A Travellerspoint blog

September 2006

La Paz

semi-overcast 18 °C
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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)

Cactus and Quebrada

sunny 34 °C
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Hi,
The last few days were amazing. I did some daytrips west and south of Salta and the countryside is really terrific.
The first trip was to the west, going up to 3350 meters from where I had an amazing view over the Andes mountains. After that I went to the Los Cardones national park, with thousands of cactus up to 8 meters high. They have the shape of a candle...cardones for that reason. Then on to Cachi, a sleepy mountain village with a nice central plaza, like most south american cities have.
Today was even more beatiful as I went south to Cafayate, tasting some very nice wines over there. But before I reached Cafayate there is the Quebrada de Cafayate, a canyon shaped landscape with colours and rock shapes in all possbile ways. A frog, a monkey, the titanic, a submarine, indian face, a priest, a duck. And it really looked like it as well, I did´nt even had to look 12 times before I saw that shape.
By the way, the argentines drive like mad cows which adds to the adventure of course, well to a certain limit that is. But the good thing is that for a carnivore like me, there is always a nice restaurant waiting with lamb or baby goat that goes right into my stomach.
Two great but tiring days, so it´s time for a beer and a good night sleep, because tomorrow I will have a long day of travelling, across the border into Bolivia and hopefully I reach Tupiza the same day.
Cheers, Michael.

Posted by Utrecht 16:18 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Salta

sunny 30 °C
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Well, hi everyone,
Just a short update of my travelling so far. I had a flight from Buenos Aires to Salta last tuesday.
So by know I have seen most of Salta, as it´s not that big. It has a really nice charm, and in contrast with buenos aires, you see more people with indian blood, which makes the city more colourful. The city itself is colourful as well, with it´s art deco coloured churches and cathedrals. These are really the highlights of the city, as for the rest it´s just relaxed but nothing spectactular. With the teleferico I went up to about 1500 metres for a view of salta and the andes. Well, at least salta, because of the hazy wheather conditions you couldn´t see much more than let´s say 10 or 15 kilometres. Well, I will see that mountains the next few weeks a lot I think....probably will be looking forward to flat holland after that!
By the way, Argentina is much cheaper than 5 years ago when I was there. The reason is probably that the peso and dollar aren´t connected anymore, as now you get more than 3 pesos a dollar, almost 4 for a euro. Well, I don´t mind, but life has´nt become better these days for lots of argentinian people, especially outside buenos aires and here in the north.
But still, it´s an amazing country and the next few days I will be exploring the landscapes around Salta. Keep you updated!
Cheers, Michael.

Posted by Utrecht 15:02 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Daytrip to Uruguay

sunny 28 °C
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Hi everybody who may ever read this,

After a hard day of work, that is walking around hectic buenos aires, i found my luggage on my room in the evening. thank god that it was there, i was starting to become to smelly..
Today i changed hectic buenos aires for a day to quiet colonia del sacramento. With a fast boat, around 70km/hour it´s just about an hour to that town. I spend about 5 hours of walking there, which actually is more than enough. But it´s a very nice and relaxing place, slow going in general, and compared to for example trinidad in cuba, not that touristy, but also less beautiful by the way. I know, i should´nt compare things, but i do it anyway..
Buenos aires, although hectic, is a really nice and big city. But tomorrow I am changing it for Salta, as my starting point for my overland travel to Cuzco, Peru, through Bolivia.

Well, I would say cheers, as I am going for a nice cold beer now, it´s really warm here for winter time!
Michael.

Posted by Utrecht 15:35 Archived in Uruguay Comments (2)

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