Free Walking Tours and The Vertical Route!

Hello!

So after the most dangerous road we took a calm day in La Paz. We went shopping in the morning (yes, I have bought a christmas gift for everyone in my family now) and then we had some other tucumanas to eat (so good that Ad also is vegetarian, haha).  We also went to different agencies to try to arrange Ad’s uyuni trip and then my vertical route, but apparently you need to be 2 people to do that tour, and there was no one interested for the day after… :/

After that we went to the San Francisco church where the free walking tours start. It’s a great idea, you just need 1 boliviano for the chicken bus to the viewpoint over the city, and then you tip the guide what you want. :) It’s mostly young bolivians who want to show their city, so it’s more like a cultural experience.

Artwork and cars

Artwork and cars

Even if I had been in La Paz for 4 days, I still hadn’t visited many of the places we went to. We visited the main attractions but also some local places, like different markets.  We visited the Sagarnaga street, The witches market, Plaza murillo,  Calle Jaen, San Pedro jail, a few viewpoints over the city and a couple of different markets.. probably a few more places that I don’t remember the name of. It was great. They have free walking tours every day at 11am and 2pm, takes about 3 hours and the meeting point outside San Francisco church, the guide will wear a blue shirt where it says “free walking tour”.

The haunted street - looks quite lovely to me

The haunted street – looks quite lovely to me

In plaza murillo, lots of pidgeons!

In plaza murillo, lots of pidgeons!

Mmm!

Mmm!

Women selling vegetables at the street... on the street...

Women selling vegetables at the street… on the street…

View over La Paz

View over La Paz

Having some great banana and papaya juice in the local market in La Paz

Having some great banana and papaya juice in the local market in La Paz

On the walking tour I also met some nice people, one of them Tristan from Switzerland, which got interested in doing the vertical tour with me tomorrow, greeeeeeeaaaat!!! At night he, me and two german girls went to eat dinner at Swissfondue, the first time I eat swissfondue (in Bolivia), and it was really really nice (and expensive) :)

Having swiss fondue for the first time - in bolivia! With tristan and two german girls who I went on the city tour with

Having swiss fondue for the first time – in bolivia! With tristan and two german girls who I went on the city tour with

Next day we got picked up at our accommodation for the vertical route. It was me, Tristan, and two guides, Didac originally from Barcelona in Spain but who has been living in Bolivia for 10 years now and Freddy who is from a community here close to the vertical route and who has opened up this attraction. This Vertical Tour is the only “Via ferrata” (the only protected climbing route) in Bolivia, and also the highest one in the world : )

We had like one hour trip up to La Cumbre again and we passed by all the groups that were going to do the worlds most dangerous road : ) We started on that road but then took another way to the Yungas Valleys.

Haha..... do you see something funny in this picture?

Haha….. do you see something funny in this picture?

On our way they told me so much interesting stuff about Bolivia, about the upcoming narkotica-traffic problem, about the coca plantations, the pollution, about politics, the good and bad things todays government has done, about the communities and the non-profit organizations etc… so interesting talk, really appreciated.. Since this is the first country which I don’t do couchsurfing in, I haven’t really heard that much about the true Bolivia. 

When we arrived in the Yungas Valleys (so beautiful!) we started with rappelling down like 10-15 meters or something, wow, that’s so scary at first. It’s a controlled descent from a stiff rock with help of a rope.. but you have to lean out from the rock, and that is really scaring in the beginning because you are so used to be standing on your feet with the weight on them, but here you have the weight on your waist instead and the feet are just a support.. and then walking down by letting the rope go of a little bit more rope.. haha.

More rappel :)

Rappel :)

Then we came down to the Tibetan bridge, which basically is three ropes between to mountains, one you stand on and two higher above which you hold on to with your hands. That was really funny! So cool to see the forest below your feet while walking on a thin line. :) But it’s so much easier when you hold on to the ropes, you don’t have that bad balance then as you think you would have, haha.

Me in the tibetan bridge

Me in the tibetan bridge

The tibetan bridge.. love it!

The tibetan bridge.. love it!

When we arrived to the other side, we had to climb up maybe around 30 meters until we reached the base for the zipline to the other side. It’s a cable mounted on between to mountains, and you hang yourself with a freely moving pulley on the cable and then your own gravity makes you go from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable… so much fun! :) When I saw the cable the first time I actually got that lovely adrenaline rush in my body and it was the first time I felt a little bit scared by thinking that I’ll be hanging there soon .. but then once in the air – it was soooo much fun!! :) Then we did rappel down to our starting point.

Climbing .. very focused.. haha

Climbing .. very focused.. haha

Zipline!!

Zipline!!

Rappel down the mountain!

Rappel down the mountain!

Since we only were two on this route, we had time to do it again! So after lunch we did it a second time and it was much easier since we had a little bit more practice, we just started doing rappel without even thinking about . Didac pointed out that he was proud of us, what he loves about his work is to see the progress.

My shadow on the rock

My shadow on the rock

Tristan falling! Oh no! (The second time we felt a little bit more comfy to try this kind of stuff  ;)

Tristan falling! Oh no! (The second time we felt a little bit more comfy to try this kind of stuff ;)

Me and Tristan :)

Me and Tristan :)

Freddy and Didac, so great  guides, funny, friendly, helpful, careful.. everything!

Freddy and Didac, so great guides, funny, friendly, helpful, careful.. everything!

Rappel :(

Rappel :)

After doing everything again, they asked us if we wanted to do and extra rappel about 30 meters down, from where we usually climb up. It’s not in the route but since we had time, why not? :) They had done it a couple of times before, and you end up down below in the middle of the jungle/forest. It was really steep, but it was much easier to do this rappel since it was an even rock and not an uneven muddy mountain under. The hardest part with rappel is to actually have the guts to do it just in the beginning, the leaning out from the normal standing point.

Freddy is doing rappel 30 metres down... and now it's my turn! (this isn't in the regular route but since we only were 2 on the tour we had plenty more of time to do more cool stuff)

Freddy is doing rappel 30 metres down… and now it’s my turn! (this isn’t in the regular route but since we only were 2 on the tour we had plenty more of time to do more cool stuff)

Such a great day, I had a blast, and I felt so safe and comfortable with Freddy and Didac, they were both so much fun. This is really something I recommend – and it’s perfectly safe, they have had engineers there studying the technical viability and supervised the installations. The cables, harnesses, pulleys and helmets have all been certified. The cables and ropes are really strong, you can carry like 700 kilos on one rope (and you have two on you all the time!), and the zipline can carry about 16 tons on the cable.. so there’s nothing to be afraid of.. it’s just an adrenaline kick, some exercise and lot’s of fun!

I went through the agency Altitude which I had booked the world’s most dangerous road with before, so I got a little bit of a discount for 530 bs, but they work with other agencies too. Look at their webpage, http://verticalroutebolivia.com/

Group picture, Tristan, Freddy, Didac and Me in the beautiful surroundings of the Yungas Valley in La Paz, Bolivia

Group picture, Tristan, Freddy, Didac and Me in the beautiful surroundings of the Yungas Valley in La Paz, Bolivia

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Annonser

Lovely La Paz and biking The Death Road

So.. I was worried that I would hate La Paz, I’ve heard it’s an ugly city and not worth to visit many days… but I had also heard it’s wonderful. You either love or hate la paz, and guess what –  I loved it!

I arrived in early morning and took a cab to the hostel, where I stayed the whole day with my computer, just chilling. I had a room with 6 people, but when I woke up (I went to bed when I got the room) we were only 2, me and Uma. Then in the afternoon another guy also showed up, Ad, both of them from England. We had really nice talks that evening. It’s a lot of party in this hostal, but our room remained calm, phew!

Next day Uma left and it was only me and Ad in our room for 6, really nice. :) We went for a walk around the city, I really really enjoy La Paz.. I had such a good feeling inside my body while walking around the streets, it feels bad to say it but I thought it was going to be much more “darker” here but people are so friendly and so sophisticated here..  there’s really a mix between business people in costumes and indigenous people.

Panorama over La Paz

Panorama over La Paz

La Paz is around 3650 meters above sea level, beautifully surrounded by mountains and snow tops. But the architechure is weird, you see one house that’s about to fall apart just besides a totally brand new modern house. They have a lot of colonial buildings, but it costs more to restore them then to build a new modern house.. so the whole city is a mix of everything, and I find it charming. :)

We went to Plaza Murillo, to the San Francisco church (yes, there’s one in every city),  had some humitas/tucumans,  shopped in the witches market (sooo many beautiful things!!!!) and then had a great coffee at Alexanders. Ad had been there the day before, and wow, great coffee (it’s not easy to get normal coffee in south america, it’s almost always nescafe) and the greatest brownie with ice-cream ever. Hehe. ;)

Plaza Murillo

Plaza Murillo

Me and Ad having tucumanas, lovely egg and potato empanadas for 3 bs each (0,4 USD) :)

Me and Ad having tucumanas, lovely egg and potato empanadas for 3 bs each (0,4 USD) :)

So weird architechture here in la paz....

So weird architechture here in la paz….

Llama fosters...

Llama fosters in the witches market… They help you keep bad spirits away when you move into a house..

So many shops... *shopping*

So many nice things to shop… :)

Wall in La Paz

Wall in La Paz

Then Ad left to the airport to go to Rurrenbaque (the jungle), and I went to the Altitude office to book my ”The worlds most dangerous road”-tour for next day. While I was sitting alone and a little bit sad in my room (yes, it was only me there now), Ad came back! His flight got cancelled because of a storm or something, too bad for him, but I had great company again : )

He also signed up for the same bike-tour tomorrow and then we went out to eat dinner in a place on the Sagarnaga street, a Thai/Indian/Japanese restaurant… It was a really long ”hallway” to the restaurant, and we were just about to turn around just because it was tooo long walk from the street.. but the music and my curiousness kept me going and when I saw the restaurant – beautiful cozy lights, lovely andean music, beautiful furniture – we were like ”oh, it’s looks nice, at least let’s go and see the menu!”. The man that attended us was sooooo sweeet, he was half bolivian and half italian, and a real gentlemen. So funny and talk active too, and he let us have a menu even if it was night, so it was 2 meals and dessert for like 30 bolivianos.. Perfect! And the food was amazing, I had indian aubergine-thing… so good. : )

Me and Ad having DELICIOUS food!

Me and Ad having DELICIOUS food!

Lovely restaurant!! Thai indian and japanese something... in sagarnata street.. one block from san francisco church to the left!

Lovely restaurant!! Thai indian and japanese something… in sagarnata street.. one block from san francisco church to the left!

Next day they picked us up at 7.30 to go to the Yungas road, or the Death Road as it’s normally called. We were about 14 people in total in our group, plus 3 guides. We went in two vans, and it was a really funny group, we also listened to really great music that makes you pepp. The road up to where the death road starts was closed though due to snowfall and icy roads, so we had to wait for a couple of hours in the mountains, we got our gear and had breakfast. The mountains were all covered in snow, so beautiful. A funny thing, the man I sat next to on the bus from Uyuni to La Paz was here too, with his two daughters that was visiting him from Brasil, such a coincidence! Hehe. 

Lovely sights on our way to the death road

Lovely sights on our way to the death road

In the beginning of the road, getting our bikes... snowy mountains!

In the beginning of the road, getting our bikes… snowy mountains!

Group picture before the ride. :)

Group picture before the ride. :)

Later the road opened and we started from La Cumbre at 4650m and around 64 km downhill bike tour through the most dangerous road in the world. There are many crosses along the road marking where the vehicles have fallen.. On Wikipedia it says that around 200-300 travellers are killed every year along the road, but I don’t know if it’s true.. or maybe it’s on vehicles. On bikes there’s just a few people every year that die, our guide told us last one was a Japanese girl that took a self shoot while cycling and fell over the edge… so now the guides tell us not to have any cameras with us while cycling, to leave them in the car, and they take pictures instead (the company gives you a dvd later with them).

Me and my bike :)

Me and my kona-bike :)

Group picture on the death road!

Group picture on the death road!

t was a really nice experience, such a beautiful scenery. I didn’t find the road that dangerous itself, you can of course fall on it because there’s sand and rocks, but the road is quite wide for an bicycle, it’s more dangerous for a car, or when two cars meet eachother, then one of them have to reverse until they find a place where it’s wide enough for two cars to pass. So bicycling isn’t as dangerous as long as you have control over your bike, some people fall on the road and maybe break their arm or something, but you don’t fall over the edge if you don’t go too fast. Also we had good weather, I guess it’re more dangerous when it’s all really muddy. One thing that is a little scary is that the downhill bikers aren’t allowed to bike on the inside against the mountain, we have to move to the outer edge of the road. It’s a little scary but it makes it’s safer for the vehicles so that they can pass safely.

Me on the death road.. :)

Me on a wide part of the death road.. :)

Having a water break on the death road

Having a water break on the death road

The end of the road we arrive in Coroico at 1200 metres, where it’s really warm! Such a difference, we left winter and arrived in summer! We had a buffet and then I jumped in the outside swimming pool there : ) So nice to not be cold! Hehe.

Having our lunch on like 1200 metres... where it's 25 degrees, sunny and hot!! :)

Having our lunch on Coroico… where it’s 25 degrees, sunny and hot!! :) P.S a HUGE butterfly was circuling there, it looks like a bat on the pic, you see where they are looking? just above one girls head.

Then we had like a 3 hour ride back home to our hostel, we arrived quite tired.. Ad had hurt his arm on the road, nothing too serious but still enough to not be able to bend the arm. He went to bed early to rest and slept like 12 hours, haha. I was thinking first about going out to a club where one of our guides were a DJ, but then I got really lazy too, so nice to lay on the bed skyping with Duilio.. : )

Next post will be about the free walking tour and the vertical route!

 

 

Salt flakes tour – day 3 & 4

Day 3: LAGUNA COLORADA – SAN JUAN.-
After breakfast (we got up at 7, so it was ok) we went to Laguna Colorada where we finally could see flamingos!! : ) They usually migrate to warmer countries during winter, but there were plenty of them in Laguna Colorada and later in Laguna Cañapa. We also crossed the Desert of Siloli where de famous ¨Arbol de Piedra¨or ¨Stone Tree¨ can be seen and other big rocks… there was quite much snow there, and you noticed the tourists there who aren’t used to snow haha, they were all throwing snowballs at each other : ) After that we went to a lot of different small lagoons, Laguna Ramaditas, Laguna Honda, Laguna Chiarkota, Laguna Hediond and lastly the Laguna Cañapa. We passed by an active volcano that had smoke and then we passed by the  small Salar De Chiguana  before we arrived at San Juan where we spent the night. It was all made of salt, the beds (not the matrasses though) the chairs, tables, floor, walls… everything :)
This was also the place were you could charge your camera, phew, because I was almost out of battery!! (the cold eats it up). We played some cards again and had an early night sleep.

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Laguna Colorada and some flamingos

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Laguna cañapa. Beautiful!

Flamingo

Flamingo

Me photographing some flamingos (david took this pic)

Me photographing some flamingos (david took this pic)

A fox.

A fox.

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Me and the famous stone tree :) All natural!

Volcanic rocks

Volcanic rocks

Snowball fight haha.

Snowball fight haha.

Our room at the salt hostel.

Our room at the salt hostel. Everything is made of salt! Walls, floor, beds..

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Haha, such a funny pic…. group picture of the four of us in the salt hostel :) We laugh so much together!


Day 4: SAN JUAN –
 UYUNI .-
Once again we woke up at 5 to drive to the Salar de Uyuni where we watched the sunrise. Then we went to Isla del Pescado, where there are giant cactuses and a nice viewpoint over the whole salar. We had our breakfast there and then we drove out in the middle of nowhere in the Salar de Uyuni and took loads of pictures and had our lunch there. Then we went to the first Salar Hotel and then a lodized salt processing plant in Colchani. Then we had a stop at a market where we bought some souvenirs and then drove to the town of Uyuni (ugly) where we visited the Train Cementary.. The trains was taken out of service 1825 but Bolivia don’t have what it takes to recycle it, so they were just put there in Uyuni instead… After that they left us at Uyuni around 14.30 where David, Jessika and Anne were staying one night. My bus didn’t leave until 20 so I joined them, I payed 20 bs to storage my bag there and to take a shower.. ah lovely hot shower!! :D Then we went to minuteman pizza, in the lonely planet book it is said to be the best pizza in bolivia… and damn it was goooood. :) Time flew by and I had to go to the bus terminal to take the bus to La Paz. It costed 105 bs (around 15 USD) with Cruz del Norte, and I arrived at la paz around 6.30 in the morning.

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In Isla del Pescado, with gigant cactuses, like 2000 years old

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Breakfast :)

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Haha.. what to say.. I’m like a puppet.

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Blowing away Jessika and David.. :)

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Crushing Anne! Hehehe

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Eating Anne and Jessika.. yummi!

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I can jump over our car.. and Anne.. hehe

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A lot of flags represented, but no Swedish or Spanish flag… damn it, should have brought one!

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salt processing plantation

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The train cementary… :)

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Sooo goood pizza….!! Mmmm…

more pics

 

4 days Salt flakes tour – lovely! Day 1 & 2

I’ve had such an amazing time on the tour, the itinerary was great, the sights and places breathtaking beautiful and our group so funny, I enjoyed every second of it (except the freezing nights, but that’s also an experience…so). I thought it was going to be hard to be without internet – meaning no talking to Duilio, but having such a great tour and people around me made it much easier, and I started to feel the travel spirit inside of me again.

This is going to be a quite long entry with loooots of pictures,…. it was sooo beautiful. And cold. Apparently internet SUCKS here so I’ll only upload day 1 and 2 today!

Day 1: TUPIZA – SAN ANTONIO DE LIPEZ.- 
Me and Anne were supposed to get picked up at 8.30, but we didn’t leave until around 13. We had lunch at our hotel first with the two other people, David and Jessika from England. Then we finally started our tour, we passed by the Quebrada de palala and then the Sillar, that has a fantastic moon landscape. It was sooo windy too! But actually quite hot in the car. Then we went to the mining areas of Nazarenito, Chilcobija, Cerrillos, Polulos, Rio San Pablo until we reaced the village of San Antonio de Lipez where we slept our first night. It was soooo cold. The flush in the toilets didn’t work because the water in them had frozen to ice. We had some tea and then a good dinner, and two kids from the village sang and played some music for us (or something like that, it was sweet though). Then we all went to sleep since we were going up at 5 next morning. I put everything I had on me, It was -7*C outside, and 2 degrees inside… people would think I should be used to the cold, but I’m not used to have it so cold inside!! I had 2 thermal tights, 3 long sleeved shirts, 1 fleece jacket, a pair of socks, a pair of leg warmers, a hat, gloves and two scarfs…. Still it took me a couple of hours to fall asleep because I was so cold, my feet hurt.  I woke up a couple of times during night because I needed to pee, but I reaaaally didn’t want to go up.. so I didn’t, haha.

Quebrada de Palala, this was all in the bottom of the ocean before!

Quebrada de Palala, this was all in the bottom of the ocean before!

El sillar/Valley of the moon.

El sillar/Valley of the moon.

Day 2: SAN ANTONIO – LAGUNA COLORADA.-
Next morning we woke up at 5, and it was still dark outside. We had breakfast and then started our journey,we visited the colonial ruins of San Antonio, also known as Ghost Town… 200 years ago people actually lived there, but it seemed much older. It was so cold that we just ran trough the ruins and took some pictures, then we kept on to the Torreón and the Laguna Morejón.. then we went to Quetena where they have aguas calientes, hot springs…. Oh and it was sooo great, the water temperature was 35 degrees!! We never wanted to get out.. and I feel soooo sorry for the people who didn’t dare to jump in because it was cold outside. It was totally worth it! So nice to be warm again. We had lunch there, and Anne had put her bikini to dry in the sun, but instead it froze, haha so fun. After lunch we headed to some other lagoons and volcanos
(Laguna Polques to Laguna Verde, at the foot of the Volcano Licancabur 5960 m.a.s.l.).

Then we cross the Desert of Dali which I didn’t really fond so much… then we went to 5000 m.a.s.l. and visited the ¨Sol de Mañana¨ geysers, volcanic craters with effusions of sulfur vapors and heavy water. Then we went to the village where we were going to sleep. We went to the little shop in town and I bought an extra pair of socks, then we spent the afternoon having tea and talking and after dinner we played cards in our room.
This is the highest and coldest place, around -15*C outside, but it felt warmer inside then yesterday, we actually had two doors into our room, so we were happy :)

Beautiful scenery along the way. There has snowed a bit here too!

Beautiful scenery along the way. There has snowed a bit here too!

Our group jumping in front of Laguna Celeste and the volcano Uturuncu

Our group jumping in front of Laguna Celeste and the volcano Uturuncu

A small little lagoon

A small little lagoon

Some vicuñas running

Some vicuñas running

Beautiful scenery..

Beautiful scenery..

Me and Anne at the thermal baths - so happy to be warm again! 35 degrees inside, but probably around 5 degrees in the air.

Me and Anne at the thermal baths – so happy to be warm again! 35 degrees inside, but probably around 5 degrees in the air.

Sometimes you get stuck!

Sometimes you get stuck!

Playing cards at our second place.. we all sit in our sleeping bags and in a lot of clothes to not freeze to death :p

Playing cards at our second place.. we all sit in our sleeping bags and in a lot of clothes to not freeze to death :p

 

Crossing the border to Bolivia

Hello!

Right now I’m in Tupiza in our hotel Anexo Mitru. I’ve shared a private twin room with Anne from Germany.. We were supposed to get picked up at 8.30 by Tupiza Tours, to start our Salt Flakes tour, but apparently the other two that are going with us are late, the train they are on are delayed so… we’ll be picked up around 11.30 instead. Typical!

But then I have time to write this ;)

We arrived here yesterday. We all met in La Quiaca, the border town of the Argentinian side. We arrived like 7 in the morning and it was still dark and freezing cold, and it was such a heavy atmosphere there, I really felt uncomfortable.. and there was no info what so ever about where the border was or how to cross it.. and the tourist information was closed.. it was really weird.. I spotted a couple that I saw in Salta, that took the same bus as me. They also felt the strange feeling there and were also going to take the train to Tupiza. The border didn’t open until 8 so we started to talk there.. and then 3 other people joined us that they had been talking to before too, so we were a group of 6 people together going to the same place and it felt much safer to walk around there. It’s really nasty and doesn’t feel safe to walk there by yourself. Also it’s quite far away from the bus station to the border.

Sunrise in the border between Argentina and Bolivia. The river is the border.

Sunrise in the border between Argentina and Bolivia. The river is the border.

We crossed the border without problems and landed in the border town Villazon in Bolivia. A little better atmosphere, maybe because the sun actually had come out and made it a little bit more friendly but I still had this molding feeling inside of me, I wasn’t comfortable.

Then they tell us that there is no train to Tupiza, that it doesn’t go anymore… whaaat? Haha. Some of us even stayed an extra day in Salta just to catch this train since it only goes 4 times a week… but they were buses leaving in the morning, good! Buuut… then there is a traffic stop or something right before Tupiza, so the buses didn’t leave either!
….whaaaat again?? Haha.. We didn’t want to be stuck in that town! Such a bad luck. We waited a little bit and then they said that the buses actually were going to leave, but a little bit later.. phew! We met some other people waiting there and had some breakfast (coffee and plain bread, they didn’t have anything else). Nice to get together with all these other backpackers actually, it felt so much safe.

Breakfast in Villazón in Bolivia, the border town... so cold here.. and they only had coffe and bread.. :) This is Sarah, Matt and Anne!

Breakfast in Villazón in Bolivia, the border town… so cold here.. and they only had coffe and bread.. :) This is Sarah, Matt and Anne!

Then we took the bus to Tupiza (15 Bs), and it was actually really quick! And the bus was totally ok, I mean is not the kind of bus as in Argentina or Peru, a little bit more broke, but still ok comfortable ;) When we arrived in Tupiza it was totally a different atmosphere, so much lighter, and it felt much better. We walked to Hotel Mitru which we all had seen in hostelworld, they had rooms for 100 bs at night, but they also have 2 other hotels close by where it’s cheaper, so we stayed at Anexo Mitru for 60 bs at night, private room. :)

Then we had some lunch, took out money and paid for our Salt Flakes tour (1200 bs with discount), then went back to the hotel to chill a little and take a shower. In the evening we went out to buy some more clothes, I bought a pair of gloves and a hat because it’s really damn cold here. Then we had something to drink at a coffee/restaurant place in the main square of tupiza, it took like 40 minutes to get our coffee, beer, submarino and fanta, haha.

I really enjoy the company of Anne, Sarah and Matt, they are funny and easy going, and I feel better at heart when I’m around people I enjoy and not alone with my thoughts. After that we had dinner at a place called something Antomos or something, ”it’s recoginized by it’s green light outside” as it sais in the lonely planet book haha. Really funny place, they have sliding doors and a private security guard outside haha. The menu was great too, really cheep and they have all kind of different food, even vegetarian hamburger, which I ate! And the decorations in that place is really funny too. :)

Finally in Tupiza! The busstation.

Finally in Tupiza! The busstation.

Ate lunch here, they had plenty of vegetarian food. But then when we walked around town we noticed that they are like 5 other restaurants that look the same that also serves vegetarian food! :) Great!

Ate lunch here, they had plenty of vegetarian food. But then when we walked around town we noticed that they are like 5 other restaurants that look the same that also serves vegetarian food! :) Great!

Uhhh.... Fresh. And people wonder why I'm vegetarian.

Uhhh…. Fresh. And people wonder why I’m vegetarian.

Having dinner at a really good place in Tupiza, called something the Antomos or something like that...

Having dinner at a really good place in Tupiza, called something the Antomos or something like that…

At night we were all dead and went back early to the hotel, I tried to skype with Duilio allthough the internet connection is really bad here so it was hanging up all the time. But still I told him that I had reservated an apartment for us in Santa Fe from the 15th of July, and he just couldn’t believe that, he was so happy to hear that and I was so happy to hear his voice all that happy :) Haha. It really felt great. Looking forward to it, less then a month left ;);)

So… soon time to leave for the Salt Flakes Tour! I’m actually a little bit excited about it, it feels good to have that feeling in the body again, excitement for traveling. :)

I’m so glad I’m doing this with Anne and not alone too. It feels good to have travel company :) We will be staying at basic lodges with no electricity or hot water... and at night it’s below freezing point.. uffuff. Maybe I should have bought another warm sweater.. I’m really something in between if I should or shouldn’t… Hopefully I don’t regret not buying one, haha. 

Anyhow.. I’ll be gone now for 4 days... See you next time in La Paz!

The pink route is our tour, the 4 day salt flakes tour. We are going to see some amazing things!

The pink route is our tour, the 4 day salt flakes tour. We are going to see some amazing things!

 

Sad goodbyes and new hellos – Santa fe and Salta

On Friday we were invited to have dinner at Kikas house, Duilios grandmother. It was sort of a reunion with the whole family to say goodbye for this time. I really like this family, they are funny and easy to hang with.  I was thinking that I probably have seen this family more than I’ve seen my family in the last year, haha. But I’m glad that I’m comfortable with my boyfriends family, hehe. I hope he feels the same when he meets mine…. Oh, by the way, yes we have decided that we now are a couple for real. After 5 months I think it’s quite ok ;) Haha. And it feels great. I’m so damn in love with him. I love every second with him and I’m proud of him all the time, I want to say “look everybody, this is myyyy boyfriend!!!”. I don’t think I ever have felt this way before.

The borgo-gonzalez family laughing their asses of haha

The borgo-gonzalez family laughing their asses of haha

Yesterday, Saturday, was our last day together and we spent the whole day in bed. Oh, it was a perfect day!!!  He brought breakfast to bed, we watched a couple of episodes of Dexter, had some ice cream in bed, watched some more episodes of Dexter etc. My bus was leaving at 20.00…. feels so weird in my heart. Still I’m wondering why the heck I am doing this for?? When I know that the only thing my heart wants is to be with him. I’m not happy with out him. But my head says I should keep on with my journey. I’ve been here for a month. So I will try to enjoy Bolivia and the last part of Peru and then come back to Santa Fe again. Already looking forward to it. Seriously. Haha.

The perfect afternoon - ice cream in bed!

The perfect afternoon – ice cream in bed!

Anyhow. Now I’m in Salta, I arrived around 12.30 today, so the trip took 16 hours and 30 minutes. The buses were more regular ones, a little better then the ones in Mexico – it was actually quite hot in the bus, and they had this semi-bed thing where you put down a thing for the feet so they are stretched out… SO much better. Still I tried to lay down on the both seats that I had, I alternated between 4 different postures during the whole night because I woke up of something hurting, I think I changed around 30 times.. but still I slept well between every time I woke up… hehe.

When I arrived I walked to my host Sebastians house, really close to the center and to the bus station. He lives in a reaaaally big house, I loose myself here! Haha. He was going to his parents house since today Sunday
it’s fathers day here in Argentina, so I joined him to his old neighbourhood Milagros. And the whole family was there, mother, father, the two brothers, the aunt, two cousins and two grandmothers.

My host Sebastian family (he is the green shirt at the right)

My host Sebastian family (he is the green shirt at the right)


They
made me feel so welcome, that I feel like a part of this family too! It reminded me of Duilios family, it’s the same sort of relaxed funny hang out. It’s usual that here in Argentina, the families have lunch together on Sundays. I think it’s really nice that they know each other that well, they are that comfortable that they sort of can say ANYTHING in front of each other, more like friends do, so they have fun and enjoy each others company.

It’s not like the family reunions in Sweden that everybody hates (It’s a very common thought that “släktträff” (family reunion in swedish ) is boring). There it’s more like everybody has to show how good and successful they or their children are, people are not that comfortable because they don’t know each other that well. My family isn’t really like that, but still we barely see each other more then for birthdays or Christmases even if almost all of us live within a 10 minutes distance from each other.  It would be nice to have it as a weekly thing, but it feels almost like an impossible thing to do, we wouldn’t find a time when everybody is available or up to it.

I think Swedes don’t really appreciate family the same way they do here, we are much more independent, the general thought about young people is sort of try to get away from your family and do something of your own, not to get together. Ugh, when I put these things down to words it strikes me as very harsh, but they are still true. And I realize why people se us Swedes as cold people. We really are different from not only south America but in Europe too. Argentina is much more alike Spain in all ways, almost almost the same.

Love the spanish and the argentinain flag together.. :)

Love the spanish and the argentinain flag together.. :)

Hmm.. what was I saying?
Oh yeah, about Salta. It’s a nice colonial town here : ) There are plenty of tourist attractions too. In the evening we went to an American market as they call it here, which is a second hand market, and I bought a pair of shorts for 20 pesos (4 USD). Then we went to the handicraft market they have every weekend here, loveeeely stuff here too. Wowowow. And cheap aswell! I bought two beautiful rings here, typical from Peru though. :) Haha. Then I tried the typical Alfajor from Salta (not as good as the ones from Santa Fe I must say) and we also had great tortilla (baked bread on a col-stove). It was a nice day.

Having tortillas in Salta from the local lady

Having tortillas in Salta from the local lady

Mercado artesanal in Salta

Mercado artesanal in Salta

Then we walked home through the main street and the main plaza, it’s really nice and calm atmosphere here. One thing that’s different here from Santa Fe, except for the dialect (yes, they are MUCH more easy to understand here!) is that the people generally have darker hair and darker skin here that I’ve seen in Santa Fe. Just to throw something out, I would say that in Santa Fe, around 70% look like white Europeans, but here in Salta, around 30% does.  At least that’s my guess from today. My guess is that since this is pretty close to Bolivia, more Bolivian people have come here to work and create families over the years, while Santa Fe has remained intact since the European came there to work and create families a couple of hundred years ago. Haha.

The San Francisco church, a little unusual to have a pink one!

The San Francisco church, a little unusual to have a pink one!

Today I went to the archeological museum, but it was closed. Damn it, I really wanted to go there, they have mummies and stuff and they say it’s really worth a visit. Apparently it’s a festive day today here in Salta, so a lot of stores and stuff are closed.  There are a few things going on today in town, a parade of horses and farmers from the Salta-area and at night there are some other celebrations.
I walked around town, visited the San Francisco church (yes, there is one in every town here in South America, haha!) and the cathedral. After that I took the teleferico up to the Cerro San Bernardo, which has a good sight over the whole town of Salta.

The teleferic

The teleferic

Cascades in the top of the cerro san bernardo

Cascades in the top of the cerro san bernardo

I went to the bus station to check the schedules for buses leaving to Bolivia, and there’s one bus that leaves at 22.30 tonight and another 01.30 tomorrow night. I really don’t know what to do. I’m really split. I sort of feel I could stay one more day because I haven’t really been able to hang that much with my host, and I haven’t seen that museum or done any other tour, but I also really want to hurry my trip up. Today I’ve felt so bad, I think I’m depressed. It was so long time ago I had this feeling inside of me, it’s eating me up, I’m not happy at all and I just want to cry my heart out. I don’t think I’ll be able to do my 1-month volunteer-thing in Bolivia. I might be there one week instead and work with monkeys instead of pumas then (to work with the cat-animals you have to be there for a month at least). I just can’t be away for 2 months. I can’t stand it. I’m so damn close to just turn around and go back too.. but I have already paid for a jungle-tour in Puerto Maldonaldo in Peru so I feel like I need to use it since it was quite expensive, and I do want to see Salar de Uyuni…So I’ll do this quick. I hope it’s worth it. Then I’m done. I was happy with my everyday life in Santa Fe together with Duilio, training and doing my bracelets. I just want to go back to that, being happy and being with the love of my life.

P.S Now when I’m uploading this I’m at the hostal were my host works and I’m having a good time and feeling better then I did earlier today. It’s much better to talk to people and do stuff! I’ve learnt to do a new bracelet too from Belen, it’s so nice!!!

Dinner with my host Sebastian!

Dinner with my host Sebastian!

P.S 2. I stayed another day here too, I’ve changed my plans for Bolivia. I will go directly to Uyuni now instead, taking the train from Villazon. Today I also went to the Maam museum. :)

An old mummy in the Maam museum

An old mummy in the Maam museum

Before I forget, I would also like to put in a small dictionary here with some words we have different here… I remember a couple of days ago when Claudia said something like “Llevas el cancan para que no te se vea la bombacha cuando lleves la pollera!” and I was like HUH?!

Argentinian – Spanish dictionary    (English)

Bombacha – bragas (panties)

Pollera – falda (skirt)

Cancan – Medias (stockings/leggings)

Polainas – calentadores (leg warmers)

Medias – calcetines (socks)
Lentes – gafas (glasses)
Canilla – grifo (tap)
Campera – chaqueta (jacket)
Buzo – hoodie con capucha (hoodie with hoodie)
Canguro – hoodie sin capucha (hoodie without hoodie)
Bremer – camisa de manga larga (pullover)
Remera – camiseta (t-shirt)
Pileta – piscina (pool)
Bermuda/Maya – bañador (bathing suite)
Pieza – habitacion (room)
Piso – suelo (floor)
Choclo – maiz (corn)
Arvejas – guisantes (peas)
Poroto – alubias (white beans)
Zapatillas – bambas (sport shoes)
Pantuflas – zapatillas (slippers)
Toallitas femeninas – compresas (hmmm…)
Antro – bar/pub
Boliche – disco/club
Parlantes – alta voces (speakers)
Paba – tetera (tea pot)
Cola – culo  (ass)
Piba – chica (girl)
Mina –  chica (girl)
Pibe – chico (boy)
Vago – chico (boy)
Varon – chico/hombre (boy/man)
Re-(bien, frio) – muy/mucho (bien/frio) (very)
Esta bárbaro – esta muy bueno/bonito (really good)
Jeans – vaqueros (jeans)
Sanwish – bocadillo (sandwich)
Estacionar – aparcar (to park)
Playa de estacionamiento – parking
Manejar – conducir (drive)
Auto – coche (car)
Colectivo – autobus (bus)
Remis – taxi (cab)
Concha, cajeta, papo – vagina
Verga, chota, poronga – pene (penis)
Cojer, garchar – follar (fuck)
Forro – condon (condom)

Last week in Santa Fe, Argentina

Hello again..

My last post from Santa Fe. I was originally supposed to leave 29th of may, I had my flight back to Cuzco… but I just couldn’t do that, and I really didn’t wanted to either. I decided to stay a couple of more weeks, and then instead of flying to Cuzco, take the bus from here to Bolivia and make the trip backwards of what I had planned.. :) He he! 

Last Friday we had dinner at Duilios parents house, Claudia picked me up here and then we went to pick her sister Lorena up, so I got to meet her and her daughter, son and husband later. So now I’ve met everybody. They are so funny too.. it really reminds me of my family in Spain, big and chatty :) And they have all made me feel sooooo welcome!! And I’ve recieved a gift from the other grandmother Kika this time, and another sweater from Claudia. I’m getting so spoiled here! Next time when I get back here after Bolivia and Peru, I will bring plenty of thing to give them!

Me, Kika, Claudia and Lorena.. And I'm the swedish one?? Haha. I'm the darkest one!

Me, Kika, Claudia and Lorena.. And I’m the swedish one?? Haha. I’m the darkest one!

Three generation of couples ;) Grandparents, parents and us :)

Three generation of couples ;) Grandparents, parents and us :)

At Duilios house with his aunt and her son :)

At Duilios house with his aunt and her son :)

On Saturday we went out on a small sightseeing tour with the boat ”Catamaran”. Santa Fe is surrounded by rivers and small islands. It’s totally different from the city, reminds me a little of the river between Guatemala and Mexico, hehe. It was a nice tour, went really fast though. After that we drove to Parana, a nearby city. They had a beautiful costanera, the walk along the river. We ate our empanadas that Claudia had packed for us the day before :)

At the catamaran, a boat through the rivers in Santa Fe

At the catamaran, a boat through the rivers in Santa Fe

 

The argentinian flag

The argentinian flag

Having empanadas by the river in Parana

Having empanadas by the river in Parana

 

At night we went out dancing on a club here, celebrating Sebastians birthday. Reaaaaally different atmosphere here from everywhere else I have been!! I guess it’s a little bit more european, but we are a lot more drunk and have a lot more fun then they have here. Here everyone is dressed up to their teeth, classy and sofisticated, just looking good on the dancefloor and searching for someone to pick up! A classic meat market! Haha.. in the other countries I’ve visited here in south america, people mainly go out to dance. In sweden people mostly go out to hang out with their friends. And here it’s to find a one night stand. I say mainly, I mean, of course in Sweden people also go out to dance and to flirt, but the most important is to hang out with your friends, since ”going out” usually is the way of hanging out nowadays.

The group picture of the guys :)

The group picture of the guys :)

Anyhow!

On sunday we went out for a long walk around the city and we also visited a handcraft market that only was open this weekend. SO MUCH NiCE THINGS THERE! And really cheep too!!!! We were both so surprised that it was that cheap! We didn’t get so much, but I bought my first own mate! Yep… I’m slowly converting into an Argentinian… haha!

Good morning with my new mate (the cup) and the matching bombilla! (the straw)

Good morning with my new mate (the cup) and the matching bombilla! (the straw)

Also the climate here has really changed now.. when I first got here it was really cold, like 13-15 degrees… now it’s like 25 degrees! Summertime for us Swedes (but it’s winter here, haha). And there’s so much humidity here!! I thought they had cleaned the streets because they were all wet, but no, it’s the humidity..!

So before I forget about it, I want to comment about the trash cans they have here in Santa Fe, I’ve laughed so much at them. The ones that are every where around the city looks like bird cages, they are baskets in different sizes and high up on poles without any bags or anything… haha. I can barely reach them! And then while walking around, I found another kind of garbage can, where you separate the garbage depending if it’s wet or dry. And it’s sooo small!! And then the last one, which I wasn’t sure about because I thought it was a mailbox at first, so I didn’t dare to throw my banana peel there the first times haha. Such a small opening, you can’t throw a can in there for example.

The carbage cans here are so funny! They are like bird baskets and so high up!

The carbage cans here are so funny! They are like bird cages and so high up!

Another funny garbage can.. rally big!  Haha. It also says like "dry garbage" and "wet garbage"....

Another funny garbage can.. really big, almost fits a half 2L pet bottle! Haha. It also says like ”dry garbage” and ”wet garbage”….

The third kind of garbage can here, this one looks like a mailbox!

The third kind of garbage can here, this one looks like a mailbox!

And another thing I think is funny at every supermarket:

This is  a thing I have seen everywhere here in south america - the milk and the yoghurt are in BAGS! Because they have this special beakers at home where they put it in.

This is a thing I have seen everywhere here in south america – the milk and the yoghurt are in BAGS! Because they have this special beakers at home where they put it in.

Well.. not much more to say. We have changed apartment now, because we only had the other one until wednesday, and it was booked for this last days.. Duilio wanted to have a day home to say Good bye.. so we got another apartment from the same girl a little bit further away from the city center, a stones’ throw from Parque sur where we hang out and I go jogging around :)

Hanging out in parque del sur

Hanging out in parque del sur

I love our bathroom in the new appartment! So cute! Love the tile!

I love our bathroom in the new appartment! So cute! Love the tile and the mirror!

My workshop at our new apartment :)

My workshop at our new apartment :)

And it’s so much bigger, we have 3 bedrooms! Haha. But it feels a little weird, the other one really felt like ”our” apartment..  Anyhow.. I’m leaving tomorrow saturday…. It sort of hurts my heart but this time I feel like I can do it, compared to 2 weeks ago when I was supposed to leave.. I really wasn’t ready then. Now I’ll be gone for like 2 months before coming back here again :)