Published: January 5th 2007September 5th 2006
As one travels through the altiplano of Bolivia, these beauties emerge on the horizon with exceptional strength and beauty.
Well, as you may know, I'm not writing about this trip at the time but months later from the comfort of a London flat. I feel I should apologise for not having kept this up to date. The reason really was lack of time. We always had to go into town to use the internet and if the connection wasn't fast, I didn't bother doing anything more than checking on emails. So now that I have a fast connection 24/7, I hope you don't mind hearing about some of the trips I made and things I saw.
So, after 3 months after my trip to Peru, I was required by Bolivian immigration to leave the country. As the time for this departure approached, matters were complicated by a blockade of major routes in the country caused by political unrest. Basically, certain people were unhappy with the new Morales government and a traditional way to demonstrate such discontent is to block the roads. It happens quite frequently. I was going to make the trip with a friend from the community and our plans seemed to change on a daily basis depending on the news coming in and the best advice from
This is a beautiful little church in Arica designed by Gustave Eiffel, architect of the famous tower in Paris.
the person we were talking to that day. Eventually, the blockade was lifted the day before we needed to leave and so we could make the journey of our choice - to Arica on the coast of Chile.
The journey was about 9 hours by bus through some spectacular country and past the mountain you see below - in fact there were two or three similar mountains that we passed and some small lakes. This part of the Cordillera (Andes) is extremely dry and surrounded in parts by desert. On the return trip we travelled through many miles of desert in Peru - an extremely beautiful landscape, though austere. After the mountains, the beach. Arica's beaches left something to be desired - generally there was some kind of industry in sight. But the town had charm and we were happy to wander around with the sound of the sea in our ears after so many months inland.
After Arica we travelled down the coast and stayed in two different Peruvian coastal towns - Tacna and Ilo. Ilo had lots of charm and we would have loved to have stayed longer, but the workload at the community required our
A view of the harbour in Ilo, a small Peruvian coastal town with much charm and good seafood.
quick return. One highlight on the journey back was the rickshaw drive in the border town of Desaguadero. The distance between Peruvian immigration and the Bolivian was quite large and with luggage would present something of a chore. Local boys queued up to offer their services as rickshaw drivers and it was loads of fun. The boy in question drove us first from our bus to the Peruvian immigration office, then to the Bolivian office and then on to the place where we would find the bus to La Paz. He looked after our luggage and generally guided us around for a very small fee in European terms. Luckily for him, as we were leaving Peru, we gave him all our remaining Peruvian money - it was well deserved.
Though brief, this was a beautiful little holiday with much exquisite scenery. I have grown to love the Cordillera de los Andes. It stretches up through all of South America along the western coastline and offers many varied experiences of landscape, people and wildlife.