Page 7 of Spurins Travel Blog Posts

South America » Peru March 1st 2019

Another early start as we head to the airport at El Alto at 7 for our 10.30 flight to Cusco. It’s 4100m above sea level and the pollution is hideous, so I’m not looking forward to spending two hours before our flight breathing air high in fumes and low in oxygen. It turns out I’m not going to. Our flight on Peruvian airlines has been cancelled - they ceased operating following a crash. We’re told we need to get Peruvian airlines to purchase us tickets on Amazonas which departs at 10.15. Two problems; the Peruvian airlines rep cannot be located and the flight is full. There isn’t another flight today. We can come back tomorrow but it will cost $828. We contact our waste of space travel agent who suggests we buy overnight bus tickets. I ... read more
Brief visit to La Paz airport
La Paz bus station
Bolivian police dogs

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 28th 2019

One last day in La Paz. Primarily because of a long journey yesterday and a long journey tomorrow, so I left a day in between. Not because there’s loads of touristy things to do here – we’ve pretty much exhausted that list. We planned to have a lie-in but the police put paid to that idea when they arrive at our door at 8 am to check our passports. This morning we start at the Coca Museum which charts the history of the coca leaf, its role in Bolivian culture and uses as a drug, both legal and illegal. It’s more interesting that I’d anticipated. They even have a café where you can buy coca cocktails and original recipe Coca Cola. We continue to St Francis church with its beautifully carved façade and ornate interior (lots ... read more
Coca Museum
Coca Museum - coca using miner
Coca Museum - cocaine user

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana February 27th 2019

We have a bus back to La Paz at 13.15. First we are going to visit Horca del Inca, an ancient astronomical site on a hill just outside town. We try to check out but reception is empty. We soon discover why – spitty llama is giving birth. It’s an exciting and unexpected start to the morning. We walk through town where there is a festival taking place; people in their Sunday best, cars decorated with flowers, bands playing. On to Horca del Inca, described by Google Maps as a 14 minute ‘mostly flat’ walk. 45 minutes and 389 steep stone steps later, we finally reach our destination. Quite a tough ascent at 3800m altitude. We return to the hotel. We have just enough time to get some brunch and see baby llama one more time ... read more
Baby llama
Baby llama
Baby llama

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana February 26th 2019

All the travelling with food poisoning and then a cold have taken their toll so I’m taking a ‘duvet day’. So while the old man sets off on a boat ride to an island full of steps, I take a stroll along the lake, then return via reception, borrow a Judy Finnigan from the library and settle in my deckchair overlooking the lake. I have a pleasant day reading and watching the many hummingbirds in action. In the evening we go to dinner. As we pass the resident llamas I point and say “and you can f*** off too” not realising that I’m actually pointing at a lady in a hammock. Luckily she sees the funny side and when we bump into her in the restaurant 2 hours later, she’s still laughing at me. We return ... read more
Pleasant spot to read
View from my deckchair

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana February 25th 2019

Today we are taking a minibus to Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It’s only 90 miles but takes 4 hours. Partly because it takes ages to fight our way out through the crazy La Paz traffic and partly because it involves a ferry crossing. First, breakfast. It’s not as easy as it seems as we are behind a Chinese tour group. The buffet looks like it’s been hit by a plague of locusts. There’s no fruit left at all, meanwhile a Chinese woman is trying to force an entire watermelon into her handbag. Once we have left the city, the driver seriously puts his foot down and our white knuckle ride begins. Soon the highway runs out and we continue on what look like abandoned road works. Eventually the quinoa covered plains give way ... read more
Lake Titicaca
Papyrus boat

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 24th 2019

Our last day in La Paz so we start with some culture; the Calle Jean museums; one ticket gives you access to 3 museums on an old colonial street. Google Maps says it’s an 11 minute ‘mostly flat’ walk from the hotel. Google maps doesn’t mention the flights of stairs. I’d challenge anyone from Google Maps to walk 0.6 miles, including 100 stairs at 4000m altitude in 11 minutes. We reach our first museum and they ask for ID. Someone is going to have to walk back to the hotel and get our passports. I’m not sure who. Neither of us can breath. We convince them to accept a photo from my phone, which is a relief. We visit the Museo Costumbrista which tells the history of La Paz in costumes and dioramas. It’s actually really ... read more
Museo Costumbrista
Museo de Metales Preciosos
Museo de Metales Preciosos

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 23rd 2019

The combination of a cold and altitude mean I didn’t sleep well and have a pounding headache. When we arrived in La Paz, some of my toiletries had leaked, the rest had inflated to almost bursting point. That’s pretty much how my head feels. After breakfast, the old man sets off to explore the city and I take some painkillers and return to bed to regroup. By midday I’m ready, the old man is recalled from his cable car extravaganza and we head for old La Paz. The secret is to do everything slowly, which incidentally I’m rather good at. We start at the 18th century Church of San Francisco, where we take a guided tour which includes the cloisters, the church, then up a tiny, dark staircase onto the roof. Just as I poke my ... read more
Linea Roja
Church of San Francisco
Roof of Church of San Francisco

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 22nd 2019

Today, the high altitude portion of our trip begins. I’m not really looking forward to it - I’m not sure I’m designed for altitude. To make matters worse, I have a stinking cold. We reach the airport 2 hours before our flight. The airline recommends a minimum of 3, which seems excessive in the middle of the night. But we’ve left it very tight. After check in comes immigration. The queue is enormous and it takes 30 minutes to almost reach the front. Then the computers crash and what little action there was grinds to a halt. We finally reach our gate 8 minutes before boarding commences. We are flying to La Paz. The airport is 4080 metres above sea level. It’s craziness. I wouldn’t want to live 4080 metres from the sea horizontally, let alone ... read more
La Paz from the hotel
Bolivian beer
Everything llama

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 21st 2019

It’s our last day in Chile and we’re going to Cerro San Cristobal; a park on a hill on the edge of the city reached by a funicular railway. First, breakfast from the mini market over the road. The old man buys a cake tossed in a thick coating of icing sugar and coconut. He puts it into a bag, then picks the bag up by the wrong end. The cake falls, he executes a miraculous catch, saving the cake and covering the next lady in the queue in sugar and coconut. After we’ve finished juggling/eating breakfast, we walk to the funicular which operates from its own castle and takes you 500m up the hill for great views over the city. You can then climb past a series of decorated crosses to a 22m high statue ... read more
Cerro San Cristóbal Teleférico
Cerro San Cristóbal funicular
Cerro San Cristóbal funicular

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 20th 2019

Today we’re sightseeing in Santiago. We’ve passed though it underground 3 times but not surfaced yet. We start with a tour of the Palacio de la Moneda (the seat of the President) where we visit the ground floor; courtyards, the press room, state rooms and the chapel. Then on to the main plaza and the cathedral, finishing at the hillside park of Cerro Santa Lucia. Here you climb several hundred steps through various gardens to a turreted lookout, where we are confronted by the rather surreal scene of a family taking their cat on an outing, while a man plays the soundtrack to Grease on a harmonica. The afternoon consists mainly of chores; I do 12 days worth of laundry while the old man gets a haircut and buys a new belt (following a rather embarrassing ... read more
Palacio de la Moneda
Palacio de la Moneda
Palacio de la Moneda

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