Brisbane, AustraliaBrisbane, Australia

Die australische Tierwelt

Nein, es ist kein Witz, unsere erste “Amtshandlung” in Australien war der Besuch eines Streichelzoos. Auch wenn dem Zoologen die Haare zu Berge stehen (keine artgerechte Tierhaltung) und böse Zungen behaupten, ein Streichelzoo sei nur etwas für kleine Kinder – eins sei gesagt: es war ein riesen Spaß und neben kleinen australischen Kindern waren nicht-australische ausgewachsene Touristen die hauptsächlichen Gäste…

Aber schaut selbst! Erst mal zu den Känguruhs:

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Huahine, French PolynesiaHuahine, French Polynesia

Next island – Huahine, the tropical garden island in paradis

Well, we thought, Bora Bora might be hard to beat… but in a way I liked Huahine even better. Of course, the scenery is more spectacular on Bora Bora (if there are no clouds to see both peaks…*smiley winking*, but Huahine is much less touristy (means also you have to speak French!), people are extremely friendly and give the visitors a really warm welcome and the whole island is like a tropical garden.

We stayed in a bed and breakfast of a French family. We had the whole guest house for us alone – it was situated in a beautiful garden, with two huge but friendly dogs… the family stayed in the house next to it, but came over from time to time to have a chat. Yes, in French. Tough time but great to rehearse for me. And other than very often in France: extremely patient when it took a while to explain what I wanted to say and happy that I made the effort to speak French (yes, they do speak 3-4 words of English…*smiley winking*. I think, if I need to polish my French skills one day, I will do it either at Huahine or in Marokko, depending on my budget

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Bora Bora, French PolynesiaBora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora – where is the second peak?

“This is it, this is the one. The arrival by plane says it all. From above, the promise of a wonderland is instantly made good: glinting turquoise sea and dazzlingly white sandy stretches of beach.” (Lonely Planet about Bora Bora)

And yes, this is right. Unfortunately, there were some clouds when we landed, however, the water is turquoise and so clear, that you don’t really need snorkeling equipment to see the fish…

On Bora Bora, we had our most expensive accommodation on the trip so far – but it was really nice and special…

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Moorea, French PolynesiaMoorea, French Polynesia

“Preisschock” or our arrival in paradise = French Polynesia

Coming from 3 months South America it was clear, that prices are a bit higher in French Polynesia, but checking for some hostels/hotels on the islands revealed, that it’s much worse…the offer of a bed in a 7-bed-dorm for 21 EUR *smiley exclamation mark* per person was the cheapest option we found Other available options started around 130 EUR *smiley exclamation mark* per night/room *smiley annoyed* Luckily some last minute cancellation secured us a room in the Fare Suisse in Papeete for 50 EUR for both of us including airport transfers

Our late-night landing in paradise (Faaa International Airport Papeete / Tahiti) was therefore a little bit more relaxed that thought before – our Swiss host Beni picked us up as promised and brought us to his really nice hostel in Papeete.

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Easter Island, ChileEaster 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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Valle de la Luna, ChileValle 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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Madidi National Park, BoliviaMadidi 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, BoliviaPampas, 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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La Paz, BoliviaLa Paz, Bolivia

Ugly La Paz

No, we did not like it. It’s the first city we really didn’t like. Why is difficult to describe, it was probably the atmosphere. It’s dirty, there are many very poor people, it’s exhausting (La Paz is on 3600m), the car’s and busses exhaust emission was enormous and really breathtaking…

There are some nice views, however.

La Paz is also a bit obscure, you can buy anything, even dried lama and alpaca fetus in order to bury it in the earth before building a house – sacrisfy to Mother Earth (as important as Christianity)

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Lake Titicaca, BoliviaLake Titicaca, Bolivia

Freezing Lake Titicaca

After the cultural highlights in and around Cuzco (pics are coming soon) we decided to go to Lake Titicaca, almost 4000m high and – freezing, especially at night (it’s winter here).

Our night bus arrived earlier than expected (the first time in South America!!) and we knocked on our hostal door already at 5.15 am. The sleepy but extremly friendly owner opened the door and gave us coffee. At 6.30 am we started with some sightseeing as our room wasn’t ready.

First stop where the so called flooting islands, build of wood and a kind of straw. Very nice to look at, still everything build in the traditional way (= everything build with straw), however, main occupation of the islanders is not fishing anymore but tourism. And they live good with it…

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