Robin`s Reflections ... on our journey thus far...
Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
71Trip End Ongoing
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Santiago, well we were there primarily on a Sunday. The city was relatively quiet (much of it closed). We were able to wander through the streets with no aim in mind, yet we found the incredible fish market. Unlike any other in the world. A teeming, active market which shared the building with a cornucoppia of fresh fish restaurants and cafes, from the very upmarket to the corner cafe. And all under the wrought iron roof manufactured in Birmingham in the mid 1800's reminding you our our great railway stations. Then we found an excellent modern plaza area that reminded me of Covent Garden where we enjoyed a relaxed meal before a funicular railway journey that took us to the highest viewpoint overlooking this metropolis and the surrounding countryside.
Then on to Lima. Nothing quite prepares you for the congestion and chaos of the city's roads. 90% of the traffic appears to be taxis and they weave we gay abandon (that's when they are moving at all) across the roads. No place for the timid driver here. First time I have been in a taxi which stopped on several occassions to ask directions - c'est la vie. Then our stay in Second Home Peru - just like spending a few nights in an art gallery, incredible.
Then it was farewell to half our luggage (together with our precious airline tickets) as we ventured into the depths of Peru (and Bolivia) for the trip of a life time. The coastal strip like a desert stretching for hundreds of miles, everywhere covered in a sandy, dusty coating. Our stay in an oasis with a sand buggy and sand boarding trip - awesome.
Then onto Nasca for a flight over the ancient 'lines' and 'carvings' some so large you can only see them from above. Then onto Arequipa and our 2 day trek into Colca Canyon, no electric, no hot water, not much at all, but not to be missed. An unforgettable experience.
Onto Puno, Lake Titikaka and into Bolivia. Now at nearly 12,000 ft you feel a little odd, at times breathless. The cross border antics another experience. And our stay in Copacaba and Sun Island. Bolivia costs probably half of what it costs in Peru. On Sun Island no cars, no noticeable 'authorities' just people going about their daily toils. We loved it and for the first time felt here was a potential future home?
Then back to Puno, onto Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo our base for 4 nights. The one and a half hour drive in a taxi at dusk was interesting. Particularly when we left the tarmaced road and headed into, well we knew not what! And when he later stopped for petrol (which I had to pay for) well that was another first. We really loved this place. Another possible future home perhaps? And of course our magical visit to Machu Pichu.
When we took time out to people watch we saw a few interesting sites. The markets were interesting (no refrigeration for the the meat), and when we saw a man crossing the town square with a cows head on his shoulder we had to check we had made it up. And clothes washing in rivers or bowls outside.
Then finally reunited with our luggage in Lima (did I mention the traffic?).
Nearly 3 weeks 'touring' with a 70litre backpack and a 'small' case. An unforgettable experience. Everywhere you go it is like a United Nations gathering. Fellow travellers from all corners of the planet. All just wanting to experience a little of what we have long since lost. Wherever you go the buildings never look anywhere near complete, often not even started. More often than not constructed our of mud bricks, and added to as and when. Yet the tv arials, satellite dishes and mobile phones are invariably present. The towns and cities look a mess, until you stumble across the major square (Plaza del Armas) which always look out of keeping with everything else. Generally we have had access to hot water, and no where (except perhaps Sun Island) have we been unable to find an ATM.
It has been an experience, and one that I would not want to have missed. Annie & I, though fairly 'new', have I believe got on well, without any mishaps. I look forward to the next stage of our adventure into Argentina (somewhere we had already identified as a potential future home), before moving onto Australia for a 'family' Christmas (Annie's first for over 10 years). Then our trip to New Zealand, then....
I hope you are enjoying it as much as we are, and maybe one day you to will be inspired to undertake your Great Adventure...
Robin 10 December 2011