A Travellerspoint blog

Salt Flats

Uyuni, salt, geysers, volcanoes!

sunny -2 °C

We all caught the train down to Uyuni to begin our 4 day 4WD trek of the salt flats and south western region of Bolivia - what a treat this was....

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David´s new teddy bear

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Squeezeeeeeed a gooden out that morning!

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The hallucinogenic salt flats are unlike anything we had ever experienced. The undisturbed horizon was a sight to behold and we took advantage of the crazy tricks on the mind to be had! Our driver was insane..there are no roads to follow so it´s each driver for his own. Our guy knew this whole region like the back of his hand after doing these trips for 15 years. He was getting out of the car, pretending to be asleep and even driving within arms reach to the car next to us...all at 70mph!

We were staying in very basic accomodation and the temperatures at night reportadbly got down to outside... we were chilly! Not forgetting the fact that we stayed at the highest point on our travels, 4350m above sea level (we only managed a few hours sleep!)

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Nic in an old lava field from the still smoking volcano in the background

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David´s feet were warm for the first time in days...

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Llama!!

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The trip also included a large amount of dirt, rumble, sand and mud driving passing bright pink flamingos, hundreds of llamas and awesome views of the many surrounding volcanoes. We took many stops for pictures of a still smoking volcano, vivid coloured red and green lakes and barmy rock formations scattered around empty plains (some areas were so surreal they looked like Dahli paintings!) We were walking amongst thermal mud pools and gesyers without any marked barriers to hold us back... it stunk and so did we by this point so opted for a natural hot bath, 4300m above sea level at 7am in the morning. David´s trunks truned to ice within minutes of getting out of the water! We also managed to have a go at ice skating, with a twist. Now 5000m above sea level, on a frozen magnesuim green lake and a volcano in the background marking the Chilean/Bolivian border, I don´t think we´ll be skating anywhere else like it!

We were cream crackered by the end and needed a shower - these four days were a definate highlight of our travels so far!

Posted by nicdavid 13:02 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

La Paz

Highest Capital in the World!!

sunny 5 °C

We were now officially in Bolivia, just. We were nearly not allowed in the country due to the fact that the Peruvian officials took it upon themselves to stamp our passports with the wrong date. We had supposedly arrived in Peru after we had actually intended to leave! To be fair we could have just walked straight accross the border without as much as a blink of an eye lid, but we thought it wise not to do so!

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After a very interesting bus journey which involved the bus getting on its own boat to cross the lake, we arrived in La Paz!! Whopppee! This place has to take the prize of the most craziest. There are no traffic lights and even when there are a few scattered in the modern parts of the city, they pay no attention. Instead the horn is the best form of communicating which direction you intend to go. Which is pretty hard when the drivers don´t even know where they are going in the first place!!!

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We slowly pounded the streets taking deep breaths due to the altitude and took in as many sites as possible...We visited he renowned Coca Museum which couldn´t be missed after receiving the benefits of the fine leaf on many occassions! We also checked out the Witches Market which included the sale of Llama feotues (a bargain for souveniers back home!) and the black market where you could get all the Yves Faint Laplonk shirts and Armanki jeans you could want!

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We finished off our stay in the World´s highest oxygen bar... we enjoyed a variety of flavours for 20 minutes including strawberry, peach and vanilla all whilst playing the playstation and Nic reading Cosmo!

Posted by nicdavid 13:00 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Lake Titicaca

Puno, Homestay and Football!

sunny 5 °C

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It was big....

We left early doors from Cusco to Puno after an eventual 40 minute delay! We had to return to the hotel after forgetting our passports...we were doing so well!! We passed through the Inca gates which orginally guarded the entrance to the valley and then brefly stopped at the largest remaining Inca roof - it was big, not much else to say about that!!!

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The landscape was fantastic, it included towering snow capped peaks and high saddles to pass over. We eventually arrived in Puno for a quick wonder and re-pack of bags for the homestay the following night.

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On the way out through the reeds

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Another early start saw us hop onto a boat and enjoy a 3 hour journey on the world´s highest navigable lake (it´s about the size of belguim but at 3850m above sea level!) We island hopped for most of the day and eventually arrived at the island where we´d meet our family.

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Outside our bedroom for the night

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Gooooaaaaalllll....!!!

After all the welcoming formalities we got onto the serious activity of the island - FOOTBALL! Now at 4000m above sea level this was an opportunity not to be missed. Team GAP, (as we called ourselves) cheered on by our faithful female supporters made quite an impression... winner stays on...so we did! Our hearts were jumping out of our chests but we still gave the locals a good match! David managed to score two goals until we eventually succumed to the darkness that fell and finally called it a day!

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We made our way back to the house where our new Mum made us dinner using very traditional techniques. After being nearly smoked to death and an entertaining few hours playing with our new Bothers and Sisters it was time for a disco, well, sort of....all dressed up we danced the night away! We looked well fit, David had to fight the locals off Nic for a chance to dance with her!

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We stopped off on the way back to the main land via the floating reed islands.

Posted by nicdavid 12:58 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Jungle time!

Deep into the jungle we went.....finally

-17 °C

We were meant to go to the Amazon Jungle for 3 days and 2 nights. Unfortunately there was yet another teacher´s strike and the protesters had set the runway on fire. Our flight was cancelled and we had to return to Cusco for another night. Luckily the following day the airport was up and running and we finally flew into the jungle.

We hopped aboard a motorised canoe and watched the sun set whilst we made the 1 1/2hr journey down river. It was hot and humid and our room was lit by candlelight. We dropped our bags in our room, tucked our trouser legs into our socks and set off on a night hike to see what creepy crawlies we could find. Wow! Once our eyes had adjusted we saw loads of six and eight legged creatures! Hairy caterpillars, leg biting ants, stick insects, colourful stripy leaches and even snakes. The highlight was of course the tarantulas! We spotted the chicken-eating tarantula and also the pink toed tarantula.

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A relaxing start to our river cruise

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It could have jumped out at any time!!!!

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This was a big as David´s hand!

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Boys and their toys!

After a hot and sticky night we woke and began a pre-dawn walk. With David armed with a machete we headed to a lake and on the way saw squirrel monkeys playing high up in the trees. We climbed into a rickety canoe and had a calm trip on the lake, on the way back to our lodge we passed banana trees, saw fire ants climbing trees and caught a glimpse of macaws that were squawking loudly!

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A quiet start

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Nic finally had enough!

Our trip to the jungle was already over and we began to make our way back to Cusco. We had a fantastic time and without a doubt had seen some brilliant wildlife.

Posted by nicdavid 16:43 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Inka Trail and Macchu Picchu

An amazing four days!

-17 °C

We had now spent the best part of a week over 2700m and were fully aclimatised and ready for the hike. We started with a short bus journey to the famous KM82 starting point, where we registered and got our passports stamped! We started slow but as the day went own we found a good pace. We passed the first of our six Inka ruins on the trail and ended up walking for about 5 hours. The day ended by meeting the porters who cooked for us(!) and scrambling into our tent for an ealry night - the next day would be the hardest of the lot.

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At the start!

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End of the first day

We woke early with a suprised knock on our tent door - it was the porters offering fresh warm coca tea (we could get used to this!!!). After filling our tums and mouths with fresh coca leaves, we chewed our way all the way up to the dizzying heights of 4215m/13,820ft! It was hard to breath at points, with us having to take farily regular rests and plenty of water. We had climbed 1300m today, at altitude, and the only way down was the other side of the mountain - a knee crushing 600m!

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Our picnic spot!

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Just about to finish the big hike up

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At the highest point

The next day was the most beautiful. High alpine traversing of the rocky mountains, looming glaciers still high above us with some parts of the track unrestored from the Inca period - including tunnel sections! We camped only a 2 hour walk from the Sun Gate.

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The morning came, well, 4am to be precise and we started walking in the dark towards Macchu Picchu. We arrived at the sun gate as the sun peaked over the mountains and we were offered the first sight of the ruins - wow! We quickly walked down towards the first terraces and had views of an almost empty site from the classic angle.... Incredible. We spent the next six hours walking around one of the New wonders of the world before heading down to the train station. We chugged along a fantastic track all the way back through the valley to Cusco....

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View from the Sun Gate

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We made it!

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At Macchu Picchu

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Nic being at one with the ruins!

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Macchu Picchu

Posted by nicdavid 15:57 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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