Machu Picchu, PeruMachu 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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Cuzco, PeruCuzco, Peru

Cuzco und das Heilige Tal

Was kommt Menschen zu erst in den Sinn, wenn es um Peru geht…richtig: Die sagenumwobene “verlorene Stadt” der Inkas – Machu Picchu! Und dementsprechend auch eines der Highlights unserer Reise

Cuzco

Startpunkt für alle Exkursionen zur verlorenen Stadt – und in das Heilige Tal – ist Cuzco, wo wir nach einer endlos langen Fahrt im Nachtbus von Arequipa ankamen und den Tag erst mal mit einem Gourmetfrühstück in einer Bäckerei / Tapasbar / Restaurant begonnen haben…

Der Hauptplatz von Cuzco – Plaza Armas – ist sehr schön, allein dieser Platz hat 4 *smiley exclamation mark* Kirchen, die Spanier haben dort für unseren Geschmack etwas zu fleissig gebaut (und viele Inka Mauern und Gebäude dafür abgerissen). Auch die atemberaubenden Gold- und Silberschätze der Inkas wurden von den Spaniern eingeschmolzen und zu Heiligenfiguren umgegossen…

Ein Schock für uns nach Ecuador und dem Norden von Peru waren die Preise und Touristen: Die ganze Stadt ist touristisch massiv überlaufen, was dazu führt, dass man alle paar Meter was zum Kaufen angeboten bekommt (“My friend…restaurant”, “Hey Mister! Tour to Machu Picchu tomorrow!”, “Lady! Inka Massage”…auch Alpaca Ponchos, Laundry, Cocktails, Inka Art, Bus Tickets, “Real” Silver, Mountainbikes, Picutures with Llama und vieles mehr hätten wir erstehen können und von wie vielen Leuten wir plötzlich “Friends” und “Amigos” waren… *kopfschüttel*)

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Lima, PeruLima, Peru

Lima

Long overdue – as we are already some 1000 km further south in Bolivia now – we finally managed to put together our experiences in Lima:

How can you characterize a city with over 7 mn inhabitants – right, you can’t, because it’s too different in itself. Through the days we spent there we only saw a snapshot of some of the city, e.g. the district of Miraflores where our hostal was and the city center.

Overall we liked Lima, especially for it’s nice cafes in Miraflores and the especially good food in one of Perus most famous restaurants (Iris might write a special about dining in the most expensive places available… ), but that said, it’s more a place we can imagine to live rather than something for sightseeing/travel as the city is BIG and the sights are well spread across…

Special thanks of this edition goes to Alejandro, who was giving us really good tips for THE locations (and restaurants) to go in Lima *smiley smiling*

Old city – Sightseeing

Lima still contains some really nice collonial houses, especially around the Plaza de Armas (nearly all cities in Latin America have a place called like that, comparable to the German “Hauptstrasse” in every town).

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Nazca, PeruNazca, Peru

Stranded in Nazca

Where is Nazca? And why “stranded”?

Well, first of all Nazca is in the desert – miles and miles of sand, nothing else around!

Second reason, there was no seats in the bus available the day we wanted to continue…and as taking the night bus was not recommended, we decided to stay one day longer in Nazca.

So we ended up in a desert city having a lot more time than planned…

Nazca lines – huge messages from the past

Well, first of all Iris discovered, that Nazca is famous for something else, than the ancient lines in the dessert…guess what?

And after a nice brunch in the sun, we catched our flight over the famous Nazca lines. Some small history lesson: Well, it’s not really known who produced the line and why…just imagine a ancient civilization producing pictures in the sand, they could not even see themselves, unless they knew how to fly – which is more unlikely. However they produced various surprisingly perfect pictures, symbols and lines in the sand, so lets just see their masterpieces…

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Alausi, EcuadorAlausi, Ecuador

Die Teufelsnase

Nach dem Motto “besser spät als nie” muss ich nun also noch einmal etwas zu Ecuador nachschieben – jetzt wo wir schon einige Tage in Peru sind *smiley winking*

Geschichtlich gesehen ist es eine Meisterleistung der Ingenieurskunst: Die Trans-Anden-Eisenbahn reichte von Guayaquil (an der Küste Ecuadors) bis nach Quito (mitten in den Anden). Auf dem Weg zwischen den beiden Städten liegen eine Vielzahl der höchsten Berggipfel außerhalb des Himalaya, die umgangen oder überquert werden mussten.

Naja, so viel zur Geschichte – denn mittlerweile ist von dem einstigen Stolz Ecuadors nicht mehr viel übrig geblieben: Verschiedene “El Nino” Jahre haben der Trasse sehr zugesetzt – und im Zeitalter der Straßen sah keiner mehr die Notwendigkeit Instansetzungsmaßnahmen vorzunehmen. Es verbleibt einzig die touristische Nutzung eines Teilstückes zwischen Riobamba und Sibambe.

Laut Reiseführer sollte dieses Stück allerdings ein Highlight sein, schließlich fährt man über die Teufelsnase…und dem Zeitgenossen wollen wir ja alle mal hin und wieder auf der Nase herumtanzen (6)

Riobamba und kein Zug

Auf nach Riobamba zum Startpunkt der Route – auch wenn es vorher schon Gerüchte gab, dass der richtige Zug aktuell nicht fährt. Die Gerüchte reichten von “Strecke zu schlecht für schweren Zug” bis “Touristen auf dem Dach umgekommen”. Wie? Also genauer sollen zwei Japaner zum Fotografieren – für was sonst bei Japanern – aufgestanden und von einer Stromleitung erwischt worden sein…

Wie auch immer: Kein Zug! – Der richtige Zug fährt (warum auch immer) nicht und der Ersatzverkehr (Details was das sein könnte unten) ist ausgebucht *smiley crying*

Dank Iris Charme – der wohl auch bei Frauen wirkte – konnten wir aber Tickets für den Ersatzverkehr ab Alausi bis Sibambe bekommen. Also wenigstens ein bisschen Eisenbahn über die Teufelsnase *smiley smiling*

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Quilotoa Loop, EcuadorQuilotoa Loop, Ecuador

Quilotoa Loop

Quilo…what?

Yes, believe it or not – this question occurs even if you talk to fellow travellers around in Ecuador. It’s obviously not the standard destination, even though it is listed as one of the places to see for Ecuador.

Why it is not that touristy as other places? Easy to explain, if you just reference to the appropriate Lonely Planet section about transportation starting “No busses go all around the loop…” and closing with “Don’t worry – everyone’s confused.”

But that simply couldn’t scare us off!

Latacunga

“Base camp” for the start was easily set up in Latacunga. Anything special about it…? No! It is an easy going town on the Panamericana – South Americas blood stream and everything but touristy.

And it was here, that I had one of the most funny conversations with local people so far: Imagine you enter a bakery and wanna buy some bread… For sure your Spanish is bad, but well enough – at least pointing at pieces – to show what you want and the lady in the bakery manages English well enough to make sure how much it costs. The usual question where you are from and your standard answer “Aleman” is followed by a surprised smile from the bakery lady… “Aleman, Frankfurt, train station” – and she obviously has been there before, because she can describe – or better point out with her hands – how the roof of the train station looks like *smiley smiling*

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Galapagos, EcuadorGalapagos, Ecuador

Galapagos…continued (Santa Cruz and Farewell)

Isla Santa Cruz

Official” program
Visiting Lonesome George, the last of his species…

Prolongation on our own
Mainly drinking coffee, having nice food and relaxing at wonderful beaches…

Unfortunately it’s now time to leave “paradise” and go some other scenic places…however this is definitely one of the highlights of our tour

Stay tuned for the next updates…

P.S.: Who of you is still reading? Any feedback? Comments?