Well this has been quite some time since our last blog, we are at the moment in Iguasi Faĺls in Brazil, trying to escape the bad weather of Chile and San Paulo Brazil where the rainy weather has finally caught up with us.
We left Equador Guyaquil and traveled to Peru, first stop was Tumbes, we quickly got on a local bus to the beach, a town called Mancora, although Mancora beach was quite dirty the surf breaks were quite spectaclar with the young from world wide enjoying the surf. A busy little tourist town that was awake throughout the night partying we found a nice hotel with its own private gardens and pool a little way from town and caught our breath from the overnight bus that we travelled on from Equador. In our hotel we swapped traveling tips with fellow travellers and native south American travellers, who all had ideas and thoughts on the countries they had visited.
Once again another overnight bus to Lima, Peru. We finished up spending 10 days there as we awaited some important mail from home. It felt like Ground Hog day, as every day we woke and went into the central post office. We knew all the ladies and each day they would shake there heads and tell us no post. We found our way around Lima and Flores, eating at our favourite restaurants and walking the promenade at Flores. We had overstayed in Lima and it was good to be exproring new places again. The city of Lima outside the tourist spots is quite dusty and the urban sprawl of brick buildings exhausts you, thousands of homes, no trees and lots of dust and dirt. The boardwalk of Flores is where most of the richer Lima residents live and the coast line is quite spectacular with the surf being amazing again, but unfortunate the city sewers open out into the ocean and you can the see the sewerage drift out to sea..........Not for this little Aussie.
We found a bus company called PeruHop and decided we should take the plunge and do there pass, for once we could take as many days to hop on and hop off the bus anywhere from Lima to Cusco that we liked.
With a few destinations which it could have been hard to visit if we were to go local buses. Plus we thought it would be nice not to think and let someone else to do the travel arrangements.
So we departed Lima with a lovely crowd of mixed ages people from Israel, America, Switzerland, Canada, Engand and Australian, and yes there were people older than us. But everyone got on well and we had a great time.
First stop Paracas another coastal town, we had a day of visiting the island of Ballistas. We also viewed the Candlestick or Cactus, which is a large engraving in the side of a hill side beside the ocean, no one knows how it got there. Ballistas island, the poor mans Galápagos was fabulous, with seal lions, Peruvian Boobys, along with thousands of other birds, it was an amazing sailing day out. The next day before leaving Paracas we visited a local national park which sweeps down to meet the ocean and the red beach. Sand dunes as big as hills and the red beach, which is such a stunning sight.
So back on the bus some people return to the bus for the next stop while some stay in Paracas, and so you meet new travellers, and so it goes, meeting up and saying goodbye, then catching up again on a different leg. All these people travelling, seeking out different adventures.
Next stop for us was Huacachina, which is an Oasis right in the Peruvian Desert, we tried sand dune buggies and sand dune surfing, OMG, not my idea of fun, but Glen had the best time while we sat in the front of the dune buggy, I don't think i opened my eyes once as we drove so fast like maniacs. Glen was also the star of the sand surfing, waxing his board profusely and taking the fastest and longest rides of anyone in our group, he even impressed our driver. He had to confess that it was his mispent youth on Stockton sand dunes in NSW.
The next evening we spent on the bus and traveled to Chivas to visit the Colac Canyon and the Condors.
Aŕequipa was 3800 metres above sea level and we passed peaks on our journey over 5500 metres, we were advised to chew coco leaves, which were the most foul tasting, and made me quite sick and strange by the time we had arrived at Chivas i was exhusted and instead of enjoying a traditional evening of local food and dance i was tucked up and sleeping. The next day i took a panadol and feeling so much better enjoyed Colac Canyon and the majestic Condors. Definatley no more Coca leaves for me. By the way its no good to keep these in your bag as they are considered narcotics in some countrys. The extract of these leaves are in fact cocaine.
We arrived back in Arequipa for the evening and crashed early ready for our early morning journey to Cusco.
We planned to stay in Cusco a couple of days then head to Agua Calientes and Mitchu Picchu and return to Cusco.
Cusco was a great city, so much to do and see, amazing streets and markets, markets that sell everthing from Donkeys jawbones and there heads, roasted Guinea pigs, women in traditional dress with colourful layered skirts and bowler hats who haggle the prices of thier goods. With their children strapped to thier backs and bundles of goods which they carry around in traditional woven blankets. We saw some amazing things in Cusco.
When we left a few days later just with our day packs, traveling light as to carry limited things. We took a micro bus, a journey which we traveled for 5 hours of scarey roads with shear drops and hair pin bends along gravel mountain road. It was like a death road, i nearly lost my lunch a few times. Very scarey drive indeed, we disembarked at a place called Hydroelectrica and walked the 10 klm along the train lines into Agua Calientes, the town at the bottom of Mitchu Picchu, the walk was beautiful with huge mountains towering above us, as we walked through the valleys and along the river beds we wondered why a civilisation would live here, and how the hell did they find this place. Most travellers catch the train into this spectacular place, we are so glad to have come the way we did even though the car drive was hairy the veiws were spectacular and the walk was beautiful. We took our time as we are still high up with limited oxygen. The town Agua Calientes is built around the train line, the only way in is by train or by foot. So trains coming and going bringing in new visitors and fresh food and goods.
We found our hotel, and bought tickets for the main event Michu Picchu for the next day, we ate and turned in early for an early start.
You think you are the only one up at 4 am hussling to get on a bus or to walk the hill to see the sun rise, but your not, thousands are right with you, but its worth trying to get up there as early as possible to get the best photos to stay ahead of the pack as it soon get busy up on the top. So sun and no people make fabulous photos and the added Llama is icing on the cake.
Breathtakingly spectacular, awesomely incredible, who knows how they even built such a place. I was truly lost for words how to decribe the place which changes every minute with the sun, mist and clouds. I am truly blessed to have seen such a magnificent place. After all the walking we caught the train out and returned to Cusco. Nice veiws on the train but more spectacular going in, glad we walked in and the scarey drive too.
Relaxing in Cusco and visting historic areas the next few days, catching up with friends from the bus, and our Chinesse friend Mengqi whom we met in the Galapagos was lovely. We ate and drank planning the next leg of our trip. We enjoyed a festival in Cusco too.
On the road again traveling to Bolivia and to Puno were we visited Lake Titikaka and the reed villages with its tribes and then on to Copacabana, which i thought wasn't as exotic as its name, but a nice place to stop and rest.
La Paz a huge city built in what looks to be a huge crater and a large snowy mountains loom down on it. We stayed in a quirky Bolivian hotel with murals painted on all the walls and the veiw from the roof top was amazing. We visited the witches markets which sells all sorts of potions and dryed parts of frogs, Llamas, etc. We even found an irish pub which sold great food from an Irish menu. So after a few days there and after chatting to various travellers on what lay in front of us, and getting tips on how not to do the salt lake safari, we decided only to do a day trip in Uyuni salt flats. After the day out it was a choice we were glad we made.
Leaving La Paz by bus and arriving in Oruro we then caught a train to Uyuni. We had the best train ride and ate dinner in an old fashioned dining carrage. Arriving in Uyuni late at night in freezing tempuratures we just went to bed fully clothed. I can now understand why camping out in salt motels on the three day safari wasn't so appealing to some........ the next day we had a great day taking photos of such an amazing salt lake and enjoing the company of our land cruiser companions. Visiting a salt hotel with salt beds and thinking i was very lucky to have made the correct choice for us.
The next day was the start to our slippery slope of gloom and doom, the day didnt even start well with a 4 am start and a late bus with no heating. we drove through the night with torture from the cold, drifting in and out of sleep untill we reached the Chilean border and after hours of waiting around, finally on a new bus were the heating was over the top. But i wasnt complaining just thawing out my frozen arse, it was lovely Tropical Queensland just the way i like it !
We were dropped off in a mining town and caught the bus to Antogafasta a coastal town in Chile. While on the bus we made another change of plan that we wouldnt stay in Antofogasta but stay on the sleeper bus that was going to Santiago. So with the help of the bus crew Glen disembarked the bus and ran to get an onward ticket. I waited for Glen to buy the tickets our main backpacks still on the bus. Glen returned with the tickets and we got on the bus with our new seat tickets. We were told we had a few more minutes till we left so Glen left to get food he left me and our day packs on the bus. Someone was banging on the bus window, I tried to see who it was, thinking it was Glen. When I turned back around my bag was gone.
Lets move on 😂 arriving in Santigo, Chile the weather and the rain met our mood and within days of being thier. buying only a replacment warm ski coat we decided that to travel further south would be crazy, Argentina and Patagonia would have to be another time and another journey. But far to cold for us to go further.