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).

Annonser

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..

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!!

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!

 

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)