Page 2 of DnH Travel Blog Posts

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago January 26th 2007

Santiago has worked very well as a base to plan further trips and for H to recover from her cold. The blazing sun and 30 degrees celcius have certainly helped. As such we haven't spent too much time in Santiago, but noticed a few things worth mentioning. Pharmacy seems to be the business to be in. The streets are littered with them, especially downtown, and we have no clue as to why. Either the Chileans are a very sickly people, hypocondriacs or very healthy due to the easy access to pharmacies. They look very healthy to us though, and are very friendly. Chileans are probably the most friendly people we've met on this trip so far. The service is usually superb and things work just as well here as in any western country, which is a ... read more
We didn't know...
A plane with a view
Plaza de Armas

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso January 25th 2007

With a day to spare in Santiago we were looking for some sea and sun. Valparaiso (Valpo) and its neighbouring, more upmarket town, Viña del Mar (Viña) are just 1.5h away by bus, so jumped on the bus early in the morning. Valpo is an old harbour town from the time before the digging of the Panama Canal, and as such it was experiencing economic decline after the canal opened. Today it houses part of the Chilean naval fleet and is a destination for tourists, who mainly come there to wonder around town and look at the colourful houses climbing the hillside towards the harbour. We're no different to other tourists, so spent much of the day walking the streets and riding some of the 15 feniculars that run along the hillside. We had also heard ... read more
Lord Cochrane's balcony
Valpo's harbour...
Ascensor El Perral

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Pucón January 23rd 2007

As we traded five days in Bolivia for five more days in Chile, we thought we'd take a short trip away from the city life in Santiago. Patagonia would have been nice, but that's a trip that takes a minimum of two weeks, so we found this nice little place, Pucón, 11 hours on an overnight bus south-southeast of Santiago. The main attraction was Volcan Villarrica, one of South America's five most active volcanoes, with daily eruptions (though the last time the lava got outside the crater was in 1984). We arrived early in the morning and were picked up from the bus station by the very nice staff at Hostel donde Germán. The hostel couldn't be more perfect. Situated 10-15 minutes walk from town, with views of the mountain to the north and the glacier-covered ... read more
Chili-dog (ha ha)
Vulcan Villarrica...
Pucón marina

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz January 17th 2007

On the 8th January we set off from Copacabana to La Paz. About half-way we had to cross a narrow part of Lake Titicaca. The routine was for passengers to step off the bus and take a small boat (Bs 1.5/person) across the water while the bus went on a separate "ferry". Well, it did have room for the bus and one car. Powered by one 75-horsepower outboard motor it took a while for the "ferry" to make it across. Amazed it actually worked at all. Finally in La Paz, we hoped to catch a bus to Cochabamba two days later. Before leaving Peru we had heard about some trouble in Santa Cruz, relating to autonomy demands from the province. Santa Cruz is the more properous province in Bolivia, so naturally its citizens don't want to ... read more
It did make it across
Plaza San Francisco

For some R&R we took a two-day trip to Urmiri. Three hours' drive south of , Urmiri is a hotel built around a hot spring, totally cut off from the rest of the world. The only link to the outside is, what must be, the second deadliest road in the world. (The deadliest road is apparently just next to La Paz. On average one vehicle per week go over the cliff there.) The last three km of this 28 km road from the "highway", is anything but safe. You can fit a mini-bus, but that's all. On top of that, the dirt track is in terrible condition and there's of course not a 10m stretch that is straight. Oh, forgot to mention the 100m canyon on one side and the vertical mountain wall on the other. ... read more
Urmiri hotel
Urmiri again
"Well" preserved since 1933

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Tiwanaku January 12th 2007

We took a day-trip to Tiwanaku, from . Inca culture is what most people seem to think about when talking about Peruvian and Bolivian history. However, perhaps more important, for Bolivia anyway, is the Tiwanaku period. The Tiwanaku civilisation started around 1500 BC (the earlier parts that is, some people count the start of the Tiwanaku period as being 600 BC, the temples were built around 300 AD) and ended roughly when the Incas came to power, around 1200 AD - a 2,700-year empire. Think about that! The Roman empire lasted for roughly 1,200 years, for example. The Tiwanaku people seemed highly developed in terms of architecture and astronomy, working with a 24-hour division of each day, 365 day year, etc. As one example, they created an observatory pool, in the shape of a giant sun ... read more
Woman, Man & Upper Class
Main entrance...
Sun Gate

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana January 8th 2007

We left Puno () (Peru) by bus early in the morning. Two hours later we were at the Peru-Bolivia border. There we had to leave our nice tourist bus and go through immigration and cross the border by foot. This must be one of the more relaxed immigration controls we've experienced so far. Compared to the US it was a dream. One look at the passport, a quick stamp - done! Not that we actually had to show our passport, we could just have continued walking across the border into Bolivia. On the Bolivian side a new bus (well a Ford Transit or something similar) picked us up to drive us the 8 remaining kilometers to Copacabana. We were surprised to se how small Copacabana really is. We had booked our hostel in advance and (as ... read more
The more flowers the better

South America » Peru » Puno January 5th 2007

Puno & final thoughts on Peru We arrived in Puno after a slightly eventful journey on the overnight bus from Cusco (). We had to stop as a lorry had got stuck in a corner and our bus coudn't get past it without some serious shouting and yelling and lots of reversing (uphill of course!)... Everyone had to get off the bus at about midnight, but we refused, which proved to be good as one girl got all her money stolen... Never leave your bag unattended on buses - or anywhere really!!! Straight from the bus (well, almost) we got on another one that took us to the harbour where a boat waited to take us to Los Uros, the floating islands on Lake Titicaca. These are built from reed, and a whole family can live ... read more
Demonstration on...
Typical island house

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco January 4th 2007

Stepping off the plane in Cusco was interesting, to say the least. We had no idea what to expect, with the altitude and everything we'd read about. The altitude itself we didn't really notice until our pick-up dropped us off at the bottom of a hill with lots of steps leading up to our hostel. 118 steps, and we had to rest at about every 7... The hostel still served breakfast, which helped a bit. Formerly the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is a mix of Inca and colonial buildings. On the main square (Plaza de Armas), the conquistadors executed the last Inca ruler (Tupac Amaru), in 1572. Today it's a third of the size it was in Inca times, but still quite an impressive sight. Our hostel - Loki - wasn't really what we ... read more
Plaza de Armas

South America » Peru » Cusco » Inca Trail January 2nd 2007

So, we're back after four days of high altitude, pain, low oxygen, rain and 49.5km of hiking in the Andes. Did we pay for this? Most certainly, and gladly. There's a very fine line between pleasure and pain and that's what we've been walking on for four days. It's called the Inca Trail. Day one started with SAS Travel (the tour operator) picking us up 5.45 am at our hostel. After two hours on the bus we stoped at Ollantaytambo for breakfast and to buy walking sticks (bamboo, with wowen handles). The latter became cause for discussion for the next four days, as two schools developed. The people with and the people without a stick - support or extra weight to carry. We both chose the stick. Another hour on the bus followed and we stopped ... read more
Bridge over...
Day 1
Half decent...

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