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My Journey Round The World » 2009 » November

My Journey Round The World

279 days on the road…

Cuy

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They are really cute… I know what I’m talking about, I used to have up to 27 of them when I was a child! However here, this is a regional dish – tasting a bit like rabbit – and Ariane’s favorite!!! ;)


miam miam

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You cannot visite a country without trying to test all the traditional and local¬†food it offer… So did we… ;)


On the way to Machu Picchu

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Last night before the 4 days trek to discover Machu Pichu… After Arequipa, Colca Canyon trek – which was pretty hard one, I’ll tell you later :) ¬†- Puno with the Uros & Taquile Islands, Cuzco & it’s beautiful region, we are looking forward for the amasing journey! Pictures & comments – I still need to tell you about Costa Rica which was great! – will follow soon… Ariane need to come back to France ;)


Llamas y alpacas

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Make your choice! You can also eat it! :)

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The sacred valley

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After Puno and the Lake Titicaca, we head toward Cusco where we met our next guide – Percy -¬†to visit the Sacred Valley.¬†¬†Following a good night in a nice hotel – Casa de Campo http://www.hotelcasadecampo.com/-¬† surrounding the city, which offer a¬†great view, once you reach the top after several stairs…¬†¬†Good traning for the Inka Trail! We¬†made our way the next morning with Percy and a friendly¬†chauffeur to the famous valley. The Sacred Valley start from Pisac and run alongside the – especially¬†impressive in Aguas Caliente - Urubamba river up to Ollantaytambo.

First stop at Awana Kancha, a project¬†of private initiative¬†associating 14 communities (420 families) of native people, who as made the weaving ancestral process their principal activity and way of life. We could watch the process of weaving with¬†people in their local clothes¬†as well as learn how they get the natural color of the famous alpaga wool. At the end there is of course a shop, pretty expensive but with really high quality products! I’ll come back with more money one day! They also have¬†a lama farm – where we did all those nice pictures :)

Ollantaytambo – 2 800m – was our¬†second stop. We visited the massive fortress dominating the city, which¬†was never achieved due to the Spanish conquest¬†but which still really impressive – especially when you learn how they build it! -¬†offering a wonderfull view! This was one of my favorite site! We quickly visited Pisac market – not as authentic as Awanakancha – before heading toward our hotel Casa de Campo – really charming but totaly lost on the top of Urubamba city – anyway the city is not really nice! We ended up there with the same really loud French group as the night before, waking us up at 5am while leaving for the Machu Pichu…

Next day, we had a quick stop at Maras Salinas, still running for local use Рquite impressive to see that people usually work there barefoot! We made there our stock of bananas chips and grilled maize and beans for the Inka Trail :)

We then went to Moray amphiteater-like terraces where the Inkas are thought to have used them as an agricultural laboratory. Interesting…

Back to Cusco where we of course had a great diner before getting ready for the Inka Trail starting the next day :)


Puno – Lake Titicaca: Islas Flotantes & Isla Taquile

2009-11-15_PEROU_lactiticacaPuno – 3 850 m – is the best departure point for Lake Titicaca’s islands. This is also South Americain largest lake – 175 km long, covering 8 340 km2 – and the highest navigable lake in the world – 3 810 m!¬†Incredible to navigate there while not seeing the end of it, surrounded by mountains…

The unique floating islands of the Uros seems a bite fake to me – completly commercialised – though there is still nothing quite like this anywhere else in the world… This islands are built using layers of the buoyant totora reeds that grow in the shallows of Lake Titicaca. Those are 3 metres thick with an immersed based formed with tangled roots. Strange feeling to walk on it!

Isla Taquile seems more real to me. At 3 950 metres, this 7 sp km island feels like a little paradise: no cars, no¬†bikes, no dogs! Landscape seems to be a mix between¬†Ireland¬†and Croatie but without pubs :) Of course we had the touristic tour with traditional food, locals showing you there dance – & make you dance too! :) – as well as their handicrafts, hoping to convince you to buy it – which was¬†of quite good quality actualy compare to what you can find¬†on Puno market! -¬†and it was really interesting to learn how people are leaving here as well as the dress code they have: if boys¬†and girls are free, engaged or married, important person on the island…


Colca Canyon

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Colca Canyon is the 2nd deepest one in the world, with it’s 3 200m, bigger than the Grand Canyon in the US, only 1 615m¬†- even if this one is more impressive to see! To arrive there you need to drive over a 4 910 m pass – Pass Patapampa or called Volcan Pass – and even if you’re only sitting in the bus, I could feel the height in my chest!

Arriving in Cabanaconde – 3 280 m – around 12pm, we had a good lunch – after telling our guide that we cannot walk 2:30 hours without eating anything, knowing that we had breakfast at 4am before leaving Arequipa – We ate a typical soup: Caldo Blanco made with pastas, rice, beef and lamb meat as well as beans, follow-up with a main dish: Lentejon: lentils, peppers, potatoes, beef and chicken meat. After that we were ready to leave – would have been¬†great to have a good siesta! – for more than 2 hours hike down to Sangalle, also called¬†the Oasis, where we could have a small swim before carrying on to our refuge for the night. Unfortunately¬† we¬† arrived a bit too late for that… After a short break, drimkimg coca tea, we heald to Cos√Īirhua where we spent the night. We had a good diner (Soup: pastas, pumpkin, carottes, potatoes, beans as welle as omellette with sweet potatoes and rice and an avocado salad. Delicious!) with the landlady in her kitchen, close to fire as it was quite cold. Smoothly wake up and 2 hours walk to the next village – lucky us as Ariane wasn’t feeling very well.

Next morning we had to wake up at 2am in order to climb back to Cabanaconde, more than 1 000 m difference in height from where we¬†were. Our nice guide wanted us to climb 4 hours without any breakfast! No¬†way!!! We finally managed to get 2 pancakes before starting hiking in the dark with frontal lamp – we couldn’t even see the stars… :( Still while having little breaks we managed to¬†see some shooting stars and we, of course, saw the sunrise!!! Small compensation… Our guide lost us after 2 hours walk – we were too slow – and Gregoire finished with our backpacks as we were absolutly exhausted… :( Anyway, we eventualy we made it to the top and met our guide who asked us to hurry up – couln’t beleive it ! – in order to catch the bus to reach the Cruz del Condor. At 6:30 am this bus is¬†totaly full as all the locals are going there to sell their products… We ended up standing & totaly squeezed for more than 30min before reaching the point where we didn’t see any condors – only the biggest colibri in the worl, as Swiss man told me…¬†- When taking the bus back to Arequipa, I found out that their is not only 2 bus per day going this way – as our guide said – but nearly 1 every hour…¬†Whatever… We survived!

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Laundry

2009-11-15-perou-lessiveJust for you Mum… Here a washing machine you don’t have in your collection !

Step by step:

  1. put water into the machine with washing powder and put your clothes
  2. turn the button to wash as long as you want
  3. take your clothes out and rinse it
  4. put them in the spin-dryer – next to the washing part and dry as long as you want
  5. hang out your washing!

Time of the operation: 1 hour 30 minutes… While Ariane and Gregoire had a rest :) I’m not an expert!


Peru – Arequipa

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So on November 13, I met Ariane & Gregoire at Lima airport :) So nice to see them after travelling on my own¬†- nearly… We spend the night chating & trying to sleep a little bit before our next plane to Arequipa at 5am…

Arequipa was our first stop to get acclimated to height before leaving for the Colca Canyon. The city is situated at 2300m and is really lovely – even if for me¬†it was a little shock as the landscape was really brown and I found it a bit sad coming from green Costa Rica! – with plenty of nice restaurants! We particularly enjoyed Zig Zag, recommended by the agency as well as our guide book. Convinced by Gregoire, we visited Santa Catalina monastery. What a good idea! It was absolutly great! Beautiful red & blue colors – never seen before such a great blue, Ariane, I again forget the name! - I felt like in a dream! Not something you expect from a monastery… I really enjoyed this small town into the town, renamed¬†Club Med by Gregoire ;) Yes, really, how can you expect to feel so¬†relax in a monastery… :)


Parque Nacional Barra Honda

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Such an amasing park! After one crasy night in Tamarindo, we finaly managed to take the bus to Santa Cruz, then Nicoya in order to reach Barra Honda National Park. We arrived just on time to start a visit to the cave. Apparently we were the only tourist for the all week – what a pity, as it is¬†an amasing park. We did see more animals than anywhere else! On our way to the cave, our guide show us different plants¬†& fruits such as Amapola & Coquitokind of redcurrant but on a tree – that we could eat on our way up. :) We heard & saw howler monkeys as well as different birds. The visit of the cave was quite impressive – especialy the way down & up on the stiff ladder!¬†We came back pretty dirty… We had the chance to sleep inside the reserve & had a good breakfast before heading back to Nicoya where we finaly separated. Guys went back to another beach and I made my way to San Jose, in order to be sure to be on time for my flight to Peru the next day :)