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Posts from the ‘Chile’ Category

music of my trip…

here a few songs that followed me while travelling! not that i particularly liked all of them too much but let’s say they were either played constantly wherever i was or i had a great ‘singing time’ in the car along with them. unfortunately, when in china i had no clue about shazam, so this only starts in japan. actually i have here a song which i added in china but it is not chinese…but i somehow really like it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

my energy song to get up in the morning

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i would call this the Japanese Eros Ramazotti 🙂

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this one hit me hard after landing in LatinAmerica – think it’s the song of the year, thus no way to leave this one out. and actually i start to like it more and more… really hated it in the beginning. somehow the way he sings reminds me of the songs of his father which my mum used to listen to in the old days.

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this funky tango sound i heard first time in Iguazu.. absolutely love it.

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this one is from Salta… probably one of the best things i found in this city 😉

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this one heard on the radio while escaping from Salta to Cafayate. Feeling free in the car – i sang along it sooooo loud! Not that it is a really good song but somehow like it!

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and here the uruguay collection… seems they only play love songs on the radio… or chat at length about pollo as asado, pollo con arroz, other commercials… hate it. thus here the ones that are NOT too bad 🙂

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plus a few all time travelling favourites – a list that begins nowhere and doesn’t end anywhere:

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San Pedro de Atacama – Salta by bus (11hours)

This will remain my only real bus ride (+5hrs) during my entire holiday – sounds almost pathetic… but yes it is true. I think this is not my desired mean of transport.

Although I have to admit it was not too bad, despite the fact there is simply not enough space for your legs, the backpack and myself. I really don’t know what engineers think when they design the so called ‘first class’ coaches.

Nevertheless… once squeezed into my seat it turned out to be pretty comfy – though i wouldn’t have minded another person next to me… she was taking almost every minute a picture accross myself which was kind of a pointless mission as the reflection in the window was killing it all (i picked some of the best in this post… total waste of space on the memory card!). However she kept going… and i joined her in with taking some pics… felt somehow too disinterested if i had continued reading…. She even explained me when it was really worth taking one ha ha.

So after about 100 pictures we reached the Chilean / Argentinian border. Far too early for my liking as i still had apples in my bag and the sandwiches intended for lunch were still untouched. Having said that it was mainly due to the signs at the border which were very clear: you were not allowed to bring any fruits/veggies, no dairy products, no meat, no nothing across the border. Well what to do – i didn’t want to rely on the crappy snacks they would provide later but also not get unnecessarily in troubles. So i decided to quietly throw the apples in a bin but keep the cheese sandwiches in the bag.

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At the scanner it meant keeping fingers crossed — and yes either they didn’t care or they didn’t see them. Unfortunately i missed to bring my big bag for the scanning in the first place which meant i had to go another time through the scanner….. but no objection against my lunch – yess!

After about 1h at the border, they distributed the first snack box just before continuing the journey. Man was i glad i had my sandwiches… you really don’t want to rely on this stuff. Chocolate, crisps, marshmallows, fruit juice, candies and energy bars. Well actually not so bad – just not what i consider as a lunch.

To be honest besides all these silly non important comments this bus ride was probably the most beautiful i have ever done. Driving across a pass of i cannot remember what altitude, passing beautiful volcanos, mountains coloured by it’s various minerals, salt flats and spectacular serpentine roads. Due to its beauty it passed surprisingly fast… i would have never imagined that.

An absolute must for anybody travelling from Chile to Argentina even if the start of this post is hinting in the other direction.

Volcano Sairecabur – 6000m!!

After whizzing around in La Paz, the breathtaking altiplano and Salar de Uyuni i was quite used to the high altitude and when i saw they offer tours to this volcano out of San Pedro de Atacama it was a clear thing – that’s where i want to go to

So they picked us up at the hostel at 06.00h in the morning zzzzZZZZZ and we drove into the valley up to about 4500m where they prepared breakfast on the ‘backflap’ of the pick up. At that altitude it was freezing cold so it was not exactly a long breaky. With a hot mate de coca in our stomachs, we continued the dirt road up to 5500m and you could tell that not only we started to feel the altitude but also the pick up as the engine would break down now and then. Luckily we didn’t show any major problems with the height yet.

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Once everybody had its gear ready, we started to hike or should i say rather climb, because this was rather a climb than a hike. First a steep part up through loose gravel where you had to try to be as careful as possible so that the one behind you didn’t get all the rocks on his head (helmets!? no, doesn’t exist in Chile… neither in the mountains nor when riding a motor bike). Afterwards it got a bit easier as we had to climb over big rocks but it went higher and higher. Doing about 150m at this altitude feels like you do 300-400m in Switzerland. It took us almost 3h to do these 500m.

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However once we reached the peak it was a fantastic feeling and the panoramic view made up for all the sweat and short breathed moments. Interestingly, instead of a book they had a box and a stick for offerings on the top of the mountain. So we put some chocolate in the box and i attached my ‘1st August Placette’ onto the lama which was already dangling on the offering stick. As it was quite chilly up there and not the entire group made it to the top we just made a quick picnic and soon started again our descent.

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As always going down is usually even harder than going up… but we made it down without any further incidents.

During the drive down and back to San Pedro my stomach started to develop really bad cramps – somehow it must have been a too quick drop in altitude.. the guy was racing down the mountain with the pick up. Thus by the time i arrived at the hostel, I was totally wasted and went to bed… even my room mate confirmed i looked like a dead parrot! Nevertheless ,I would go immediately again up there – it was such an amazing feeling knowing to have been on the top of a mountain that is 1500m higher than our beautiful Matterhorn!

Sandboarding in San Pedro de Atacama (SPdA)

Nachdem ich in der Salzwüste von Uyuni schon viele Lagunen und Felsformationen gesehen habe, war ich etwas zurückhaltend mit dem Buchen von Ausflügen und Touren in SPdA. Denn die Salzwüste war einfach umwerfend schön und einzigartig, so dass ich Bedenken hatte dies noch zu toppen.

Deshalb suchte ich etwas anderes zum machen… einfach aktiv sollte es sein, denn wir sassen ja viele Stunden einfach nur im Jeep.

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Nun Sandboarding wollte ich schon immer mal machen, aber irgendwie hab ich’s bis jetzt noch nicht geschafft. Ok gebucht und
off we go mit einem Minibus ins ‘death valley’ der Atacama Wüste. Dort angekommen, war ich etwas enttäuscht, denn die Düne war jetzt nicht gerade hoch, nun das zahlt sich beim hochkraxeln natürlich wieder aus. Denn es gibt ja keine ‘Skilifte’ dort. Zum Glück machten sie eine Art Weg diagonal zur Düne, was das hochgehen um einiges erleichterte.

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Oben angekommen, versuchte ich mal etwas runterzurutschen, aber der Sand ist viel träger als Schnee, so dass ich beim ersten mal quasi gar nicht vom Fleck kam. Ich dachte schon, was für einen Mist hast du jetzt hier gebucht. Vielleicht besser gar nicht weitermachen und zurück ins Büssli und Buch lesen bis die anderen ‘ausgerutscht’ sind. Nun so schnell konnte ich natürlich doch nicht aufgeben und die 2. Talfahrt ging dann schon etwas besser. Man muss einfach wie sagt man so schön ‘Pfiffegrad’ runterbrausen, dann gewinnt man schon etwas an Geschwindigkeit. Für die nächsten Durchläufe ging ich immer höher auf die Düne rauf und langsam gings besser.

Ich merkte dann auch, dass der Guide überhaupt nicht ‘snowboarden’ kann. Er ging immer einfach gerade runter ohne eine Kurve zu machen. Nach ein paar Abfahrten nannte er mich auch ‘the professional’ – er gab dann auch zu, dass er erst seit 2 Monaten hier sei und dass er es selbst noch nicht wirklich gut könne ha ha. So einfach ist es Sandboard-Guide zu werden – und diese Agentur ist angeblich die beste in SPdA.

Am Schluss machte es mir wirklich Spass, aber dann mussten wir schon zusammenpacken, denn diejenigen welche noch nie Snowboard gemacht hatten, waren natürlich fix und fertig… ui da gabs ein paar panierte Gesichter.

Salar de Uyuni

This was supposed to be definitely a highlight of my brief visit to Bolivia. Everybody kept repeating how amazing this is. As LonelyPlanet and Tripadvisor were very unhelpful with regards of finding  place to spend the night prior my tour in Uyuni I decided to go to THE salt hotel of the moment, the Palacio de Sal. What an amazing place this was. From outside not really striking your heart but once entered it was not less than they showed / promised on their website. With lots of care to the detail they built this hotel almost only with salt. All the couches, beds, walls whatever is white is made of salt. Also to mention was that the receptionist was lending me her bike for the afternoon so that i could have a little sneak preview of the salt flats.

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Well there was one drawback, in contradiction to the info on booking.com it was not possible to pay this beautiful place with credit card. However as i was just about to cross boarder to Chile Frau Rüttimann didn’t have sufficient cash left to pay the last days in Bolivia and pay the hotel. So therefore I had no other choice than calling a taxi that would drive me back into town, fetch some cash and drive back. This was a 45 min roundtrip costing me BOB500!!! What a waste of money but well not worth to freak out.

Another hot potato was to figure out with which agency i should go for the Salar Jeep tour as you keep hearing stories that some agency are really taking the mickey of you. Thus alike all the other travellers i was doing extensive research on tripadvisor/LP and figured out with which one i would like to go. Went there in the morning, bought my ticket, done and dusted. The following day we set off in a Toyota 4×4 which is said to be the best option. Well this one we managed, however after asking the driver – who acted also as cook and mechanic – with which agency we were now going, it was a) not the one i booked with and b) nor did any of the others. Well then… what to do just carry on and have a smile on your face.

Soon we reached the famous Salar of 12,000km2 a bright white desert just from salt as far as you can see. All looking a bit like a honeycomb with its hectagon shape caused by the evaporation of the rain water. Ample of time to take all those pictures  –  sadly my team wasn’t in the mood to shoot any of those silly pics. Well then.

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After that we headed for Incahuasi Island with it’s giant cactus. Very nice but after this vast white space almost nothing can top it – nevertheless we went to explore the island and it was in fact very nice.

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second day was a lot of driving in the jeep so the girls sticked their heads into the books, while 1 guy was suffering from flu and the other one tried to keep himself busy with his smartphone. Having said that, i kept praying not to catch to flu from him. Because trapped in a jeep for hours and even sharing the same dormitory was quite a tough test for my immune system. I assume i survived this because due to the holidays my body is quite relaxed and can deal with some ‘shit’ 😉  Eventually we arrived at the Siloli desert which is famous for the bizarre rocks that got its shape from the wind.

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Then a number of Lagunas followed on the second day, i really cannot remember anymore exactly which one is which but they had such beautiful names as Laguno Rojo, Laguna Blanca, Laguna Verde and the Laguna Colorada which changes it’s colour depending on sunlight, content of minerals and algies in the water. The latter is also known as the home of approx 30,000 flamingoes. Well honestly i think there were a few hundreds there when we arrived – but let’s believe this is true.

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On the third day we had to get up super early in order to ensure we arrive at the geysers before the sunrise as they are the most active at low temperatures. When we put our bags back on the roof of the jeep it was truly freezing… the driver/mechanic/cook meant it was around -8. I think he exaggerated but for sure it was cold. But the geysers were waiting for us, the sunrise was ‘on hold just for us’ and the hot springs as well. ..and we didn’t get disappointed, the geysers were steaming and bustling and the aguas calientes were steaming hot.

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After the bath we headed to the Bolivian/Chilean border where we got first a breakfast and then were guided into the bus that lead us out of the desert, away from dusty roads and onto nicely paved ones….. yes here we come Chile.

sueblue getting the hostelblues……

i know, normally i post about places i have been, how amazing they were, number x on the list of unesco world heritage sites already visited (yes i know i still owe that list and also as a teaser.. i intend to make a list with of the cities visited rated by meters in altitude by habitant ha ha – so beware of the sue devil).

anyway, me as a ‘non-traveller’ i had to learn during this trip that if you book a bed in a dorm, it doesn’t mean there are only girls but it is completely normal to mix… (unlike jugi’s back at home – not only by the looks)

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hmmm astonished at the start i figured out it is not so bad and it doesn’t mean that men necessarily snore and women not. what a surprising fact – because the guy in San Pedro did not snore but the lady in Salta is sawing down trees all night! so what in San Pedro de Atamacama i was really surprised to find a man in ‘my’ room but he turned out to be a really nice guy (well i better write this as he may read my blog… ha ha) no no he was a cool room mate – we even got on a tour together to the allegedly absoultely amazing geysers in the Atacama desert…. unfortunately both of us found them really dull. but i will write a separate one about this trip as it was really memorable!

back to the sueblues…. well 1 bathroom for all the girls in one hostel is really little and needed good timing – which i mostly got right. in fact there was a ‘jack wolfskin woman’ …. we suspected here to be german 😉  who gave me a nasty look once i came out of the bathroom – but sorry not my fault.  she waited exactly on that day that i was doing the ‘fulll service’ – after i was 3 days in the desert and climbed a vulcano on the 4th day 🙂

more irritating was that the guy who runs the hostel kept saying we should keep the place clean, should clean up the kitchen ha ha – what a geek! so what,  that night my room mate and i cooked together – he was in charge of the steaks from the carniceria and i made röschti whith chilean potatoes which turned out to be most suitable for röschti.. yummy  let’s not talk too much about it …… realizing that i had steak WITHOUT that potato treat tonight.

then next place again…. mixed dorm with a guy pierced – you don’t want to know where. However as i pay only USD 15.00 per night most probably that is normal – and to be honest he seems to be a nice guy behind this metallic decoration. also interesting what kind of music they play in these hostels or is it the radio station they chose. here it is totally 80ties…. or eve older. ‘words’… don’t come easy’, ‘you’…. from ten sharp and i already forgot what played earlier… feels like being thrown back to my teenage and pre-teenage years 🙂

Nevertheless besides the piercings also the infrastructure of this hostel in Salta didn’t really struck my heart. So i booked a car and tomorrow i will drive off to Cafayate a bit further south to discover the vineyards, a national park as well as the Hess bodega Colomé which includes a museum incl. a permanent exhibition of 6 works of James Turrell. Having said that i will also enjoy a room for myself in a boutique hotel within the vineyards – yessssssssssssss

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