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Bolivia

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In the footsteps of the Incas

The last few weeks were entirely under the sign of movement and this in the footsteps of the Incas.

2011-05-08-13-10-30_dsc_0102 From the chaotic city, La Paz 'out we went to the Choro Trail. A taxi took us early in the morning to the trailhead. A tough but short climb took us to about 4900 meters above sea level high ball. This was followed by the long descent. We said goodbye to the barren landscape of the Andes and gradually worked our way into the tropical lowlands before. The road, which was used by the Incas as a trade route, was spectacular. Simply admirable to create in such a landscape, this stone paths: It must have lasted an eternity! We enjoyed the walk along by individual, isolated houses, friendly locals waving and of course the llama flocks.

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The second day was hard and long, but the scenery and especially the alternation traveling motivated us again and again, and the more we enjoyed the well-earned after-work beer. On the third day we took the last part of a total of 3700 meters of descent in attack. Thanks to recently Autostopp we saved us the taxi and ended up at the crossroads, from where we in the minibus back to back, La Paz were 'accommodated.

2011-05-11-17-47-35_dsc_0186 We said goodbye, La Paz 'we were on our way to Copacabana on Lake Titicaca. On the way we were able to take a last look at the city: Spectacular nestled in a valley, the highest capital was again the best side. Copacabana was then a disappointment, not a tourist trap same: Overpriced, pushy and crowded. We started the next day at the Isla del Sol, Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca. We enjoyed the ferry ride on the lake, which is 13 times as big as our Lake Constance! We wanted the flow of tourists to dodge and already got out in the south of the island, counter-cyclical behavior has until now always worth it! :) So we could start walking alone. We marveled at the terraces produced by the Incas, saw women with their flocks of sheep on the road, pigs on the roadside and beaches with crystal clear, sparkling water.

2011-05-12-14-45-34_dsc_0236 In the north we reached the Chikana ruins with the sacred stone, where the history of the Inca mythology is said to have run its course. From there, the road led us back to the south, where we moved into a nice hotel room. When asked after a warm shower answered the Senora us that we could take a shower only a maximum of 4 minutes because the water on the island would be so scarce. So far there is only one water pump on the whole island and is owned by a French pharmaceutical company and is used to water plants (!). The remaining residents of up to 200 meters high island must carry to their homes water canisters. So it would be clear potential for improvement exists. After a restful night followed by Zmorge in the sun with views of the lake we headed back to Copacabana. From there we went right on in our next trip in Peru.

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We had a very good first impression of the country: Once in Puno we were treated kindly, the people were trying to talk to us in English. This happened almost never in Bolivia. The road led us further into the city of Arequipa, which we liked very much with its colonial buildings, the Salta-like Plaza and the fine food. The city is not only surrounded by three giant volcanoes but is also close to the Cotahuasi Canyon and the Colca Canyon, the canyons with up to 3000 meters height difference among the deepest in the world (By comparison, the Grand Canyon is "only" 1200 meters deep). This we wanted to leave, and therefore does not preclude started our next hike in the Colca Canyon.

2011-05-17-10-42-38_dsc_0323 The bus took us to, Chivay ', a village at which we especially loved the market. We verpflegten with Fasnachtschüechli-like pastries, Chinese noodles and alpaca skewers, so that we are then also strengthened for the next few days. Early in the morning at 6.00 clock we drove together with Udo, our temporary Reisegspändli from Austria, by bus to the "Cruz del Condor". From here we could observe the ascending above the rim of the canyon condors wonderful. We saw the animals already in Patagonia, but they are always impressive: up to 70 years old, have a wingspan of up to three meters and can weigh up to 11 kg. Hard to believe that they can still fly! :) The bus took us on to the actual trailhead. It was followed by a steep descent into the Canon, in which we were accompanied by two other condors. The view was gorgeous! On the way we strengthened ourselves with homemade pasta salad and fresh figs, which we received as a gift on the way. Lucky we arrived at our destination: The oasis Sangalle. 2011-05-17-16-08-47_dsc_0343 Located next to the pool, we set up our tent, bought us a beer and bounced unceremoniously into the pool. The owner of the land joined us later and told us that they will soon have electricity and he wonders how he could use the. He asked us for our opinion. We discussed and put to him the next day, our approach to wellness oasis before. He was enthusiastic and we looked forward even by so much innovation - something that we missed in Bolivia. The subsequent rise was tough with over 1,000 meters, but good exercise! Back in, Chivay 'we rewarded ourselves with a walk in the nearby hot springs and then hunger in the market: It was good! We recovered and continued the next day, the journey via, Arequipa 'after, Cusco' continued.

It was our first ride at night in Peru, so we let us carefully about the bus companies and gladly paid a higher price, to love the security. Security was also written really big, even if they wanted to convey a partly exaggerated: We were individually filmed before boarding and even had to leave a fingerprint! A smile we could not verkneiffen us naturally. Without incidents we arrived in healing, Cusco ', capital of the Inca Empire at. We were "lured" into a nice place to stay and then enjoyed the best (though until now first) Pizza in Peru. Subsequently rejoiced especially David: We enjoyed a very tasty coffee, directly from the region. There was a short photo tour through the old town. 2011-05-20-20-55-17_dsc_0390 We were able to admire the walls created by the Incas. Unbelievable how the stones are perfectly adapted. The visit of the town is pleasant in the evening, as it is during the day addressed continually: Massages, guides, tours, equipment, food ... The tourism is in full swing and this of course because of the nearby ruins of the Incas: Machu Picchu. This was then our next destination.

Machu Picchu may enweder be reached by train or on foot. However, we decided against the official and the world-famous Inca Trail. This would take four days would be organized, would cost USD 500 and the most negative for us: You'd have him make reservations in advance very early (2-3 months), as a maximum number of 500 hiking per day are allowed by the government. We wanted to go out on my own and decided to Machu Picchu via the alternative Salkantay trek to reach. We do not need a guide, as David was by long search GPS tracks on the Internet, cook, we have also always there and the task of hauling the mules we also own. By taxi we went on after, Mollepata '. There we stayed with an elderly couple who cared for us very. She proudly showed us their living flesh stock: The Meersäuli in the next room! So it's not just a rumor, they really end up as a specialty on the plate.

2011-05-22-11-27-53_dsc_0081 Early in the morning at 6.00 clock brought us the taxi, Soraypampa ', from where we took the rise in attack. At 4700 meters above sea level we enjoyed a breathtaking view of the mountain "Salkantay", which appeared through the clouds only partially. From the pass, the descent followed. We wandered past tent sites and groups and were always glad to decide what we want to do now where. By groups on the trail automatically follow many mules and horses, which the equipment and luggage hauling. This one sees then also the way in which we found a bit of a shame. Powered by the enticing warmer temperatures, the deeper we go, it was a long day. We could set up the tent with a family in the "Garden". It is always amazing how simple people live partly here. No running water, the house itself built of wood and one room for the whole family, no electricity and the toilet of course accordingly. However, they made us a satisfied impression and gifted us before departure with passion fruit from our own "production". After 1.5 hours walking, we continued by bus to Santa Teresa ', then take a taxi to, Hidroeléctrica' and from there in about two hours on foot along the railway tracks after Aguas Calientes'. On the train we did not realize, since there is virtually him only for the tourists and therefore the prices are overpriced.

2011-05-24-08-34-36_panorama_machu_picchu_1 We checked into our hotel, which we did not use long. At 4:00 clock was Tagwacht, we cooked noodles on our kettle in the hotel room, so we were strengthened for our project: ascent to Machu Picchu. At 5:00 clock we started the 500-meter climb. It was a huge "Run", all rushed up the hill from the reason that only the first 400 people to nearby mountain "Huayna Picchu" may climb. The training of the previous hikes has paid off and we grabbed the necessary stamp. Even before the sunrise we saw the overwhelming, terraced town, which at that time emitting a wohltuhende rest. We shuddered briefly in this mystical vision, beautifully! We took along with four other people a guide, so the "Cairn" make sense. At 10.00 clock then stood before the ascent of Huayna Picchu. The construction of partially pretty criminal path stunned us once again. Steepest stairs led us finally to the summit. 2011-05-24-11-42-00_dsc_0176 It was nice to look down into the valley, but the sight of the mountain from the bottom we liked any better. Nevertheless, we followed the hype to get permission to climb. A Swiss couple who we met, was even at 2.30 clock on at night, so they made it to the bus still in the top 400, hard to believe. We enjoyed the view, took leave in the afternoon by the impressive site and made our return trip to Cusco.

From there came the far (especially for Karin) worst bus ride: After Ica. The track is very twisty, yes, it consists only of curves (16 hours), combining it with a bit more spirited driver, one could be so bad already. Karin has also eaten but still something bad and therefore suffered from stomach problems ... details we spare you. The rate was only slightly reduced, as a disgruntled passenger frantically banged against the driver's door and killed so reducing the speed requested. An hour before the target shot the driver the bird, in our case, in the form of taxis from. The little accident happened right in front of the eyes of the police and so our advantage was compensated for by the (too) fast driving with the completion of paperwork. Exhausted and happy to be still alive, we arrived in Ica. We checked into a nice hotel room and prescribed the next day totally recreation. Only the fourth day was marked again by a little activity. We visited the nearby and only oasis of South America: Huacachina.

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The sight of the surrounded by high sand dunes tourist attraction was nice. But we left it at with a short trip without daring sandboarding down the steep hill. This was followed by a visit to the Bodega "El Catador". Here the famous sweet wine of this region and of course is "Pisco" produced. Everything still old school: The grapes are pressed during the harvest in the night of five to ten people. Made foot, so to speak. The guide was very personal and even including tasting of the various products. Are produced in addition to alcoholic beverages and jams and the superfine Tejas (a candy that has in its interior pecans or figs and a kind of caramel cream (Majarblanco) and wrapped is of frosting or chocolate, mhmmmm!).

2011-05-27-11-56-52_dsc_0230 , Ica 'is still marked by the devastating earthquake in 2007 (7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale). The government has not invested to date in the reconstruction. It follows that, after four years, sadly, people still have to live in tents. Of course there are no insurance. Hope awakens the upcoming presidential election. We were on the first night to witness first hand the election campaign in Ica: one candidate, Ollanta was namely to visit and gave a speech on the main square. For us, very unusual scenes took place: Loud slogans and crowds that roamed the streets. In the square the whole was more like an open air. There were held concerts and the people celebrated. Besides Ollanta Keiko is (a woman) is also available. As we learned on the way, it is to be selected here mandatory. Who is not selected punished by a fine of 180 Soles (about 60 CHF). And this is viiiel money. Selection can be made where it is registered in writing. Since many Peruvians reside at a different location (for example, because of work), they have to travel on election day at the "hometown". Election Day is June 5th 2011, A Day at the buses are often fully booked and overpriced. But this is fortunately not an issue for us, namely, we have other plans ... :)

Our anticipation is great: In a few days we can walk on the Easter Island set! We look forward all the more that we are "couch surfing" and can be safely quickly become familiar with the island.

Meanwhile, we wish you a good time, enjoying the warm temperatures! Kindest regards from the Empire of the Incas !!!

Here finds the pictures for the last few days:



As usual, the distance traveled:

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Bolivia - Part 1

Now we're nearly six months on the road. For us, the time is entertaining, because there is always something new to discover. In Bolivia, we were very happy and we have been by no means disappointed. But first things first ....

2011-04-17-13-35-28_dsc_0185 Crossing the border from Brazil to Boliven caused us some problems. This, however, is another story. Finally arrived stood before our first bus ride. We heard a lot of negative in advance by drunken drivers conducting non-intact buses and thus frequently breakdown on the road, so we were doing us a little heavy with the purchase of tickets. We inspected the bus before and took a look at the driver, finally we counted on our luck and sat in the bus. The standards are definitely deeper than before. It has, for example, no toilets in the bus. He considers all about three hours, however, and even if it is far and wide no toilets has ... Fields has always enough, these actions gave us already amusing moments.

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Salvation arrived in Santa Cruz, we took the bus to Samaipata (1650 m asl). After visiting Olaf, an Austrian tour operator, we opted for a day hike to the "Cerro Cathedral". As it turned out in retrospect, he has the mountain itself named on the lookout for beautiful walks that way. Finally, there was a lot of hills here which bear no name. :) The walk did us really well after the sedentary weeks in Brazil and also the view was spectacular.

2011-04-20-15-51-49_dsc_0064 Our next destination was Sucre (2790 m asl). This bus demanded from just a little more of us. There were namely normal seats (intended for Bolivians, not so great for gringos as we are), this would still when driving during the day, but it was a night bus. It had also not all the passengers seats, then an elderly woman lay unceremoniously next to us in the aisle. In Sucre we were rewarded with the best cafe until now. And a visit to the town is worthwhile. Macabre visions of skinned cow heads on the market, beautiful white colonial buildings and of course all the traditionally dressed people on the street. Incredibly sent the women bind their children in the colored cloths around the back: A technique that must be practiced. We enjoyed the view of the city of Recoleta from so much so that we moved our same breakfast there in the morning.

2011-04-24-08-02-08_dsc_0258 Slowly we were anklimatisiert and ready for the trip to Potosi, the highest city (with a size) in the world at 4000 m asl With the high luckily we had no problems, apart from a slight headache. The height also has its advantage, two bottles of beer suddenly feel like two bottles of wine. :) The city was founded because of the immense Silbervorkommnissen which were discovered in the "Cerro Rico" in the 16th century. Gradually, from the incidents took, however, silver has also been found elsewhere, and the city experienced its descent. Today silver is only very rarely found, and if so, then in small quantities. But still work 10,000 (!) People in the mines, the recent 11 years. This with working conditions like in colonial times. We knew that a visit to the mines will be no sugar Schleck, and yet we found that we can not close our eyes to reality. So we went in the morning with our guide and three other participants on the way. At first we were dressed with boots, rain pants and jackets and a helmet with headlamp. Then it went to the market of the miners. It is custom that visitors to the mines to bring the workers gifts. So you could coca leaves, drink, alcohol 96% by volume and even buy dynamite (Note: Dynamite purchase on the open road !!!)..

2011-04-23-11-31-26_dsc_0237 Loaded with many gifts we went on to the mountain. At first it was a few meters along the rails with into the mountain, the hallways were still high as a man. After some time, however, the transitions were always narrower, partly we had to crawl on all fours forward until we arrived at the conductors. We did not know how deep we will go down and followed faithfully our guide, who had worked Finally, four years in the mines and thus brought even experience. With queasy feeling we climbed the makeshift wooden ladders down ... finally there were eight of them! This represents a decline of almost 100 meters. Now the air was bad and it was warmer (it is up to 40 degrees hot in here), because we were in the vicinity of the working miners. A visitor we left because they had trouble with the breathing. Among the workers we were able to see anything, so the air was dusty. We left them the gifts and climbed up again. We did not notice that it was already 12.00 clock. Around this time (and at 17.00 clock) the dynamite is ignited, respectively. When we deeply then heard several explosions in the mountain had us definitely not well. But our guide reassured us and said that they were far away. Everything is based on experience. LISTEN to what extent are the explosions, plans of the corridors there are none. Even measuring instruments for hazardous substances in the air do not exist: if still emanate SMELL toxic gases. A ventilation system does not exist, pure madness! After a stop at the god of miners "Pachamama" (Mother Earth), we learn how faithful people are here. Many gifts are deposited daily here, so that God will bring them luck and no accidents happen (you can truly use). Here the Mineuere spend their breaks. They work 6 hours day and this 6 days a week. However you eat during working hours, apart from appettitstillenden coca leaves, nothing. Salvation arrived outside we enjoy first of all the fresh air. We left the place with mixed feelings: It was a complete nightmare of a job and still there is such a tradition: when the father worked in the mines, the son is usually found in its footsteps. The minimum income is about 50% higher than that of a teacher (about 2000 Bolivianos per month, ie 250 francs). But it's worth it to put his health at risk? Visiting voted us thoughtful and yet it was the most impressive experience ever.

2011-04-24-17-26-58_dsc_0278 Our journey continued south to Tupiza. The town itself is not particularly noteworthy, but the area around it has definitely in itself. Since we did not want to spend too much time here, we opted for the tourist package "Triathlon". We started with a two-hour jeep ride to the beautiful rock formations in all sorts of colors, according to the fine lunch (we love Tamales) went on a three hour ride. Since it was Karin's first experience, she got luckily the old and a bit lame horse. David horse was already more impulsive. So this also ruled out of the blue, to lay a spurt. David could hold nearly, the Australian doctor in our group was not so lucky. His horse moved and Karin could watch as he flew from his horse in a high arc ... The horror moment was over until he could get up again. Although he had considerable abrasions on the back, but otherwise everything was. And we joked before the ride, that nothing can happen to us, finally we have a doctor here, well. Apart from this incident, the experience was wonderful, every moment we expected Winnetou past us ride: The scenery was really like in the wild west.

2011-04-25-14-52-45_dsc_0405 The third part of the program was that we drove up the jeep on a mountain with great views and we had drove down the mountain, perfect! All in all we had a busy day with beautiful nature, good company and (maybe a little too much) Action.

We changed our previous plan of Tupiza, the tour to take in the salt desert and therefore went to Uyuni. About 80 (!) Agencies offer tours in the desert, the choice is therefore not easy, especially since making all the same. We relied on our gut instinct, chose for us sympathetic Agency (Brisa Tours) and could already start the next day. Karavanmässig (all tours start at the same time) we first visited the Railroad Cemetery outside Uyuni with models from 1907 to 1950, the rust in desert-like landscape quietly to himself.

2011-04-27-12-31-10_dsc_0084 Then I went into the actual "Salar de Uyuni", the salt desert. At Salt Hotel we put a stop to lunch, llama meat with vegetables on the menu plan was. It did not taste bad, but we can say from our experience now that we like the alpaca meat better. Other meat is rare in the country. After the photo shoot we continued to the first guest. In Nothing stood a few houses, one of which was our stay for one night. She was basic but clean and, thanks to our additional sleeping nice and warm at night. The next day we liked best. The landscape is so vast, we repeatedly lagoons in various colors and there are flamingos on and looks at snow-capped volcanoes free, gorgeous! What also contributed to the relaxation was entertaining troops. Together with a German and a Japanese-German couple we understood splendidly and spent happy evenings with wine and rum, and finally we had to warm us from the inside! The third day started already at 4:30 clock. We drove to the geysers and hot springs. But because too many tourists were at this time already for us there, we decided against a Morgenschwumm. Already at about 9.30 clock we said goodbye to the group on the border with Chile. For the short trip and was ideal, because the last day consisted only of a seven-hour drive on the same route back to Uyuni.

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Arrived in Chile we enjoyed first of all from the tarred roads, in Bolivia only about 5% of the roads are paved namely. Also we came all so clean and above (almost) organized. San Pedro de Atacama is a tourist haunt, which consists almost entirely of restaurants, cafes and accommodation. Because we saw so many rock formations, lagoons and mountains in the last few days, we decided against a more organized tour from here. We relaxed and enjoyed the first home-cooked supper in the beautiful wood cultivation of conducted by Swiss hostels "Corvatsch", which we discovered by accident.

2011-05-01-18-38-45_dsc_0575 After a restful break we took the night bus via Calama to Arica. Just the buses in Chile and Bolivia are two different worlds. In Chile, the buses are quite (even the windshield without cracks), there are safety standards such as belts and it is an even instantaneous velocity mediated by digital display. We felt safe and had a good sleep for Bus relations. From Arica went straight on to Putre, 3,500 m higher up. Nestled between green hills and surrounded by terraces from the pre-Inca times, in which, inter alia, oregano is cultivated today. This is an ideal starting point for visiting the "Lauca National Park". We booked the same day a tour, which then should end on the border with Bolivia already again. We saw many animals unknown to us and visited the village "Parinacota" with a beautiful church from the 17th century. But when we were about to leave after a fine herbal tea, the car went on strike. Fortunately, we met another group of tourists and were able to join them. Coincidentally, there were four Swiss, but these do not even know each other before, incredible! We enjoyed the views of the two 6,000-meter volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerape. Along the Lago Chungara (the highest lake in the world) invited us, the group from the Chilean checkpoints. From here, there were still around 10 km to the actual border with Bolivia. As our Guide so had no car, but we promised to go to the limit, they helped us finding a traveling opportunity.

2011-05-02-13-22-46_dsc_0670 We learned that the Bolivians today have a holiday and why not there a lot of traffic. Later they told us that they are celebrating the "Labor Day", although it was already May 2 Here they lay apparently the holidays if they fall on a weekend, not a bad idea! :) Finally, we could exceptionally go with the Chilean police. We crossed the border and on we went with auto-stop after Sajama.

The village lies at the foot of the volcano of the same name, which with an altitude of 6542 meters, the largest of Bolivia's. The village with its 150 inhabitants is still really original, but very well organized. Upon arrival we had to register, paid admission for the NationalParkTShirts and were immediately allocated a family to stay. As we learned, there is a cycle, in which the tourists stay again with other families. There is also very little food options, but we always had luck and were well cooked. Nothing is being built a village square with stone slabs, we saw many residents at work. In retrospect, we learned that each adult person of the village must collaborate five working days at the place. Yet a proper community here!

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We were planning a short hike in the national park. However, since the roads are not written and there is no plan, a 8.5-hour and 27 km long tour was it! :) The prospects were not to exceed: Green spaces with dozens of llamas and sheep, in the background the mountains ... Still, it was a little too much, after all, we are no longer really in practice ... Finally, we were still more than rewarded by the hot springs of the thermal spa Manasaya: Pure overlooking the volcano Sajama relaxation! Suuuuper! The next day David went out alone, while Karin spared the blisters on the feet. After the geysers a steep climb followed the lagoon. In order to achieve this had to be crossed the border to Chile. To get a glimpse into the Chilean valley, the path went deeper in Chilean land. The sight of a barbed wire did not surprise him much, it's probably against the animals, because the Chileans take it very seriously with Keep away from foreign animal and plant products. Ok, barbed easily overcome, and continued the way not knowing for about 300 meters to the next barbed wire.

2011-05-04-13-19-41_dsc_0090 The shock sat deep after seeing the sign on this page: David had in fact just a minefield crosses ... Unfortunately, an appropriate warning label is only on the Chilean side mounted. The incredible danger was only then aware. Confused and unsure was then the way back along the shore of the lagoon. The story could go wrong, as we learned afterwards in the village. Previously seen many Bolivians were killed because they simply did not know where the Chileans minefields built. Heue WHITE simply that, great! Karin lost this afternoon, unfortunately, the key of the accommodation ... all the happiness had beisehen ... Now we celebrate David's second Geburi on May 4 David this afternoon.

2011-05-05-09-18-06_dsc_0169 The next day we took the bus in the morning at 6.00 clock in the highest capital in the world. La Paz is the only tourists on board, we were able to experience the hitherto bizarre scene. When Busstopp namely were living sheep, tied to the legs, hoisted onto the bus roof. The owner of the sheep took then also the place on the roof of an even grabbed still top of his bike. With normal speed (100km / h), the path was continued ... which would say our welfare that? She survived luckily all. In the at first glance very chaotic city of La Paz we enjoy once civilization, above all the Internet, and the warm water! We are still spending a few days in Bolivia, rather in the warmer regions, then it goes on to Peru ... We can not wait!
Enjoying the sun at home, hebed Sorg and are fond greeted two of us!

Ausgewähte images from Bolivia:

Here the distance traveled since our last post: