Uyuni – Day 1

We were prepared for every possible happening. People on our way told us that it’s getting extremely cold in the salt flat area (down to minus 15 degrees). Buying a alpaca sweater, scarfs and socks as well as two extra sleeping bags and a down jacket seemed sufficient.

The most common way to get to Uyuni is by night bus which normally takes 12 hours and arrives early in the morning in Uyuni. This way the 3 days/ 2 nights tour can start the same day. In our case the bus took 16 hours and it wasn’t as comfortable as we were hoping. Psycho movies were shown until 1 am, just to start again at 6 in the morning. In between the bus stopped several times to let people out and in – our night was short.

Because of our delay of more than 2 hours we arrived at the tour agency in Uyuni 20 minutes after the tour should have started, but like most of the times in south America things go slow. The tour started with 1 hour delay and we were perfectly fine.

Our tour consisted of Alessandro and Francesco (two Italian guys) and Amy from China. Alessandro is a doctor specialized in viruses and bacteria’s, therefore he was very curious about everything we touched and reminded us of disinfecting our hands all the time (its because he is permanently working on projects in Africa for the last 20 years). Francesco is also a traveler and Bolivia is his last stop before going back home to Italy. Amy is working for Huawei and now Niels knows how his mobile (a Huawei) is pronounced correctly (something like Wawi 😉 After 2 hours we found out that our guide had been an English teacher for several years and offered us to do the tour in English (normally it costs a fortune to get an English speaking guide).

The tour started with the “Cementerio de Trenes”, which was followed by the worlds largest salt flat – Uyuni (12.106 sq km at 3.653m height). On the one hand it’s an enormous white areal of nothingness. On the other hand it offers the perfect setting for crazy surreal pictures. Before heading to our night stay in a salt hotel we stopped at the Isla Incahuasi, which is a hill in the middle of the salt flat covered with cactuses and offers spectacular views of the Salt Flat.

The night was pretty cold but with our two sleeping bags we were perfectly prepared. In the morning both of us were super rested – unlike the others of our group.

Day 2 see the next post 🙂

Abandoned trains made the famous train cemetery 3 km outside of UyuniIMG_3628 IMG_3637 IMG_3642

Perfect surrounding for some crazy Pics IMG_2206 IMG_3732 IMG_3736 IMG_3751IMG_3765IMG_3840 IMG_3772Panorama11

Holes in the salt with salt crystals forming in the brineIMG_3779

Isla Incahuasi with llamas and many cactusesIMG_3795 IMG_3800 Panorama12

Nothingness after the salt flat

Our salt hotel for the nightIMG_3851 Panorama13

Lake Titikaka and Copacabana

Crossing Lake Titikaka, Niels and I underwent our first not 100% legal “border crossing”. Lake Titikaka is the world´s largest high-altitude lake at 3.800m. It is set between Peru and Bolivia. Therefore, the police controls the persons going from one side to the other regardless the fact that you stay in Bolivia (at first). Having no passports with us, the guide found an easy solution to the problem: just stay on the bus as the police normally doesn’t inspect it (normally – that’s what he said, believe me we nearly wetted our pants). Luckily it worked out fine – otherwise you would have to send some care packages to the Bolivian prison. Copacabana is the main city on the Bolivian side of the lake. After walking around and having lunch we took a boat to Isla del Sol. The island has some Inca ruins, great views of the surrounding and – of course – a lot of sun. Unfortunately, we just got a decent overview of the island and its definitely a place worth spending 1 to 2 full days.

Thats a bus on one of the rafts – our way of crossing the lake. IMG_3399

View from the harbour of CopacabanaPanorama01

View while going to the island of sunPanorama03

High altitude!IMG_3408

“Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana”Panorama09

People buy this overpriced stuff at the church entrance and believe they will be able to buy the big version next year. I wonder if it works… IMG_3431

Eva immediately made friends with this _horse_!IMG_3494

Traditional dressed woman getting drinking water from the well IMG_3509

View from the top of the sun island (next three pics)IMG_3521 IMG_3523Panorama05

On the way to the floating islands / back to Copacabana (next two)IMG_3559 IMG_3568

Copy of the floating islands on the bolivian side of lake Titikaka (don’t go there!). They are not real, only some pontoon with planks (next three pics)Panorama07IMG_3587 IMG_3598 IMG_3599

Dinner time!IMG_3610

Highest Seat of Government in the World: La Paz

We were shocked (!) while driving from the airport to the city center of La Paz. Everything looked shady and even the area our hostel was located at (it was supposed to be in a good neighborhood) looked not the way we hoped. We didn’t plan to spend too much time in the city anyways. But after walking around and finding some nice restaurants, cafés and plazas we liked the city more. Soon a place called “café del mundo” became our second home.

The altitude of the city gladly didn’t effect us at all (La Paz is situated between 3200 and 4100 meters, which makes it the worlds highest seat of government). Only the very low humidity dried out our lips and skin as well as made us drink 4-5 liters of water a day easily.

In La Paz we went to a place called “witch market” where llama fetuses and other things used in traditional Andean rituals are sold. The funny thing in Bolivia is that’s its cheaper to rent a taxi for a sightseeing tour than using the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus. Therefore, we took a taxi and went through all the sights (see Pics). On day 2 we went to the Titikaka lake (post will follow). The next day our journey took us to Uyuni (post follows). After coming back from our Uyuni trip we needed a bit more luxury and got a really nice hotel (called Naira) in the best area.

Two panoramas of La Paz01_Panorama 05_Panorama

llama fetuses at the witch market IMG_2174

Our” Cafe Del Mundo ” IMG_2176

We tried very hard (sitting there 4 hrs) but never made it above 20 € (9 Bolivians = ~1 €)IMG_2189 IMG_2418[1]

Our first hotel! Sexy time!IMG_3365

The second hotel was a lot diffrentIMG_2353

For our electricians: thats how they do it – everywhere!IMG_4417

Some impressions of the government district03_PanoramaIMG_4481 IMG_4484 IMG_4485

Machu Picchu!

Once more we were baaaad backpackers: the scenic train to Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo) is the most luxury way to get to Machu Picchu but its worth every penny 😉 While travelling you can see the change in landscape and vegetation. The village of Aguas Calientes lies in a deep gorge below the ruins of Machu Picchu. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have an overnight stay for having an early access to Machu Picchu.

We got up at 5:00 am (!!!) in order to catch the bus before 6:00 am. This ancient city wasn’t discovered until the early 20th and its actual purpose and function is still a matter of speculation. But what is known for sure: The location is one of the most spectacular we have seen on our whole trip! When we arrived at Machu Picchu there were some other people already therefore we decided to start the real hike to Machu Micchu Mountain. It’s a steep path with loooots of stairs. Hiking the 700m altitude difference took us around 1,5 hour. Arriving at the top we got rewarded with an amazing view of Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu (the mountain in the back of Machu Picchu). But also the surrounding landscape with its snow covered mountains is breathtaking. We enjoyed the view for almost two hours 😉 Machu Picchu exceeded our expectation’s and we spend the full day exploring the ruins.


Amazing landscape on the wayIMG_3092

Aguas Callente situated in the valley below Machu PicchuIMG_3119

First glimps of Machu Pichu in the morning04_Panorama IMG_3140

Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain turned out to be one hell of a staircaseIMG_3171 IMG_3188 IMG_3191 IMG_3200

View from the top (buttom center you see Machu Picchu)03_PanoramaIMG_3212 IMG_3217

The Inca bridgeIMG_3253

A lady freaked out while Niels was climbing to the edge of the cliff – her comments made everyone laugh their asses offIMG_3265 IMG_3274 IMG_3280 IMG_3311IMG_3361

Our new “friendly” friendsIMG_3331

He tried to kiss NielsIMG_3346

Pretending to be friendsIMG_3348 IMG_3352

The night before visiting Machu Picchu some professional Jenga gaming went on!IMG_2109

Sacred Valley of the Inca Empire

The Sacred Valley (Valle Sagrado) is packed with Inca sites and high-altitude Andean villages. It consist of different places between Pisac and Ollantaytambo, starting about 15 km north of Cusco. Eva took a day-trip as Niels has already seen it 4 years ago.

Pisac Ruins with a great climb up through terraces and massive stone walls01_PanoramaIMG_2994IMG_2979IMG_2991IMG_3020

On the way to Ollantaytambo IMG_2964Panorama1

Ollantaytambo ruins are built up on a mountain with steep terraces guarding the Inca complex04_PanoramaIMG_3004 IMG_3016  IMG_3023 IMG_3030

Traditional production of clothes and coloringIMG_2939IMG_3039IMG_3049

Hungry yet? Guinea pigs are on the menu in PeruIMG_3040

Peruvian version of a Lassi?IMG_2962

Sunset on the way backIMG_3032

Cusco 3400 meter

Cusco is one of the major spots when visiting Peru, because its within day tour distance to the biggest attraction: Machu Picchu. The so called “lost city” of the Incas. The city is on an altitude of around 3.200m. But Cusco has more to offer than only being a stop over. It was once the Inca empires capital, has beautiful colonial buildings, archaeological sits, massive Inca-built walls on steep and narrow cobblestone streets, plazas and great restaurants. Moreover, we found a massage salon called Ajna. Yarit the owner is half the size of Eva but holy sh** she is strong 😉

Plaza de Armas (next 4 pics)01 04 03 02

Balcones Coloniales05
Panorama view of Cusco07

Inca-built walls on steep and narrow cobblestone streets08

Further impressions of Cusco and surrounding121508a14 11 10 09
Our great Dragon Fly Hostel16

Visiting the Chocolate Museum and having an absolute chocolate overkill18 17