A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Selmo

Time to relate my time in Peru

View Peruuu on Selmo's travel map.

So finally back to writing some stories. My time in peru consisted pretty much of hiking and visiting nature. My first stop was in the northern city of Trujillo where I spent two days visiting pre-inca ruins. Is impressive just walking around on a site whcih is more than 2000 years old. Moreover, a had a nice hostel with kitchen so we cooked everyday pasta with vegetables which is a really nice after eating that much chicken and rice!
Then I took night bs, agaiiin, to head to Huaraz which would be my first real hiking destination. Its called the Chamonix from South America and as soon as I arrived I understood why!
I spent 3 days there only hiking, like tough hiking 6-7 hours day but the viiews were amazing. The city has been destroyed years ago by a strong earthquake, so really ugly city, but sooo friendly people and so good street food. They had like fried mashed patatoes filled with vegetables and meat for 1 soles, which is like 20 cent. It was really nice eating again some good food! I would like to put now a smiley but I cant find them on the bolivian keyboard I am using. Other special thing about Huaraz were the dog packs just wandering through the streets, blocking the traffic. When I say dog pack, I mean like 30-40 dogs just runing together, barking and destroying every dust bin they can find on there way.
Huaraz was just amazing and reminded me how much I loved natuure. Oh yes we also went to a casino there, which is really poor seeing as you have a mixture of broking miners trying to get rich again there and almost underaged girls dressed like ... to attact peopole inside the casino. I played with 3 soles on the machines and even won the double, so was street food again!
From Huaraz I took a night bus, by the time I had calculated more than 100 h in a night bus, to arrive in Lima at 5am.... Luckily I found a good lad who showed me around, took me to the metro station, so i wasnt totally lost in this biig city. So afterth metro station I had to walk for at least 1 hour, with all my bags, to arrive at the hostel. And by the way it was raining!
Soo Lima is definitely not worth visiting as a tourist... I mean you stay in the safe neighborhood of Miraflores, so everything is more expensive and really ugly and superficial. So I spent my day at a parc filled with cats, talking a bit to local people and then went to the movies watching the new jurassic world movie and it was awesomme. The next day I went eating with a friend of mine who is archeologist in Lima, the food was the best I had so far, but by all means when one say Lima is world food capital, its true but you will pay for it. Of course still less than in Euorpe but is for South americans really not given. I have to say though I didnt like Lima at all I am sure its really nice living there. Its just when youre used to nature, countryside and small villages, you dont really feel in the right place in a biig city like Lima. Its soo big, really impressive! So after only a night there I cruised to Arequipe, on a 18h bus ride!! But with a full belly and a good boo those hours passed rapidely and I arrived in Arequipa in the late morning, which was for one tome really nice as normally following a night us you arrive between 4 and 6 am in a new town and you cannot checkin into your hostel before noon. This time I was lucky, found a really cheap hostel, which means no english speaking backpackers, only argentininas with rastas, tattoos and singing all day long. But was a nice variation and was good to improve my spanish. Those guys travel a lot through a south america on a very small budget and so the rely on street performances to get some coins. So you imagine whenever they are at the hostel they have to keep practicing their skills, which are not always perfect aha! Arequipa is sooo nice and the food at the market is soo good. I love Peru! Yeah because since Im in Peru I exclusively only go eating at the market. Its really cheap, usually you get a soup and a main dish for 1 euro and the food is prepared by old ladies who are at their best behind a cooking machine. In Arequipa I continued my hiking and I went on a 2 day hike down and through the colca canyon, which is the worlds second deepest canyon at around 3400m depth! The first day was sooo hotm I mean really hoot, that two girls of our group got sun stroke almost direclt yafter an hour waling. But the scenery were amazing! I was for the first time hiking with my sneakers as I broke y hiking boots in Huaraz while slipping on a rock. But I glued them back together and ot seemed to work not that bad.
At night we stayed in the deepest of the canyon and one could see the stars so clearly, there was noo light pollution down there, was amazing !! After getting back to Arequipa I was on for the next nght bus for Cuzcoo. I will stop here as its time to get breakfast here in Sucre, Bolivia! Hasta luegoo

Posted by Selmo 04:23 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Goin' to Galapagos without being old and rich?

sunny 32 °C
View Peruuu on Selmo's travel map.

Start is now on my second day on Isla Santa Cruz (The infatigable) on the Galapagos. As said beofre, I had booked a snorkel-trip to the island of Pinzon. I paid a lot, but the island is only open since a year for tourists and so is still an 'underground' destination. When sitting on the boatr with only married couples I knew that this wasn't a day-trip for backpackers, nor for my budget. But hey, is not every year I'm here, and I wanted to see animals :-)
On our first spot we saw some huuuge fishes. Before human arrival on Galapagos, the islands had there intact biotop where almost not many natural ennemies existed. Moreover, the water is very rich in plancton and other nutritiens, whcih makes the view a bit troubled but resulkts in huuge underwater life. I saw some fishes I had seen on other places, like Egypt or Turkey, but waayy bigger, it was really impressive. It's called the giantism of Galapagos. While in the water, I saw something like torpedos just passing by me at almost light speed. It were penguins :-) The islands is the only place worldwide where penguins live on the ecuador, or even tropics. Normally penguins stay on the poles. Lukcily a guy had a gopro and he filmed I don't know for how long the animlas and on one video you see the 3 penguins swimming towards me and starting to pic into the gopro, from now on the trip was worth its 100 bucks :p After that spot we went top snorkel in deep water, something I haaaate doin' cause I cannot bear not seing the ground while swimming. But again, we were lucky and saw a huge bunch of sea-turtles swimming betwwen the darkened water transpierced by flashes of the sun. Magnificient contrast :) We went to a third spot to play with sea-lions but they were in a bad mood, so that would have to wait for another day to happen..
After again eating rice with soya sauce, I enjoyed my evening ritual in Puerto Ayora. Every night I would go the peer where sea-lions come to sleep at night, they are soo cute, you lamost want to take on and put it into your bag :) Moreover, as the npeer is enlightened you seeall kinds of fishes, including sharks, swimming around. Next day should be my official diving bapteme¡ I had found a n agency which offered two 45 minutes duves for 150USD, which is apperently a fair price. What better p´lace to learn diving than on Galapagos? Only poor thing, was that I would not be allowed to go deeper than 12m and so in case of a bad visibility I would not be able to see any hammer-head sharks, which swim around 25-30m.At first I really had to trust that plastic mouthpiece, but after few minutes I was alright and I was on going deeper into the rough sea. The islands are a really nice place to dive but with many strong currents, one have to be very careful¡ At our first dive, at one place the streams were so strong (like at 6-7 m depth) that I had to hold a rock not to be flushed away, and so was everbody else. But hey we saw a huuuge mureene which came very close, probably to inspect my beard for food :p And then I saw my first shark just sleeping under a rock, surprisingly I ddn't feel anything, well I have to admit it was still a small one :p But then on the second dive, after seeing turtles, mureenes, biig fishes, a real big shark swam this time past me, and it was at least a meter and a half long. It was a white-tiped Galapagos shark, commonly called Tintoreros. They are totally harmeless and even more with so many fishes in the water, I don't think that a sharks would ever try and bite a diver. They probably know that the taste of a giant parrot-fish is better than that of a wetsuit. So I came home and packed my bag as I would leave the next day for Isabella Island¡
After a bumpy 2 hours ride, one arrive at Isabella, whcih is by the way where the Wulf volcano has errupted last week, but unfortunately I couldn't see the erruption as the island is very cloudy. It's cloudy and with almost noo tourists :) A real dream¡ First day, I did NOTHING, some skype at my very cool hostel, lying in a hamoke, then I was gone for the beach to play in the waves and take a nap under palm trees. While lying under a palm, I saw the palm next to me a guy sleeping as well, and it was a german guy I had met in Santa Cruz, so we decided to catch up someday on he island and have a drink at a very coool beach-bar (slingshot, camp-fire, hamoke, local surfer but expensive beer). The next day I had booked a small trip to go and snorkel through lava-craters in the bay of the island. Again I swam with penguins, sea-iguanas (like mini-godzillas) many fishes and, AND a fk}ckin huuuge shark. Like an idiot a trailed the shark for like 5 minutes and it had almost my size, but I was soo fascinated¡ I had yelled look at the shark and a swiss girl was soo frightened at the look that she immediately got out of the water :p The same afternoo I went for some cycling with the Gemrna guy to visit the mainlands of the island. Soo stunnings view, we went up a mirador from where you could see a dense tropical forest totally untouched by humans, and we were gone starting philosophing how many dinosaurs would be living there.
The next day , a saturday, the boat back to Sanat Cruz from where my plan was going off on sunday was shedulded at 3pm and so before going to the boat I went for some snorkeling on my own, in a bay nearby the harbour. And there it happened, all the time on Galapagos I had been looking for sea-lions, and I had seen many but they were just a bit swimming with you before heading off. But no , not this time. I was lucky as I was swimming alone in the water when a young sea-lion swam towards me and starting making tourns around me, swimming back and forth and always almost touching me. It lasted I don't knw 15minutes, and I would have paid to see the smile on my face, that was pure happiness, and which you cannot buy :)
I tried really to keep my costs small, but everything is soo expensive there, but I have no regret in ahvin been there, even if know I will need to eat cheap food and sleep at cheaper places, if I don't wan to run out of money before july/august:)
On sunday I was goin back to Quito, took me 3 hours by bus to get from the airport to the bus terminal from where I would take a bus to Latacunga, yeah Quito is really big :p Before my trip, when I had to sit for 30 minutes on a bus in luxembourg I was really pissed off, know a trip of 2 hours, I'm like well that's quick :p In Latacunga I stayed one night, after which I did the Quilotoa Lagubna, which is in fact an old volcano crater, know full of natural water. Stunbning view, but it was really windy and cold, I was still used to Galapgos 30 degrees, so I got a small cough. On the very same day, I booked a night bus for the Peruvian boarder as I wanted to see now another country and stop haviung to pay a lot, as Ecuador, despite being called a cheap country, was really expensive as they use the dollar. The Peruvian crossing in Agua Verde is called South America worst boarder, and wow it is sooo much deserved. Such a pain in the ass to get from the town, which called itself boarder-town, but have to take cab to get to the boarder abd then another one to drop you off in some dodgy city and then a bus again, I mean a real mess. Takin the cab as a gringo cost me a fortune, 15USD¡¡, but better that then getting my stuff stolen. Late in the afternoon I arrived then at Mancora, where I would stay a couple of days, enjoying some surfing, few beers, chilling in the sun and waiting for that god dam kiwi to arrive in Peru as we had planned to travel a bit together :) Finally I spent 4 nights at this party town without doin much :) Reading books, skyping, hanging on my phne and occosianaly talking to the some of the party crowds here. Nice place but to noisy at night, but I got a good tan so now I'm ready for going South towards the Peruvian mountains. It's time to hike¡

Posted by Selmo 06:33 Archived in Ecuador Tagged happiness sealions Comments (0)

¿Ecuador the country or the line?

View Peruuu on Selmo's travel map.

Bienvenido to Ecuador¡
After a 7h night-ride from Popayan, I arrived at the boarder in Ipiales, and after a short time a was on a cab to the next bus-terminal in Tulcan (Ecuador) in order to catch a bus to Quito where I had agreed to meet up with the kiwi guy, Sean if you read this you're definitely a good guy. First thing that stroke me, is that before the cab even started his 'engine' (yeah tuned from everywere with 2 televisions inside his car, so Pimp my ride exists too in Ecuador :p) the driver asked me to fasten my seat-belt. After almost 1 month in Colombia I was like what is a seat-belt? In Colombia it didn't exist¡ Anyway, a long drive, afirst glimpse of Ecuadorian food, which you can buy as soon as a seller jumps into the bus, and I was arrived at the Vibes Hostel in Quito, my room already bookes, thank you New Zealand. Quito is nice, but big, over 40 km long and 60 km large, so best is too stay somewhere near the bus lines, if you don't want too loose yourself. We stayed were all the tourists/backpackers are, in Mariscal. So after one afternoon we were already a huge group, walked aropund town, found some really nice local food, waaaay bettert than in Colombia but also more expensive. Yeah you get what you pay for right :-). My first two days in Quitop consisted in playing pool, chatting with backpackers, sharing stories and drinking few beers. The third day, I went together with the kiwi an a danish girl to the cloudforest in Mindo. On program was eating trucha, which is amazing, (it's actually a very normal 'truite'), some rafting and zip-lining. But can somebody explain me why in thaht 'jungle' the water has 10 degrees. We were 10 people on something the called a boat and we were all blue¡ I have a small thought for our guide which does it over ten times a day :p
Mindo was expensive though, and so the next day after some awesome ziplining we were on the bus back to Quito. Again, the bus was packed with fellow travellers and I decided the next day to climb the Cotopaxi vulcano with a crazy Swede. So we went up with a guide and a small group upo the Cotopaxi's glacier at 5000m. The hike was really foggy, one couldn't see a lot, but once at the glacier (the top is like at 5600), the fog just opened for us to take pictures and it was breathtaking :-) I'll never forget this moment¡ Against the high altitude I was drinking lot of water and chewing coca gum (which is I think 200% placebo effect), but I was alrioght and that's the main thing :) The first part of the decent was by foot and consisted of I don't know how many sefies whereas the last part was done by bikes provided by our tour operator. I told him only one thing: Give me a decent bike¡ He was like don't worry you can't go down that quickly¡ Well after few curves his bike was done and I had to wait 30 MINUTES for the bus to come down and provide me another bike. But still it was fun¡ After that I went early to bed, and the next day it was skyype day¡ Friends, family, and of course girlfriend :p (I have to, I'm too afraid of her)
And whaaat else was I doing? I was planning my trip to Galapagos¡ Galap WHAT? Yeah f***in Galapagos Island :) Back in Colombia, I had found a 'cheap' fligth and had instantly booked it. I mean everything here is overpriced, by that I mean everything, but it's not everyday that you can jump into a plane, and after 2 hours being on such a nice place :)
My plane was at 10 sunday morning and by the time I had landed, waited to get into the Island (where you have to pay 120 dollars :o), taken a bus then a ferry than again a bus, I arrived at 4pm in Puerto Ayor on the island Sanat Cruz. The island is right in the middle of the archipel and so has very good access to the other islands. I knew a guide from Galapagos who had offered me to join him the next day on his tour¡ So having that in minded I went for a small swim the first afternoon. What a beach Tortugay Bay is, almost white sand full of black iguanas chilling out in the sun. Was an amazing contrast :-) Unfortunately, in the Galapagos Islands, the beaches closes at 5pm, time where the animals start to hunt.
I am soo excited to tell you about my Galapagos-trip that I don't know where to start. So yes my backpack was too full back in Quito, so I couldn't take any food with me, which is by the way very strictly controlled what can be taken to the islands. 15-20 USD a night in a hostel, 1USD for wifi, 5USD for renting a mask, 2USD for a big bottle of water, 6USD for a beer .... so you can guess what such a trip does to a backpacker-budget :p So I went to the supermarket, 500g pasta for 2USD was ok but 8USD for a tomato sauce was a bit too much :) So everynight it's pàsta with soya sauce or rice with aji, which is a local spicy sauce. Why am I soo miselry? Well it's becaues on Galapagos, you pay for what you want to see¡ It' s very easy :-) However booking a trip here is a pain in the ass. Imagine, the isñand Santa Cruz has 20000 people, a third work in restauration, 300 are taximen, like 300 guides and the rest works for travel agencies. So you can imagine ina little town how many agencies you have and what the price differencies for one and same serivce (almost) are. So you spend at least 1-2 befiore a trip bargaining here and there which is very frustrating. They should try to uniformize it, but nevertheless. On monday I booked a snorkel-trip for tuesday. After having paid a lot :) I met up with the local guide I knew and so he took me into his group packed with old americans (which were soo nice and funny) and we went seeing a trutle research center. For the first time in my life I saw the giant-turtoises I have been dreaming about' Funny thing is that nobody knows how old they are or can get¡ A few years ago they started gps tracking on baby turtles born in the center and so they will have to wait until one of them dies to know how old they can get. It was said that you could count the ring on the shell, similar to counting ot for trees, but this varies from species to species¡ Lucky me, the turtoises are in the mating season, so imagine me standing with hiips of 80-year old watching turtoise of over 100 years reproducing themselves. Believe me, jealousy was palpable :p After that very interesting visit (http://www.darwinfoundation.org/es/) we went for a mountain bike ride through the highlands of the island and ended our ride in a moonlight fabric¡ Moonlight is actually sugar-cane alcool, called in South America Aguardientes. I'm sure a few of you know what I'm talking about ;). They extract the sugar-cane juice by using a donkey which drives a grinding machine by walking in a cercle. So there was one young guy in the group, maybe 18-19, and he wanted to play with the donkey. Guess what, BAD IDEA :) We all heard him screaming while the donkey was biting his fingers while walking. So imagine the guy almost crying and running after the donkey because his fingers are struck in the animal's mouth :pp Never mind, as long as the alcool is made :-) So I sat down with the older generation to drink. Funny stroy was that one guy came from a town in Wisconin called Luxembourg :) His grand mother had been luxembourgish :) In the afternoon we went to a cattle farm where giant-turtoises used to pass and so we saw looads of them which was simply amazing :)
Hoplaa I forgot I hacve to meet up with a korean guy, sooo coool :) SO I leave you and will continue my stories in a few days. I already have siooo much to tell :) SmPetit avant-gout, penguins, sharks and sea-lions. Hasta luego amigos :)

Posted by Selmo 17:37 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Mother nature :-)

View Medellin-South Colombia on Selmo's travel map.

I arrived in the evening in Salento, which is home to the Cocora Parc and it's world-tallests wax palm trees. When arriving at the hostel, which is by the way a coffee farm too, I planned to go the next day the hike through the parc. I was lucky as I directly met an italian guy who had few things he had planned to do on his evening and so I gladly joined him. We started with eating a peanut-butter brownie at an expats place, it was amazing as it was like eating a giant sneakers (omnomnom) After a full belly we went to meet some guys in the very small village of Salento in order to play TEJO. What the hell is that :-) Well it's amazong: You have a box of clay in which there's a circle made out of iron. On the circle lies four triangles full of gunpowder (yeah girls full of GUNPOWDER) and you have basically to throw stones on the triangle from a far distance. If you get one of them, whcih was sooo tough, there would be a small explosion :p It was really fun and while playing I met a kiwi guy with whom I decided to catch up in Ecuador as he was heading out of Colombia a few days before I did. So the day after I woke up pretty early as I had to catch a jeep which would bring me to the parc. The 20 minute ride was really fun as the small jeep was soo packed with people that I was standing on the side of the car holding to the metal cage on the roof in order not to fall down, and the driver was really fast :) During hiking you start through a kind of rainforest, with wooden bridges toping a wild river before reaching the top where you have the first climps over a stunning valley, with a bizarre mixture of a dense jungle and a few plaines containing those famous palm trees. I think I spent at least 1 hour just taking pictures and enjoying the view.
After finishing I went straight to visit a coffee farm, which was OK but I figured out as Colombia is on of the world's top coffee exporter I had to see how coffee is grown, harvested and so on ;) I could have easily spent more days in Salento thanks to its very cosy ambiance, the people I met, but I had to keep on going as I started to be a bit on a time frame. Indeed, for my entire trip I planned to stay not more than 3 weeks in each country as I have to be the 27th of July in Santiago de Chile to pick up a very special person from the airport :-)
So in the morning I would start my bus-day trip¡ In all, 4 buses and 12h drive to get to the Desert of the Tatacoa, which lies souths of Bogota. So before I was on the west side of Colombia and now I headed back toward the south-east. I arrived fo rthe sun set, which I was very lucky to see. The bus driver had arranged my a hammocke somewhere in the middle of the Desert. I arrived, had some dinner and went with the two american guys staying at the same place to watch the stars from the observatory. You had to pay like 10000 peso entry, which is not cheap (3 bucks), but it was worth it as somebody called 'Professor' explained us I don't remember how many stars and showed us the planets Jupiter and Saturn on the telescope :-) After too many hours spent on top of the observatory I went back try to get some sleep. However during the night a rain storm broke out in the middle of the desert, which was very unusual. So after a short night, I rented a bike at 6 am and went on to discover the desert. What has striked me is that the desert lies within a very green region, so it seems that there has to be some kind of geological explanation to this curiosity. The canyons are vivid red and I enjoyed riding my bike through them before continuing my ride and find myself on the other side of the desert which border a huge forest. I wished to had had a guide with me a I would have liked to understand the different colors within the desert. At 12 it was already soo hot, over 40 degrees, that I couldn't even stay near the sun. Luckily I ahd done everything I wanted and so I packed my stuff called the bus driver from the day before and he came to pick me up with an ice cream in hand to bring me back to the bus terminal, which was 2 hours away from the desert. What is amazing in Colombia, is that the bus system is so developed that you don0t need to book any ticket in advance nor check out the time table. You go the the bus terminals, which exist in every city and are pretty modern and safe, and choose which bus company you want to have and just buy your ticket, wait not more than 20 minutes and that's it :) So I took a night bus from Neiva to Popayan, which is heavily not recommended in the travel guides as the bus goes through the Purace Parc which is still common ground for guerilla activity. However the police men at the bus terminal had assured me that the trip would be safe for the moment. HOWEVER what they didn't told me, was that between the entrance of the parc and Poapayan there would be no proper road, as such it took us more than 6 hours to do 120km :p It was a bumpy road through a dense and fogy forest and the bus driver in order not to fall asleep, kept his music at a very high level. Moreover, half of the passengers were throwing up as the had eaten to much before entering the bus. Luckily for them, the gringo had some meds on him, and so I was handing out some pills and the bus driver was very grateful for that :p Arriving at 3 am in Popayan I got a huge dorm for me alone and so I slept till 11-12 the next day. After a small skype session I went to visit the city in which JP had worked many yeaars ago, so I took plenty of fotos for you :) Very nice town, entirely made out of white colonial houses, sourrended by flashy green mountains which gives one a nice contrast. I had lunch at a place held by a Swiss women and it was soo good and soo cheap that iin the evening I returned there with people from the hostel and it was again marvellous: the best food I had in Colombia. As the day after was holiday in Colombia, everything would have been closed and so I decided to take another night bus to cross into Ecuador. While going to the bus terminal of Popayan I met a german guy who was travelling on his own through central and south america and the friendly guy was mute. I never had so much respect for a person at that moment. Unluckily he took another bus than me, cause I would have loved to spend more time with him... If people think that travelling alone is tough, just think about that guy.
So I arrived at 5 am at the boarder crossing in Ipiales and it was really cold, I had to put on a hoody and my jacket, something that had not done in my 3 weeks in Colombia :p Boarder crossing was straight forward and after 1 hour I was saying goodbye to beautiful Colombia and I was sitting on a bus to Quito.
What can I say, Colombia was just AMAZING, way better than expected. Friendly people, we have to learn a lot from them, always willing to help. I got at least accost a dozen time by Colombian asking me if I would need help, advice or just asking me how I would like their country, their food, their women and so on :) I regretted not to have enough time to spent more time there... Concerning security, I never felt insecure there, NEVER, and I took 2 night buses and went into the jungle known for guerilla activity. I felt a real attachment for tourist in Colombia and they are doing their very best to get rid of the bad image the have. Of course crime is still an issue there, but if you're careful and just think a little bit, nothing can happen to you :) I will for sure go back in the very near future to Colombia as it still has soooo much to offer. So viva Colombia y bienvenido en Ecuador :)

Posted by Selmo 13:41 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

Viva Colombia

sunny 30 °C
View Carribean Sea & Bogota on Selmo's travel map.

Dear followers (haa sounds great) so what about Cartagena? It's just a lovely tiny historical city. I had seen the entire old town in 1-2 hours walk. On my second day in the Carrabiean I got tempted what the locals called ''The Mud Volcan''! Instead of seeing a 2000 meter high volcano spitting mud, I found a small hill (not more than 15 m high :p) where you could dip inside into a huge hole full of mud. Together with the people I met on the bus we were pretty sure to have been caught in a very common tourist trap. However it was just awesome :) My face and beard covered with a thick grey mud, I looked more like a monster than a person getting a face peeling! Surprisingly the density of the mud is so dofferent from that of humn that you cannot push yourself down. After a 30 minute bath you climb down the terrific volcano and head towards a beach to wash yourself. But be careful as the beach was full of women who took ones pants of to wash them in return of a few pesos. I had been warned so I knew to stay away from those women, however an australian guy didn't pay as much attention and was soon finding himself naked on the beach while an old lady was rubbing his pants! His girlfriend didn't looked amused :)
Cartagena was nice but waaay too touristic! Everything is overpriced and if you're unlucky a huge boat packed with 4000 germans wearing sandals will flood the town. So I decided to head to the Tayrona Parc the day after. After a 6 hours bus ride, (best regards to the german couple I met which asked the name of my blog, hope you enjoy reading it! ) I arrived at the main entrance of the parc and was really pissed off not to be a student anymore as the entrance fee was 5 times as high for non-student travellers. I had planned to sleep at a camping, Cabo San Juan, as they were offering hamokees with a magnificient 360-vue over Tayrona Parc. To get there took me a painfull 2 hours of hiking through a dense jungle, where I had the pleasure to see monkeys, all kinds of lizzards and something like a wild pig :) But it was worth the effort as I came totally wasted at the camping and was just astonished by the amazing view, mother nature! I spend my time there lying alone on a wild beach, listening to the crush of the waves and trying to improve my spanish. Only thing missing was a book...
After a day at the parc, I returned to Cartagena, met hiips of travellers with whom I had a great night! Though you have to like rum and colombian music :-) Next stop was Medellín!
I was very curious to discover this city, which is Colombia's main financial center, as I had found there an internship last year but hadn't taken it.
My hostel was in the very nice and cosy neighborhood of Poblado. First thing I did was going into the streets looking for something to eat. If I mean something to eat, it's not Chicken with rice! For those who don't know, Colombia probably consumes daily more rice than entire Asia together. Everything is with rice, from breakfast to dinner ;-) Soo I found a lovely vegetarian place where I took a libanese plate with humus and falafel and avocado. Yeah I know a man needs to eat meat, but this was just an amazingly well deserved 'gastronomic' trip. In the hostel, Casa Kiwi, which I by the way warmly recommend, I met a really cool mexican guy. The next day we decided to expore Medellín together. The city of famous Pablo Escobar is very similar to were I go skiing, except there's no snow. The city is full of cable cars which give you fantastic views over the metropole. For those who think that the city is still one of the most dangerous worldwide, you are WRONG :) It has a fantastic metro, looooads of nice bars (Zona Rosa) and good restaurants. And most importantly so friendly and nice people, called the Paisás! My third day in Medellín consisted of a day trip to Guatapé, which is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. It's an entire valley that has been flodded back in the 70's in order to provide the region of Medellín with electricty. But the magnificient sight has to be deserved as I had to climb up around 725 stairs to get to the top of a natural rock from where you see the entire picture :-) Be sure to check out the picture in my album! I was back in the afternoon and enjoyed the rest of my day playing futbol with guys from the hostel. We had planned to go and drink aguardiente, but after almost 3 hours of playing we were all good for going to bed :p Ph yeaa had almost forgot to mention that as I had taken no book with me on my trip I was sure I could find a kindle in Medellin! Well no, that was just impossible, and after looking a day long for such thing a found a library 5 mintues before it closed. So I ran into it hoping to find a good english book. I was soo naïve! The only books they had was Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, Notebook and stuff like that :p But Colombia be blessed, I found 1984 from George Orwell, I was lucky this time! Being able to finally reading a book has come as a real relieve to me!
After three days in the old drug cartel, I took a bus to Manizales from where I would enter the Zona Cafetaria and explore the amazing Cocora Valley! But I think I will stop for today as I 'm for the first time in my life in an internet cafe and the guy waiting for my computer seems to be in a desperate need of Facebook or any kind of social media. Tomorrow I will cross into Ecuador and head straight to Quito from where I will narrat you my last few days in Colombia which were by far the best so faar, so keep on posted :-)

Posted by Selmo 10:41 Archived in Colombia Tagged tayrona medellin Comments (0)

Imercion total

View Carribean Sea & Bogota on Selmo's travel map.

I´m just oerly happy to have contcted Nicolas to gain some information about Colombia. Well it tourned out waaay better than expected. So he come to pick me up at the airport and only told me we would go the day after into the deep colombian amazonia. So on Saturday the 2nd of May we took a flight from Bogotá to Florencia, in the so-called Caquetá region. Soon after we landed I was sitting in a boat-taxi cruising through the Rio Huacha, or more commonly known as the Unfaithful river due to its treacherous streams. After a fun 1 hour ride we arrived at his family's ´´finca´´. (like a range)
First day there he took me for a horse ride through the jungle, followed by a small fishing session in the middle of an incredible jungle. Forget about snakes, apes, caymans, that was just AWESOME. Felt like a real explorer, and after 4 hours of riding, swimming with the horses through muddy water, I gave Mango, my horse´s name, a well deserved good evening clap.
In the evening we enjoyed drinking a few beers, without forgetting to put a lot, I mean a lot, of insect reppelent as there a more mosquitos than gentes in this region. The day after we went on the finca´s small boat to enjoy some swimming in an amazonian river (yes I'm now officially a man). While cruising through the river we found (Nicolas, his cousin, two friends of him, Naldo and I) two dogs which had felt into the river and couldn´t get back onto the higher plane topping the river. So we tried to take the two of them on the boat but they were wild and very affraid, so better not get bitten by a hobo dog :) Finally one dog got back on the river bank and escaped whereas we took the other one on to our boat and brought him back to the finca where he will now peacefully live within a community of cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, horses and loads of cows (over 300). The folks where still undecided what he should be called. When I left the finca, the dog's provisionna name was Kaiser :) .
We got back tp FLorencia, after two marvelous days and guess what it got even better as Nicolas and his family didn't stop to surprise me. As such, on our third day together we went to swim into a jungle gorge. Hot and clear water, a few bears and local food made it an unforgettable moment. Unfortunately as we had to swim river-up to get to this place I didn't take my camera with me. For the rest we spend a quiet day in a nice but cheap hotel in Florencia. I took the opportunity to wander through the city, buying a colombian sim card integration with a huge I) Funny thing was that everybody was looking at me in the streets, and it seems that they rarely have tourists in the region of Caquetá. When I flew back to Bogotá I had the confirmation of my hypothesis when the policeman controlling my passport checked on google what Luxembourg was :p Well it seems that I´ve been the first Luxembourger in Florencia. ¡Great success!
We took almost all the time the cab to get from one place to another in Florencia as it is quite cheap. We had almost all the time the same driver, Ramiri, who took wonderfully care of us. He told me a story what the workers from the finca told me as well. It's called the Machaka! The Machaka is an insect living in the Amazonian river and if you get stung by it, you have, top notch, 1 hour to get laid. If not you'll simply die :) So apparently if you see one and you're a true ma,n you'll try to get stung by it to prove everyone that you can quickly get a girl into your nest. Another 'funny' story was at ou rfirst nioght at the finca, the house keepers' son told us he had seen a cayman in a lagoon. So after dinner, it was around 10 pm', we took our front lights and cameras and went into hip-high water searching for a crocodile. I felt like Bear Grylls! Unfortunately after 2 hours of walking through that grassy and muddy water, which is by the way home of a few anacondas, we returned without seeing the crocodile. Maybe it was better that way! Oh yes and the food was amazing, I ate a piranhaand even fished a small one :) .
After so much excitement, we returned to Bogotá where I took a flight for the Carrabian cost, to Cartagena. I arrived and instantly felt the heat just crushing on me. 32 degrees and no wind! I will try to recover best from the sunburns I got from the Amazonian trip and enjoy a few days here before heading to famous city Medellín!
Why imercion total? Because everyone speaks spanish and I have to check daily my dictionnary to pick up new lines in order to at least understand a litte what people tell me :p
Hasta luego amigos

Posted by Selmo 18:12 Archived in Colombia Tagged jungle bear grylls Comments (1)

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