looking at each other "what is going on??". Apparently on of the guides arranged it that Liv could make her bus connection. So all is well.

Best thing:
I got mail from the Netherlands. One of my dearest friends could not make it to the airport when I left. So she send a gift to Brazil.
And it arrived!!
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24.09.2022 Campo Grande
All day of doing nothing. I was broken from the bus trip.
I had dinner with Julianna. We went to Marachuria. A popular place with a nice live singer.

25.09.2022 Campo Grande - Rio de Janeiro
In the morning with Juliana for coffee. Later she brought me to the airport. I was sad to say farewell to her.

Now on the plane to Rio de Janeiro with a layover in Sao Paolo. Short flight of each one hour, 1 hour layover and 1 hour time difference.

Rio de Janeiro is a big change from Campo Grande… no surprise here. After 2 weeks of being there the place began to grow on me. Someone asked me: is Campo Grande a place where you could settle? Well maybe. Funny since I believed that this place was a dead city when I first got here.

26.09.2022 Rio de Janeiro
Time for the Copacabana. First up: laundry.. I can’t keep cleaning cloths in the shower by hand. It works for a quick cleaning but it is just not the same. Or I am doing it wrong.

Laundry done and time for an errand. Harley Davidson shirts. As usual the place is in the middle of nowhere. I found a small shop. But at least Pieter will be happy.

Next stop: the beach. I heard so much about this beach! The weather is not that great. Only 24 degree and it a Monday. Not many people are here at the moment. Still the beach and the ocean are great. The beach is divided in segments. Each with there own bar and chairs. Nice touch. Maybe later I will go for a swim.
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After lunch I really needed a cigar. I ended up at Esch bar. A very nice place. The waiters are wearing these cool hats. It seems all the people know each other. A homely feeling. An English speaking lady helped me out. Still don’t understand a word of Portuguese. The music is relaxing. People just chatting away.
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27.09.2022 Rio de Janeiro
This morning I got I message that the delta flying was cancelled… so change of plans.

I went to the aquarium. I believed that I could spend an hour or two there. This one has one big exhibition. A huge water tank with lots of animals. The real downside was that after 20 minutes I was through the entire thing… so an extra plan..
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I am not really into the tourist things. So visiting Christ the Redeemer was not on my list. But when in Rio.. I went anyway. Uber to the train station and going up with the cable carts. I was thinking on going on the hike. Only reading up on it, it seemed like a difficult hike. Apparently it was hard even for experienced hikers. Well I am not so I stuck with the cable cart. There were not a lot of people so I could walk up pretty fast. It has a nice view. Got my instagram photo and after 15 minutes I got a Uber again.
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Picked up my laundry.. time for? A nice cigar. I spend it at Tabaco em Cia. I was the only guest there so I got the change to talk with the owner. Just image Humphrey Bogart… with a few cigars we had a very nice time.
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28.09.2022 Rio de Janeiro
Time for ….. delta flying ? Nope.

So at 07.00 my phone rang.. a Brazilian number.. weird. It was my tour guide Lucimer. And he was excited!! Myself: I was only awake for 1 minute… Since it was raining and I was the only one going on the city tour I had options to go on a different time. So I choose 14.00. I had hopes that the flying could still happen.. At 08.00 I got a message from the flying company.. it was a no go.. not really a surprise. I was thinking to call Lucimer to change the time for the tour, but the bed was too comfortable.

Lucimer encouraged me to take the subways. He said it was easy and safe. At 12.30 it was time to find out. The station is only a block away. Found a ticket machine. To my luck it had an English option! The system works with a prepaid card. So that was easy. I used to app Moovit to find out which platform and where my destination was. If found out about this app at a convention. It has all the public transportation schedules of the world. So that made it easy.

I met Lucimer at the library. He was old military and I was the only one. Together we went through the old part of the city in the pouring rain. We got barely stop anywhere because of the rain, so we basically sprinted around the city. Don't get me wrong this was fun!!

After getting dry and warm, it was time of cigars.

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29.09.2022 Rio de Janeiro
Last day in Rio de Janeiro. Sad... I could have stayed here much longer. It was raining again and I did not want to get wet again and risking getting sick. So a relaxing day.

30.09.2022 Rio de Janeiro - Sao Paolo
Plane to Sao Paolo... Getting ready for the big flight to Sydney.A quick dinner here in Sao Paolo. The only reason I am here now, is not to have so many flights tomorrow.

01.10.2022 Sao Paolo - Santiago (Chile) - Sydney
This flight I am dreading... In Sao Paolo I really wanted to get an upgrade to business class. Latam works with a bidding systems and lets you know 2 hours before boarding.. Not really convenient. So I asked at the check in. They referred me to the ticket desk. Waiting there for an hour, they told me I need to do this at the check in... Frustration is building at this moment.

Back at the check in: this lady did not speak English. Is it just me, or do more people believe that if you work at an airport you should speak english?
But the business class was completely booked. So that is a no go. Then they were kind enough to tell me that my bag was oversized. Image that!!! After about 12 flight, all of the sudden my bag is oversized? I started complaining, but I would not matter. So off to the next check in. Dropped of the bag and go through security.

First flight: Sao Paolo to Santiago: 4 hours
Lay over: 4 hours
Second flight: Santiago to Auckland (NZ) 12 hours
Lay over: 3 hours
Third flight: Auckland to Sydney 4 hours.

Time difference 14 hours..

Yeah.. needless to say: I am *******..

Geplaatst door Nschelling 07:33 Gearchiveerd in Brazilië Reacties (1)

Argentina


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06.09 Pucon- Bariloche
Travel day. Checking out of Chile and on to Argentina. This means about 10 hours in a bus…

We got on a public bus for the border crossing. I still don’t know what happened here but it took 2,5 hours. Somebody’s papers were not in order. Just how? All you needed was a passport and this immigration slip they gave you upon entering the country. Here is not much to tell except watching the snow melt.

On the other side was Argentina. This crossing was fluent. Except that they needed your email for the immigration.

Weird thing about Argentina:
You have what they call the blue rate for exchanging currency. Very important to know. Banks give you the official rate. On the street you have the blue rate. With this blue rate you get almost double when exchanging! Apparently also the bank fees are higher. So you have to get euros/dollars in a different country and than exchange them in Argentina. I did not bring enough Chilean peso or dollars to last the week. Some searching on the internet: you can use Western Union as well to get the good rate. After 7 hours still waiting on this wire transfer… I hope it will work.

At 17.30 still in the bus. We are behind schedule at the moment…
At 19.30 we arrived in San Martin. Finally!!! First lake Lacar. If you thought the drive was over, nope. Still have an 3 hour drive ahead.

A pity it was dark. It is a Lake District. What I could see, just gorgeous. We drove through a town where the family of Maxima owns a lot of real estate.
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07.09 Bariloche
After the dreadful day of driving, I still felt a bit tired. That sound of the engine.. ow well part of traveling.

In the morning we set out to go horseback riding in the mountains. This also meant going on a bus again. Was about an hour, so not that bad.

It was a proper ranch surrounded by the mountains. It was cold and windy. A bit of snow to go with it. You get the picture. The ride itself was so nice though. Going through the countryside, in a valley with the mountains covered in snow. A couple of dogs following us and playing in bushes. Trying to catch some birds. I could swear that the dogs were smiling. They looked so happy. The horses where very tame. Really trained to follow one another. Getting my horse to go somewhere different took an effort.
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After the ride we had the bbq. My god! After the cold going in the hall with the fire going and seeing that meat on there. Heaven!
And yes, it tasted as good as it looked.
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We got back into town later in the afternoon. Since we arrived late last night we went on a small orientation of the town. To describe Bariloche: just imagine every skiing village. A lot of German / Austrian buildings and names.

Great thing about this town: my hotel room had floor heating. With temperatures around 5 degree and winds: this was very welcome.

08.09 Bariloche
Around 10.00 I went with Michael and Cressida to walk around town. We didn’t feel like going skiing or on another city tour by bus. Out came google maps and off we went. It was nice to have a break from the group. Not that I mind them or so. A bit of quiet time and relaxing was what we needed. Bariloche is famous for its chocolate. I did not buy any. Only some hot chocolate. That is what you do on a ski holiday.
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By the time we got back, I was so cold!! Glad to be back in the room. Ow yeah.. laundry pickup…

To be honest: I could have skipped this last few days in Patagonia. We visited the cities. I am more interested in the countryside. The cities are nice enough, but not so much culture to go with it. I guess the changes in CEO and losing some original group member did not help. It feels a bit off.

09.09.2022 Bariloche - Buenos Aires
Travelday: by plane to BA…

Tonight I am going to a tango show. Never in been to one. High hopes for this. After lunch I just relaxed since the show and diner starts at 20.00.

The show was amazing! It told the story of how the tango started to how it is now. The dancers showed the different styles and the clothes. How they did not fall of the stage is a mystery to me.
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10.09.2022
In the morning I had nothing planned. Time to sleep late and relax a bit.

In the afternoon we went on the city tour. This took us through various neighborhoods. BA is big and there a some dangerous zones. So a short orientation of the city is advised. It is great so see the differences of each neighborhoods. The tour itself was done in a hurry to cover everything. The cemetery is a must see. The crypts are amazing.
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At night we went for dinner. The last one with the old group.

Ow update on the Western Union: due to safety reasons, the wire transfer did not go through.

11.09.2022
In the morning it was time to say goodbye to Jon and Tasha. Sad moment. After 4 weeks of traveling there a nice bound. You rely on each other to be safe along the way. You share the good times. We are lucky since we did not have bad times.

After saying our goodbyes, we went on foot in the city. Wondering around the visits marketplaces. Go back to sites from yesterday. In the barrio of San Telmo we found the street artists performing. Very nice neighborhood.
Overall it was quiet in the streets this had to do with the Bocca Juniors playing. At quite city with the sun out! Beautiful!
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12.09.2022 BA - Campo Grande (BR)
Today I am leaving for Brazil. Such a weird feeling. Said goodbye to Michael, Vanessa, Cressida and Daisy. Such a lovey family. I will miss them a lot.

And now my journey alone starts. Mixed feelings at the moment. Grateful that I am able to do this. Sad to say goodbye to my new friends.

Side note:
I feel I could have gotten more out of Argentina. Such a shame the tour did not go through to countryside.

Geplaatst door Nschelling 19:35 Gearchiveerd in Argentinië Reacties (2)

Chile

all seasons in one day
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29.08 San Pedro de Atacama
So.. we passed the border crossing..

Staying in San Pedro de Atacama at the Hostel Puritama. Here there are some nice little lodges. A trip around the one street town with the group and a meal in Cafe Adobe.
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After the cold desert, finally warm weather!!!!

30.08 San Pedro de Atacame
Free day in San Pedro de Atacama. Walked along the strip. Ice cream with Lee and Ness. She did not want icecream (yeah right.. Lee had to give his up). In the morning I went to a spa for a massage. My back needed it after all the driving.

In the afternoon we got into the bus and drive in the desert.
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31.08 San Pedro de Atacama - Santiago
Travelday: 05:45 meet for the 9am flight from Calama to Santiago. Arrived at Ibis budget hotel (actually quite nice) on the outskirts of Santiago. Walked with the group to the highest building in South America (we were told) but the weather was misty, so just entered the Mall and had lunch in Tanta a Peruvian chain for lunch. Later met in The Dublin bar with the group to say goodbye to those leaving this leg including Anders. Lee held a nice speech.

A bit sad at this time. We have been traveling for 3 weeks.

01.09 Santiago
This morning I slept a bit longer. Around 09.00 went for breakfast. It was time to say goodbye to some group members and our guide Andres. A sad moment. You could see that some had a good party last night. Andres had it though. Such a good man. So we lost Tom, Damon, Adain, Chloe and Stacey.

And with Stacey.. this was a good moment. She found out that she had some long lost family here. And today they were picking her up to meet. All us were nervous for this and so happy for her. Around 12.00 her new brothers showed up. What a gift to see that moment. That joy! Amazing. I hope that she will let us know how it all went.

In the afternoon I went for a walk. Santiago is a big city and it reminds of London. Well basically of every major city. A lot of warnings about riots for the upcoming elections. I was advised by some to stay away from certain parts of the city. Which I did.

At 17.00 we met our new CEO (Israel) and our new group members. It feels like we pulled a handbrake. Just as Jon said: we will get our mojo back.
Israel is a big contrast to Andres. Andrés was playful, easygoing. Israel is more bureaucratic. Let’s see how this goes.

Time to start prepare for the next part… starting with a day pack and shoving the rest in the bag..

02.09.2022 Santiago - Valparaiso
At 09.00 we left for a city tour of Santiago. What can I tell about Santiago… there is the history with Pinochet. Lot of violence. Somehow it seem fitting we are here today since this Sunday there is a vote on the constitution. There are riots and protests at night. We got warned to avoid certain parts of the city by the locals. Still that got nothing to do with my dislike of the city. Maybe if you know it better it is a good city. That there are nice looking restaurants and bars helped. Me almost getting mugged surely did not. For me: it is just another big city with all the pro’s and con’s that has.

Just a weird thing. So I stayed in a Ibis hotel. And it had Harry Potter music playing.. not really as background music. I like Harry Potter only after sitting in a lobby for a few hours it still gets to you. Also the staff where wearing the scarfs.. funny but why??

At 16.00 we went to Valparaiso by bus. Sat with Mike. Good chap. We have a lot in common.

Arrival at Valparaiso around 18.00. It is a port city. At first look it did not seem much. I only found out when i went for dinner. As soon as I went up the stairs (lots of stairs), i got in these nice little streets. Lots of colors. Small bars. Through TripAdvisor I found a nice place.
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03.09.2022 Valparaiso
Waking up at 09.00. Went to the little streets up the hill again. Grabbed a coffee.There weren’t a lot of people out and about. So that was nice. Team UK asked if I came along with them. So back down again.
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A short walk around the dock. Some big commercial ships. Thereafter back up the hill… went through the old quarter.
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Further up the hill for the wine box hotel. Back to the hotel to go to a vineyard.
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The vineyard was a new one. From 1993. It looks great. I cannot tell you about the wines for obvious reasons to the people who know me.
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Going for a quick bite to eat and prepare for a night bus. Tomorrow it is Election Day in Chile. Apparently that means that all the stores are going to be closed. So better buy some food and drinks.

Went out with Jon to get some Chinese food. It was rather good. Quick stop at the supermarket and found out Santiago is a weird place. Never ever have I seen a supermarket guard in riot gear… why????

Backs are packed, water on board. Night bus here I come. The night bus had these plastic dividers. Yeah.. that plastic is not annoying at all… Just 8-9 hours left to go.. I hope Pucon will be better.

So far the cities, after Peru and Bolivia, have not made an impression.

04.09 Pucon
So I arrived in Pucon. Could not sleep on the bus. So I am about 30 hours awake.. so my memory is a little off at this point.

Pucon is this ski village you see across Europe when the snow is far gone. Nice buildings. The hostel we stayed in was a nice cozy place. The room was not big but there was heating. It only came on at night by the way..

At 13.00 we went for a bbq at the guides places. Smelled so good !! It is a thing here apparently to do that. I was just hungry.
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After we got back we had a meeting for the activities the next day. Have to say, I did not listen at all. Was groggy from the lack of sleep. I wanted to do something so I signed up for a small hike for 4 hours.

Bedroom here I come!!!! Don’t know which day or time it is.

05.09 Pucon
Okay, passed out pretty quick last night. Sleep great. Time for the hike.

At 09.30 the transport was there. 2 vans. Why 2 vans?? 1 had the equipment….. I did not remember I signed up for a hike that needed equipment… ow well.. just go with it.
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We got in the van and drove to the mountain. It was an active volcano. Slumbering but active. At it was a ski area. Out came the snow grabbers. Really don’t know the English word. Another surprise this morning. What did I sign up for ???
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Up the mountain we go! Through the snow and the forest. This was nice! After the cities, this a good break from it. Being active. In the sun, on a mountain. The hike was 4 hours. Wasn’t that strenuous and still a nice workout. The view of the lake, mountain and snow.. wonderful.
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We got back around 15.00. Was hungry after that. After some searching I found a smokehouse for some ribs! Ow yeah. Dig in. I did not go out with the rest of the group for dinner.
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06.09 Pucon- Bariloche
Travel day. Checking out of Chile and on to Argentina. This means about 10 hours in a bus…

Geplaatst door Nschelling 19:07 Gearchiveerd in Chili Reacties (1)

Bolivia

sunny 7 °C
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21.08 Puno (Peru) - La Paz (Bolivia)
Left the hotel at 6:20 for the first of 5 coaches and a ferry to Bolivia. The ferry might be a strong word to use.
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The border crossing into Bolivia was not that bad. Just a lot of people standing in line for a stamp in the passport.
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At the end of the day we finally reached La Paz. This is a big city in a valley.
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22.08 La Paz
Today I did not feel like doing much. I was content to roam around the city. I soon got to realize that this city is not for me. There where certain parts where I did not feel safe. Also there is a lot of activity going on. People yelling, cars hooking their horns. Way to crowded for me. So by the afternoon I went back to the hotel. Stacey was also there, so we ended ended up just chatting the afternoon.

23.08 La Paz - Sucre
At 09.00 we had to leave hotel for the first of two flights to Sucre. 11:25 from La Paz El Alto to Santa Cruz Viru Viru. Then 13:15 to Sucre Alcantari landing at 14:30.
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The hotel in Sucre was great! A nice colonial building. It was huge!
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I liked Sucre very much. The vibe was more relaxed. Maybe a bit wrong to say, but the people seemed more developed. No hooking the horns all the time.

After checking in. a quick tour of the surroundings.
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Somehow for dinner,, Andres found a dutch bar. Weird to see a lot of dutch signs and names, this far from home.

24.08 Sucre
Time for some action today. I have been nothing for long enough. Together with Aiden, I went mountain climbing in the morning.
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It was the first time for me to climb on a real mountainside. I am used to indoor climbing. But having to hold onto cold, sharp rocks.. Auw..
I was goo fun though.

Around midday we got back at the hotel. I went a walk around the city. There is a nice fresh market around the corner of the hotel. A quick fresh juice and a sandwich after the climbing and I am good to go. Ow yeah.. don't forget to pick up the laundy tonight..
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25.08 Sucre - Potosi
09.00 meeting for the next leg of the journey - a 4 hour coach ride to Potosi, once the centre of all coinage due to the silver found in Cerro Rico mountain. Hotel Libertardor reminded me of one the rooms you see in an old Western.

The silver mine was not what I expected. You see these movies where the conditions are harsh. Well.. this was such a mine. And it was still operational. The people work long days in dreadful conditions. At the beginning we stopped for drinks and coca leaves for the miners. I thought it was a tourist trap. As it turned out, it wasn't. The guide gave everything to the miners. They were working with almost no water and were happy to get some. Our guide told us that they earned a decent wages (12 USD per day at the moment).
The mine had almost no light, no proper ventilation for the dust.
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I know there are still lots of these places around the world. There is a big difference between seeing and knowing.

26.08 Potosi - Uyuni.
08:45 meeting for a tour of the Mint, where the coins were made up until 1951. Due to silver in Potosi, the mint supplied most of the coins in the regio. Even to Spain itself. An extra fee had to be paid for pictures. Something I did not do...

At 13.00 the bus left for Uyuni. This place is at the start of the desert part. The town is not that big and it reminds me of the dusty cowboy town. Since it was already 18.00 by the time we arrived, we walked along the main strip with the group just as a carnival was about to start. Pizza in a strange place next to the military barracks but very nice food.
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27.08 Uyuni
Set off in four 4x4’s at 9:45 to the salt flats.
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First stop was at train cemetery. They left all the train in this graveyard since it is more expensive to clean it all up.
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This stop lasted about 20 minutes or so. We had to do a lot of driven today..
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The next stop was at the Dakar monument. This is a nice stop for pictures. It is already in the Salt Flats.
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Around lunchtime we stopped somewhere in the salt flats. It is a big empty space ..
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Here we took a lot of photos where you get to play with the perspective.
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The drivers cooked lunch under a canopy tied between the trucks, including birthday banners and cake. It is Lee's birthday today!! All sang Happy Birthday.IMG_5915.JPGIMG_5914.JPG

Next stop, Inca Whasi (cactus island on the salt flats).
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Finally after a long day of driving in a vast nothingness, we stopped for the sunset.
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Arrived at the lodges for 19.00. After sunset it gets cold very quick. It dropped below zero... The lodges where made of clay.
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28.08 Salt Flats.
Early birds again. Away by 7am. We set out for a long, long day of driving.
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The stinky lagoon (because of the sulfer from the volcano). Lots of flamingo's.
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Train line:
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Pink lagoon (due to the lack of sun, not so pink):
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At nighttime we arrived at Cocina. I spent the night bunked with Jon, Tom and Daimon.
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29.08 Cocina (Bolivia) - San Pedro de Atacame (Chile)
Early and tired birds.. Away by 7:30 enroute to Chile. Saw a few Picuna along the way.
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Hot springs (yeah I dove in.):
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The Dali Desert at 4.300 meter. This places is named after the painter.
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Lagoona Blanca and Verde at the base of the Licancsbur volcano 6000m:
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Then it was time to go to the border crossing into Chile.
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This is a little outpost in the middle of nowhere. We had to leave our drivers behind and we picked up the new guide: Marco.

Next up: Chile..

Geplaatst door Nschelling 18:29 Gearchiveerd in Bolivia Reacties (1)

Peru


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So after Lima is was a bit hectic so I could not write anything. Now I am in a bus to Puno for 8 hours so I have got the time to do some writing.

12.08 (Friday)
Where did I leave the last time? Oh yeah: meeting the group. Our group entails 17 people. Ranging from 20-60 years old. Most of them from England. Also a Canadian, Irish couple and an Aussie. All different backgrounds of course. So a nice mixed group. For now it was a meet and greet and a general explanation by the tour guide (Andrés) on how the trip will be going.

13.08 (Saturday)
Today is a travelday. We are flying to Cusco around 11.00. Nothing special about this day.
Since Cusco it at 3.000 meters we need to adjust to this height. We took an evening stroll through the city. Cusco is smaller city compared to Lima. What never fails to amaze me is the driving. Such an organized chaos. A lot of honking for no apparent reason. A lane system is painted on the road, but no one seems to follow it. Lot of potholes. Overtaking is a madhouse. Cars and buses overtake at crazy places, most of which I would not dare to overtake. Glad I am not driving here.
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14.08 (Sunday)
I signed up for the hike up to Rainbow mountain. The top of this mountain is at 5.000 meters. For those of you who do not this: breathing is a challenge at this altitude. Combine that with hiking up a mountain and you have a challenge.

So waking up at 03.00 and leaving at 04.30 the begin the trip. It takes about 2 hours of driving to get there. We had 2 guides with us to go up the mountain. The entrance is at about 4.000 meters, even here you can feel how thin the air has become. Walking here though is amazing. In the morning the clouds are still on the mountains. Slowly the sun pushes them away and there is clear blue sky.
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The ascend… Man, that takes a lot out of you. Mainly the steeper parts!! Just going for 15 meters and I was out of breath. Wait for a few minutes and good to go. Thank god for my fitness training which focus on breathing. I really needed this to get to the top.
Upon reaching the top, the view is amazing. The colors of the mountain. The yellow, red, blue. All because of the minerals in it.
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The guides told us that this mountain was only found 6 years ago. Due to global warming all the ice/snow has melted and it became visible. The area itself was giving to the local community so they get to benefit from the tourists. At the moment around 2.000 come each day. I can say that the village and the roads are not yet ready for this. I hope the community can grow.

Going down the mountain is a lot better. You get to breath again!! Such a good feeling. One of our group got sick on the way down. Oxygen deprivation.. This is a common thing here and the guides carry oxygen tanks to help out.

We got back around 18.00.. This was a long day but definitely worth it!!

15.08 (Monday)
We went to a local community near Cusco. The people living here are still traditional. They showed us how they make the colors of their clothing. They use a base stone (can not remember what it is called). Then they add different elements of plants and lime. All depending on the color they want. Just all organic, no chemicals. The colors they get are brighter than I have seen in the Western World.
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And there was a small market. Maybe a small guild trip where you end up buying there wares at small prices. I only bought a scarf made from alpaca. So soft. I might be a guild trip, but seeing these ladies working with those smiles, you just go for it.
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Got to bed earlier again.

16.08 (Tuesday)
Time to go the village of Maquina near Machu Pichu itself. This is village is basically the stage area to gather and go up to MP itself.
We took the scenic train, this one has windows in the roof.
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This train takes about 2 hours to get to Maquina. On the train the views of the mountains and scenery is beautiful. Entering the town is for this Dutchman something weird. The trainstation is in the center of the town.
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All the people walk near it, people on the tracks. Reminded me of pictures I have seen in India. I needed a small adjustment.

The town is car free and has steep hills. Most of what I have seen of Peru has steep hills. Since it is a staging point: lots of tourists.
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We got here very earlier, so the rooms were not yet ready. So out came the daypacks and we set off the a nearby waterfall. The walk itself is pretty easy. No hills!! What a relieve. The trail was easy to follow, just follow the railway.
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Next to the railway there are of couple campsites for backpackers. They are next to river. They looked like a good place for a little of the grit. Sorry no pictures of these. After about 2 hours we got to the waterfall. And the mosquitoes... We were a walking buffet I guess. Still the area is very nice. Not many people go here. There are several spots where you can take a swim. Mind you: it is mountain water so very cold. Lee got in at the waterfall. I tried but it was too cold so I dove in a spot a little lower and in the sun.
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Then it was time to get back again. At 18.30 the group meeting again for the plans the next day.

17.08 (Wednesday)
Waking up early again.. Now it is time for Machu Pichu! We got in at 07.30. There were still clouds on the mountains. From the entrance to the viewpoint it took about 20 minutes to walk. And since it is Peru.. walking means steps. And it was worth it. It is a special place. Lots of history, most of it is still unknown since there is no writing from that era. They only allow groups of 7 people. So we got divided and each got their own guide. In total we had 4 guides.

Walking around this places just powers up your imagination. How the Inca’s lived and were building the place. Also the background of mountains and the valley does not hurt. What can you write about such a place? Even the pictures do not do it justice.
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Afterwards we got back on the scenic train back to Ollantytambo and then by car back to Cusco. At 19.00 I was just tired.

18.08 (Thursday)
This was a free day and we went our own way. I went horse riding in the morning in the mountains. I needed to slow down a bit since the pace is brutal.

Afterwards we went through the city. Visiting local artists for gold and silver, Alpaca shop. Here we were taught about the difference between the real and fake. Also the local marketplace. You can get all kinds of stuff. Fresh juices (for 8 Soles you get 4 glasses). Different kinds of meat. Did not try those. A lot of cooked dishes. They looked good and big. I wanted some small bites so I did not try these.

Walking around here in the sun and altitude, really takes a toll on me. So off to bed early again.

19.08 (Friday)
On to Puno. Since this day involves an 8 hour bus trip. There is not much to tell about this. Like I said, I got some time to do this writing. The bus is very comfortable. The view is also not bad. Through the valleys and mountains. The sun is out and shining bright.

After 5 hours a small lunch break. Nothing fancy, just a sandwich and a coffee. Now the next 3 hours.

Puno is different city from Cusco. It seemed a little less developed although there is a lot of construction going on. Off the hotel and quick walkabout and diner.

Here came a surprise: today is the end of the schoolyear and this is celebrated in a big way. Bands are playing. Fireworks. Like a crazy carnival for hours. They dress up in various styles. All the local are out and about. Such a lively place.

20.08 (Saturday)
Today is lake Titicaca. Andrés had a nice surprise of going with tuktuks to the boat. It was just like Mario kart! A lot of fun.

On the lake we went to the floating islands of Urus. The people build these small floating islands out of reefs and live on them. The process is astounding.

I am not feeling okay these last few days. My throat hurts. Feels like sandpaper and coughing feels like everything is ripped to pieces. Time for a doctor. He got to the hotel and a brief examination. Inflammation of the airway. “1 shot now!” “Pills later” .. OK Doc! I still don’t know what he gave me. Probably some steroids. The pills are prednisone. I hope they work before we get to the salt flats.

Geplaatst door Nschelling 16:44 Gearchiveerd in Peru Reacties (2)

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