Page 5 of The Outbetweeners Travel Blog Posts

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 23rd 2012

Sat at breakfast for a while and had a chat with one of the new couples joining the group. After flying directly into La Paz - which is quite high - some of the new arrivals haven't yet acclimatised to the altitude and appear to still be suffering. We walked to take a look at San Pedro Prison which, apparently, is unique in that there are no guards and is self-regulated by the inmates. The guide book says there are 4 deaths a month, either by accident or violence it doesn't say! Inmates' children live in the prison with their father as there is nowhere else for them to go but are allowed to come and go as they please but they rarely leave as there is nobody else to look after them. Apparently, depression amongst ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 22nd 2012

Woke up and had a leisurely breakfast and took a walk down hill to the San Franciscan Cathedral. This was extremely ornate and we wandered down the right aisle and up the left-hand one and made our getaway as a service was about to commence. La Paz does not appear to be a particularly inspiring city and we really couldn't be bothered with the small museums as information is mostly in Spanish..... Walking around La Paz takes effort as it is on a steep hill. Going down is fine but walking back up is very hard work and if you don't walk really slowly, you can be out of breath very quickly. We wondered back up to the 'Witches Market' which is really a market where many different types of herbs and oils beneficial to health ... read more
A Market stall

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz February 21st 2012

Jo was woken to the sound of fireworks being set off at 7 in the morning and after wondering whether this was a military coup due to the obvious guns being fired decided there was no need to panic so both of us got up and had an early breakfast. Did very little until the bags were loaded on the truck and we set off at around 10.00 am for La Paz. Around 11.00 am, we arrived at a river crossng where vehicles were ferried across on very old pontoons and passengers were taken across for the equivalent of 15p on extremely delapidated boats. Before going across we had lunch at roadside stalls near the crosing point ......... filled pastry with meat and vegetables called an 'empanada' - very similar to a cornish pastie. Dave left ... read more
Driving into La Paz

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Lake Titicaca February 20th 2012

Breakfast and down to the quayside. The Dragoman trip coming the other way from Rio to Lima was in Copacabana at the same time as us although they were staying at a different hotel and it was arranged that the two groups would head out together to the Isla del Sol which legend says is the birthplace of the Incan Sun God. The boat trip was fairly tedious in a rather delapidated boat. It took a while to get going because the leader from the other group who accompanied us seemed to think that 30 odd people could fit into one boat and finally, had to hire a second one. Neither boat had a toilet and the trip was over two hours to reach the island. We were both first off to find the nearest rocky ... read more
Isla del Sol

South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca » Uros Island February 19th 2012

Had breakfast, left our luggage in the hotel store room and the whole group took a rickshaw to Lake Titicaca's shore. Fortunately, it was mainly downhill. We both really hate taking these pedalled powered taxis but they were arranged for us by the guide for the day.We always feel so guilty that the poor person has to pedal two not particularly light people around! We would rather have walked but it was too far. All piled into a fairly plush boat. It had a toilet on board which is always useful after 4 cups of coffee for breakfast! About an hour out onto the lake. Lake Titicaca is vast and extremely deep in parts. However, the reed islands were in a shallow part. Moored up at one of the smaller islands on which about 6 families ... read more
Uros - Lake Titicaca

South America » Peru » Puno » Puno February 18th 2012

Early breakfast and the bus loaded by 7.00 am and we were on our way. Bye-bye Cusco! Long driving day. Back past the most miserable Peruvian town we have come across - Juliaca - it was really depressing both times we passed it. Just huge long roads awash with mud, broken down lorries and cars and unfinished buildings...... A couple of toilet stops along the way and lunch off the road on a grassy area. Brown rolls, cheese, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber and some strange fruits we have never seen before - all bought from the local market by our drivers yesterday. Stopped at around 4.00 pm at Silustani. A pre-Incan burial area overlooking a large volcanic lake/crater. We had a local guide who told us all about it but not sure that we took much in ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco February 17th 2012

Up at 7.30 am and down for breakfast at 8.00 am. Took 5 and a half kilos of washing in to the launderette two doors up from the hotel, got our blog up to date for the last two days and walked over to the Chocolate Museum for our chocolate making course. An assistant was assigned to us and she first explained the chocolate tree and how the beans are harvested. Then onto the good stuff! We were shown where to wash our hands and given an apron each. We roasted some chocolate beans in a clay pot with an opening at the side over a calor gas stove for around 7 minutes and waited for the rich smell of chocolate to pervade the air and for the beans to start cracking (like popcorn). We then ... read more
Filling the moulds

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu February 16th 2012

Woke up this morning with great excitement as Jo had been looking forward to seeing Machu Picchu for a while... After an early breakfast, the group walked to the train station 5 minutes down the road to catch a 7.20 am train to Aguas Calientes (the nearest point to Machu Picchu). We were extremely surprised to find a one-carriage rather plush train with clear glass windows and part-glass roof with a free snack service of sandwich roll, three biscuits and soft drinks - like on an airplane) Tickets cost $50 each way and were included with our trip. The train ran on a single track alongside the river which due to the season (rainy) was a raging torrent - and between steep and high mountains. The train stopped a couple of times for a train to ... read more
On the train to Machu Picchu

South America » Peru » Cusco » Ollantaytambo February 15th 2012

Taxi ordered by Andina Travel for the four of us not trekking at 9.00 am to drive us to the hotel at Ollyantaytambo to meet the rest of the group finishing the trek. Ollyantaytambo is a very pretty place surrounded by steep mountains on all sides with a fierce river running alongside it. Dumped our stuff at the hotel (pretty green painted room with wooden floors and a good shower) and walked up hill to the Central Square (yet another Plaza de Armas!) Much more relaxed and a quainter atmosphere than Cusco.... Went to a coffee shop which had only opened its doors for the first time that morning. It was run and owned by an American nurse, a social worker and someone who helps the local community with textiles - run as a non-profit making ... read more
Ollyantantaybo ruins
Guinea pigs

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco February 14th 2012

Someone informed us this morning that it was Valentine´s Day. There were a few shops with red heart-shaped balloons around the door-frames and the Choco Museo had a few heart-shaped chocolates for sale but other than that, it does not appear to be publicised as it is in the UK! We went to the Chocolate museum again this morning to see if there was a cookery course available. However, it would appear that nobody wants to cook Peruvian food, just make chocolate so we have booked ourselves onto a 2-hour chocolate making course for our return to Cusco in a couple of days' time as we are now Cusco'd out and there is very little to see in the town that we haven't already seen!! This morning we walked to the last museum on our tourist ... read more

Tot: 2.78s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 9; qc: 84; dbt: 0.0658s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.5mb