Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, was the most vibrant city I visited during my South American adventure. The main streets such as Florida are full of shoppers all day long. Prices are not cheap in Argentina but if you have US dollars, you can take advantage of the “dollar blue” and get more than 50% above the exchange rate in Argentinian pesos from the money changers on the streets although you do need to look out for counterfeit bills .

I went on a guided tour on which I visited La Boca Stadium and also Caminito, a street which is said to be where the tango originated.

Buenos Aires has a lot of narrow streets and is fun to explore. It also has a selection of parks which offer some welcome shade from the sun whilst providing some colour.

 

 

Montevideo

I travelled by bus from Buenos Aires in Argentina, to Montevideo in Uruguay. The trip is possible by boat in just a couple of hours but I chose the overnight, 8 hour trip. I had intended to stay for a couple of days but was disappointed, both in the lack of attractions in the city and the cost. It was quite expensive and I decided I would be happier spending the last days of my adventure, in Buenos Aires.

The highlight of my day trip to Montevideo was a visit to the World  Cup Museum.

 

 

Puerto Iguazu

The day after visiting the spectacular Iguazu Falls in Argentina, I decided to rest in the morning and then, in the afternoon, I went  for a walk to “Hito tres fronteras“. This is the place where Argentina has borders with Paraguay and Brazil.  It was a pleasant walk and a lot less frantic than the previous day´s activity.

Enjoying the walk back to town again afterwards, I was rewarded with a reminder that there is more to Iguazu than the falls.

Santiago

From La Serena in Chile, I travelled to the capital, Santiago. I had been told by Rodrigo, one of my Portuguese travelling companions in Bolivia, not to expect much and that it was not really worth a visit. Well, as I was travelling south and it was on the way, I decided to spend a couple of nights there anyway. Rodrigo was right, however, and I was quite disappointed.

Santiago is a big, modern city. Wide, tree lined streets. Nice modern architecture was in abundance. A modern metro transport system. It just did not fire me up. Nothing to get excited about. I did the  city, hop on – hop off tour and the only place I thought would be worth a visit, the funicular railway, was shut due to a strike by local workers. I went to a big shopping mall instead, which turned out to be the highlight of my visit.

 

From Cusco to Puno

To travel from Cusco to Puno, in Perú, instead of the usual direct bus, I decided to take the tourist route. This involved several stops along the way and included the services of a guide. There was also a stop for lunch and the journey took almost 10 hours.

 

The first stop was at Andahuaylillas to visit the church of San Pedro. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed to be used inside. The church has many works of art and is known as the ” Sistine Chapel of Perú”.

 

 

The next stop was Raqchi, a large Inca site. It had been partially destroyed by the invading Spaniards but some of it is still standing.

 

 

The next stop was for lunch, buffet style, which was adequate. I sat at a table occupied by a friendly couple from Argentina, which gave me an opportunity to get advice for my forthcoming visit to their country.

 

Onward and upward to La Raya, at 4335 metres above sea level, the highest part of the journey and an opportunity to take fotos.

 

 

The next stop was at Pukara. One again, in the museum, cameras were not allowed to be used.

 

And finally, on to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

 

Puno-PERU

Puno-PERU (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ollantaytambo & Chinchero – Sacred Valley

Continuing on our journey through the Sacred Valley, after lunch in Pisac, we headed for Ollantaytambo, a city about 65 kms from Cusco. I had passed through Ollantaytambo on my way back from Machu Picchu a few days earlier and caught a glimpse of the Inca ruins. I decided to go back and have a proper look.

From Ollantaytambo, we travelled to Chinchero. I still am not certain of the purpose of the visit, although it is famous for its market. We arrived at Chinchero as the sun was setting and I became somewhat distracted.

Fiesta

After visiting Machu Picchu on Saturday, I was planning to have a day or two resting, as my legs were somewhat weary. I had travelled back to Cusco the night before, which is where I will be based for the next three weeks.

During an online conversation with Sonia, my friend in Lima, she said she had a very good friend in Cusco who could show me around. I  agreed to meet Luis and after briefly getting acquainted and discussing my likes and dislikes, we decided to go to nearby San Jeronimo, where they were having a fiesta.

We arrived just as the parade was about to begin. There were many people participating, wearing bright, colourful costumes. They were accompanied by various bands as they danced through the streets. I was conscious of the fact that I could not see any other tourists there, although I am sure there must have been some. It is a great way to see how the local population enjoy themselves. Everyone seemed happy and friendly.

I did not have my camera with me, so had to rely on the Ipod for photos.