Monday, October 26, 2009

Last stop!

Tomorrow I fly to Ecuador, my last country on my trip (country number 25!). Even thought I didn´t get to see all that much of Chile, I have really enjoyed it. We stayed in Valparaiso for a few days and it was great. Its such a fun and colorful place, even thought there isn´t that much to do it was great just walking around the town. Eric had to catch a flight back home so we both went back to Santiago, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite big cities. After Eric left I met up with Emanuel who is my sister´s friend´s boyfriend, haha silly I know, but it was tons of fun. He invited me to dinner at his house with his family then out to a party that lasted until 5am! Thats how they do it here in Chile. I then headed up north to a beach town of La Serena, which was very pretty. I think I might have picked up some bedbugs there tho, which made me like it a bit less. Either that or crazy looking mosquito bites. Anyways after that I headed back to Santiago where I´ve been doing lots of fun stuff over the last few days. I went to some good museums and went with Emanuel and another girl from the hostel to a futbol game. The game was quite exciting, and we won which was great. The fans sing and do cheers the entire time, everyone gets really into it, its great. I´m a bit sad to be leaving tomorrow, because I feel like there is so much to do in Santiago, but I´m also super excited to meet up with my Dad in Quito! We have all kinds of plans so it should be great fun. I´m going to attempt to put of some photos in a bit here because I know I´ve been terrible at that lately.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mas Peru y Chile tambien

We tried to see the Colca Canyon, but we didn´t really get far enough in to it, though we ended up doing a very nice hike. We stayed right at the beginning of the canyon, where it was mostly just a river, but we did see a condor on the hike so that made it pretty awesome. And Chivy, the town we stayed in, has some nice hot springs where we kept running into people we knew from other touristy places, haha. After heading back to Arequipa for the night (which included Karaoke!) and next day, we took the night bus to Pisco. I had some sort of 12 hour stomach bug, which lasted just about the same amount of time as the bus. After we arrived in Pisco we spent the first day mostly sleeping to make up for the bus ride. The town of Picso had a major earthquake just two years ago so basically the entire town is under construction. Every time we left the hotel the main street we walked down looked completely different, going from mostly piles of dirt to almost a flat road by the time we left. We booked a morning tour of some the islands and national park of Paraques, which was great. The islands have thousands of birds everywhere, in fact Peru collects the bird guano from them every 7 years. They also have Penguins and Sea Lions! I was very excited about the Penguins. Next to the beach is a desert, which was the second half of the tour which was cool also.

From Pisco we headed to Lima just for one day before our flight to Santiago. We stayed in the young and hip area of town which was quite far from the main plaza and churches, so we ended up not even going over to that part of town. We met some other travelers and spent the day wandering around the beach, playing Scrabble in a funky cafe, jamming with every ones travel guitars (well the two of them), eating really good Italian food and then later dancing the night away. Maybe not the typical Lima stuff, but it was a pretty awesome day. The next day we flew to Santiago and Carolina, Eric's friend, picked us up and we stayed at her house for three days. I really really like Santiago, its the kind of city I could see living in even. Its fun and modern, but also full of markets and street food. Pretty much awesome. We were there on Columbus day and while most things were closed, we also accidentally came across a huge protest/ parade thing which was cool to see. Lots of yelling and street dancing, a fun combination. I think they were protesting about indigenous rights. We watched that for a while and then walked around this park on a huge hill, which had great views of the city and surrounding mountains. The next day Eric's other friend Vale took us out to lunch and on a little city tour, which was great fun. Both Vale and Carolina studied abroad in Albuquerque, which is how Eric knows them, and they speak very good English, which was good for me because while my Spanish is getting better Chileans speak soooo crazy fast. Hopefully before I leave I´ll be able to understand a bit more, haha. Today we took the bus to Valparaiso, about two hours away and on the coast. So far it seems like a cute and colorful town and I hear it has a fun nightlife. We are only going to stay a few days before heading back to Santiago.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I´m in Peru! Ok I´ve been here for over two weeks, but I haven´t had much interent time. First I arrived in Lima for a quick stop before flying to Cuzco. Hopefully we will have time to actually see Lima at the end because all I saw was the hostel. I went to Cuzco a few days before our scheduled Machu Pichu hike so I could get used to the altitude. Its really high there, about 11,000 ft and it took some getting used to, so I was glad I arrived early. Eric and his parents then came and we started our four day trek to Machu Pichu on the Inca trail. It was the four of us plus 5 people from Argentina in our group, which was fun, though we split up a lot and basically had our own guide for a lot of it. The trail was great, that mountains are beautiful and we leaned a lot about Inca culture from our guide. We had porters to carry most of our stuff and a cook, it was fancy and fun. It rained the last day and we were worried we wouldn´t get any good view of Machu Pichu, but the clouds lifted in the end and the view was great. After our tour of the Machu Pichu we went to the hot springs in Augas Calientes, which was great after the long hike.

After heading back to Cuzco on the train, we spend one more day there. We went to the Inca Museum to get some more perspective on Inca society and also went to this crazy dance-play that night that was pretty fun. Eric´s parents then headed up north while Eric and I flew to Puerto Maldanado which is right by the jungle. We signed up for a 5 day 4 night jungle lodge tour that was pretty awesome. You had to get to the lodge by boat and each day we did different boat rides or hikes. It rained some, but not too much so that was good. We saw a lot of really cool animals, birds and plants including monkeys, toucans, macaws, a baby anaconda, it was great. We decided that maybe 5 days was one too many, but the lodge was really nice with cute little bungalows and hammocks which was fun.

Then back to Cuzco, but we went straight to the bus station and took a bus to Puno which is right on lake Titicaca. Puno is a nice little town where we spend a day getting used to the altitude all over again, haha. Its even a bit higher up then Cuzco. The next day we did a tour of some of the island on the lake. We have been doing a lot of tours, but sometimes its the only was to actually see things. The islands were crazy, first we stopped on one that is called a floating island. The people who live there were trying to get a way from the Spanish and they build island out of reeds from the lake to live on. The use the reeds for everything including building houses and boats and to eat. Plus they fish and now have some tourism, it was pretty cool so see. We went to two other islands both which are fairly isolated and have their own cultures. It was really interesting and we stayed with a family on one one of the nights. I was worried about getting veggie food with the family, but it turns out they almost never eat meat so it worked out really well. The food in Peru has been good, sometimes not tons of veggie options but lots of fresh fruit and there is always something good that is veggie. Yesterday we took the bus to Arequipa which is the second biggest city in Peru. We spend today wandering around a huge old monetary that was really nice. Next we are going to try to see Colca Canyon and then start heading back to Lima!