A Travellerspoint blog

Salta

sunny 35 °C
View Latina America on Gitan Jean's travel map.

Hej, polare, läget?
The train from Tupiza to Villazon, at the Argentinian border, was funny. There were no tickets in second or first class left, so we took tickets in third class. Luckily, most of the people got of the train in Tupiza, so we almost had the carriage to ourselves, it had been very full before judged from the people that got of and the things they were carrying. It was quite dirty though, the ground was covered with full nappies and empty cans and bags. Once in Villazon, our adventure really started. Six hours of queueing on a bridge in the baking hot sun and then we finally found ourselves in Argentina!
This is the first sign I saw in Argentina:

DPSCamera_0332.JPG

My plan is to get to Ushuaia by the way!

Two night buses later, we finally arrived in Salta where it was baking hot. The difference between Bolivia and Argentina is striking. I felt like being in Spain ten or fifteen years ago. In a way, it reminded me of Belgium a bit, too, people eat out a lot, there is a lot of restaurants and pubs that put tables and chairs on the pavement, you can find people sitting at a terrace sipping at an ice cold beer as early as 10 in the morning etc. Argentinians are bon-vivants. There are supermarkets and traffic lights again, blokes look like Italian football players in the 80's, mullets included, no traditional clothes nore poverty to be seen any more, everything is more expensive and I feel like I do not speak any Spanish any more! The difference between Argentinian and Bolivian or Peruvian Spanish is enormous!

IMGP2210.jpg

Anyway, Salta is an okay city with a cerro (hill) with a beautiful view. We celebrated Christmas Evening in the hostel with hot weather, an incredible downpour around 11 pm and an asado (BBQ) with an unbelievable amount of meat and wine. To make up for our unhealthy behaviour, we had another asado on Christmas Day on the roof terrace and shared five kilos of meat among eight people. Man, those Argentinians are the worst carnivores ever!

DPSCamera_0338.JPG

Posted by Gitan Jean 18:49 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Tupiza

sunny 26 °C
View Latina America on Gitan Jean's travel map.

Tupiza is a little city in the south of Bolivia and there would not be much to see or do if it was not for the spectacular surroundings. The first day after the Uyuni-tour, we did not do much as we still had to deal with all the impressions of the last days. So, I went to a cyber café to update my blog and read my e-mails a bit and guess who I met there? Sabine and Jochem, the Dutch couple we did the Inca Trail with! What a nice coincidence that was.
Anyway, next day, Julie, the girl from Quebec, and me went on a two-day horse-tour, guided by José. I had Rosario, a beautiful horse, to my disposition and I have to say I found out horseriding is not really my cup of tea! We rode through gorgeous landscapes, picknicked in a beautiful place and saw amazing little villages but when horses trot or gallop they are really uncomfortable! I had not imagined horseriding being so intense and tiring, so I was very happy when we arrived back in Tupiza on the second day.

DPSCamera_0320.JPG

Luckily, the landscapes made up very much for the horseriding and we felt like we were in an old Western, without weapons though.

DPSCamera_0298.JPG

¡Hasta pronto!

Posted by Gitan Jean 07:55 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Uyuni

sunny 22 °C
View Latina America on Gitan Jean's travel map.

The seven-hour-busdrive from Potosí to Uyuni takes you through a magnificent landscape full of llamas, so it is worthwile to stay awake. In Uyuni, there is nothing much to see, but it is a starting point for a trip around the amazing Salar de Uyuni.
We took the four-day-trip around the Salar.
On Thursday in the morning, we took of in a big Toyota 4WD. We, that is Benjamín, the driver, Himez, the cook, Eunise, their niece, Silvia, Alejandre and Rodrigo, three Brasileros and than Françoise from the south of France, Julie from Quebec and me. First, we visited a train cemetery, which was quite picturesque. Then, we entered the real Salar which is just amazing, words nore pictures can describe it, you just have to see it with your own eyes.

DPSCamera_0152.JPG

It is an enormous stretch of salt and everywhere you can see is just white from the salt, blue from the sky and some mountains in the background. It is like nothing I had ever seen before and definetely one of the heights of the trip so far. Then, appearing from nowhere, there is this big island, Isla Pescado, with huge cactuses on it, over ten metres high I would estimate, amazing. We had a beautiful alpaca and rice lunch there. Then, we drove out of the actual Salar, visited some caves and an archeological museum and went to sleep in a little village.

DPSCamera_0138.JPG

The second day took us to some gorgeous lagunas with thousands of flamingos in them and to the arbol de piedra. The landscape was still amazing. At night, when we arrived at our sleeping place, we took a very nice walk through the strong wind up to a lagoon with unbelievable colours and hundreds of flamingos, beautiful!

DPSCamera_0216.JPG
The little pink dots you can see in the left of the picture are all flamingos!

The third day, we got up very very early to see the geishers, amazing, bubbling and steam-producing hot holes in the ground. By the way, in Spanish a word exists for getting up very early: madrugar. After the geishers, we took a wonderful dip in the hot springs just next to a laguna and then we had breakfast. Next was a visit to the beautiful Laguna Verde and most of the rest of the day, we were driving. The landscape was so gorgeous that our eyes were actually very tired at night from watching all day long. We spent the night in a lovely little village, very far away from all the other tourists and played some hackey-sack with the very talented local children at night.

DPSCamera_0282.JPG

The fourth day, we drove almost all day, apart from a lunch break in a very small village with some drunk men and beautiful little children, and a lot of picture- and pee-brakes. As far as the landscape is concerned, this was probably the most rewarding day. In the afternoon, we were very high up on a mountain, it felt like being in an airplane, the view was so cool! The shapes and colours of those rock formations! The nearer we got to Tupiza, the more beautiful it all got. Unfortunately, to every fairy-tale comes an end and so we got to Tupiza and had to say goodbye to Benjamín, Himez and Eunise. Muchas gracias otra vez, amigos.

Moido

DPSCamera_0244.JPG

Posted by Gitan Jean 05:00 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Potosí

sunny 20 °C
View Latina America on Gitan Jean's travel map.

Potosí with its silver mines used to be the richest city of the world at some point. The Spaniards dug up so much silver that they could have built a silver bridge from Potosí to Madrid and still have silver left to carry over it. It is a lovely little city with loads of interesting colonial buildings and a relaxed atmosphere.
Most of the people visiting take a tour to the mines, where miners are still operating in terrible working conditions. The tour around the mine was a bit shocking. The heat and the lack of oxygen the miners have to work in is just crazy. Most of the miners only survive twenty to twenty-five years working in the mine! Another striking fact about Bolivia by the way is that the age people are allowed to retire is more than the average life expentancy! Anyway, I felt a lot like a stupid tourist when I had to jump out of the way again when a two-ton-cart pulled by four young lads was roaring by or when miners had to stop their work for a bit to let us pass by. But the travel agency assured us that part of what we were paying went to the miners, so that was quite good.

DPSCamera_0125.JPG

The Koala Den, the hostel I was staying in, was wonderful. You pay about 2.5 euros for a dorm, breakfast included. There is a tv-room with a DVD-collection, a sitting room with travel guides from all around Latin-America, a book exchange and a kitchen.

DPSCamera_0119.jpg

Ciao!

Posted by Gitan Jean 13:31 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Sucre

sunny 22 °C
View Latina America on Gitan Jean's travel map.

Sucre is the Cusco of Bolivia as well as the actual capital. It is a nice city to spend a few days with beautiful buildings, parcs and squares. Locals give it nicknames like the Athens of America and the White City. A very nice hostal is Villa Plata in Calle Arce. I had a very small room, just under the roof, where I spent the entire Saturday between bed and toilet, I do not know weather it was from the Jugo the bananas I had the other day at the market, or the 6 bs (0.6 euros) almuerzo (lunch) in a local restaurant or the chicken in sweet and sour in the lovely local Chifa or even the water. Anyway, on Sunday I was completely recovered and could go on exploring the city again.
Another recommendation in Sucre is the Joyride Café, owned by a Dutch guy. It is very touristic but the vegatarian pasta I had there was delicious and the tacos and pique macho I saw passing by looked very good. Another thing on the menu: kroketten (the Dutch kroketten, vleeskroketten in Flemmish). There were some newspaper articles at the wall about Evo Morales visiting the café and stating that it is not only a gringo place!

DPSCamera_0103.JPG

The only anoying thing in Sucre was that I was followed by a bunch of ten, twelve little children, the ones that shine your shoes. I picked them up at the main square. First there was one and then soon, all the others came. I was just reading a bit on a bench and said politely that I did not needed my shoes polished when they asked. But they just kept on insisting, so after a while, I stood up and left. I walked all around the city and into a post office, but they just kept on following me. Then, I went to a cyber café for almost two hours and they just walked in there as well and started playing games. When I left the cyber café, there was only a few left and I got rid of those last ones by hiding behind a car!

Peace out!

Posted by Gitan Jean 13:15 Archived in Bolivia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

(Entries 21 - 25 of 43) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 »