A Travellerspoint blog

Machu Picchu and more Inca stuff

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Well everybody,
This will be my final travelblog of this trip.
The last couple of days I have seen more Inca temples than I needed to see actually. But Machu Picchu is really amazing though. It`s not the ruins itself but the stunningly beautiful setting it is in, surrounded by high mountains, peaks and a very green and lush vegetation. Butterflies, birds and other colourful animals surround you, as well as some orchids.
You can just sit up there for hours and soak it all in, trying to imagine how people lived here, and more important, how they build it. Discoverd relatively recent in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, it now is one of the most characteristic icons of south america and probably of the world. And visiting it is surely worth every penny or minute of travelling.
After Machu Picchu I also visited the Sacred Valley between Cuzco and Ollantaytambo, with more Inca temples in for example Pisac and Ollantaytambo itself. Although again very impressive and set in a mountain background, it`s the same as with asian temples....after a couple you have seen it actually. And of course, because there is so little known about the Inca period (they did not have any writings useful for scientific research), part of visiting the sites goes together with insecure theories and lots of `we think` and `possibly` quotes. So history goes along with rather vague theories, which of course makes you wonder a lot more and keeps it a secret as well. And maybe that is the real charme of visiting this Inca area, not knowing all the details about their history.
And saying this, I thank you all for reading and some for their comments on my travel blogs.
Cheers, Michael.

Posted by Utrecht 16:53 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cuzco

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Hey,
2 days ago I arrived on what should be a comfortable 6 hour bustrip from Puno. Unfortunetaly, me and some other travellers were put on a very basic and slow bus full of peruvians and even more full with their stuff. Some people even asked me and others to put away some of their stuff, because on the road there are checkpoints and people need to pay tax for that....? Now, that`s strange for just a domestic bus ride isn`t it?
Well, all in all it was some experience and later that day I finally arrived in Cuzco, probably the oldest inhabited city in South America.
In contrast to that horrible hostal in Puno, I know stay in a decent place close to Plaza de Armas.
So what about Cuzco? Well, it`s a very welcoming and lovely place to walk, visit some (rather boring) museums, the beautifully decorated cathedral and other churches and plazas. But actually, after about 2 days I am glad to visit Machu Pichu and the Sacred Valley the next days.
Cuzco isn`t that big, most churches look very much alike (same building style and colour) and I am really getting tired of people who want to clean my shoes, sell me postcards, drag in me into restaurants, asking for money, or sell me stuff that they imported from Taiwan. The city does seem to absorb the tourists quite well on the other hand.
Maybe I am just staying here as a starting point for Machu Pichu I don`t know, but it certainly is not nicer than the former places I have been to during this trip. Actually, since Uyuni most cities are rather boring and I liked Buenos Aires, Colonia, Salta or Tupiza better. Also the landscapes in northwest argentina and southwest bolivia were more beautiful. So yeah, probably I am just here to visit Machu Pichu.
More about that to come in the near future....cheers, Michael.

Posted by Utrecht 15:43 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Lake Titicaca

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Hi,
The last couple of days were nice as usual. On sunday I took a bus from La Paz to Copacobana at Lake Titicaca. The sky was clear and after spending some time in a sunday morning traffic jam in El Alto, the famous la pazian suburb, the mountains above La Paz showed all their beauty. Snow capped peaks towering more than 6000 meters high above the city is really an amazing thing to see. These mountains stayed with me for the whole trip and you could still see them rising out of the water at Lake Titicaca near Copacobana.
In this little hippies town in Bolivia I had my lunchbreak, before heading to Puno in Peru, also at Lake Titicaca. Copacobana is really nice, it even has its own beach, although less inviting at this altitude than the beach with the same name in Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately I did not have time to spend some days here, because in less than a week I have to fly home again. That´s why I switched buses in Copacobana and headed for Puno. The main reason to go here, was to see the floating islands of the uros indians. More important than fishing, nowadays tourism is their main income. But actually I didn´t find it too crowded with people and the fact of the floating islands themselves is really unique in the world I guess. So my half day trip up on the lake was really ok and the sun even at een altitude of 3800 meters made it comfortable as well.
Cheers from Peru, Michael.

Posted by Utrecht 12:57 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

La Paz

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Hi all,
I am in La Paz right now, not the capital of Bolivia (that`s Sucre) but surely the most important Bolivian city. I arrived here yesterday after a tiring trip from Uyuni by train and bus. The trip was very nice and not that bumpy though. And of course there was that traditional block that are part of life in Bolivia. I was lucky that it had only just begun and the bus could take a short cut. The roads from Oruro to Cochabamba and some to La Paz have bee blocked for days now.
Arriving in La Paz is probably the nicest part of a stay here. The view from El Alto at 4000 metres down to the city centre, surrounded by peaks up to 6500 metres is really impressive.
The city itself is very colourful, lively and a bit overwhelming as well. In general there is not so much to see and do in the city itself, although I found Plaza Pedro Murillo and the oldest part of La Paz around Calle Jaen with some terrific colonial style buildings, pleasant enough for a day of strolling.
So tomorrow I leave again, to Puno in Peru, after a brief stop in Copacobana at Lake Titicaca.
You here from me in Peru again!
Cheers, Michael.

Posted by Utrecht 13:32 Archived in Bolivia Comments (1)

Rough but rewarding

4 days of otherworldly landscapes

semi-overcast 20 °C
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Hi,
It has been a while since you heard anything of me.

Last saturday I took the bus from Salta to the argentinian-bolivian border at La quica-villazon. From there I took the train to Tupiza, which was actually quite comfortable. Tupiza is nice to stay a day or so which I did. The city itself isn´t that much, a central plaza and some streets. But the countryside around Tupiza is very beautiful with some wild west landscapes, consisting of canyons and cacti. That´s why I took a afternoon stroll out of town to escape the boring town on a sunday.

On monday I started a 4 day tour in the southwestern part of Bolivia, which was really amazing, if not a little bit tiring as well, but that´s travelling as well.
The first day took us, me, 3 australians and an english girl, to the canyons and mountains from tupiza to san antonio de lipez, which is nothing more than a really small dusty village at about 4200 metres altitude. At night it cooled of quickly after it got dark, during the day it was actually quite nice.
The second day we drove along some deserted places and stunning landscapes, like Laguna Verde, a perfectly green lake. The lake is actually full of arsenicum and other deadly metals, and because of this there are no animals found here and the lake stays liquid even at temperatures of -20 degrees celcius. Highlight of the day were probably the geisers at an altiude of almost 5000 meters. Lots of boiling mudpooles and sulfur fumeroles which really made it unearthly and literally breathtaking. Although I haven´t suffered any altitude sickness as a matter of fact. Just breathing is more difficult and some tingling fingers but that was it. Maybe it was because I slowly got used to the altitude by staying in Tupiza at 3000 meters, or maybe because I am a smoker, already used to a lack of oxygen...;)
We also passed the dali desert, with some rock formations placed by salvador dali himself (just as his famous paiting). We slept at Laguna Colorada, a red lake because of the algue and full with flamingos as well. It got really cold here, probably around -10 degrees celcius with some winds.
The 3rd day we first went to the red lake itself, after that we drove to some desert landscapes to much photographed stone tree. After that it was a long day of driving before we arrived at the edge of the salar de uyuni, the biggest saltflat in the world and 40 meters thick as well!
Today we started pretty early at 5 o´clock to see the sun rise at the salar de uyuni. After that we went to the Isla de Pescado, were we had this amazing view across the saltflats and the cacti on the island itself. After breakfast we drove along the big saltflats to uyuni, visting the train cementary.

And now I am actually dead tired so I am going for a sleep, because my train from uyuni to oruro leaves at 2 am this night! In Oruro I will take the bus to La Paz, so hope to update my blog overthere.

Posted by Utrecht 11:05 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

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