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Bolivia

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In the Footsteps of the Incas

The last few 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 'out we went to the Choro Trail . A taxi took us early in the morning to the trailhead. A fierce but short climb took us to over 4900 m above sea level 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 lasted an eternity! We enjoyed the walk along by 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 recently auto-stop, we saved ourselves a taxi and ended up at the road junction from 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 trip 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 big as our Lake Constance! We wanted to avoid the flow of tourists and already got out to 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 Chikana ruins with the sacred stone, where the history of 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 take a shower only a maximum of 4 minutes because the water on the island would be so scarce. So far there is only a single water pump on the whole island and owned by a French pharmaceutical company and is used to water plants (). The remaining residents of up to 200 meters high island must carry water to their homes canister example. So it would 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 on to our next trip in Peru.

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We had a very good first impression of the country: Arriving in Puno we were treated kindly, the people tried to talk to 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 its 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 prevent started our next hike in the Colca Canyon .

2011-05-17-10-42-38_dsc_0323 The bus took us to, Chivay ', a village in which we especially loved the market. We verpflegten with Fasnachtschüechli-like pastries, Chinese noodles and alpaca skewers, so that we are then 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 were able to observe the rising over the edge of the canyon, condors wonderful. We saw the animals already in Patagonia, but they are always impressive: Will 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 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 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 that. He asked us for our opinion. We discussed and put to 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 '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 safety. Security was also written really gross, even if they wanted to convey a partly 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 property and enjoyed then the best (albeit 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 of 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 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, well organized, would cost 500 USD and the most negative for us: You would have to book in advance it 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, we also cook always there and the task of towing the mules we also own a taxi, we made our way, Mollepata '. There we stayed with an older 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 m 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 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 easy people live part 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 their 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 walking along the railway tracks by, Aguas Calientes'. On the train we did not realize, because there is practically him only for tourists and accordingly the prices too high.

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 climb. There was a huge "Run", all rushed up the hill for the reason because only the first 400 people to the nearby mountain "Huayna Picchu" may climb. The training of the previous hikes has paid off and we brought the necessary stamp. Even before the sunrise 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 "heap of stones" make sense. At 10.00 clock then stood before the ascent of Huayna Picchu. The design of some 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 into the valley, but the sight of the mountain from below we liked any better. Nevertheless, we followed the hype to get permission to climb. A Swiss couple that we met, even stood at 2.30 clock on at night so they made it to the bus even in the top 400, hard to believe. We enjoyed the view, adopted us on the afternoon of impressive place and began the journey back to Cusco.

From there followed until now (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 a slightly more spirited driver, one could be so bad already. Karin has but additionally eaten something bad and therefore suffered from stomach problems ... we will spare you details. The speed was only slightly reduced when a disgruntled passenger frantically banged against the driver's door and so lost 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 little accident happened right in front of the police and so our lead was compensated by the (too) fast driving with the completion of the paperwork. Exhausted and happy to still be alive, we arrived in Ica. We moved into a nice hotel room and prescribed the next few days entirely of recovery. It was not until 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 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 the 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 personal and even included tasting of the various products. Supplies include alcoholic beverages and 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 today 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 evening to witness first hand the election campaign in Ica: The one candidate, Ollanta, was in fact to visit and held on the main square a speech. For us, quite unusual scenes took place: loud slogans and crowds that marched through the streets. In the square the whole looked more like an open air. There were concerts and the people celebrated. In addition to 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 at a different location (eg, because of work), they have to travel on election day to the "hometown". Election Day is the 5th June 2011, a day on which the buses are often full 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 become familiar with the island.

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

Here here is the pictures of the last days:



As usual, the distance:

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Bolivia - Part 1

Now we are already nearly six months on the road. For us, 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 frequently 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, and finally we counted on our luck and we sat down in the bus. The standards are definitely deeper than before. Thus for example it has no toilets in the bus. He considers all about three hours, however, 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 in retrospect, he has the mountain itself named on the lookout for beautiful walks so. Finally, there have 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 stop was Sucre (2790 m asl). This bus ride required from just a little more from us. There were namely normal seats (meant 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 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 also visiting the city is rewarding. 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 4,000 m above sea level 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 at. :) The city was founded because of the immense Silbervorkommnissen which the "Cerro Rico" in the 16th Century have been discovered. 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, in small quantities. But still work 10,000 (!) People in the mines, the youngest 11 years old. This with working conditions as to 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 customary that visitors to the mines to bring the workers gifts. So you could coca leaves, drinks, alcohol 96% by volume and even dynamite Buy (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 forward on all fours 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 home-made wooden ladders down ... finally there were eight in number! This represents a decline of almost 100 meters. From now on, 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 dusty the air was. 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 each. When we deeply then heard several explosions in the mountain was definitely not us more comfortable. However, our guide reassured 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 do not exist: if still SMELL emanating toxic gases. A ventilation system is not available, the pure insanity! 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 good luck to them and no accidents occur (although this can really use). Here the Mineuere spend their breaks. You work 6 hours a day and this 6 days a week. However you eat during work 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 workplace and still there's like a tradition: when the father worked in the mines, the 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's worth it to put his health at risk? Visiting voted us thoughtful and yet it was the most impressive experience at all.

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, she 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 was not so lucky. 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, after all 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 view 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. About 80 (!) Agencies offer tours to the desert, the choice is therefore not easy, especially since making all the same. We are left to 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 the 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. When salt hotel we took a midday stop, 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 went on to the first property. In Nothing stood several houses, one of which was our stay for one night. It was simple, 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 on 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 understood magnificent 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. However, since too many tourists at that time were already there for us, 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 away 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 5% of the roads are in fact paved. Also we came all so clean and above (almost) organized. San Pedro de Atacama is a tourist haunt, which consists almost exclusively of restaurants, cafes and accommodation. As 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 a good 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 without cracks), there are safety standards, such as belts and there is a even the 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 lush green hills and surrounded by terraces from the pre-Inca times, in which, among other things Oregano is grown today. This is an 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 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 us them. Coincidentally, there were four Swiss, but these do not even know each other before, amazing! We enjoyed the view of the two 6000 meter high volcanoes Parinacota and Pomerape. Along the Lake Chungara (the highest lake in the world) invited us to the group from the Chilean checkpoints. From here there were still about 10 km up to the actual border with Bolivia. Since our guide even had no car, but we promised to go to the limit, she 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 not high traffic. Later they told us that they celebrate the "Labour Day", although there are already the second Mai was. 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 at a height of 6542 meters, the largest of Bolivia is. 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 found out, there is a cycle, in which the tourists stay again and again with other families. There are even 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 residents 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 paths are not written and there is no plan, a 8.5-hour and 27-km-long tour it became! :) The views were not to be outdone: Green spaces with dozens of llamas and sheep, in the background the mountain ranges ... Nonetheless, 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 off alone, while Karin spared the blisters on my feet. After the geysers a steep climb followed to the lagoon. To achieve this had to be crossed the green 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 vegetable products. Ok, barbed wire simply overcome and continued the way 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 sign on this page: David had in fact just a minefield crosses ... Unfortunately, a warning sign is only on the Chilean side only. The incredible danger was only then aware. Confused and unsure then was the way back along the shore of the lagoon. The story could have gone in the eye, as we learned afterwards in the village. In the past for 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 David this afternoon beisehen ... From now on, we celebrate David's second Geburi on 4 May

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 see the previously bizarre scene. At the bus stop in fact were live sheep, tied together by the legs, lifted onto the roof of the bus. The owner of the sheep took then also the space on the roof of an even grabbed still on top of his bike. With normal speed (100km / h), the path continued ... what would it 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 are going to spend a few days in Bolivia, rather in the warmer regions, then it goes on to Peru ... We are excited!
Please enjoy 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: