My favorite hidden gems in South America

After a year traveling around Central & South America, these are the places I liked the most. Since they are not very well-known, I’d like to call them ”my hidden gems”.

These ”cities” are very down-to-earth and laid-back places where I have felt something special inside, like a bubbling feeling of happiness, calmness and fulfillness.

 

1. — Holbox – Mexico —

The beach at Holbox

The beach at Holbox

Sunset in Holbox

Sunset in Holbox

 

Shallow water, birds, and blue sky.

Shallow water, birds, and blue sky.

 

There is just something special about this small island outside of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. This island has a natural beauty – white sand, palm trees, shallow ocean, thousands of flamingos and pelicans. Most of the habitants work as fishermen and it’s considered a virgin tourist destination unspoiled by mass tourism. There is only a main square and a few streets which are made of sand and there are just a handful of ”cars” on the island. You sleep, eat, do some small excursions, go to small music events, visit small shops with handicraft and just relax. You eat and live cheaply here too.

 

2. — Isabela – The Galapagos – Ecuador —

The mainstreet in isabela... beautiful with sand!

The main street in isabela… beautiful with sand!

The tuneles

The tuneles

Bluefooted boobies

Bluefooted boobies

Beautiful surroundings!

Beautiful surroundings!


I love all the Galapagos islands,
but if I would have to choose one of them for living – it would be Isabela. although it is the biggest island it is the less populated of the habituated islands. Most tourists only come here for day tours so the ambiance feels very local. Also on this island, the streets are made of sand. It is very safe here. There are plenty of things to do and see here, you can visit lava tunnels, active volcanoes, you can snorkel with big tortoises, watch blue footed boobies, pink flamingos. It is not expensive here either.

 

3. — Jericoacoara – Brazil —

Enjoying life!!!

Enjoying life!!!

Windsurfers and a man playing capoeira-music

Windsurfers and a man playing capoeira-music

The streets are full with hantcraft stands

The streets are full with handicraft stands

Sunset in Jericoacoara

Sunset in Jericoacoara

A little street filled with restaurants

A little street filled with restaurants


This is like a bigger version of Holbox
, with more people, more shops and more activity, but still it has a lot of charm. This place is a paradise for windsurfers and kitesurfers. So yes, it is very windy but hey! – there are no mosquitoes :) If you get tired of the wind you can visit the Blue Lagoon, lovely calm lagoon famous for the hanging hammocks in the water. Jericoacoara is a mix of great people – during the day you’ll see all the active sporty people, and during the nights you’ll see all the musicians and the handicraftsmen out selling their work. There are always live music in a bar or a restaurant, always something to do. The main streets are of course – made of sand. :)

 

4. — Lagoa da Conceição – Florianopolis – Brazil —

Barra Da lagoa

Barra Da lagoa

View over Lagoa do Conceicão

View over Lagoa do Conceicão

Praia do Joaquina in Florianopolis

Praia do Joaquina in Florianopolis


This is a magical place
. It’s a laid-back neighbourhood with super nice surroundings. The area has a small town center and some of the island’s best beaches, and a lagoon that is surrounded by beautiful green hills. Surfing is a popular sport here. There is a lovely big mixture of all kind of Brazilians, but also a lot of Europeans that decided to stay or study here. The city Florianopolis has a lot of culture and bars to offer too.

 

5.  —  Isla del sol – Copacabana –  Bolivia — 

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Boats, beach, small houses and snowy mountains behind

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Clear water and hills with place for cultivation

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Local people in the south of Isla del Sol


This is an oasis in all the chaos between Bolivia and Peru
. This small island in the lake Titicaca is beautiful and super quiet. There is no noise, no cars, no rubbish on the streets. Not even lampposts (bring your head-torche). Beautiful sunsets and sunrises and the sky is super clear so you can see a lot of stars during the night. People live in harmony here with the nature and it’s surroundings. You can walk from the north to the south and see llamas and donkeys and some old inca-archaelogical sites along the way. Sweet local kids will offer you a little guided history about the history of Isla del Sol. There are a few small museums on the island too. I really enjoyed the landscapes in the south.

 

¿Have you been to any of these places? ¿What was your impression?

 

~ If I would extend the list these cities would probably make the list too, all though there are all not ”hidden gems” since some of them are capitals.

• Cusco (Peru) • Puerto Maldonado (Peru) • Quito (Ecuador) • Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) • Salvador (Brazil) • San Cristobal De Las Casas (Mexico) • Isla Mujeres (Mexico) • Tulum (Mexico) • La Paz (Bolivia) and • Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Hello from the Brazilian side of the Iguaçu falls

I had a nice breakfast at my hostel in Puerto Iguazu in Argentina before taking the bus to Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil. It was a regular urban bus, costed 8 Argentinian pesos (like 1-1,5 USD), nice price.

We stopped at the Argentinian border and since my Visa had expired I had to wait a while there to get my papers in order. I knew I had to pay 300 pesos, but I thought it was going to be in cash, so I had saved exactly 300 pesos. But no, apparently you can’t do that, instead yo do it with your Visa card online. They could have told me that when I e-mailed migrations about the rules… but they never answered. Anyhow. In the end there were no problems, just took an extra hour.

No problems at the Brazilian side either. Then I had to walk about 1-2 km down the road from the border to take another bus that goes directly to the national park (where the falls are). If you take the bus from the border, you have to head into the city center to take it.

Weird that in just a few hundred meters -between the both migration borders – the language changes. People now don’t understand what I say! Haha. Gonna be fun!!

Luckily I could pay with Argentinian pesos both on the bus to the falls and the entrance fee, so I got rid of all my Argentinian pesos which aren’t worth anything outside Argentina.

The park was really well-organized. I jumped on a nice bus accompanied by a voice who told me about the stops and what you could do there, both in portuguese and english. Most of the things weren’t included in the entrance fee though (the bus was of course).

I jumped of at the start of the trail, which is only one on the brazilian side compared to three on the Argentinian side. But hen I got down to where it started – I got all ”aaaahhhhh!!!!!” So damn beautiful.

Me in the beginning of the trail!

Me in the beginning of the trail!

I didn’t really understand how it all hanged together yesterday but today I got a whole new perspective over the falls. Is like a panorama view. And the weather was great too. So so beautiful. Every viewpoint more beautiful than the other! And the end is just AMAZING!

The falls and the river where I took the boat yesterday

On the other side of the falls and the river where I took the boat yesterday

Lovely view over the falls!

Lovely view, look how strong the water falls are!!

I think garganta del diablo is in the end there!

I think garganta del diablo is in the end there!

:)

:)

 

Waterfalls. I just want to stick my hand in there!

Waterfalls. I just want to stick my hand in there! Would probably break.

Amazing how strong they are!!

Insane how much water there is!! Just never-ending!!

Ahhhh!!!! Crazy loud!!

Ahhhh!!!! Crazy loud and crazy excited!!

I had enough time to do the trail (about 1,3 km) in a couple of hours – but I could have stayed much longer too just because it was so breath-taking. But I was sort of in a hurry.

I had asked the information about the bus station and they said that the park was about 1 hour and 40 minutes away from the bus station!!! And I hadn’t even bought my ticket for Porto Alegre yet, which I wanted to take at 19. So I had to leave the park at the latest 16.

On my way back I jumped of at the center to change bus to the ”Rodoviaria” (bus station). I was waiting there when a Portuguese couple asked me about the bus to the Rodoviaria. We waited for a while, but then shared a taxi for about 18 reiales to the bus station. Such a sweet couple, they were both exchange students in Florianopolis and both spoke good spanish, so they helped me out to buy my ticket and to order vegetarian food. Then we changed numbers so that we can get in contact when I get to Florianopolis :)

Life is so nice!!

I was lucky to have the front seat on the bus on my way to Porto Alegre too, because it has a much bigger space for the feet. Also I didn’t have anyone beside me on the whole 12 hours bus journey (who became 13,5 hours since we had technical problems in the middle and had to change bus) so I had plenty of space!

Hello from the Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls.

I’m in Puerto Iguazú. I arrived around 11am today, after a 18,5 hours bus drive (was supposed to be 17 but because of the rain we started late and then we had to change a tire along the way). Btw, on the bus a sold 3 bracelets to a woman! :)

I arrived and walked the 2 blocks to my hostel, Iguazu Falls Hostel. Apparently the system was down, meaning the whole telephone net and internet, so I couldn’t let Duilio know I arrived well. Pore him.

Instead I took first bus to the Iguazu Falls. There’s only one company driving that route (Rio uruguay), at when I had done research online it was supposed to cost 15 pesos each way, but now it was 35 pesos each way, quite expensive!! Made me think twice if I really would go out there tomorrow too.

The entrance fee is 175 pesos if you are European. Almost 3 times more than if you are Argentinian. Damn it.

I met up with a Danish girl, Marta, and we joined the whole day along the falls.
We started out at the top of “Garganta del Diablo” (devil’s throat)…. WOW. Impressive!!

Garganta del diablo, Devils throat. So impressive!!

Garganta del diablo, Devils throat. So impressive!!

In garganta del Diablo! Crazy!!

In garganta del Diablo! Crazy!!

Garganta del Diablo

Garganta del Diablo

Garganta del Diablo

Garganta del Diablo

Me and Marta, the danish girl

Me and Marta, the danish girl

Then took the train back to the “center” and walked the upper circuit above all the other waterfalls and later the lower circuit “under” the waterfalls. Could get really wet!!

Such a special weird feeling of being amazed all the times by the wonders of this world. I just can’t really describe the feeling of being there. So loud noise from the extremely powerful and strong water currents and falls.. It’s just extra-ordinary. And never-ending. Waterfall after waterfall and more and more amazing stuff along the way. Breath taking cool.

Igazú falls

View from the upper circuit over the Igazú falls

Me in front of the cataratas :)

Me in front of the cataratas :)

Beautiful

Beautiful

View from the lower circuit! Lovely! They are so powerful.

View from the lower circuit! Lovely! They are so powerful.

Close to the waterfalls on the lower circuit!

Close to the waterfalls on the lower circuit!

After 3 hours walking around the falls it started to rain. Marta went back home since she has planned to come back tomorrow. But I only had a boat ride left of the Iguacu Falls – Barco Nautico – fucking 180 pesos for like 10 minutes on a boat that goes really close to the waterfall! I was so wet and cold before the ride but after the boat ride – It was like a bath! And the rush into the waterfalls and getting soaking wet was so much fun that it in the end totally was worth it!!

Taking the boat into some of the waterfalls - a crazy nice bath! :)

Taking the boat into some of the waterfalls – a crazy nice bath! :)

So now that I’m back in the hostel, warm and dry again, I can’t stop feeling sad because I’m leaving Argentina tomorrow. But I really don’t have anything more to do here.

When I arrived with the bus this morning I saw the “Cremolatti”-ice cream station, “ohh…. Yeah that’s right I’m stil in Argentina!” I thought. Then some people selling mates and alfajores. Oh. “I love this!”. I feel so comfortable around Argentinians, I know how it works around here. Still it’s not my favorite country or anything – but I just feel at home here. And I feel truly sad that it’s time to leave it all behind. Yesterday I left Santa Fe, tomorrow Argentina. One step further away from my love. One step closer to my home arrival.

It’s time to enter unknown territory, alone, again, but this time slightly harder than before since they speak a language I don’t manage!

It’s time to go to Brazil..

The last good byes in Santa Fe (and paraná)

So besides everything I wrote in the last post I’ve been with the couchsurfing-girls to Rosario (which I’ve already written about) and last weekend we were also in Paraná and visited Veronica. :)

We ate at this place called “Olivo” – rice and gratinated broccoli – but the best – the famous orange cheesecake – said to be the best in the universe, and it was delicccciiiioooussss. Then we went around the coast for a walk and had some deep conversation about life and how to improve ourselves and live life to the fullest. I love our conversations and our meetings, we are like lost souls connecting :) Meaning that we didn’t know each other before couchsurfing but we connected on a whole new level. Big like!

Having the famous orange cheese cake!

Having the famous orange cheese cake!

Viewpoint. On the other side of the river is Santa Fe!

Viewpoint. On the other side of the river is Santa Fe!

Another thing that happened in Paraná: I met up with my old pen pal from the year 2000! Yeah, who would have thought that? Writing to someone on the other side of the world! Haha. Last year she had found one of my old letters – and looked me up on facebook – we started chatting a little bit. Then she sees that I got tagged on a picture saying that I’m in Santa Fe – which apparently is 30 minutes from her home in Paraná! Amazing how little the world can be sometimes. And so fun to see her! To bad it was the last weekend before leaving though.

Old letters to Lorena!

Old letters to Lorena!

With my old penpal from year 2000, lorena :)

With my old pen pal from year 2000, lorena :)

The parana girls - me and Gisela visiting Veronica, Marcela and Lorena

The parana girls – me and Gisela visiting Veronica, Marcela and Lorena

Oh, and maybe worth to tell – I’ve got a new tattoo :) So glad, I’ve wanted to do one for so long, and I found a great place here, and it was cheap too – only 200 pesos, about 35 USD. Duilio also made one. So we do now both have infinity tattoos : )

Matching tattoos!

Matching tattoos!

I’ve also kept doing dance classes (salsa/merengue/bachata/cumbia/chachacha), foil and drums. Last Friday was my last drum lesson :( I recorded a bit so that I never forget how much I liked it and how great my teacher was – Lucas Negretti – if you want to learn how to play drums in Santa Fe, he is the best!

Lucas showing how to play "Every breath you take"

Lucas showing how to play ”Every breath you take”

On sunday we had dinner with Duilios uncles Gustavo and German, who gets married next week! Congratulations!!! And together with Dana and Lautaro. We had delicious pizzas (you order them really big and all share later, cool) and on our way home we snuck into Cremolatis to have some midnight ice-cream. Mmmmm! :)

Having dinner together with Gustavo, german, Dana and Luciano. Such a great pizza!!!

Having dinner together with Gustavo, german, Dana and Luciano. Such a great pizza!!!

And yesterday was my last fencing class and salsa class. I’m so sad. I’ve got used to the kids now, I will miss them. I kept saying “keep on with fencing and I’ll be back for a visit in a couple of years”. Hehe. They will all be grown up then, since most of them are around 12 years now. And Pedro, my trainer. Last week he told me that I couldn’t have come in a better moment, that he really enjoys my company. He needs “someone older to talk to” and also someone a little bit more experienced to fence with to keep the spirit going. And I’m glad likewise for all the extra-time he has taken to give me private lessons and to fence with me!

With the fencers at Club Banco Provincial! From the upper left; Lourdes, Me,Pedro and Alejandro, and lower right; Juan Ignacio, Lautaro, Juan Pablo and Juan :)

With the fencers at Club Banco Provincial! From the upper left; Lourdes, Me,Pedro and Alejandro, and lower right; Juan Ignacio, Lautaro, Juan Pablo and Juan :)

And the salsa-classes, it has only been a month but so much fun with all the other “students” and our teacher Dany, who also said to me ”I have it in me”. I hear the difference between different music styles now and I really enjoy to dance to different latin-music.

With the salsa group! Together with our teacher Dany

With the salsa group! Together with our teacher Dany

I  felt tinged with sadness on my way back home from Club Banco Provincial, which is where I’ve been training. So sad so sad. But the good thing is that – if everything keeps on going as it should – I will probably be back for a visit in a few years, since my boyfriend is Santa Fesino :)

Today I also said my last good byes to Duilios family. First to Jorge (Duilios dad), who came by before going to work. Then we visited Duilios grandmother Ines. She had made apple cake specially for us to bring home and even eggplant-milanesas for me to eat tomorrow! Oh oh. So sweet. such a sweet lady – reminds me so much of my own grandmother (who sadly died this summer). Then we went to the other side of the street to have dinner at Duilios other grandmother Kika (which is totally the opposite from Ines – not at all that typical grandmother – but modern and loud). We had homemade ravioles – lovely – I’m really getting used to this homemade pasta now… going to be hard later! Haha. After some  delicious apple/pear cake and mandarin cake and some playing on Lautaros phone – it was time to say good-bye there too, to grandparents Kika and Hugo, to mother Claudia, brother Lautaro, the aunt Lorena, her husband Adrian and her kids Brune and Thiago. Some of them even cried, broke my heart.

A very normal argentinian family :)

A very normal Argentinian family :)

Now I don’t have so much left – some packing, cleaning and a goodbye to the love of my life, before heading to Iguacú alone again. I was crying a week ago, but now that it’s just around the corner – I’m trying to hold up. Let’s see how it all turns out – hopefully we’ll meet in a couple of months again!!

Having tea in the pasteleria, such a cozy café! :)

Having tea party in our favorite café – the Pasteleria, such a cozy place! :)

Last months in Santa Fe

I notice that I haven’t uploaded any pictures from Santa Fe during september and october. Even if I haven’t done too much, just had a “normal” life, I can’t not take pictures ;)

We have been to the costanera a couple of times – the coast line of Santa Fe where people go to drink mate and look at other people jogging or show off their brand new cars – and then to the Parque Federal which is just around the corner from our home, much more silent and nicer. The first of September we moved to Giselas old apartment – because she moved to Rosario.

By the costanera, people park the car, take out a chair, and drink mate.

By the costanera, people park the car, take out a chair, and have picnic/drink mate.

Sunset and drunken trees siluettes by the costanera

Sunset and drunken trees silhouettes by the costanera

 

Doing bracelets in the Parque federal

Doing bracelets in the Parque federal

Having dinner at our new place :)

Having dinner at our new place :)

I’ve been to a kids fencing tournament here in Santa Fe, funny to see the kids fence ”for real”, and our guys behaved very well :) They are too young to get any scored though, but they all did well, had fun and got medals :)

Our guys :)

Our CBP-guys :)

The fencing medals :)

The fencing medals :)

We went bowling with the couchsurfing-gang on Fernandas good-bye party (she went back to Brazil). And I won ;) Haha! Duilio was mocking me because I started of really bad so it felt good to win later :)

Well... this went well...

Well… this went well…

We were invited to Nicos house for his birthday, it was potluck sucker – which is very common here on parties, so everybody brings a little bit of food to share (usually food you can eat with your hands), we brought pizza – which Sebastian had made for is earlier since he works at a pizzeria, hehe.  It was a perfect evening, not to hot or to cold, and the kind of “parties” or get-together I like, small and more personal, nice to have a chance to get talk  the guys get to know them a little better.

Hanging at Nicos house :)

Hanging at Nicos house :)

I’ve been to my first Argentinian wedding – Luciana and Gabys. Gaby is Duilios old friend from school. Such a sweet couple, and beautiful wedding, all though I noticed that here in Argentina is much more of a party and disco then a wedding haha. They have this thing called “cotillion” – which are stuff for parties – so they gave out multicolored disco light things (glasses/bracelets/rings/sticks) to everybody. Noooow I understand why there are so many cotillion-stores everywhere here – because Argentinians love cotillion and have it in every party!!

In the church for the wedding

In the church for the wedding

Me and Duilio

Me and Duilio

The bride and the groom

The bride and the groom with some adornments (picture borrowed from wedding photographer)


A couple of weeks ago I went out on a fishing trip along the rivers in Santa Fe together with Duilio and Seba, and yeah, the beginners luck really is!! I fished like 6 fishes that day! Thanks to that they had lunch : ) And yes, I feel horrible because I’m a vegetarian, but I only fished 3 for them to eat and the rest threw in the river again. Still, I really enjoyed fishing, and the day was beaaaaautiful and perfect, we got picked up about 5.30 in the morning and came back after sunset. Didn’t notice the first hours of sun – from about 7 to 10.30 we didn’t wear sun screen – so yeah…… we got buuuuurned!

Sunrise

Sunrise

Duilio wants to take some cred for the fish I fished ;)

Duilio wants to take some cred for the fish I fished ;)

Cow along the river!

Cow along the river!

Duilio me and Seba on the rivers of Santa Fe

Duilio me and Seba on the rivers of Santa Fe

The perfect spot for our camp!

The perfect spot for our camp!

Duilios first fish. He is so happy.

Duilios first fish. He is so happy.

My sixth fish or something. This yellow one is the most common in the rivers!

My sixth fish or something. This yellow one is the most common in the rivers!

The captain! With nice burn marks on his feet!

The captain on our way back home! With nice shoes marks on his feet!

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Such a handsome half red half white couple.

Next entry soon with the last pics from Santa Fe!!

Finally a video from Argentina

It’s been a while since I last uploaded a video!

This video is only from Argentina, a mix from the first and the second period. I haven’t uploaded anything yet from Bolivia who came in between my two visits to Argentina. Since I’ve been a total of 4,5 months here, these 5 minutes aren’t much.

I haven’t done anything really touristic either, so this is just a gathering of a few events. Trombonanza, ”El dia del amigo”/ ”international friendship day”, a few sunsets, Duilios family, boat trip on the Santa Fe river, some fencing in Rosario, a trip to Buenos Aires, a few roller coasters from the amusement park there, a wedding and a fishing trip in Santa Fe.

Enjoy!

 

 

Fencing and couchsurfing in Rosario

I’ve been in Rosario the two past weekends. It’s only 2,5 hours away with bus from Santa Fe where I live, and relatively cheap to go there (one way 65 pesos, about 22 USD).

Rosario is Argentina’s third largest city after Buenos Aires and Cordoba. It belongs to the province Santa Fe, which Santa Fe is the Capital, but Rosario is much bigger. Some famous people who were born here is Che Guevarra and Lionel Messi.

Last weekend I went for the fencing tournament ”Panamericano”, which is the biggest one in Central and South America, with the best fencers from each country. I was there on Sunday, to see the woman’s epee. There weren’t many fencers or much public there, but my trainer Pedro said that it was full on Saturday when it was men’s foil. So epee isn’t that big, and neither women…

The semi-finals in womens epee

The semi-finals in womens epee

It was really fun to see epee again, I finally understand what’s happening! (I’m training a little bit of foil now in Santa Fe). But the level wasn’t thaaaat high either, I thought it was going to be. There were a few really good ones, like the winner, a girl from Chile, was extremely secure and won big time. But I wasn’t to impressed by the average level. One girl from Ecuador didn’t have any physical training, only technical. And they sent her, so she must be the best fencer from her country. So I guess women’s epee is not that big at all over here. Too sad. I would probably be ranked quite good here ;) Hehe.

Anyhow. Gisela came by, the girl from couchsurfing which lets me rent her apartment in Santa Fe while she has moved to Rosario. After the womans final we had some fun watching the mens sabre (they are crazy) and then we went out for a walk along the Parana-river in Rosario. It was a perfect day for that – so sunny and hot, and it was such a good vibe here in Rosario!

Rosario - high buildings behind and green park with a lot of picknick-people in front.

Rosario – high buildings behind and green park with a lot of picknick-people in front.

We visited a handicraft market, food market and designer clothes market, passed by a music band playing, a theatre in a park, people vending home-made stuff, people walking on lines between trees, people doing capoeira or people just sitting in the grass drinking mate. Such a niiiice relaxed happy feeling here.

People sitting and enjoying an open theatre

People sitting and enjoying an open theatre

I really thought this thing in the middle of the way was beautiful. :)

I really thought this thing in the middle of the way was beautiful. :)

Food market. Mmmmm!

Food market. Mmmmm!

Then it was time for me to take the bus home.

This weekend, me, Chechu, Eugenia and Veronica from Paraná went together to Rosario to visit Gisela and her new apartment. All the girls are from the couchsurfing group in Santa Fe! So nice.

We arrived mid-day on Saturday and went to our hostel – and already in the stairs on the way up we passed by like 15 young big rugby guys haha. This weekend it’s a big game here in Rosario with an Argentinian team and a Australian team.. And rugby it’s sooo big here, the second biggest sport after football! Weird. I haven’t even seen a rugby game in my life. Haha.

Well. We had some problems there since they had booked us for the 3rd instead of the 5th.. but they had sub-booked another hostel for us called ”Pachamama” much much calmer and safer. We were almost the only guests there too, we had a private room for ourselves and everything. :) We left our bags and since we were really hungry, we met up with Gisela at an Ecological/half vegetarian restaurant… and damn it was good, and so big plates too. Hehe.

Eating at a ecological restaurant - really good food. We were so hungry in this picture! Haha

Eating at a ecological restaurant – really good food. We were so hungry in this picture! Haha

After a few hours of talking, we passed by Giselas, filled the thermos with hot water and went to the costanera (the coastline), drank mate and enjoyed the last hours of sun.
Then we took a walk around the area and went to Giselas house to have some coffee before heading back to our hostel to shower and get ready for the night.

Having some mate and enjoying the last sun.

Having some mate and enjoying the last sun.

Group-picture in a really cool tree.

Group-picture in a really cool tree.

I love the trees - the sunset makes it even more pink!

I love the trees – the sunset makes it even more pink!


After the shower we went back to Giselas again to eat dinner – mmmmm yuuummy. She had prepared great vegetarian food (yes, both her, me and Chechu are veggies! Hurray!). We had Spanish omelette, bread and crackers with humus and another bean-sauce and then vegetarian hamburgers for dinner. All very healthy too compared to all the pasta and cream I’ve eaten lately. Of course we rounded up with Giselas lovely lemon pie.

 

Hahah... such a funny picture. We were going to take a group picture, but Chechu run a little bit late.... She looks so scary, and look at her hand!

Hahah… such a funny picture. We were going to take a group picture, but Chechu run a little bit late…. She looks so scary, and look at her hand!


After that we went out to a place what used to be something pub/restaurant/club or something, but tonight it was a club filled with 16-22 year old bimbo-girls and rugby-guys or something. Not really our style. But we had paid 50 pesos to get in, so we stayed for a while watching these creatures…  and I noticed that fashion from the 90s are back – high platforms “heel” and tight tops that shows both tits and belly…they look like spice girls haha (a little bit embarrassing). Then we went home around 3.30.

Out in the club. :)

Out in the club. :)

Next day we had breakfast at the hostel and checked out, went to Giselas to leave our bags and then walked around the coast again, visiting the markets and the “Monumento de las banderas” or as it is called in English “Argentinas National flag memorial”. Then we had a light late lunch (I love salad) at Giselas before heading back home at 18.

I really had a great weekend, and I really like Rosario. It’s nice to have some getaways sometimes to something different. :)

Breakfast at the hoste!

Breakfast at the hoste!

Escaping the sun under a really nice big tree.

Escaping the midday-sun under a really nice big tree.

Totally overgrown balcony. So beautiful!

Totally overgrown balcony. So beautiful!

Love these old clocks.

Love these old clocks.

Apparently the very common "drunken trees" (borrachos) here blooms with those white balls - feels like christmas!

Apparently the very common ”drunken trees” (borrachos) here blooms with those white balls – feels like it’s been christmas decorated!

The avocado-simular fruits there blooms to those cotton-like puffs. So wierd!

The avocado-simular fruits there blooms to those cotton-like puffs. Weird ”flower”.

The flag memorial monument!

The flag memorial monument!

And I noticed that I really miss the traveling, the hostels, the couchsurfing, the hanging out with other travelers, the walking, the discovering, the photographing… But I also really noticed how much I will miss Duilio when I leave. I mean, If I do it over a weekend.. how will I feel when I know we wont se each other for like 2 months?

It was hard the first time – when we left Mexico.., (after 3 weeks I knew I couldn’t wait 4 months so I booked an 2 months earlier flight). It was horrible the second time when I went to Bolivia (and noticed I wouldn’t enjoy being away 2,5 months, so instead I came back after a month) …. How will it be the third time?

Now that I’ve been here in Santa Fe for like 4 months,  I’m sort of tired of everything here, I don’t enjoy it as much as the first month, and I’m not very fond of the narrow-minded small village square-thinking they have here. (People actually stare at me on the street when I wear a cap and baggy jeans…)

So I just want to get away from here and I get excited when I plan about my trip to Brazil… but then it strikes my mind – and Duilio?? I know that I will have a horrible time when I’ll be away from my boyfriend. Like have I really thought this through?? Everything I do, see, feel, experience, I want to share with him. I’m not complete without him. Damn it. I’m such a mess. I’m not used to feeling like this!! I’m used to be totally independent and do everything how I want and when I want to. Well well. Guess that’s what people call love?… Haha. Anyways, I’m really looking forward to a future where we travel together aaaall the time.

 

Long weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina

We started our journey on Friday afternoon after that Duilio and Seba finnished worked. I was tired as hell.. I had only had 2 hours of sleep and had to wake up ”earlish” since I had my first drum lessons. Then I couldn’t sleep again haha. The car ride went quite fast though, I really tried not to sleep so that I would be able to sleep at night.. so I only slept like 20 minutes.. :) When we got there we got to our rooms, our room was really not as in the pictures, haha. Seba and Dianelas was twice as big and had a bathtub, balcony and everything, we didnt have anything, haha. But it was ok. We were so tired… we wen’t out to eat dinner at Mc Donalds, very fancy. I didn’t of course since I hate Mc Donalds, haha.

Next day we had a great breakfast buffet at the Ritz hotel and then took the regular subway to the Parque de La costa, one ticket about 3 pesos. It took forever, we had such a sloooow train, so we jumped of and took the official and a little bit more expensive ”Parque de la costa”-train that costed 10 pesos but also got there in 20 minutes.

We got there around noon and started the day with a big green roller coaster, well everyone but Seba because he was too afraid ;) I knew he and Duilio didn’t enjoy rollercoasters as me and Dianela. Still Duilio did this one for me… and then he didn’t get up to anything else but the carousel haha. But me and Dianela did everything, one red rollercoaster made me laugh so I almost peed on myself. I love amusement parks!!!

Haha. We loved it! While our boyfriends chickens out.

Haha. We loved it! While our boyfriends chickens out.

Me and Duilio in the Carousel

Me and Duilio in the Carousel

We also did the extreme vertigo, which isn’t included in the entrance fee, so we had to pay 195 pesos for that, but it was SOOOOOOO worth it…… amazing!! It’s almost like bungyjump but easier, you sort of lay down and are all wrapped up in some plastic things, then they pull you up about 80 metres in the air and then you let go and fall down… we did it together, and it was amazing!!! On our way up, it was quite scary, it was like ”how much higher are we going to go?? it’s enough now!” hahaha.. but then when you fall down…. amaaazing feeling.

Just before going up in the vertigo extremo!

Just before going up in the vertigo extremo!

From the video of me and Dianela in the Extreme Vertigo. On our way up, up in the top, and then the fall!

From the video of me and Dianela in the Extreme Vertigo. On our way up, up in the top, and then the fall!

At night we had a short siesta because we were dead. After that we walked down to Plaza del Congreso and had a nice dinner at a nice restaurant there, quite cheap too, I had really nice vegetables for 38 pesos. Surprisingly cheap. Then me and Duilio did some night sightseeing around Plaza 25 del Mayo and the Casa Rosada.

In front of the Casa Rosada at night.

In front of the Casa Rosada at night.

Night sighseeing, in Plaza 25 de mayo

Night sighseeing, in Plaza 25 de mayo

Then home and sleep. Next day we got up early and went down to the neighborhood La Boca. I didn’t have anything planned, but since both Dianela and Seba knew Buenos Aires we just followed them. And it was a really nice area!! It really reminded me of Pippi Långstrumps house, haha. So colorful houses and pedestrian streets. One of the most famous streets are ”Caminito” where there are a lot of Tango performances.

Love that it's so colorful. Reminds me of Pippi Långstrump!

Love that it’s so colorful. Reminds me of Pippi Långstrump!

Me and Duilio in front of the famous Caminito in La Boca, Buenos aires

Me and Duilio in front of the famous Caminito in La Boca, Buenos aires

But... what's maradona doing here??

But… what’s maradona doing here??

Tango show in the caminito

Tango show in the caminito

Then we went to the neighborhood San Telmo, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos aires. It’s a very nice area, with colonial buildings, antique shops and cobblestoned streets. It was really crowded since they on sundays have a big market along I don’t know how many blocks, but probably something between 10 and 20 blocks…all filled with small stands with art, music, souvenirs, antique, clothes, sweats etc etc. Lovely!

The sunday market in San Telmo

The sunday market in San Telmo

A crazy and funny band in the streets of San Telmo

A crazy and funny band in the streets of San Telmo

A calm tangomusic-band in one of the streets in San Telmo

A calm tangomusic-band in one of the streets in San Telmo

Love these belts!! Yep... I got one... ;)

Love these belts!! Yep… I got one… ;)

Oh, such a nice idea. Really lovely. I got 3 refrigerator magnets, two of the pictures from Holbox and one from Buenos Aires. :)

Oh, such a nice idea. Really lovely. I got 3 refrigerator magnets, two of the pictures from Holbox and one from Buenos Aires. :)

After that Dianela and Seba left us to go back to Santa Fe while me and Duilio stayed one more day in Buenos Aires. We grabbed a coffee at the Puerto Rico, watched some tango and walked around the area. Such a mix of architecture.. old colonial and with very futuristic!

The statue of Cristobal Colón, that Christina, the president of Argentina, is taking down after being part of the park since 1921... why?? Because she thinks that Colón is an object of controversy. I don't know how much it costs to moves these 623 tons of statue, but they could probably spend that money on something more worth it then this. The people won't feel less controversy because the statue has been moved. This is just jet another stupid act of a stupid president.

The statue of Cristobal Colón, that Christina, the president of Argentina, is taking down after being part of the park since 1921… why?? Because she thinks that Colón is an object of controversy. I don’t know how much it costs to moves these 623 tons of statue, but they could probably spend that money on something more worth it then this. The people won’t feel less controversy because the statue has been moved. This is just jet another stupid act of a stupid president.

Buenos Aires Big Ben ;)

Buenos Aires Big Ben ;)

Nice sky behind the big skyscrapers in Buenos Aires!

Nice sky behind the big skyscrapers in Buenos Aires!

At night we found a vegetarian restaurant in the neighborhood with affordable prices, all though we both felt really weird in  our stomaches. We were both hungry, but we had a small piece of some pie-thing and felt really full, so we couldn’t eat even the half of our food. We took a doggiebag with about 70% of what we ordered.. haha.

The monument of the president woman and some skaters

The monument of the president woman and some skaters

 

Duilio eating vegetarian food.. not too convinced, haha.

Duilio eating vegetarian food.. well.. a cucumber at least

Next day we visited the Casa Rosada again but with a 1,5 hour guided tour inside.  Very beautiful. We walked through the presidents office and stuff. :) Then we walked around in the shopping street and had bought some really good ice creams which we finished in the park of the Obelisco.

My poet boyfriend.

My poet boyfriend.

Plaza 25 de mayo

Plaza 25 de mayo

In front of the Obelisco :)

In front of the Obelisco :)

Then it was time for us to go hit the bus station. Duilios dad got us free bus tickets back to Santa Fe, with really greet luxury seats. Score! Hehe.

Back in Santa Fe

I’ve been here a month. We have our old apartment in the city center of Santa Fe, very nice location. Duilio is studying and working hard, and I’m practically doing nothing, but the days just passes by so quickly.. I have once again a membership in the gym here, so I go a couple of times a week and do some gymnastics. I’ve started to do some bracelets again too of course.. haha. I’ve also been working on the new webpage for Filmfamiljen (me and my mothers company).

So what have we done? Well.. we celebrated ”friends day” (el dia del amigo) here in the mid of July, which is something we don’t have in Sweden, but it’s a really nice tradition. We went to Rafas house again, and it was the whole Santo Tome-gang with girlfriends. Nico once again did really great food, both the vegetarian and the meat thingy, everybody loved it. Haha.

Nico cooking for all the friends!

Nico cooking for all the friends!

My boyfriend just loves meat... jaja

My boyfriend just loves meat… jaja

The whole Santo Tome gang with girlfriends!

The whole Santo Tome gang with girlfriends!

I have also found a couchsurfing-group here. They are almost not active at the couchsurfing webpage at all, but I got an invitation to the facebook group, and wow, they are writing like 20 entries every day! So active!! And the people are really sweet and open-minded. I went to a meeting at the Costanera (by the river) and met a group of girls who later were going out to a bar around the corner of our apartment at night, so I joined them. The bar was nice too, not that stereotypic as the other place I went to last time.. haha. People here were more relaxed :) I also run into Sebastian and his girlfriend here, and one of Duilios friends in school, funny thing since I almost don’t know anyone else here in Santa Fe, haha. Duilio stayed at home because he needed to study for an exam (which went great :).

Out with the girls from couchsurfing :)

Out with the girls from couchsurfing :)

One of the girls there, a brazilian exchange student, told me about Cayasta which  is located 82 km to the North of the capital of the province, and there are ruins of the primitive city of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz there. So next weekend we went there.

Today the old town is called ”Santa Fe La Vieja”The city was transferred to where it is today around the 1650s because of some problems with native people and also because of cyclical flood defenses. About half of the old town is today flooded, but they have more than 2 square kilometers museum where several of the original buildings have been restored. A nice day trip! 

Duilio filling up the thermos with mate at the gasstation. Yes, they always have hot water at the gas stations. Crazy!

Duilio filling up the thermos with mate at the gas station. Yes, they always have hot water at the gas stations. Crazy!

In the car, roadtrip to cayasta, the old santa fe!

In the car, road trip to cayasta, the old santa fe!

The old Santa Fe. In the mid 1600 they moved the city 80 kilometres north, where it is situated today. All the remains here were intact or destroyed by the flooded river.

The old Santa Fe. In the mid 1600 they moved the city 80 kilometres north, where it is situated today. All the remains here were intact or destroyed by the flooded river.

Some skeletons in one of the old churches in the town

Some skeletons in one of the old churches in the town

Flooded little village. The one who build his house above a lot of wooden planks was smart ;)

Flooded little village. The one who build his house above a lot of wooden planks was smart ;)

The weekend after we went to a sort of cultural house party in one of the couchsurfing members house. They had art projects, sculptures and photos everywhere, they had a big fire outside and some of the guests were musically blessed and entertained us a bit.. really nice thing. Also everybody paid like 30 pesos and got free drinks all night, and everybody brought something to eat to share so we had dinner there too. Really nice!

Couchsurfing-party! Lots of people!

Couchsurfing-party! Lots of people!

Some music enterteinment from USA and Brazil :)

Some music entertainment from USA and Brazil :)

I’ve also attended to a couple of concerts at Trombonanza. It’s a week-long event every year, and musicians from the whole world come here to take part of it! I met up with a new girl from Couchsurfing and went to the Teatro Municipal where they had a free concert (there are a few ones every day for a week!!). It was crowded too, and really nice to see a big mixture of people everywhere. In Sweden it’s more formal, not that many young people go and see an orchestra play, but here it’s quite hip and almost everybody have been or want to go to see it. It was reaaaally nice!

Trombonanza 2013! Playing  outside the Teatro Municipal :)

Trombonanza 2013! Playing outside the Teatro Municipal :)

Last free concert of Trombonanza 2013, in the Teatro Municipal. So cool! Lots of people!

Last free concert of Trombonanza 2013, in the Teatro Municipal. So cool! Lots of people!

I got so interested that I started to take some drum classes here in Santa Fe after that! Hehe. It’s quite cheap, it costs like 210 pesos a month, which are one class a week. :) And my drum teacher is really great and much fun!! He both looks and sounds like Charlie from It’s always sunny in Philadelphia! Haha.

My drumteacher Lucas and his drums!

My drumteacher Lucas and his drums!

Oh, and one sunday we went to try out Sebas cuatricycle. Yeah I know, weird thing to own!! But not here… apparently it got popular last year, and a lot of people got their own cuatricycle, like instead of getting a boat or a motorcycle, you get your cuatricycle!  We went a little bit outside town to a park just beside the road where people go to cuatricycle (don’t know if that’s a verb really, haha). It was me, Duilio and Seba at first but later all his family showed up to do it, haha, mother, father, cousins, sister, uncle, and boyfriends or girlfriends… haha. Funny familiar event! And there were plenty of other cuatricycle-groups there too, haha. :)

Trying out the cuatricycle... Haha.

Trying out the cuatricycle… Haha.

Having mates a sunday afternoon with Sebas whole family.... like mother, father, sister, uncle, aunt, girlfriends etc. Haha :)

Having mates a sunday afternoon with Sebas whole family…. :)

So… what more?? I’ve started with fencing too!! I finally found a little organisation here that does fencing.. but it was only foil and not epée… and it’s really small, they hire a room twice a week, and it’s the teacher, two kids around 10 years old and one other in my age but with some mental condition. But still… it’s fencing ;) But foil.. damn it. So difficult haha.

I’ve also been shopping a little bit, a black skirt and a black cardigan.. and when I’m in the store, I see an entire shelf filled with new handkerchiefs! Haha. I have literally only seen my Spanish grandmother use those (before I met Duilio of course) but never seen where to buy them haha. I don’t think it’s possible today in Sweden.. or is it? I’ve only seen the ones made of paper.  Another thing they also have here is cloth hair ties, which I haven’t seen in like 15 years :)

Sometimes these small things surprises me, why is it ”out” in one side of the world and ”in” in the other side of the world?

Other things that I’ve thought about is the soap, here almost everyone uses the hard soap both as hand soap and body soap. I went to the store to buy soap and they also had a whole shelf (like 2-3 meters wide) filled with different kind of the old regular hard round soaps. In Sweden we usually have the liquid soap for hands and a special body soap that are like in shampoo bottles. I thought the hard soap was bad for the skin, like it will dry it out or something since it’s not a special body soap.. but honestly I haven’t really noticed any difference, more than it’s like 5 times cheaper. So why do we Swedes think that the cheap soap is bad for us? Sometimes you wonder where all our norms comes from and who started them, and what a business they did out of it... haha.


Well… Enough for today!

Here are some more pics!

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!