Sunday, November 26, 2006
Back to Peru after countless hours on another bus. Our destination, another beautiul colonial city. This one prone to eathquakes. 5.3 on the scale to be exact but it really didn´t feel very big. Nothing even moved in the room but what a weird sensation still. The city has been crippled by earthquakes several times in the last 50 years. Despite this there is still some beautiful old architecture. The 500 year old Santa Catalina monestary was still very much in tact. We found great restaurants (would you believe falafel?), celebrated Mark´s birthday (11-19) and booked our flights back to Ecuador. Ahhhh....back home to sleep in our own bed. Santa Catalina Monestary
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Our next stop after an 18 hour bus ride (this ride was complete with a game of Bingo with the prize being Argentinian wine, which I did win, but gave away because it was white swill) from Mendoza was Salta, Argentina. Salta is a big agricultural region and is home to lots of desert and canyons. For two Phonecians itching to get back to the sea this was merely an overnight rest before we hit the next bus. It was very scenic though and we managed to have our best meal of the whole trip in Salta. Wine, champagne, an appetizer and two of those famous Argentinian steaks all for under $25 US. Argentina is cheap and very beautiful. My advice would be, go there now before it gets expensive like Chile. After our brief stop in Salta and Argentina(only six days) we were back in Chile and on the way to the Peruvian border. I didn´t get much time for photos in Salta but the cathedral was amazing at night.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Once we arrived in Santiago we thought, well we made it this far lets got to the bottom of the continent. 1500 more miles and we were at our destination, Chilean Patagonia. A place I knew little about, Mark had dreamed for years of seeing this part of the world and trekking in the serene Torres del Paine National Park. A mecca for climbers and rated one of the most amazing parks in the world we were lucky enough to five days exploring. The park is huge and there are tons of hotels, hostals and campsites. You can see the park several ways from day trips on buses to catamaran rides to several different trails. We chose what was called the ¨W¨ loop. This hike can be done in 4 or 5 days. Each day we hiked about 4-6 hours to get to our campsite or hostal. The day we arrived at the park I was shocked at how cold and windy it was. As we waited for the catamaran to take us across the lake it started to rain and as I put on all my layers I thought, what did I get myself into? A short hour later we were on our way 11km to our first destination. With about 30 pounds on my back I was cold no more. The first day we were treated to walking through a beautiful snowstorm. The kind that melts as it hits the ground. Combined with the scenery, it was magnificent. On the way Mark suddenly made this yelpy noise. Not sure if he was hurt or what I rounded the corner to see a huge blue lake littered with icebergs. Beautiful!! If I included every detail it would be a novel and maybe we will write one someday, but for now please enjoy the pictures.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Santiago was a huge city with some lovely architecture with a nice view of snowcapped peaks but the city is over run with loud coughing buses and what seemed like 2 million people smoking at any one time. We spent one day wandering around and then second day we took the beautiful metro to the Concha y Toro Vineyard. We have been enjoying their wines since we ran out of the Caifornia stuff (somewhere back in Mexico). We had a great tour, tasting and nice cheese plate. Next...on to Patagonia.
After Lago de Titicaca we hopped on yet another 12 hour bus ride to the town of Tacna. Tacna borders Chile and since it was only seven in the morning we decided to cross the border right then instead of waiting and resting in Tacna. We arrived in Arica, Chile early in the morning and were greeted as always by eager taxi drivers who are even more eager to deliver you to their favorite hotel. After getting settled in we went for a walk and saw this nice little city and immediately noticed some subtle differences between Chile and Peru. We spent three days in Arica resting and planning the next portion of our trip..Patagonia. Above are a few pictures of Arica. The last one is of the Eiffel church they are quite proud of.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
A short bus ride (and this a relative term on this trip of many buses) from Cusco and we gained two thousand feet at the shore of Lake Titicaca (12,000 ft.) the largest navigable lake in the world. We arrived in Puno, Peru on the shores with the intention of seeing the lake and then moving on to Chile so we booked a tour and the next morning we were picked up at 6:30am and boarded the deluxe boat. The picture above shows Mark posing on the deluxe boat! Our first stop was to two of the fascinating floating islands. There are several islands about 5 miles into the lake that are made entirely by reeds that grow in there. In fact evenything is made of these reeds, from the huts the people live in to the boats they use to get from island to island. I especially liked the heads on these boats. Walking on the island feels like you are sinking and I am sure this happens as these reeds have to be replaced regularly because they rot away. A very interesting place indeed. Also did I mention the cold? Its 12,000 ft and about 30 degrees fahrenheit at night. We are talking gloves, hats, scarves, any layer I have. Mark is still wearing shorts. The next part of the day was a two hour boat ride to the Isla Taquille a rather large island. Isla Taquille is not made of reeds and it is quite a beautiful place. Covered in olive groves it affords lovely views of Titicaca and above is the money shot of us standing in the famous arch. Okay must end here. Next blog...Cannot believe we made it all the way to Chile. Are we lucky or what?