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Posts from the ‘Travelicious’ Category

Bife de lomo Uruguayo (pronounce ‘uruguascho’

Last night i had a fantastic steak in Punta del Este. It was really a feast, a nice bife de lomo (saignant). Even more due to the fact that i was having a veggie period on the estancia in the Sierras de Rocha 🙂

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Kaffee & Südamerika

Eigentlich würde man meinen guten Kaffee gibts dort zu Hauf, aber dem ist leider nicht so. Umso mehr freute ich mich über diesen super leckeren Espresso in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay.

Sneakpreview oder Brasilien für eine Woche

Ja es war ein kurzer Besuch für so ein grosses Land, aber hauptsächlich ging es mir darum meinen Götti & Firmgotti zu besuchen. Sie sind nämlich for 15 Jahren nach Brasilien abgereist nachdem Gloria die Vorpensionszeit in der Schweiz ‘abgesessen’ hat 😉

Schon im Flugzeug realisierte ich, dass mir Portugiesisch ziemlich Spanisch vorkommt… hmmm zuerst in Argentinien das ganze sssscccchhhh und jetzt in Brasilien geht’s noch weniger buhuuu. Nanu geht schon, dafür gibts super Steaks in beiden Ländern!

In Florianapolis stand Erich schon parat als ich mit meinem Gepäck in die Ankunftshalle kam. Danach hiess es Auto abholen – diesmal keinen Chevy sondern einen ziemlich schicker neuer schwarzer VW Fox, freu freu! Dann fuhren wir auch gleich los Richtung Tubarao wo Gloria uns schon mit einem Znacht erwartete. Ich weiss jetzt schon wieder nicht mehr wie diese Maniokmehl-Ringli hiessen aber die waren einfach super lecker.

Am nächsten Tag gingen wir ins Sitio eine alte Maniok-Farm. Dort angekommen wurden wir von ein paar tierischen Familienmitgliedern erwartet: Pavarotti (leider kein Foto) und seine Chica, sowie die Enten und eine Truppe Bibeli -> die Nachfolger von Herr und Frau Pavarotti 😦

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IMG_8721Veranda des Sitios

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IMG_8726am Maniok ausrupfen..

Weil Gloria’s Bruder eine Nierenklinik leitet, hatte ich die Gelegenheit diese in einer Rundleitung kennenzulernen.

Auch wichtig aber nicht wirklich notwendig war havaianas shoppen – ich hatte ja immer noch nur die Fakes von Mallorca.

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Zum Abschluss meines Besuches gab es noch ein richtiges Churrasco mit Caipirinha 🙂

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Nach Tubarao gings weiter nach Barra da Lagoa. Ein ziemlich kleines Dörfchen an der Lagune von Florianopolis. Wunderschön gelegen, nur leider leider kann ich nicht surfen – das wäre fast ein Grund einfach ein Monat dort zu bleiben. Ich war dort in einem super coolen Hostel http://www.barrabeachclub.com direkt am Meer… ist absolut ein Ort zum bleiben. Sie geben sich auch Mühe, gibt es dort doch zwischen 19:00 und 20:00h gratis Caipirinha 🙂

IMG_5261temporärer Zuwachs der Kollektion

IMG_5258Nachschub…

IMG_5294der ‘Hostel-Hund’ war nicht viel fleissiger als ich 😉

IMG_5325Fisch gekauft – in Zeitungspapier eingewickelt, schmeckte hervorragend und kostete 10 Real – ich war erstaunt. In diesen Tagen wurde ich ein richtiger Sparfuchs, weil ich keine Lust hat nach Lago de Conceicao zu fahren weil es in Barra keinen Bancomat gab!

Grundsätzlich habe ich in Barra fast gar nix gemacht, ausser am Strand zu spazieren, andere Touristen oder Tiere zu fötelen, zu joggen, einfach rumzuliegen, versuchen nicht zu verbrennen und sich in einem Buch zu verlieren.

IMG_5284ohne Guarana läuft aber gar nix – i love love love it!

IMG_8764Kite-surfing auch sehr beliebt.. auch nur zum zuschauen ha ha

IMG_8761in bester Gesellschaft beim Joggen…

IMG_8759und die würden besser auch joggen

IMG_8768und diese zwei liessen sich auch von einer blonden Joggerin nicht aus der Ruhe bringen… wohl keine echten Latinos !

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IMG_8780davon gibts keine Suppe mehr..

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Brasilien definitiv ein Land um zurückzukommen.

suebluesky in Argentina…. grape leaves included

Cafayate…. the life saver in Salta

Cafayate (to be pronounced in Argentian Spanish as Cafaschate) was a kind of a time out from Salta which was supposed to be a place to be. Well it wasn’t really made for me. It started again not very welcoming – again i didn’t find any cash upon arrival so  had to walk with all the luggage across the city to my hostel. It was not that far though.… because i could have also taken a taxi and tell him to take me there and stop at an ATM on the way. Anyway once arrived at the hostel it was not at all to my gusto.. or let’s say hoped to find. A 6 people dorm, mixed, not full but still 😦 a very tiny room with this ugly guy lying next to me, the old lady snoring… jeeze but well it was only 15 bucks per night, guess that’s what you can expect. So i needed to have a plan B as quickly as possible as i was supposed to stay in Salta for almost 1 week. Impossible to even imagine this… thus went online and with the help of trip advisor i found a nice Bodega in Cafayate. Then went to book a car and yes i was ready to hit the road. In fact i was quite excited to be driving a car again. It had been weeks / months that i did so. It felt really cool even though the car wasn’t at all. My Chevy ‘C’ which stands for classic and not cool!

IMG_5054Despite the fact of having a really boring car which in fact drove quite nicely and had a radio – yesssss how did this feel finally being able to sing very loudly in a car again. That must be the reason why some people cannot imagine to commute by public transport. Once i had left Salta behind, villages and farming land become scarse and soon vanished from the surface. This gave way for bizarr rock formations in ’50 shades of red’ as well as narrow canyons carved into the mountains – the quebrada de Cafayate.

IMG_8585la garganta del diablo

IMG_8529i was totally taken aback by this amazing landscape which i didn’t expect to see at all, as i thought i am taking the less interesting way as not passing Cachi which takes supposedly 6 hours. Well the road which normally would take approx 3 hours took me quite some more time as without kidding sometimes stopped for pictures within less than 5 minutes. It was simply breathtaking – like a combination of Death Valley and Grand Canyon together.

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IMG_8538Then finally arrived in Cafayate. Unfortunately my Navi was perfectly happy with having reached the major crossroad which the Bodega put as its address on their website. However at this crossroad there was the vineyard of El Esteco and not the hotel. Now i thought that the hotel must be within the vineyard, so i drove through the gate and started to cruise around the wines. But after 2 rounds i figured out that this must be wrong and i’d better get out of the vineyard and search harder, i.e. drive a bit closer into the village and here we go – only a few more meters and there it was Patio de Cafayate. Once i got closer i burst out laughing. The winery El Esteco is owned by Michel Torino whose most basic wine – which we had to degrade to the cooking wine shelf as we got terrible headache from it – can be purchased in Denner! I was shocked, i landed in the only winery in Argentina which wines we really disapproved from. Should the Salta curse continue?!

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IMG_5077(here rests the non headache wine…. in fine oak barrels and not in the steel tanks!)

so after checking into my suite – yes i got an upgrade – i went on a tour of the headache winery. During this tour i learned that the wine being exported to Switzerland is the most basic wine they produce – the elementos. Ufffff what a relief to hear that because i was already concerned what i will be drinking for dinner, water?  tea?  surely no headache juice! The wine chosen was fantastic, a younger Malbec, fruity yet full bodied.. and i kept the cork, so that i didn’t have to drink the whole bottle but could take it with me back to Salta – it would be a great help to overcome the hostel sueblues.

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IMG_8577yes life can be very tough and then quickly again very sweet 🙂

IMG_5091(half a bottle of malbec to go)

the drive back was again the same as the way there and still i discovered new rock formations and had the 2nd chance to stop where i didn’t stop the day before.

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oooops fin de la carretera….

Churrasco mit Götti

mjaaammmmm mjammmm

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gelato italiano DOC ….. in Brasil

found this most delicious ice cream at sao paulo airport…. i could have taken a later flight subject they wouldn’t run out of them

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4 days on the road with a Suyana mobile in the Bolivian altiplano

Already weeks ahead I was looking forward to join this trip with a team of co-ordinators from the Suyana Foundation. Among my other travels in South America this would be for sure the one bearing the most insight of true Bolivian way of living as well as giving me the opportunity to meet Bolivian people, see how Suyana managed to help them improve their way of life and actually get to talk to them.

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Tuesday morning at 06:00h, I was ready to be picked up by the mobile and meeting the team which would be my family for the next 4 days (Oswaldo, Ramiro, Rodolpho, Dr. Pena and Joelle). The latter turned out to be my life saver at times, when either my brain couldn’t take any more Spanish after a whole day of trying to follow conversation or when i simply didn’t understand anything. Having said that, I need to point out that the people in this area speak Aymara as their first language and therefore sometimes their Spanish was a mix of Aymara and Spanish or they had quite an accent – maybe this only appeared to me though but often i had a blank ‘screen’ while they were talking away.

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After about a 2-3 hours drive leaving the populated areas of La Paz & El Alto behind us, we reached the beautiful altiplano with a striking blue sky that matched the sandy yet reddish coloured soil. These same colours would intensify even more during sunrise or sunset.

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Our first stop was in Conchacollo in the area of San Andres de Machaca where we met the first families who joined the programs ‘vivienda saludable’ and ‘agua familiar productiva’. It was overwhelming to see how happy the people were to meet us and showing us proudly there homes which they had improved with the help of the Suyana team as well as the satiris. There were significant changes they had undertaken in order to transform their lifestyle into a healthier, sustainable yet independent way. Mostly it required them to construct additional houses in order to meet all the requirement as previously they would often live in one single house combining kitchen, dormitory and living room. With the assistance of Suyana they would construct a new cooker (Fugon) with a chimeny to get rid of the smoke in the kitchen, help them to construct a ‘refrigerador ecologico’ by means of wrapping a shelf with plastic sheets and putting a bucket of water on the ground helping to keep the vegetables, fruits and cheese cooled by taking advantage of the cold nights. At the same time many families got so happy with the improvements so that they constructed a sink to do the washing up as well as a ‘comedor’ to enjoy the meals with the family. One man said: ‘i wanted to construct the kitchen in a way to facilitate my wifes work as much as possible’. I really loved this statemet!

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An integral part of a healthier way of living was also to provide a ‘rincon de aseo’ with toothbrush, soap, etc. as well as the construction of a ‘bano hygienico’ where solid is divided from liquids to dispose it in a more environment friendly fashion. Same applying to the general waste which is being divided into organic and non-organic.

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Besides getting all these improvements done by the school book, most of the families also painted their houses in bright colours, planted flowers and herbs, constructed a winter garden to raise vegetables even in these rough desert like conditions, decorated their court yards with coloured pet bottles and named all the different little houses by its function. By making all these improvements in such an adorable way, they managed to turn their homes into much more economical, ecofriendly and far more pleasant places to live. So no wonder they were so proud to show us around.

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Not only did we visit families but we also went to see a number of schools among which the centro Mauri welcomed us with a memorable ceremony that meant playing music and throwing heaps of confetti at us – unfortunately we took our hats off too early.

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Suyana’s improvements of schools were mainly in terms of hygienic and nutrition, a more stimulating atmosphere of teaching as well as providing a nice ‘cancha’ and some tables with protection from the sun where children could play during their free time. Now schools would provide sufficient clean water (by means of the PET bottles exposed to sunlight) so that they could drink it / wash their hands as needed. Most of the schools who are collaborating with Suyana nowadays grow their own vegetables in winter gardens to ensure the children get more balanced meals while being in school. Some schools even have their own ‘gallinera’ where they have chickens that provide them eggs. One school is even farming trouts – amazing to see this on an altitude of around 4300m. A nice example that one of the school authorities made, was that nowadays children would come to school much before the classes would actually start as they like to spend time playing together in the nice environment. Whereas before the school yards were unpleasant and deserted prior or after classes.

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Another achievement that astonished me, was the fact that by helping to improve sanitary facilities and explaining children how to brush their teeth/they shouldn’t eat too many sugary things – one school authority proudly advised us that not a single child in their village would suffer from caries.

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Travelling onwards to the villages of Santiago de Machaca, Catacora and Comanche we were meeting many more families that won prices because they improved their way of living and were therefore awarded with a water tank as in these regions water remains one of the most precious resources. We also were visiting families that were strong in agriculture / raising lamas, sheeps and alpacas. This was the main foucs of Dr. Pena who is running his own TV show on the Bolivian Canal 7. While he was recording for his next sequences the people were presenting their houses and livestock. Many were also taking the opportunity to discuss issues they have with their animals as well as carry out some vaccinations of their sheep while having an expert on site.

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On the way ‘home’ from this 4 day adventure trip through the altiplano my head was bustling of these images of meeting all these people who received you with such warm hospitality, visiting  the beautiful houses, smiling children who clearly enjoy their ‘escuelas lindas’, having experienced the enthusiasm of the local authorities who couldn’t stress out enough how much the infrastructure of their villages has improved and simply the fact that we were being welcomed wherever we came as ‘hermanas’.

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All this proving that Suyana is doing sustainable work in the remotest areas of Bolivia and Peru and that they are determined to live up to it’s dedication ‘give hope for a better future’.

‘Suyana’ the word uniting Quechua and Aymara as it means in both languages ‘hope’

bife de lomo reloaded…

i just can’t get enough…… so more so preparing more steaks in the dreadful hostel kitchen

 

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Mountainbiken in Argentinien

Nun eines war klar, nachdem ich endlich wieder etwa aktiver war in San Pedro de Atacama…. wollte ich in Salta weiterhin tolle Ausflüge machen, am liebsten wandern oder velofahren. Leider habe ich nicht geschnallt, dass in Argentinien Hochsaison ist und somit all die coolen Trekkings und Velotouren ausgebucht waren – es sei angeblich normal, dies ein paar Wochen im voraus zu reservieren. Kann man leicht sagen, aber ich hatte vor ein paar Wochen echt noch keine Ahnung wann ich genau in Salta ankomme.

Das heisst suchen suchen suchen bis die Finger vom Tippen glühen und siehe da, eine Agentur hatte tatsächlich noch eine Tour offen, welche zu scheitern drohte, weil eine Teilnehmerin kurzfristig abgesagt hatte. Wow was hatte ich für eine Freude, denn es handelte sich um eine 2tätige Downhill Mountainbike-Tour (ich verstehe das nicht so genau, aber hier gibt es nur Downhilltouren – nix Uphill). Aber auch ok.

So ging es morgens wieder los, pick up vom Hostel mit einem ‘pick-up’. Im Gegensatz zu San Pedro fährt man in Salta VW Amarok – hässliche Pick-up Kisten aber ziemlich praktisch für einen MTB Trip.

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Angekommen auf dem Abra del Acay auf 4895m kriegten wir unsere Bikes – und oh Schreck, die Hinterbremse ist bei diesen Rädern rechts!!!!!!! Tja nix mit Bremsen wechseln wie bei der Death Road – er meinte: ‘ja, da musst du dich jetzt daran gewöhnen’!

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Ok, das heisst für mich, mit der linken Hand ganz fest den Griff umklammern und ja nix damit machen. Es ging dann eigentlich ziemlich gut, denn wir gingen anfänglich ganz gemächlich den Berg runter. Die Route war spektakulär oder besser gesagt deren Aussicht. Wieder einmal mehr wunderschöne ‘Monument Valley artige’ Felsformationen von grün über gelb bis rot und sogar Guanaco-Herden! Zum Glück war die Strasse ziemlich breit und nicht wirklich gefährlich, so dass man die einmalige Szenerie geniessen konnte.

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Je weiter es das Tal runterging, desto vielseitiger wurde die Vegetation. Quinoa-Felder, Riesenkakteen, Felder mit Schafherden und sogar wilde Papagaien. Letztere schafften es leider nicht aufs Video, weil ich die Kamera gerade vorher ausgeschaltet hatte….Kurz danach erreichten wir das authentische Bergdorf Cachi – eingebettet im Nirgendwo. Ein hübscher kleiner Ort mit der obligatorischen Plaza, wo sich das Leben abspielt und wir uns ein wohlverdientes und eiskaltes Cerveza negra gönnten.

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Was für ein Segen – ich hatte mir in einem tollen kleinen Hotel ein Zimmer reserviert. Zum Glück eines mit Heizkörper im Bad, welchen ich dringend benötigte um meine klatschnassen Schuhe zu trocknen (wir durchquerten einige Bäche). Das wäre der völlige ‘non-burner’ gewesen in einem Hostel.

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Am nächsten morgen ging es dann weiter, vorbei am grössten Riesenkakteenwald von ich weiss nicht genau (jedenfalls mal nicht ein UNESCO Weltkulturerbe – puuuh!) hoch zum Cuesta del Obispo auf 3457m.

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Von dort gings dann zuerst auf Asphalt – juhuu einfach laufen lassen ohne, dass man viel aufpassen musste – und danach wieder abwechslungsweise auf Schotter, Staub oder Asphalt den Berg runter bis wir unten beim Fluss ankamen. Wiederum wurden wir mit einer atemberaubenden Aussicht belohnt und nein, es war dieses mal nicht wegen der Höhe, denn 3500m machen wir mittlerweile mit links.

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