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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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


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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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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Lima, PeruLima, Peru


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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Arequipa, PeruArequipa, Peru

Arequipa – a gem in the south of Peru

We really liked Arequipa! We had a nice hostal with a lovely garden, WLAN and a lot of sunshine

And we even had a special Hostal Pet, called Pacos!

The historic city centre is very beautiful with colonial houses, painted in bright colours.

We walked through the city centre with its hundreds of taxis and traffic policewomen with nice gloves…

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Colca Canyon, PeruColca Canyon, Peru

Back from Colca Canyon – need a laundry NOW!

Don’t worry, we already had a hot shower – and yes, we were really looking forward to it…

Well, I better start from the beginning. We wanted to go to the world’s second deepest canyon (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US) and went to one of those tour agencies in Arequipa to inform us, a) what a tour would cost and b) what to do and where to go.
a) Costs: For a 3 day / 2 nights trip – that’s what we wanted to do – they asked for 230 US Dollar each. All inclusive (one night in a hostal, one in a tent, meals and transport included). For 230 US Dollar, I suppose, you can live one month as a king in the canyon…
b) What to do: yeah, we got quite some information

So we decided to go on our own. First challenge was the bus terminal – we are not in Ecuador any more (it’s so easy there, a bus goes any time and anywhere)… We where told that a bus directly to Cabanaconde (the village closest to the deepest part of the canyon – a min. six hours drive from Arequipa) would leave at 8am (=getting up early, missing the hostal breakfast…*smiley winking*. Well, there was no bus at 8am, but there was one at 9am to Chivay (a village at the “beginning” of the canyon). So we got on this one, as we where told, that there are some more buses from Chivay to Cabanaconde. At the terminal we met two approx. 40 year old French people with no English or Spanish skills at all, who were a bit helpless. So had to translate for them.

After a good 4 hours bus ride with quite some impressions we reached the “Kuhdorf” Chivay.

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Stranded in Nazca – what needs to be added

Well, I have to add some comments… (consulting like with bullet points!)

– The flight was nice + it was a nightmare for me… but I didn’t use the bag they provided…
– The reason why we did not do sandboarding on the highest sanddune in the world is – guess – I was afraid ending up as a nurse…
– The cat liked me, yes. But it stayed longer at our table because… see yourself!