Isla del sol and Copacabana on the way from Bolivia to Peru

Note: This post is from my travel in June, 2013

Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It’s a quite a touristic town, very small but filled with restaurants, small shops and backpackers. Copacabana has a cool subtropical highland climate which I was very happy about, since I came from the cold mountains in Bolivia and had freezed my ass of for weeks. It was so sweet to feel the warming sun and sit without jacket there :)

I traveled during early morning and arrived in Copacabana by bus and a small ferry boat, took about 4-5 hours. I went down to the harbour to get the tickets for the first boat to cross over to Isla del Sol which leaves at 8. I costed 25 bolivianos. Then I hunted down a nice place to where to eat breakfast. :)

 

Where I enjoyed my first meal in Copacabana

Where I enjoyed my first meal in Copacabana

Easy to get boat tickets over to Isla del Sol

Easy to get boat tickets over to Isla del Sol for 25 bolivianos

 

Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is the largest island in Lake Titicaca. It’s an ancient holy site of the Inca, mostly known because the Incas believed that the God of the Sun was born here. Inca legend says that Viracocha, the bearded God who created the universe, emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca and created the sun at this location.

On the boat over I started talking to a girl from Spain, Maider and a man from England, Anthony, and since we were all three traveling alone, we joined forces :) We decided to walk south to north, and take back the boat from the other side the next day.

The boat over to Copacabana was easy, it took about 1,5 hours, but when we arrived.. buff! Apparently all the houses and the society is on top of the island, there’s nothing by the lake except for the bridge. And there are quite stiff inca-steps to walk up with all your backpack at altitude! It’s recommended to leave your backpack in your hostel in Copacabana, but I just went straight from La Paz, so I thought… How hard can it be? Haha. Well… hard!

The place we stayed in Yumani during that night costed like 15 bolivians or something, and it was with breakfast included. But it was freezing inside and there was not a how shower (anywhere on the island, almost).

The house were we slept, with the familys kids playing in front

The house were we slept, with the familys kids playing in front (and my backpack!:)

View over some archeological sites from our house

View over some archeological sites from our house

We went out for a walk around to see some of the archeological sites in the area. There are over 80 ruins on the island. Most of these date to the Inca period circa the 15th century AD. We saw a few that were close by and then we climbed up to the highest top of the island to see the sunset. It was absolutely fantastic! All the people from around gathered there to watch it together.

Anthony enjoying the island and the sunset!

Anthony and Maider enjoying the island and the sunset from yet another ruin!

The beautiful sunset!!

The beautiful sunset!!

And me :)

And me :)

We also encountered two llamas having some fun and enjoying themselves, for a veery long time. I took plenty of photos, I just found the situation so funny, and they made this particularly funny sounds… Yes, I have it on video also… Haha. And it was a fantaastic location! :)

Beautiful scenery...

Beautiful scenery…

Beautiful llamas...

Beautiful llamas…

They are reaally enjoying themselves...

They are reaally enjoying themselves…

We then wen’t around ”in town” to find a place where we could eat dinner.The life in the island is tranquil, there is no noise, no motorized traffic and no rubbish on the streets, only animals and nature.

After the sunset it got really dark, and there were no lights on the streets! We survived not falling thanks to our head torches. We found a great little house who served dinner to us, we were the only guests, and I was so happy about having candle lights – its so cozy and totally missing from every other restaurant in south america, haha. The dinner was about 35 bolivianos and totally worth it. Then we went back to our cold beds to catch the sunrise early.

Our view while we ate breakfast :)

Our view while we ate breakfast :) (and the other swedish traveleres we met who were stupid)

We had breakfast outside our home to a view over the Lake Titicaca. Beautiful.
Geographically the terrain is harsh, it’s rocky and not so much growth, but it’s has beautiful views from wherever you are since you are above on a hill.

There are about 800 families on the whole island, and their main economic activity is farming, fishing and some tourism. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that people lived on the island as far back as the third millennium before christ!

Wherever you go on the island, you find a new archeological site. And there is no one else but you there. It’s free to walk and sit wherever you want. I walked around imagining how it was like over a thousands years ago.

So cute with all the colorful fabrics :)

So cute with all the colorful fabrics :)

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Enjoying ourselves in our ruin house ;)

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Me and Anthony :)

Actually, at the most famous place on the island, there were a couple of ”guides” there, one was about 6 years old and the other about 10. They explained the story about the mythology and the archeology and you can give them a small tip to show our appreciation. Actually, without them, we would not have seen what it was that was ”so famous” about that.. haha.

We watched the The Rock of the Puma, or Titi Kharka, after which the lake is named, which is a large formation of a rock that looks like a Puma (sort of… but the guide showed us ;)

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The Puma….. Its there somewhere, I swear!

Then there was a Inca table that was used for human sacrifices..

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And us chilling at the Inca table :) No sacrifices here!

And the most important, the Footsteps of the Sun – there are like some ”supernatural” marks in a rock, where it is said that it was there the God of the Sun took his first steps.

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The ”magical” footsteps of the sun…

Well. Maybe that wasn’t to much to brag about, the archeological sites and the scenery around is much nicer! :)

While getting closer to the north of the island, I noticed there’s like a special harmony there, you can feel it all over your body. I felt so good there, good vibrations, I don’t know what it was…. but it was something special about this place. I could have easily spent a week or so there just doing nothing, just feeling and breathing and being happy.

 

Panoramic over the walk

Panoramic over the walk

Beautiful lake!

Beautiful lake!

Terraces and blue sky

Terraces and blue sky

Walking around the island!

Walking around the island!

Some pigs and other animals by the beach :)

Some pigs and other animals by the beach :)

There are many agricultural terraces and llamas, donkeys, and then the island is surrounded with all this water, sometimes there are rocks, sometimes there’s beach, and on the other side of the water you can catch the glimps of the  big snowy mountain. There are so many contrasts! Then here in the north of the island, we also got on lower grounds and it was getting hotter, and there was a beach and some people from the villages around :)

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Farmers working

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Woman and her son by the beach

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Fantastic views!

When we arrived at Cha’llapampa, the town from where the boat leaves in the northern end of the island, we still had some time before the boat left back to Copacabana. We went to the Museo de Oro which shows different treasures that have been discovered underwater around the island. Then we bought some snacks and food.

During our walk around the island we had to pay some small fees because we were trespassing from the south to the norht of the island or something like that, also the museum was like 10 bs. But other than that, just beautiful silence and harmony.
We laughed at one guy who had got there with his big suitcase with wheels. Really not the best place where to bring that! Not at all in Bolivia I would say…. ;)

We took the boat back (and they let me steer a while:) and once back in Copacabana we enjoyed ourselves in the last hours of sun, just sitting outside a bar/restaurant, before splitting to different places.We all had buses leaving at 18,  I was on my way to Cusco in Peru again, Anthony to Arequipa in Peru and Maider to La Paz in Bolivia. I’m so glad I found these two, had such a nice time with them.

Stearing the boat back ;)

Stearing the boat back ;)

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Enjoying food and nice company in the sun!

I went with Huancayo tours from Copacabana to Cusco, a good company with nice buses and first class. :)

On the bus I met a guy named Sebastian who soon had been traveling for a year around the world and had visited like 55 countries!!…. And I will only visit like 6 countries in a year.. haha. He must have had a crazy schedule!

Well… That was that!

Don’t miss Isla del Sol if you are going between Bolivia and Peru!! :)

 

 

Annonser

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).

Brain short circuit – slowly coming back

I have been meaning to start writing for a very long time, but it has just been to much for me. You know when you have tooooo many things to write down so instead of just starting you get a short-circuit in your brain and watch tv-series and do bracelets instead?? Exactly.

That’s pretty much how I’ve felt the last couple of months. I don’t know why. I’ve felt quite inspired but not productive.. I’m really not good in handling strain right now. 

But today I’m taking a few short steps in starting writing again. Maybe it will come back.

What’s keeping me back is that I have missed to write about a few very important moments in my trip: 

1) My visit to the Island of Sun in Copacabana, Bolivia, where I really enjoyed the company of my fellow alone-travelers Maider from Spain and Anthony from England (where I later met Anne on my way back too!)

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One of the beaches on the north side (challapampa) of Isla del Sol in the lake Titikaka in Copacabana, Bolivia.

2) When I was in Cusco in Peru and got to meet with my friends from Sweden, Mats & Ewa, Jacob Spijk and David & Carol, such a weird feeling to speak Swedish and fika!

Having lunch with Ewa, Mats and Jacob in Cuzco (notice the snus on the table, so swedish!)

Having lunch with Ewa, Mats and Jacob in Cuzco (notice the snus on the table, so swedish!)

3) My trip to Puerto Maldonado where I visited the jungle, ziplined through the rainforest and kajaked in the amazonas river, got to pet some monkeys and parrots and also got to spend time with three great Norwegian guys, two French girls and a Brazilian couple :)

With the greatest group in front of the Amazonas river in Puerto Maldonado

With the greatest group in front of the Amazonas river in Puerto Maldonado

So you understand that I have a few adventures to write about, and thousands of pictures to share.  Well.. not really… Because my waterproof camera got lost in the Amazonas river together with all my pictures from the second and third point here above. Stupid stupid stupid me. I have a few cellphone pics from the Swedish invasion and all the pictures the norwegian guys took (thank god for that!) but it’s not really the same.

I think that’s one of the reasons why I haven’t written about it, because it reminds me of my lost, I can still remember every picture I’ve taken. Yes, I’ve always been very sentimental about my pictures…. Still remember and “cry about” (not literally) the two times my camera got stolen – about the pictures that got lost and that I’ll never see again. The memories slowly shade away. So no, I’m not sad about the camera itself (I can buy a new one) but I’m greatly sad because of the pictures of the future memories that got lost.

Well. I think this will be enough for this entry. By the way, I’ve recently started to look into Brazil… and woooow I’m looking so much forward to it, a warm sun, turquoise sea and a white sand beach….. scuba dive and surf…. Ahhh!!

Free Walking Tours and The Vertical Route!

Hello!

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

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

Artwork and cars

Artwork and cars

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

The haunted street - looks quite lovely to me

The haunted street – looks quite lovely to me

In plaza murillo, lots of pidgeons!

In plaza murillo, lots of pidgeons!

Mmm!

Mmm!

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

Women selling vegetables at the street… on the street…

View over La Paz

View over La Paz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More rappel :)

Rappel :)

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

Me in the tibetan bridge

Me in the tibetan bridge

The tibetan bridge.. love it!

The tibetan bridge.. love it!

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

Climbing .. very focused.. haha

Climbing .. very focused.. haha

Zipline!!

Zipline!!

Rappel down the mountain!

Rappel down the mountain!

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

My shadow on the rock

My shadow on the rock

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

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

Me and Tristan :)

Me and Tristan :)

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

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

Rappel :(

Rappel :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salt flakes tour – day 3 & 4

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

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Laguna Colorada and some flamingos

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Laguna cañapa. Beautiful!

Flamingo

Flamingo

Me photographing some flamingos (david took this pic)

Me photographing some flamingos (david took this pic)

A fox.

A fox.

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Me and the famous stone tree :) All natural!

Volcanic rocks

Volcanic rocks

Snowball fight haha.

Snowball fight haha.

Our room at the salt hostel.

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

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


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

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

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Breakfast :)

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

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Blowing away Jessika and David.. :)

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Crushing Anne! Hehehe

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Eating Anne and Jessika.. yummi!

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

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

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salt processing plantation

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The train cementary… :)

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Sooo goood pizza….!! Mmmm…

more pics

 

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)