Tag Archives: stham2008

the south america round-up

kitten fishing in santiago de chile mendoza, argentina the southest i’ve ever been arriving in patagonia parque nacional torres del paine around the park into bolivia hot-tubbing bolivian style my very first geyser (a.k.a. i can see why safety fences are sometimes a good idea) through the altiplano hotel de sal (yes i licked the walls) salar de uyuni uyuni, bolivia lake titicaca cusco, peru inka trail – day one inka trail – day two inka trail – day three inka trail to machu picchu lima, peru screaming slugs – the highlights

lima, peru

After all of the encouraging words we’d read about Lima, we weren’t particularly looking forward to spending any time there. A guidebook I’d read before leaving basically suggested: “If you spend only a couple of days there, and see the main sites, you might not hate it.”   Armoured vehicles with sub machine guns by Plaza de Armas, the main square in downtown Lima   And maybe there’s not much there to see if you’re keen on going to museums and art galleries and general tourist attractions. But it’s not that bad. The main thing that tipped it into favour … Continue reading lima, peru

cusco, peru

The town of Cusco, sprawled out over the surrounding hills – which also have hill graffiti scrawled over them, not very visible in this photo though.     An ‘istorical monument (the Cathedral).     And some Incan stonework. There’s lots of it around town, and if you read the guidebooks they tell you to go and look at it all. I was not particularly excited by it – though it did manage to fill me with disdain for all modern attempts at building worldwide.    

uyuni, bolivia

When we arrived in Uyuni after the trip through the Altiplano, we discovered that a lot of the buses to La Paz weren’t running that night, due to blockades. So we booked a ticket for a bus the following night, and hoped it wouldn’t be cancelled as well. And spent a day and a half hanging out in Uyuni, a little town with a population of 10,000 or so, some really good street markets, and lots of tourist shops selling tours out onto the Salar. The night markets sold huge slices of tasty cake for 15 cents. Actually, there were … Continue reading uyuni, bolivia

salar de uyuni

Salar de Uyuni – at 10,582 kmĀ² , the largest salt flat on Earth. Around 40,000 years ago it was part of Lake Minchin (an enormous lake that encompassed the Salar as well as another neighbouring Salar, and two existing lakes). It sits at an altitude of 3650m on the Bolivian Altiplano being salty and flat.     It’s also very handy for taking lots of silly photos – here we see Alex executing a perfect star-jump style ‘jump’ photo.     Up-close with the salt – it’s very hard, and forms strange patterns on the surface.     And … Continue reading salar de uyuni

hot-tubbing bolivian style

It was around lunchtime when we reached Aguas Termales – a beautiful hot spring that’s just the right temperature to sit in at the cool temperatures of the Bolivian Altiplano (the altiplano is where the Andes are at their widest, and is the most extensive area of high plateau on earth outside of Tibet).     The surrounds weren’t so bad to look at either     Most of the white in the above photo is borax rather than salt, but as everything was being explained in Spanish, I was initially very confused as to what Borat would be doing … Continue reading hot-tubbing bolivian style

into bolivia

We reached the Bolivian border control after driving up a long long hill out of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, climbing up onto the altiplano to about 4000m altitude. Then a nice man inside stamped my passport.     We were taking a 4WD ‘tour’ across the Bolivian altiplano and to the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt plain in the world. So as lost seagulls wandered around acting like they were on a pier at the beach, our trusty 4WD was loaded up, and we set out in convoy across the desert.     Apart from us two, … Continue reading into bolivia

around the park

We see a guanaco (one of the llama/alpaca family). Actually, we see many many guanacos, all over the Park, but just have a photo of this one.     Cuernos del Paine     Many glacial lakes throughout the Park     And a bird of prey lurks on a sign as we leave the Park and head back towards Puerto Natales.     After leaving Puerto Natales, we flew back up Chile, in many hops to Santiago and then on to the desert North.

parque nacional torres del paine

One morning we got up before sunrise (not hard to do in this part of the world at this time of year) and climbed into the little Toyota Yaris we had hired, and drove towards Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. The sun rose just as we were driving into the Park and got our first view of the Torres del Paine, swathed in grey cloud, but still visible.     We decided to just hike up to the viewpoint to see the Torres, as avalanche risk meant we couldn’t do the circuit hike in the park anyway. So we drove … Continue reading parque nacional torres del paine

mendoza, argentina

Wandering around Mendoza, it seemed like we could have been in a suburb in Melbourne (but for the fact all the graffiti was in Spanish).     We spent our time cycling round, lazing on the grass, eating delicious food and drinking Argentinian wine.     Travelling to Mendoza from Santiago, we went back and forth on a bus through the Andes. The queue at the border was long, with many trucks. But there are worse places to sit at a border crossing than the Andes, so we had snow fights and snow races, and wished we had our skis … Continue reading mendoza, argentina