Buenos Aires

After a long wait at the airport (the plane was about 4 hours late), José Luis finally arrived in Buenos Aires in the early morning hours of December 30th.

After our long separation it was of course very nice to see him again but for me it was also a bit a strange feeling at the beginning, in the meantime I got quite used to travel on my own, to do whatever I wanted and to decide things without asking anybody else’s opinion… and honestly I was also getting a bit worried about my new life after this trip. I already promised José Luis earlier on, that I was going to stay with him in Budapest (where he has been living and working since September 2007) and suddenly I was no longer sure, if things would really work out fine and so on…. Luckily my mood changed after a few days and I could really start to enjoy my holidays in Argentina with José Luis….

We immediately liked Buenos Aires with its grand boulevards, the almost European like architecture, the many green parks and the Rio de la Plata, a river almost as big as the ocean. We spent New Years in town, visited most of the touristy sites such as La Boca, San Telmo, the Puerto Madero dock area, Plaza de Mayo, the various markets and of course we didn’t miss the famous tango shows.

Especially José Luis was overwhelmed by the excellent Argentinean steaks, but even I have to admit that I almost started to like the parrilas together with a bottle of Argentinean wine…


Salta and Cafayate, Argentina

After an overnight train ride I arrived in Villazon in the early morning of December 26 and the very bureaucratic Argentinean immigration procedures really tested my patience to the maximum. This was definitely the slowest and most complex border crossing I have experienced during my whole trip…. it took as well over 3 hours to cross the border (on foot) and of course I missed my bus to Salta. So I had some time to kill in La Quiaca, the town on the Argentinean side, before I boarded the next bus to Salta. After another 8 hours on the bus I was really happy to finally get to a nice hotel with shower and bed waiting for me!

I only had two days in the beautiful, colonial town of Salta in the Northern part of Argentina, because on December 29 I would finally see again my boyfriend José Luis, who came to visit me for ten days…

A very popular destination for a one day tour from Salta is Cafayate, famous for its excellent white wines, which are made from the fruity torrontés grape. The road from Salta to Cafayate takes you through the spectacular “Quebrada de Cafayate”, a river gorge with fascinating rock formations in different colours. I happened to be in a very nice, girls only group for that day and met Judith and her mother from Buenos Aires and Mercedes, a journalist from Brazil.


Quebrada de Cafayate


Salar de Uyuni

After arriving in Uyuni at 8 in the morning, the bus Terminal was already busy with travel agents selling tours for the salt flats of Uyuni.
I had already met Li from Taiwan on the bus and so the two of us decided to go along with one of the girls, who put us on a 3 day tour leaving the same morning.
It turned out that I was very lucky with my group of travelers: a very good national/international mix of a Bolivian mother traveling with her two teenage daughters, a Portuguese photographer, a Japanese guy named Kan who made the tour on his motorbike (he actually started his journey in Alaska and is now on his way to Patagonia…. quite crazy), Li and myself.
The Salar de Uyuni is the biggest and highest salt lake in the world; further south you can see some impressive volcanoes, multi colored lagoons with hundreds of flamingos, nice rock formations and hot geysers and natural thermal baths.
The first night we spent in a very nice hostal entirely built of salt, even the mattresses of our beds were put on blocks of salt!
The second day (December 24) we visited several nice lagoons and we spent the night at the shores of Laguna Colorada at 4’300 meters above sea level. After sunset it got quite cold and a strong wind was blowing all night long.
Together with some other groups we celebrated Christmas Eve with a lot of wine, beer and tequila. As we had an early start at 4:30 the next morning, for some of us the night was quite short!
Rui, usually very keen to take loads of pictures (he is a photographer after all) could not really be convinced to see the beauty of the geysers at 6:00 in the morning and preferred to rather get some sleep in the car….
Mid morning we arrived at the Chilean border and here it was already time to say good bye to Li and Kan, who continued their trip to San Pedro de Atacama. The rest of us returned to Uyuni, where we arrived at 7:00 in the evening after a long and tiring drive.
The same night at 10:00 I boarded the night train to Villazon, the border town between Bolivia and Argentina.

The Salar de Uyuni was another big highlight of my trip and probably because we spent Christmas there, it is a really memorable one too.

La Paz, Bolivia

The bus ride from Puno to La Paz does usually not take more than five hours, but since our bus (coming from Lima) was almost 8 hours (¡) late, it took us basically one whole day to get to La Paz….

I immediately liked La Paz, the highest capital city in the world at 3650 meters. Built in the basin of a canyon and surrounded by snow capped mountains, the city was bustling with pre-Christmas activities, colorful street markets and thousands of people everywhere…
I joined a city tour which took us around the main square, Plaza Murillo, to the witches market and the Moon Valley with its strange rock formations shaped by the weather.

After three weeks travel with my Tucan group it was time for me to say good–bye and to hit the road on my own again…it was great traveling with you guys, thanks a lot and hope to see you again sometime somewhere around the world! After two days in La Paz I boarded the night bus to Uyuni, my next destination, where I would spend Christmas touring the salar flats of Uyuni.

La Paz

Colorful street markets

Moon Valley


Lake Titicaca

Finally leaving Cuzco we took the bus to Puno at the shore of Lake Titicaca. The journey accros the Altiplano was very nice, with snow capped mountains in the distance and herds of llamas and alpacas all along the road.
After one night in Puno we first visited the floating reed islands in the Bay of Puno, the home of the Uros indians, who build their islands and boats from reeds.
The boat then took us to Amantaní island, where local Aymara and Quechua indian families hosted us for one night in their homes. This was a very nice experience and the local community even organized a party for us, where we were all dressed in the traditional costumes...
After breakfast the next morning, our “mamas” did escort us back down to the port, where we took the boat to the island of Taquile. After a walk in the rain we arrived at the main square of the village, where we had lunch and some free time to explore, before the boat did leave back to Puno

Floating reed islands

Hike to top of Amantani island (4200 m)

My host family on Amantani island