Easter Island, Chile

Rapa Nui by scooter / Mit’m Roller über die Osterinsel – continued

Day 3

5:00am! We will definitely beat the crowds visiting the Moai at sunrise!

Unfortunately the sunrise is on the other side of the island, its pitch dark (no street lamps), the road has quite some pot holes, we have a scooter… and it is raining *smiley annoyed* Don’t ask how, but we made it well before any sun light was hitting the horizon and enjoyed a dramatic looking scenery

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Easter Island, Chile

Rapa Nui by scooter / Mit’m Roller über die Osterinsel

Time to say goodbye to the South American Continent…

After almost 6 flight hours (Boing 767, no small what so ever bird…*smiley winking* there was:

One thing to clarify, as we Germans tend to speak about “die Osterinseln” and some English speaking people “the Easter Islands”: It’s only one island – and some two or three very tiny islets – so singular it should be!

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Valparaiso, Chile

Back to the city! – Santiago de Chile and Valparaiso

After quite some time in more (or less) remote locations (see our Salar de Uyuni blog), we arrived in the modern mega-city of Santiago de Chile on a Sunday… and is was a special Sunday: There was some type of ceremony for the president of Chile!

Sounds good! But result et in a very frustrated taxi driver dropping us off some five blocks or so from the hostel, because he simply could not get closer due to closed streets. And that meant walking through a deserted city center (all people must have been somewhere else watching the parade) after a 24hour bus ride with our backpacks *smiley annoyed*

We stayed in the hostel Plaza de Armas directly at the central place – with the same name – and in a converted apartment. Straight to the point: Location great, facilities (showers, kitchen, WiFi=WLAN) good, staff sucks – but fortunately we haven’t come here to meet them…but to do some sight-seeing

But as Europeans and after more than two months on the road we got more attracted by the modern amenities than the whole sight-seeing *smiley winking*

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Valle de la Luna, Chile

Relaxing and defrosting in San Pedro de Atacama

Yes, we really needed some time to defrost after the Salar and the Lagunas in Bolivia … So we took a day just to relax, to blog and so on in San Pedro de Atacama (Chile).

The village of San Pedro is small (less than 5000 inhabitants), but is has one of the oldest churches in Chile

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Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni – and beyond…

This will be an unsual posting – until we find some more time for an update… As we – hopefully – will leave for Easter Island and some more islands tomorrow morning and the internet connection will at least be a “bit” slower there we decided to already upload/post the selected photos

Edit: Being on the islands now – to be more exact: on Rapa Nui / Easter Island – we have been busy the last couple of days exploring the island and organizing our onward travels over a VERY slow sattelite connection (which even breaks at times, when it’s raining). We decided to call this our posting for the Salar de Uyuni trip…so read the picture descriptions – and/or invite us for dinner and drinks sometime in January 2010 – to get more infos

Stay tuned for the outstanding postings about San Pedro de Atacama and the Valle de la luna, Santiago and Valparaiso and – last but not least for now – Easter Island!

Uyuni (City)

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Potosi, Bolivia

A little closer to hell…in Potosi (Bolivia)

Being currently in the writing mood – and under a little pressure from my travel partner to finish some blog entries before we hopefully (flight confirmation outstanding ) take off to the islands here come some details of our visit to Potosi in Bolvia.

Once it was one of the richest towns in the world – and one of the largest ones (close second after London at that time) as well *smiley surprised*

Main reason for their wealth being the tremendous silver resources under nearby Cerro Rico – a hill that back in that times was obviously about 300 to 400m higher than it is today…yes, that difference might have mainly to do with the amount of silver extracted from it *smiley surprised*

Another example to illustrate their – once – increddible wealth is the more than 80 *smiley exclamation mark* churches that serve around 150.000 inhabitants of Potosi…and I am not talking about small churches here *smiley winking*

Sightseeing these days is a little tricky…

…as to see the real attraction of Potosi, you need to go underground!

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Sucre, Bolivia

Sucre (Bolivien)

Was gibt es über Sucre zusagen? Gemeinhin wird es gerne auch als “die weiße Stadt” bezeichnet…Ihr werdet bei den Fotos sehen, warum Was weniger bekannt ist – und da tue ich jetzt mal was für Eure Allgemeinbildung – es ist auch die konstitutionelle Hauptstadt von Bolivien und Sitz des obersten Gerichtshofs des Landes.

Und was kann man in einer Hauptstadt am besten tun? Richtig: Ausspannen, von den Strapazen der “anderen” Hauptstadt Bolivienes, die wir gerade erst hinter und gelassen hatten – und die uns ja nicht soooooo gut gefallen hat.

Und dafür ist die Stadt wirklich schööööööön Man fühlt sich so ein bisschen wie in Spanien – alles relaxt und entspannend

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Madidi National Park, Bolivia

Sandflies and Mosquitoes @ Jungle

Our next destination was the jungle at Madidi National Park. We wanted to go to a lodge right into the national park, not somewhere outside, but this meant a 7 hour trip on a small boat (there are no roads…*smiley winking*. The landscape was nice, especially early in the morning.

However, the water was not very steep, sometimes only 20-30 cm. As a result, the boat needed to be pushed, lifted and so on… We were quite happy when we finally arrived at the lodge – no, not at the lodge, but at the river near the lodge – another 30min walk through the jungle – dense vegetation, strange plants, green everywhere and – of course, millions of insects.

After some food and rest, Thorsten and me took a rowing boot on the small lake, but we didn’t sort out who rows how much, so we went a lot of zigzag

In the evening, we made a night walk, seeing a lot and especially hearing much more!

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Pampas, Bolivia

Mosquitoes @ Pampas

We were not sure if the plane would fly to Rurrenabaque (Rurre), THE town (about 5000 inhabitants) in this area with an airport. Well, with an gras airstrip, i.e. no plane can start or land if threre was rain. And yes, in the rainforest area, it rains heavily and it does not dry very fast… We were lucky: the plane (Fairchild with two propellers and 17 passenger seats) left in time!

The flight was smooth, the view was superb, however not in the beginning… the windows were all frozen up – even the middle window in the cockpit…

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Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu

Being already 2 countries further (Bolivia and Chile), we finally found some time to catch up with some blog entries… *smiley winking*

03:45 in the morning: Did we really agree putting the alarm clock on this time for our visit to Machu Picchu? *smiley surprised* Yes, we did, because we wanted to get 2 of the only 400 tickets a day, that allow you to climb Wayna Picchu (a mountain opposite Machu Picchu).

After only very basic morning hygene we found ourselves in rushed search for the bus terminal – thanks to Lonely Planet we did not check the evening before… and of course its not anymore where Lonely Planet described it. All this just to discover how many other travellers were obviously following the same plan – arriving at the bus terminal arround 04:15 am, we lined up approximately 50m from the beginning of the line. *smiley surprised*

Luckily some street vendors and one shop saw the opportunity for some early morning business and we got some coffee and sandwiches that filled the waiting time until the first busses around 05:30 am. By that time the line up of people had reached easily the 500m mark and first discussions about people trying to squeeze into the line up had begun. (6)

Finally we went into the 4th bus that day leaving only shortly after 05:30 am, just to find us lined up (or this time better bulked up) in another waiting line on top of the mountain waiting for the opening of the gates…

As there must have been quite a number of people climbing up the mountain by foot in the dark, the crowds eagerly waiting to get tickets for Wayna Picchu had increased dramatically by the time the guards opened the gates…

Time for morning sports in the dawn – sunset seemed still quite some time away: A run over the whole complex of Machu Picchu to the other end, where the ticket box for Wayna Picchu is located. How to imagine that (as we have no pictures)? Have you ever seen the start of a marathon…just like that, except, that you and most others have no clue which way to go…

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