Monday, November 21, 2011

Salta, Argentina

I said goodbye to Uyuni at 2 am and hello to Salta 24 hours after. It took some traveling on the train and bus and of course crossing the border to Argentina...needless to say that i was ready for bed as soon as I arrived to the hostel in morning I had breakfast while exchanging travel stories with bunch of other backpackers. Later Sarah, Elaine (I had met them in Uyuni) and I went downtown to MAAM, an exhibition focusing on Inca culture and especially on the sacrificed children. During an expedition in 1999 they discovered 3 mummified body's on the top of Llullaillaco mountain. It's assumed that these children were specially chosen and then frozen to death as a part of an Inca ritual and that there are about 200 "graveyards" like this in South America. The atmosphere at the museum was literally cold...

My stay in Salta ended up being a day longer than I had planned. Reason for this is that I found out about the South Pass. Here comes some valuable info for those who are planning to travel across Argentina by bus! This pass entitles to either 5, 9 or 15 bus rides across Argentina. I bought the 5 x pass for $230 which will end up saving me quite a lot of money, since my next trip to Mendoza would alone be $100 (the pass saves you money especially when you are traveling long distances). When you book your trips you need to reserve your ticket 24 hours in advance but it saves you from having to go to the bus station or travel agency in advance to find out/ book your trips. Not getting any profit for advertising this;) I just know I would appreciate any info that would save me money on my travels:) For more info go to Ok that's it I'm done with the advertising!

I didn't really end up doing anything else productive in Salta. To be honest there's not really even that much to do there. I did however have a good time socializing with other backpackers. Lots of valuable tips for where to go and what to do and there definitely was some interesting life stories to hear as well.

Next will be an 18 hour bus trip to Mendoza...we'll see what awaits for me there...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Finally I got better enough so I could continue on and here I was going on my third overnight bus, this time to Uyuni. The worlds biggest salt flats are located here and that is the reason why I wanted to stop in Uyuni. The bus trip was with Todo Turismo, nice dinner, good service, blankets and pillows. First three hours were alright, the next six not so...brochure said that 80 km is a non paved road but it ended up being "a little" more. It was the most bumpy, loud and unsteady ride I've ever been on, so much so that I had a hard time believing it so I had to record some of it! Finally at 7 am we arrived in Uyuni. Otherwise the town has nothing to offer, therefore I wanted to catch the next train out of there. I had timed this trip in advance knowing that there's only six trains per week departing from Uyuni. The next one would be the following night at 2 am. I knew there were day trips to the salt flats starting around 10 so I had to drop off my things at the hostel, book the tour, my train ticket and have breakfast before that.

Got everything done on time and was ready to head to the salt flats. On the trip we saw the train cemetery, salt hotel (where we had llama for lunch...), cactu island and of course the amazing salt flats. It's definitely worth of experiencing and the views are stunning, I'll let the pictures do the rest...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Copacabana & La Paz, Bolivia

We arrived early in Puno and since it was not that intriguing to either one of us we decided to keep on going. A few people we spoke to recommended going on the Bolivian side of lake Titicaca, so we jumped on another bus that ended up taking about 5 hours instead of the 3 hours that we were told it would. Finally we got to Copacabana which is a cute little town right on the lake. We found a nice hostel called Cupula owned by Martin, a sweet gentleman from Germany who was very kind and helpful. From him we booked a day tour for the next day to one of the islands on lake Titicaca and enjoyed a delicious lunch at the his hostels restaurant. Martin also recommended to do a 45 min hike up the mountain to see some beautiful views and watch the sunset, which we did. Normally a hike like that would be like a walk in a park (ok, well not quite but almost) but because of the high altitude of 3860 it took a few huffs and puffs from us. It was worth it though, the view of the lake and Copacabana was literally breath taking.

The next day we were suppose to go on the trip to one of the islands but the altitude was really getting to me and I wasn't feeling well so we decided to skip the trip and take an earlier bus out to La Paz. We got on the 1 pm bus and arrived in La Paz slightly after 4 pm.

La Paz for me wasn't that interesting. We had one day to explore La Paz before Tina would head back home. Of course that one day was a national holiday so almost everything was closed and the city was pretty dead. After Tina left I was going to continue to the next city right away but because I was quite sick, and didn't have the strength to travel, I had to stay in La Paz for a few more days.

As soon as I would get my strength back, Salar de Uyuni would be waiting for me with new stories to tell...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Arequipa, Peru

After staying a few more nights in Cuzco we were ready to move on to new adventures. Our next destination would be Arequipa, south-east from Cuzco. Getting there by bus takes 10 hours so we decided to take a night bus to avoid loosing a day. There were several companies to chose from and prize range for a semi cama seat was 45-90 sols ($16-33). On the bus we got a small package of crackers and a bun with cheese, not much but we really weren't expecting for anything anyways. They showed us the movie El Dorado which was partially filmed in Cuzco, so it was fun to watch it and recognize places that we have just been to. The only thing was that the volume wasn't high enough for us to hear well. Though they did play the same movie three times in a row so I guess you could pick up some scenes you missed, on the second or third time;) We arrived to Arequipa in the early dawn and decided to head to our hotel for a nap before heading out to explore the city.

Arequipa had one of our most liked accommodations so far and the weather was on our side too so things looked great. Sunshine both days, if fact the sun was so strong it even went through our clothes, never had that happen to me before...Evenings of course get very cold as in all the cities we've been to in Peru. Our first day we decided to enjoy walking around the downtown area and on the second day we took a 4 hour tourist bus tour...unlike what we've done so far, usually we like to do our own thing. Have to say though that it was quite nice because we got to see some of the outskirts of Arequipa and not just the city centre. After those two days and a night, in a really comfy bed, we were ready for another night bus. This time the bus would take us to Puno and lake Titicaca.