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Bolivia

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In the footsteps of the Incas

The last weeks were completely dominated by the movement and this in the footsteps of the Incas .

2011-05-08-13-10-30_dsc_0102 From the chaotic city, La Paz, we made ​​our way to the Choro Trail . A taxi took us early in the morning to the trailhead. A fierce but short climb took us to the over 4900 m asl high ball. This was followed by the long descent. We said goodbye to the barren Andean landscape 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 stone this way: It must have taken an eternity! We enjoyed the way along from individual, isolated houses, friendly waving locals and of course the Lama droves.

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

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 once again the best. Copacabana was then a disappointment, not a tourist trap same: Overpriced, pushy and crowded. We started the next day on the Isla del Sol , the sun island in Lake Titicaca. We enjoyed the ferry ride on the lake, which is 13 times as large as our Lake Constance! We wanted to avoid the tourist influx and already got out of the south of the island, counter-cyclical behavior has until now always worth it :) So we could start walking in peace. 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 ruins Chikana with the sacred stone, where the history of the Inca mythology is said to have run its course. From there the path led us back to the south, where we moved into a nice hotel room. When asked after a warm shower replied the Senora us that we could 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 around the island and owned by a French pharmaceutical company, serving the water plants (). The rest of the inhabitants of up to 200 meters high island must carry to their homes as water canister. 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 directly continued 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 tried to converse with us in English. This happened almost never in Bolivia. The path led us further into the city of Arequipa, which we liked very much with their colonial buildings, the Salta-like Plaza and fine food. The city is not only surrounded by three giant volcanoes but is also near the Cotahuasi Canyon and the Colca Canyon, the gorges of up to 3000 meters altitude difference among the deepest in the world (By comparison, the Grand Canyon is "only" 1200 meters deep). This we wanted to leave and therefore not contrary launched our next hike in the Colca Canyon .

2011-05-17-10-42-38_dsc_0323 The bus took us to, Chivay ', a village, where 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 went together with Udo, our temporary Reisegspändli from Austria, by bus to the "Cruz del Condor". From here we could see the rising over the edge of the canyon, condors wonderful. We saw the animals already in Patagonia, but they are always impressive: If 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 further to the actual starting point of the hike. It was followed by a steep descent in the Canon, in which we were accompanied by two other condors. The view was gorgeous! Along the way we strengthened ourselves with homemade pasta salad and fresh figs, which we received as a gift on the way. Happily, 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, we ordered a beer and jumped 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 presented him the next day our approach to wellness oasis before. He was excited and we were also so much innovation - something that we missed in Bolivia. The subsequent rise was tough with over 1000 meters, but good workout! Back in, Chivay 'we rewarded ourselves with a walk in the nearby hot springs and subsequent hunger breastfeeding on the market: It was good! We recovered and continued the next day the journey via, Arequipa 'to' Cusco 'away.

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 gross, even if one wanted to convey in part exaggerated: We were individually filmed before boarding and had even left a fingerprint! A smile we could not verkneiffen us of course. Without incident, we arrived safe in Cusco ' , the capital of the Inca Empire, at. We were "lured" into a beautiful hotel and enjoyed then the best (though far first) Pizza in Peru. Then rejoiced especially David: We enjoyed a very tasty coffee, directly from the region. There was a brief 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 matched. The tour of the city is pleasant in the evening, as it is during the day approached constantly massages, guides, tours, equipment, food ... Tourism is in full swing and this of course because of the nearby ruined city of the Incas: Machu Picchu . So this was our next destination.

Machu Picchu can enweder be reached by train or on foot. However, we decided against the official and world-famous Inca Trail . This would take four days would be organized, would cost 500 USD and the most negative for us: You'd have him booked 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 his own and decided to Machu Picchu via the alternative Salkantay Trek to achieve. We do not need a guide, as David found through long search GPS tracks on the internet, cook we have also always there and the task of towing the mules we also own. A taxi we headed to, Mollepata '. There we stayed with an elderly couple who cared for us very. She proudly showed us their living meat 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 m asl we enjoyed a breathtaking view of the mountain "Salkantay" , which appeared through the clouds only partially. From the pass the descent followed. We walked past the tents 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 can be seen then 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 easily people live here part. No running water, the house itself built from wood and one room for the whole family, no electricity and the toilet of course accordingly. However, they made us a satisfied feeling and gifted us before leaving with passion fruit from our own "production". After 1.5 hours hike, we continued by bus to Santa Teresa ', then take a taxi to, Hidroeléctrica' and from there in about two hours walking along the railway tracks after, Aguas Calientes'. On the train we did not realize, because it practically gives it only for tourists and accordingly the prices are overpriced.

2011-05-24-08-34-36_panorama_machu_picchu_1 We moved into our accommodation, which we did not use it long. At 4:00 clock was Tagwacht, we cooked noodles on our stove in the hotel room, so we were strengthened for our project: Climb to Machu Picchu. At 5.00 clock we started the 500-meter ascent. There was a huge "Run", all rushed up the hill from the base, because only the first 400 people to the nearby mountain "Huayna Picchu" must climb. The training of the previous hikes has paid off and we grabbed the necessary stamp. Even before the dawn we saw the vast, terraced town, which at that time still radiating a wohltuhende rest. We shuddered briefly at this mystic sight, beautiful! We took along with four other people a guide so that the "cairn" make sense. At 10.00 clock then stood before the ascent of Huayna Picchu. The construction of some pretty criminal path stunned us once more. 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 below liked any better. Nevertheless, we followed the hype to get permission to climb. A Swiss couple, which we have encountered, even stood at 2.30 clock on at night, so they made it by bus still in the top 400, hard to believe. We enjoyed the view, adopted us on the afternoon of impressive place 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 is actually ONLY from curves (16 hours), combining this with even a little boisterous driver, one could be so bad already. Karin has but also eaten something bad and therefore suffered from stomach problems ... we will spare you details. The rate was only slightly reduced, as a disgruntled passenger wildly banged against the driver's door and killed so reducing the speed bat. An hour before the finish shot the driver the bird, in our case in the form of a taxi, from. The small accident happened right before the eyes of the police and so our projection was compensated by the (too) fast driving with the completion of the paperwork. Exhausted and glad to be still alive, we arrived in Ica. We moved into a nice hotel room and prescribed the next day entirely of recovery. It was not until the fourth day was marked again by a little activity. We visited the nearby oasis and one of South America: Huacachina .

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The sight of the area surrounded by high sand dunes tourist attraction was nice. But we left it at at a short visit without daring sandboarding down the steep hill. This was followed by a visit to Bodega "El Catador". Here the famous sweet wine of the region and of course is "Pisco" produced. Everything still old school: The grapes are pressed during the harvest in the night from five to ten people. Made foot, so to speak. The guide was very personable and even included tasting of the various products. Supplies include alcoholic beverages also jams and the superfine Tejas (a sweetness that has in its interior pecans and figs as well as a kind of caramel cream (Majarblanco) and is enveloped by icing or chocolate, mhmmmm).

2011-05-27-11-56-52_dsc_0230 , Ica 'is still marked by the devastating earthquake in 2007 (7.9 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 arouses the upcoming presidential election. We were on the first evening to witness first hand the election campaign in Ica: The one candidate, Ollanta, namely to visit and was held in the main square a speech. For us, quite unusual scenes took place: loud slogans and crowds of people marched through the streets. In the square the whole was more like an open air. There were concerts and the people celebrated. Besides Keiko Ollanta is (a woman) is also available. As we learned on the way, it is mandatory to choose here. Who is not selected punished with a fine of 180 Soles (about 60 CHF). And this is muuuch money. One can choose where you are registered in writing. Since many Peruvians reside in a different location (eg, because of work), they have to travel on election day at the "hometown". Election Day is June 5, 2011, a day on which the buses are often fully booked and overpriced. But this is fortunately not a problem for us, that we have other plans ... :)

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

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

Here, here is the picture for the last few days:



As usual, the distance traveled:

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Bolivia - Part 1

Now we are already nearly six months on the road. For us, the time is entertaining, as there is always something new to discover. In Bolivia, we were very pleased 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 Bolivia 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 of drunken bus drivers, non-intact buses and thereby often trouble on the road, so we were doing us a little heavy with the purchase of tickets. We inspected the bus before and had a look at the driver, finally we counted on our happiness and sat down in the bus. The standards are definitely deeper than before. It has, for example, no toilets in the bus. He keeps all but about three hours, and even if it far and wide no toilets has ... Fields has always enough, these actions gave us already amusing moments.

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Arrived safely in Santa Cruz we took the bus to Samaipata (1650 m asl). After visiting Olaf, an Austrian tour operators, we opted for a day hike on the "Cerro Cathedral". As it turned out afterwards, he has the mountain itself named on the lookout for beautiful walks so. 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 ride required from just a little more from us. There were namely normal seats (designed for Bolivians, not so great for gringos as we are), this would yet when driving during the day, but it was a night bus. It had not all passengers seats, then an elderly woman lay unceremoniously next to us in the aisle. In Sucre we were rewarded with the best café until now. And a visit to the city 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, the women sent their children to tie the colored cloths around the back: A technique that must be practiced. We enjoyed the view of the city from Recoleta out so much 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 such a size) in the world at 4000 m asl With the amount luckily we had no problems, apart from a slight headache. The level also has its advantage, two bottles of beer suddenly feel like two bottles of wine to. :) 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 was also 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 youngest 11 years old. 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 the eyes to the reality. So we started the morning with our guide and another three participants on the way. First we were dressed with boots, rain pants and jackets and a helmet with a headlamp. Then it went on the market of miners. It is custom that visitors to the mines to bring gifts to the workers. So you could coca leaves, drinks, 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 made our way to the mountain. 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 aisles were always narrower, sometimes we had to crawl on all fours forward until we arrived at the heads. We did not know how deep we will go down and followed faithfully our guide, had worked which finally also for four years in the mines and therefore also brought experience. With queasy feeling we got the improvised wooden ladders down ... finally there were eight in number! This represents a decline of almost 100 meters. Now the air was bad and it was warmer (it is up to 40 degrees hot here), because we were in the vicinity of the working miners. A visitor we left behind because she had trouble breathing. Among the workers we could not see anything, so the air was dusty. We gave them a 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 detonated respectively. When we deeply then heard several explosions in the mountain was definitely not us more comfortable. But our guide assured us and said that they were far away. Everything here is based on experience. LISTEN to what extent are the explosions, plans of the corridors there are none. Instruments for measuring hazardous substances in the air does not exist: if still SMELL emanating toxic gases. A ventilation system is not available, the pure madness! After a stop at the God of the miners "Pachamama" (Mother Earth), we learn that faith the people are here. Many gifts are deposited daily here, so that God will bring them happiness and no accidents happen (which they can truly use). Here the Mineuere spend their breaks. They work six hours a day and this 6 days a week. However, you eat during working hours, except for 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's such a tradition: When the father worked in the mines, son occurs mostly 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 is 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 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, they got luckily the old and a bit lame horse. David's horse was already impulsive. So this also ruled out of the blue, to lay a spurt. David could hold on tight, the Australian doctor in our group had less luck. His horse moved and Karin could watch as he flew from his horse in a high arc ... The horror of the moment was over until he could get up again. Although he had quite abrasions on the back, but otherwise everything was. And we joked before the ride, that nothing can happen to us, we finally 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 were drove down the mountain, perfect! All in all we had a busy day with beautiful nature, good company, and (perhaps a little too much) Action.

We changed our previous plan of Tupiza from the tour to take in the salt desert and therefore went to Uyuni. Round 80 (!) Agencies offer tours in the desert, the choice is therefore not easy, especially since making all the same. We left on our gut feeling, chose for us sympathetic Agency (Brisa Tours) and have been able to start the next day. Karavanmässig (all tours start at the same time) we first visited the railway graveyard 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 Next we went into the actual "Salar de Uyuni" , the salt desert. When salt hotel we put a stop to lunch, llama meat with vegetables was on the menu plan. It did not taste bad, but we can say from experience now that we like the alpaca meat better. Other meat is rare in the country. After the photo shoot we moved on to the first property. In Nothing stood several houses, one of which was our stay for one night. It 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 different colors and flamingos, and there are views of snow-capped volcanoes free, gorgeous! What also contributed to relaxation was entertaining the troops. Together with a German and a German-Japanese couple we got gorgeous and spent happy evenings with wine and rum, 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. However, since too many tourists were at this time already for us there, we decided against a Morgenschwumm. Already by about 9.30 clock we said goodbye to the group on the border with Chile. For the short detour 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. Since 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 led by Swiss hostels "Corvatsch", which we discovered by accident.

2011-05-01-18-38-45_dsc_0575 After the relaxing 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 all (even the windshield with no cracks), there are safety standards such as belts and there is even a current speed 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 grown today. This is the ideal starting point for visiting the "Lauca National Park". We booked on the same day a tour, which then should end at 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 as we were about to leave after a fine herbal tea, the car broke down. Fortunately we met another group of tourists and could connect us to them. Coincidentally, there were four Swiss, but these do not even know each other before, amazing! We enjoyed the views of the two over 6000 meters high volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerape. Along the Lake Chungara (the highest lake in the world) invited us to the group from the Chilean checkpoint. From here, there were still some 10 km to the actual border with Bolivia. As our guide even had no car, but we promised to go to the limit, they helped us when searching for a driving opportunity.

2011-05-02-13-22-46_dsc_0670 We learned that the Bolivians today have a holiday and therefore there is not much traffic. Later they told us that they celebrate the "work day", even though it was already the 2nd May. Here they lay apparently the holidays when 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 a height of 6542 meters is the largest in Bolivia. The village with its 150 inhabitants is still really original, but very well organized. On arrival we had to register, paid admission for the National Parks and were immediately assigned a family to stay. As we learned, there is a cycle, in which the tourists stay again and again with other families. There is also little food options, but we always had good luck and were well cooked. At the moment, just create a village square with stone slabs, we saw many people at work. In retrospect, we learned that every adult person of the village must participate five working days of place. Still a real community here!

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We planned 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 views were not to exceed: Green spaces with dozens of llamas and sheep, in the background the mountain ranges ... Still, it was a little too much, after all we are not really in practice ... Finally, we were still more than rewarded by the hot springs of the thermal bath 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 to the lagoon. To achieve this had to be crossed the border to Chile. To get a glimpse into the Chilean valley, the road went deeper into Chilean country. The sight of a barbed wire did not surprise him very much, it's probably against the animals, because the Chileans take it very serious about keeping out foreign animal and plant products. Ok, barbed wire simply overcome and continued the path of not knowing for about 300 meters to the nearest barbed wire.

2011-05-04-13-19-41_dsc_0090 The shock was sitting low to the sight of the shield on this page: David had in fact just a minefield crosses ... Unfortunately, a warning plate is only on the Chilean side mounted. The incredible danger was only then aware. Confused and uncertain was then the way back along the shore of the lagoon. The story could backfire, as we learned afterwards in the village. Previously, 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 property ... The whole fortune had beisehen ... From now on, we celebrate David's second Geburi David on May 4 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 bizarre scene so far. When Busstopp namely live sheep were tied together by the legs, lifted onto the roof of the bus. The owner of the sheep took then also equal to the square on the roof one even grabbed his bike on top of it. At normal speed (100km / h), the path continued ... what would say only our welfare that? She survived luckily all. In the at first sight very chaotic city of La Paz, we enjoy once civilization, above all, the Internet and the warm water! We will still spend a few days in Bolivia, rather in the warmer regions, then it goes on to Peru ... We are excited!
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: