A Travellerspoint blog

January 2013

Chile...

20.01.2013 - 27.01.2013

sunny 33 °C

It’s been a short period in Chile, but a great one. After the long but comfortable trip from Lima to Arica, I explored the quiet and charming city. After watching a great sunset over the Pacific Ocean, I headed back to the hostel. It was only there I found out there is a 2-hour time difference with Peru and it was already close to 10pm. As I had to get up early the next morning to catch the bus to Putre, I packed my stuff and went to bed.

The next morning, the bus took me from Arica (0 m) to Putre (3.500 m). Arriving there, I met Sonja (Switzerland) and Jonas & Cécile (Sweden), with whom I spent the next 3 days with in Putre. We had a great time in the national parks (4.600 m and above), seeing magnificent landscapes with ever changing rock formations, snowy volcanoes, lakes and amazing wildlife. This time of the year it’s supposed to rain, but we were lucky and only caught some rain and even snow late in the afternoon. I was also lucky because I did not get any signs of altitude sickness. At the end of day 2 & 3, we got to relax in hot springs, relaxing the muscles and giving new energy afterwards.

Heading back from Putre to Arica, I found a direct night bus to San Pedro de Atacama: another 11h in the bus. It’s a long trip, but I love night busses. You really save a day by travelling at night and on top of that, you really have some time for yourself. A perfect moment to reflect on the previous days, filter and select the pictures, get some rest,…

Pictures Arica and Putre...

San Pedro de Atacama is a small town in one of the driest deserts in the world. When arriving, I could immediately feel the intense heat and dryness. The morning I spent exploring the town, which is very nice but unfortunately full of tourists. In the afternoon I visited Valle de la Muerte and Valle de la Luna, an amazing mix of desert and rocks in all possible colors. Cherry on the pie was a spectacular sunset over the desert. And after the sun was hidden behind the mountains, the desert showed his (her?) real beauty, making the color pallet more amazing than before.

After dinner with a Belgian/Dutch couple I got to know during the excursion, it was time for bed already, as I had to wake up at 3:50 am the next morning, to go and visit the geysers north of San Pedro de Atacama. It was hard getting out of bed, but we had a nice group and the setting was once again spectacular. A plain area full of smoking holes and geysers, together with the sunrise… It was -5,5 °C while visiting the geysers, but luckily it heated up along the day and we got to visit the hot springs (again).

At night, the goodbye drink got ‘a little’ out of hand as we went to an illegal desert party. Around 1h30 at night, everyone gathered on the streets with bottles of boose (mostly pisco and coca cola, to make piscola) and walks out of town into the desert, while the police is trying to stop everyone which is carrying alcohol in public. We got safely to the party and god knows how, but we also got home safely. I only woke up at 12h30 the next day, which made me miss my connection to Salta, Argentina. Hence I was forced to spend another day relaxing in San Pedro de Atacama. But there are worse places to get stuck for an extra day, so I enjoyed the afternoon chatting and relaxing, went to bed early and now I can really say I’m on my way to Argentina. It’s a long drive again, but the scenery is amazing: driving through the dry altiplano, spotting groups of llamas, looking at the road stretching out as far as the eye can see,…

Pictures San Pedro de Atacama...

The goal in Argentina is to get to Buenos Aires. It’s a little unsure how I will get there, but the plan I have now is visiting Salta and Cachi, then hitchhiking my way to Cafayate while doing some national parks, stopping in Túcuman and Cordoba before I go to Buenos Aires. It will take me more time than I initially had foreseen, limiting the rest of my tour. But I think it will be a great adventure and a better experience than rushing through all the typical tourist stops and big cities. I keep you posted!

Lots of love to you all,
Tom

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Posted by tombroekaert 05:52 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Goodbye Peru, hello Chile!

14.01.2013 - 20.01.2013

sunny 28 °C

After spending two weeks in Lima, the time to go has come. I have to admit I absolutely adore the city and its habitants, and in a way I’m sad having to leave. But of course, I came here to travel and in that way, I’m eager to start moving around, to travel and get to know much more about South-America.

It does feel very strange leaving the hostel after 2 weeks. In many ways, it feels exactly like 2 weeks ago, when I was leaving Belgium. The mix of leaving everything and everyone that was familiar, with the excitement towards the unknown and new adventures.

Now, I’m writing you from the bus to Tacna (in the deep south of Peru), a 20h drive from Lima. From there, it will take me about 2 hours more to cross the border with Chile, until I get to Arica. In Chile, I’m planning to visit Arica and the surroundings (incl. Lauca national park) and the Atacama desert. Afterwards, I’ll continue to Argentina.

I’m not going to make too many promises about all the other places I hope to visit. During the last days I was making the planning and there are just too many things I would like to see, but time is limited. I suggest you follow my blog and find out, together with myself, in what places I end up…

Pictures...

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Posted by tombroekaert 16:40 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Lima (2)

7.01.2013 - 14.01.2013

semi-overcast 28 °C

It’s more than a week since I’m in Lima. I can say time is flying and I even haven’t started the real traveling yet… The week was nice, taking Spanish courses in the morning and spending relaxing afternoons and evenings with people from the hostel, Felien or Carolina.
It’s summer time in Lima and this mostly means splendid weather during the day: a lot of sun, close to 30 °C but a refreshing breeze in the city. In the night, it cools down to some 20 °C, which means still perfect to go out in t-shirt but just cool enough to sleep.

The weekend started off with an amazing party on Friday evening with people from the hostel: 6 different people, 6 different countries and 4 different continents. We went to a small underground party in the house of an artist in Barranco. First there was some live Peruvian music, followed by a dj’s playing their thing. The party scene is much more exotic here. Of course, even here they play ‘gangnam style’, but mostly salsa, cumbia, reggaeton,…
This party was the perfect setting to practice some Spanish, but mostly to learn my first basic steps of salsa. I was told you can’t learn Spanish if you don’t know how to dance salsa… It’s not too difficult, but often I got slapped on my hips, meaning I should move them more. And of course, I’m far away from spinning around the girls… it is really amazing how good some of the locals can dance.
Of course, I was more than happy to teach the Peruvians the basics of ‘gangnam style’ dancing in return.

Saturday was beach time, some 40km south of Lima, with Felien and a Belgian couple also currently living in Lima. Although I spent most of the time resting in the shadow, I noticed at night I was burnt. In the evening, we drove 60km more south to Asia, where a festival with Peruvian artists was organized. The setting was great: a fancy place right next to the beach. On top of that, in the center of the place there was an artificial wave where some surfers showed their tricks during the concert. Unfortunately the place was not completely full with people, which caused there was not a real exotic atmosphere. Still, we had a good time and saw some good bands, I already downloaded some new music…

Now I have 4-5 more days in Lima taking Spanish courses, and I’m already looking forward to really start moving around! First destination will be Chile.
I know a lot of people are waiting for pictures, but they will come as soon as I start moving. Currently I’m not taking too many pictures, I’ve been in Lima already and although it’s very beautiful, I’ll fore sure go to places where I can take more impressive pictures.
Talk to you soon!

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Posted by tombroekaert 11:50 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Lima

First days in South America

sunny 27 °C

Dear friends, this is my first message from South America. I can assure you all I have arrived safely, I’m installed well in Lima and doing great.

The flight was exhausting: in the first place I almost didn’t get any sleep the night before taking off and I had to leave to the airport at 5h30. On the plane, there where some crying babies which interrupted every attempt to get some sleep. When arriving in Lima I was dead tired but still went out for drinks. After a wónderful night, I ended up in bed only at 4h30 local time after being awake for 29 hours. I spent the night at casa Felien y Omar, where we also stayed some days during the trip last summer.
Jetlag is a bitch, so I woke up after 3h of sleep already. I stayed in bed until 9h and felt surprisingly awake when getting up. After lunch with Felien I moved to a hitchhikers hostel close by and installed me there. It’s a quiet hostel, which will be good as I am following a Spanish course for two weeks and it would be nice to be well rested for that. In the mean time it is great to meet some people.
The rest of the day, I have to admit, I have been crashing from the jetlag: trying to get some sleep (without success), some reading, sending some mails,… Finally I got to sleep around 22h and had a great nights’ sleep.

On Sunday I went for lunch with Felien and Omar, followed by a beautiful walk in Barranco (Lima) and along the coastline. It reminded me Lima is a very beautiful city and life here is good, especially now in summer. Later, I got to know some people in the hostel with whom I went for dinner and had some beers. Finally I got to bed quite early, as Spanish courses start at 8h in the morning the next day.

So this morning, I had my first Spanish course, which was great fun. I’m in class with 2 Americans and the level is perfect for me. I’m surprised how much I can already say in Spanish thanks to the Assimil book and cds. On the other hand, I realize I still have a very long way to go, especially when talking to locals that don’t speak that clear and much faster.

Got to go now, I’m going for drinks again!

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Posted by tombroekaert 12:32 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

This is it...

03.01.2013

So after throwing my goodbye party, celebrating New Year and saying goodbye to the remainder of the family, the moment is there… Finally I’m ready to take off to Lima, where a new adventure is about to start. I’m super excited to go, as the last two weeks have not been the easiest ones. As I told before, there was a lot of stuff to arrange and do, but everything has been completed nicely in time. I’m ready to board the plane tomorrow morning and I can fully focus on the new experiences that will be facing me.

December 30th was the time to say goodbye to the friends and the next day was already new years evening. Two fun parties full of joyful moments, thanks for everyone making this happen. I will miss you all.
A beautiful but sad moment was saying goodbye to my godchild Cis. I’m very grateful we got to spend some quality time together before taking off, but it was sad saying goodbye. Being away for 6 months is not a long time, but in baby-universe it is. He’ll have changed so much by the time I am back, but I hope to be able to follow up anyhow. More than haing changed, he’ll also have a little brother or sister by then as well!
And of course saying goodbye to my parents, my sister and her husband is sad too.

But I knew from the start this was part of the adventure, so now it is time to stop saying goodbye, but saying hello. Hello to a new life and friends, new sceneries and landscapes, new cultures and food, new experiences and habits,…
In the mean time, I hope everyone keeps me posted on all that matters here in Belgium. From my side I will try to post a report on my blog now and then but don’t forget… The less I’m writing, the more fun I’m having! Take good care of yourself and your loved ones. We’ll see each other in 6 months!

So the time is now… This is it…

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Posted by tombroekaert 02:43 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

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