Europe, South America, North America · 203 Days · 69 Moments · July 2017

Annika's life in and around Chile

23 January 2018

Spent the last morning at Copacabana beach. The plan was well thought through, apart from the fact that we didn’t consider being in South America. So as we went back to the Hostel to take a shower before the flight they obviously ran out of water 🙄 that means we’re still in the process of finding sand literally everywhere whilst we’re now sitting at the gate, about to board. Incredible how fast the time went by. I wouldn’t change a thing, I’d do it all over again if I could ❤️

21 January 2018

Iguazú waterfalls part two, Argentinian side. Most people say the Argentinian side is more impressive. I guess it’s just due to the fact that it’s bigger and thus, there are more trails to do which give different views and perspectives of the waterfalls. Especially the last part was very very very impressive. Being able to stand at the top of the waterfall and watching the immense amount of water flooding down - could in fact be a little scary if you think about it too much. Another highlight was the boat tour into one of the waterfalls! Sadly this is the end of our last destination. Right now (Monday) we’re at the Iguazú airport on our way back to rio which we will be leaving tomorrow afternoon. Funnily, both Theresa and I are really looking forward to the last hours in Rio though. Such a fun city! Our original flight itinerary had stopovers in São paolo and Brasilia. Booking through Latam paid off as we were upgraded (again!) to a direct flight which gives us 5 more hours in Rio! ❤️

20 January 2018

Bird park and the brasilian side of the Iguazú waterfalls!!!

19 January 2018

Other than these main activities we went to the museum of tomorrow, watched sunsets on the rocks between Copacabana and Ipanema beach and also obviously spent some time at the beach! We met a great bunch of people so usually we did the main activities in the morning when it was “cooler” (day, 30 degrees) and went to the beach in the afternoon. We also did a city tour which helped to understand how it evolved a little. And most importantly, we tried hard to try out various forms of Brazil’s famous “açaí” which is delicious 😋 we figured it would be nicer to treat us to those little things rather than having one big final dinner or something. Now off to the Iguazu falls!

17 January 2018

Christ redeemer. This obviously had to be seen. We tried to be up there before the crowd but still there were soooo many people there. It is incredible how big this statue really is. You always hear about it and see it on pictures but actually standing in front was pretty impressive. We were lucky with the weather again so had another different amazing view over the city :)

16 January 2018

Sugarloaf mountain ❤️ by far one of my favorite sunsets! We hiked up half of the mountain and went up the rest by cable car. The view over the whole city was amazing. It was more or less the only lookout one could literally see the whole city from. Through the mountains I sometimes found that, being on the ground, the city doesn’t seem that big. But from up here one could look so far and was able to see what a huge city rio really is. Absolutely stunning!!
The famous steps in Rio! The artist collected tiles from all over the world and until he was dead one could send in tiles and he would include them in his work. Meaning that there are tiles from various countries, regions and with various sayings and poems!

15 January 2018

Had the most beautiful view over Rio! Probably one of my top favourite views. It was incredible to see how the city is built up and how diverse it is. Even though it’s important to note that that view only showed the center and not all the outskirts that lie between all the mountains. We took an uber to the beginning of a favela, then took mototaxis up the mountain and hiked up the actual hill. So worth it!!

13 January 2018

Our first three days in rio have already been so worth it! Our Hostel is so much fun and there are so many social fun people. We live in quite a traditional area so here, too, I usually leave my phone at home - rio in general, just for safety reasons. We had a boat party organized from the Hostel though and I’m glad I took my phone because we literally stopped for ages right next to the sugar loaf mountain (Zuckerhut), from where you could also see Christo (can be seen by zooming in on the pointed mountain)! A day well spent 😊 first impression from rio is that it is very different from other cities by combining the big city with so many mountains and being directly by the sea. We decided not to go to any other island for a couple of days and just stay in rio the whole time.

8 January 2018

After the hike we went straight to a coffee farm which included a tour with explanations about how coffee is produced. Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers where picking is still made by hand instead of machines. Apparently this way quality is assured. In the evening we went into the town of salento and ended up at a town festival which was close to a winefest in Ahrweiler which was quite amusing to see 🙃
A 20km hike close to Salento, including a hummingbird house and the largest palm trees in the world! 🌴

6 January 2018

Today we did a day trip to Guatapé which is located around two hours away from Medellin. It is known for having one of the three biggest rocks in the world. The view from up there was a absolutely amazing, I loved it!! It actually reminded me of Marlborough sound in New Zealand. In general it could have been in Scandinavia or elsewhere. Afterwards we went into the town itself which was so incredibly artsy!! We weren’t quite able to find our why exactly all the buildings where that colorful but it made it nice to just stroll around. Again, what I saw today is nowhere close to what I expected from Colombia. This is, at the same time, why I enjoy this country so much. The diversity South America has is just huge! Tomorrow we’re off further south to a place called Salento, located in the coffee zone.

5 January 2018

The next day, there were two more tours. One through the city, to get some general knowledge about medellins history. And for the second time, it was shocking to hear what happened in one end of the city whilst others seemingly weren’t affected. The other tour was a Pablo Escobar tour, just because you hear so much about this topic here and i didn’t really know any details. We visited his prison, his grave, a football pit he built for the community and his house. Especially for the poorer communes he did a lot but obviously expected something in return. It’s crazy to think how one person was able to gain and exert so much control. He actually controlled both opposite political parties too. Even the police. From what we heard medellin is trying to loose its image of a drug capital and in my opinion they are doing a good job. The area of my Hostel is more modern than some places in Europe, public transport is new and easy and people are so genuine and interested!

3 January 2018

Comuna 13 - only a couple of years ago known as the most dangerous district on the planet. On our first day in Medellin we did a tour through this district to see what happened and more importantly, to see its changes. I did know that colombia has a big drug history but I didn’t know how bad the war (that went on for four years) actually was. It was crazy to see how positive the people still are, even after the stories we heard. 2002 there was “Operation Orion” which meant 3 days of complete shut down of the district. No one was allowed to enter or exist the district, including ambulance etc. There were four groups involved: police, government, drug cartels and FARC. And all of them were fighting. Operation Orion was supposed to be the final and biggest intervention with many people being killed. 2015, medellin is listed as the most innovative city in the world. It’s hard to imagine something that happened whilst I was even alive!

1 January 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR 💃🏻 I had probably the best New Year’s Day ever - meaning the day of the 31st. Luckily I was with a bunch of super fun people and we spontaneously decided to rent a boat for the day and cruise around the islands around cartagena. The water was so clear and the sand so blue, it was yet again incredible to see! I loved it!!! And I finally got to jet ski! In the carribean!!! It’s dead cheap here so treated myself to that ride 🙈 It’s so nice how you meet people whilst traveling and you just get along like you’ve known them for so much longer than just a day or two. I would actually like to even stick with this group for a little more but tomorrow there’s a flight to Medellin to catch! Funnily, quite a couple of the people we met here will be there too. Photos of Cartagena itself will follow 🤗

28 December 2017

Vamos a la playa 🌴 two nights on dreamy playa blanca which is supposedly the nicest beach in the cartagena region, if not Colombia. I have to say it was definitely at least as beautiful as the Fiji beach, not sure if nicer though! The water was sooooo clear and turquoise blue and warm and the sand more or less white and soft 😊 so we just spent 1.5 days reading and relaxing in the sun which was nice for a change as traveling is usually more about being up and about! Aaand on our last evening we went to swim with luminous Plancton!! Unfortunately the moon was so bright that it was not that visible but basically you just jump into the middle of the ocean at night and start moving really quick and then everything around your limbs lights up!

27 December 2017

Minca, you were dreamy! The last two nights were spent in probably one of the best places for me on my whole trip! The hostel was made by three foreigners, all made out of wood and bamboo with lots of details and decorations. The view was absolutely stunning as you can see! It was a whole camp with various types of accommodation. The first night we spent in what we liked to call our honeymoon suite-the small double bed hut with a balcony and a lovely view. The second night, to balance out the finances haha, we spent in a hammock which worked out surprisingly well. We drove up to another famous hostel in South America by motor bike and chilled in their giant hammock for a while. Amazing! Afterwards he hiked to Los Pumps, which is a lookout that was unfortunately covered with fog. Now a quick pit stop in Santa Marta to pick up our big backpacks and off to Playa Blanca near Cartagena.

24 December 2017

Merry Christmas 🎄 this was our Christmas in Santa Marta, a small town between the National Park and cartagena. We spent most days exploring beaches around the National Park and one day we went to Taganga. We met some really nice people we went out with so our experience here was good overall 😊

21 December 2017

Palomino 🌴 palomino is a tiny tiny village east of both Cartagena and Santa Marta with more or less two streets. It was a super relaxed hostel we stayed at, with hammocks and peace. One day we did the day trip to he Tyrona National Park and the other we went to the beach for sunset and also went tubing down Palomino river which was super fun! You just hop on the back of one of the motorbikes the locals have and they drive you around 10min up the river. Then you walk another 20-30min through the forest with your tube and just get into the river and float down to where the river flows into the sea. It took around 1.5 hours and is mostly very slow so it was quite relaxing actually. Afterwards we caught a bus back to Santa Marta where I’ll be until the 25th. I’ll try to take a couple more photos the next days but it’s a bit tricky as for safety reasons we prefer to go outside with nothing other than a bottle of water :)

20 December 2017

Tayrona National park! Being known as one of Colombia’s highlights with so much biodiversity including so many palm trees in its dense forest but at the same time having the Caribbean beaches right next to it. It actually reminded me of the north of Australia where I also visited a similar rainforest. In general, also on the way there, some parts reminded me of Australia and Fiji (how can I even be able to say that with my 23 years 🙃!) The hike was around 17km and being super hot it was nice to relax at the beach for a bit at half of the way. Usually one can find monkeys, sloths, spiders or snakes and all that kind of stuff if one is lucky but (un)fortunately we didn’t see any. I guess that over the years the park has attracted so many visitors that you hardly see any animals. Never less, the views were beautiful with the blue sea and palm trees lurking out between the forest.

16 December 2017

Panama City 🇵🇦 I was actually very surprised by Panamá. I didn’t really have toooo much in mind when thinking about that city so it was nice to have a positive surprise. In parts, it is very modern and also looks like with the skyline. On the other side of the bay there are old historic buildings that rather remind of Cuba or some place. It still seemed quite artificial and not really like a place I could imagine to live. Nonetheless it was really nice to visit with nice cafes and bar next to the sea!

13 December 2017

Last two days in Punta Arenas. Punta Arenas is surprisingly nice and also pretty big. We were lucky with the weather at the beginning so we did a hike through the national reserve. The owner of our hostel drove us there and on the way actually also showed us his family Home with all their animals including tiny piglets 😍 it’s quite funny to see that it seems as if in the south, the contact with locals is much stronger than in Santiago. That goes to support what quite some people say about people living in Santiago maybe being a little more distant than in other parts of the country. Later we had our finally last last dinner with some of our friends who now headed to Europe. Luckily our hostel is a really cosy one so we just snuggled up on the sofa and watched some movies. Today we fly back to Santiago before we leave to Panama on the 17th. I honestly can’t get over the fact that this last day that we’ve been talking about for so long has actually come 🙈

12 December 2017

As our last day in Puerto Natales we hiked up Cerro Dorotea! We took a taxi there and then there’s this small private family that you pay. Then you walk trough their property and just right through their sheep and cow fields to the hill, where you start walking upwards 😂 up there we had a beautiful view over all of Puerto Natales and it’s surroundings, especially the mountains. On the way down the two family members gave us tea, biscuits and bread and the three of us sat in this teenie tiny hut. Both of them seemed so enthusiastic and it was cute yet quite weird!! After that we caught the bus back to Punta Arenas where we met up with some of our group again that left last night. Today well again meet some friends but we slowly but surely have to say goodbye to most of them for a while...

10 December 2017

Glacier Uppsala! We did a boat tour through the sea of El Calafate and had a looked at 3 different glaciers. To be honest, so far that has been the most impressive part of Patagonia. The main glacier is around 170m high at its highest point and 760 square km large. It’s honestly huuuge, it was crazy!!!! We were unsure whether to book the tour as it’s not the cheapest but then we figured that in 20 years, it would probably not exist anymore which is a weird thought. And there actually also isn’t too much else to do in El Calafate and wasting a time in Patagonia would have been a shame. Afterwards we returned to our Airbnb stay, which was really nice, and had our last dinner together, as one of us stayed in Argentina and the rest went back to the Chilean side.

9 December 2017

One of the most impressive things I have ever seen in my life!! The glacier in El Chatten, Argentina. In the middle it is 70m high and sooo breath taking, we literally all couldn’t believe it! Not sure what else to say other than look at the photos :)

8 December 2017

27km and 15 hours later we are finally back in the hostel. Today we did the last part of the W-track in Torres del Paine national park. We wanted to do the W but it’s booked out weeks, if not months, in advance and being high season we were unlucky. So we just did the last part and main hike up to the lake from which one has the view over the three towers. The weather changed so fast, from sun and t shirt to rain and 3 coats, but generally I think we were also lucky today! I’m super happy that it’s over and also that we did it! Absolutely beautiful landscape down here, with every part being so diverse.

7 December 2017

First day in the Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia! We had a very rocky start... first we missed our flight so we had to book a new one for the next morning. On our way in the bus back home we were sitting right next to the door and a guy snitched Theresa’s phone out of her hand and ran out of the bus, there was no chance of stopping him, even though some locals tried to follow ☹️☹️ luckily nothing happened to us but especially nowadays a phone is so useful and it’s Theresa’s birthday today so really not optimal... But we hoped that today made up for it 🤗🤗 even though it was super windy we were very lucky with the weather!

4 December 2017

Some outtakes of the past two weeks with my favourite people! It was so much fun to enjoy Santiago itself for a while. We did a lot of partying but also hanging in our garden, watching movies or sitting in a park. We went for a delicious final dinner and some cocktails the other day, after we went up to Cerro Cristobal (my 4th time up there actually!) to take some last pictures with the whole group. I had my last exam and Uni day today so this was more or less it then... I can’t believe how fast time went by. The past days especially made me feel so happy about the great group of friends I found here. Luckily I will get to travel with some of them tomorrow as we’re heading down to Patagonia.

21 November 2017

Some impressions from Marks visit last week, including the view from the Costanera Center (highest building in Latin America) and the sunset at Cerro Cristobal! Exam week has started which is hard to imagine considering the fact that we’ve been going out every day for the past 7!! 😦 just trying to enjoy the last days in Santiago with my favorite people here...

14 November 2017

BUENOS AIRES 💞 a City to fall in love with! I’m just at the airport, having spent a wonderful 8 days with Johanna (former flatmate in Maastricht on exchange there). We also met another Argentinian friend we know from our first week Santiago there which was nice 😊 Buenos Aires is a very diverse, colorful and modern city, at least in parts. The weather was amazing so we were able to spend a lot of time outside, watching sunsets and sunrises and being astounded about the architecture. We went up the palacio to enjoy the view over the city, went to puerto Maderas and also took a tango class! In fact, a lot of times it reminded us of Paris and Barcelona, there seemed to be some influence.

5 November 2017

Our last stop was Valdivia! As the in Chile famous kunstmann beer has its origin and brewery there, that’s of course where we had to go with the boys! The next day we had a quick look at the botanic garden and the market. They sold lots of fish at the market and the Sea Lions were right behind it to make sure they get all the leftovers - safe to say it was obvious to see. They were sooooooo massive!! We didn’t spend too much time in Valdivia as the weather wasn’t too great and we had to get back to Santiago.

4 November 2017

Yet another amazing stay!! We were lucky to find another great cabin with a view - and a hot tub!!!!! 😍😍😍 so we ended the day with a couple of drinks in there whilst the sun set. And it was even better than it already sounds! Chiloe is a suuuuper nice island and actually much bigger and civilized than I thought. Loads of colorful small houses and a really nice atmosphere. Nature wise it actually reminds me a little of New Zealand again. A lot of water and such bright colours of flowers and the grass! Another day that especially gave me the feeling of gratefulness and that of being so happy about what I get to do 😊 it’s a shame that we don’t really have more time so we’re already heading back to the ferry to make our way back up North.

3 November 2017

Yesterday night we spent in Puerto Varas and luckily even in a reeeally nice loft! It fits 8 so it was perfect for our group of 7. We actually thought it would be super nice to stay there for a couple more nights, just because the view was so great and the place so cosy 😊 but we’re now back on the road again towards Pargua where we’ll take the ferry to Chiloe!

2 November 2017

Frutillar! Pit stop for lunch but we wouldn’t miss out on the famous view at the lake. Really nice little town! All the way I’m really surprised at how modern and developed everything is. I somehow expected it to be more remote and rural. In fact, even New Zealand was more extreme in that sense.

1 November 2017

First stop of our little roadtrip down south: Pucon. We arrived during a rainy evening but this morning it luckily cleared up and we were able to get impressions of the lake. Totally up my street!

29 October 2017

..look who I found in Santiago: cousin Sophie 😊😊😊 Tomorrow off for a spontaneous road trip down south, let’s see where it takes us! Weather is not supposed to be great and for the first time in a while one could actually do a bit for uni but I’m exciteeeed!

23 October 2017

Third and final day exploring the Uyuni salt flats! It was aaabsolutely amazing! I literally have never been able to look so far into the distance! We got up at 4:30am to watch the sunrise, then went to an island in the middle which had an amazing view and afterwards we took the typical uyuni-photos. Currently we have two more hours in Uyuni before we spend another night in villa mar which is where we spent our first night in the salt flats. Tomorrow we leave at around 5am to head back to San Pedro where we have one more day before heading back to Santiago. Such an amazing trip, I’m so happy and grateful about what i got to see 😊😊😊

22 October 2017

Uyuni day 2: a full success! 😍 another day of driving through the seemingly endless desert. I have to say I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to look that far! It’s crazy what different types of landscape there is in that one spot. And even more crazy is that people actually live in the Uyuni National Park. Sometimes there is just one house with one single person living there. Usually they take care of Lamas and do a lot of agriculture etc. There is also a lot of quinoa and lithium potential in the Park. Today we went to a lot of lookout points and a lot of the landscape was more canyon-like with a lot of stones, in comparison to flat land and lakes that we saw yesterday. We also stopped in a village consisting of 4-5 families to try special beer. One could get a quinoa, honey or cactus version. I actually enjoyed the quinoa one! Tonight we’re staying at a salt hotel and tomorrow we meet at 5am to watch the sunrise and then drive to the actual salt flats - can’t wait!!!! 😍😍😍

21 October 2017

What a day!!! First out of four days cruising around in the Uyuni Desert in Bolivia. After crossing the border we drove past various lagoons with so many different colours. Especially the pink one deserves more attention as when zooming in one can see millions of flamingos! It was insane, I’ve literally never seen anything quite like that. With the mountains in the background, the salt, the blue sky. Dreamy 😍 we also passed Geysirs which obviously had impressively-colored lakes with them. We again drove up to around 5000m which is why there where just random pieces of snow (the white stuff in the pictures). Crazy! We just arrived at our hostel in a tiny village of around 400 people in the middle of nowhere, it’s crazy how some people live!!

20 October 2017

How much better could this country get 😍 we just got back from a huge day trip to piedras rojas - red stones. On the way there and back we obviously also stopped at various different lagoons and also the Flamenco reserve. I’m not sure whether I’ve even seen colors like those in New Zealand. Definitely did not expect this kind of landscape here in Chile! Absolutely loved it!!!!

19 October 2017

In the afternoon we went to “Valle de la Luna” (Moon valley) to watch the sunset. Before that we stopped at different spots throughout the area and also hiked through a little canyon. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the colors of a sunset! And it got me even more hyped for the Uyuni Trip I’ll be starting on Saturday.
First day in the Atacama desert! San Pedro is kind of a touristy town (village?!) but still really nice with lots of interesting desert-like buildings. We rented bikes and drove a little outside of town to do a little hike with some impressive viewpoints!

9 October 2017

Last week we decided to stay in Santiago for a change! We went to see a football game (which we had to Analyse for a Uni psychology course). The weather was amazing so I also went to see Parque Bincentario (which had flamingos!!😍) and went to an Andy Warhol exhibition during an open museum night. We had visitors from Lima so we did another city tour. On the way we accidentally passed a carnival parade which was also fun to see! It’s really a luxury Problem having this conflict of wanting to travel and see certain places but also wanting to enjoy Santiago with all that it offers.

6 October 2017

Sooo I never finished this trip! After the rainbow mountain close to Cusco we went down to Puno at the lake titicaca. We did a floating island tour to islands on the lake where the indigenous Urus live. It was quite interesting to see how some of them still live on those man-made islands in the middle of the lake. The next day we just crossed the border to La Paz in Bolivia from where we took our flight back to Santiago!

4 October 2017

68km of hiking in 4 days! 😐 Sooo last night we came back from Machu Picchu around 10:30, were in bed by 12 and had to get up at 4am to see the rainbow mountain. It was a long debate whether to really go after the 4-day Machu Picchu hike but I am SO happy to have seen it!!! I keep saying this sentence but again I feel like I've never seen anything like this. We were extremely lucky with the weather (again) so the colors shined bright and it was amazing! Being our first mountain over 5000m the altitude was obviously noticeable but with enough breaks and will power we even pushed through our sore legs (and the horses offered on the way that you could use to get up)! Safe to say we were extremely happy about reaching the top and enjoying the astonishing view. Now straight into a hopefully warm shower and off to bed. Tomorrow morning we head to Puno at the lake titicaca to visit the so-called "Floating Islands" which are still inhabited by the indigenous people.

3 October 2017

The last pictures are from a hike at Machu Picchu which was up the "sun gate" which gave another view of Machu Picchu but from further away and including mountains amazing too! Now we're on the train back to Cuzco. Tomorrow theresa and I want to hike up rainbow mountain which is at 5200m and supposed to be super super hard as it's only uphill. We would leave to the mountain at 3:30am so we're not quite sure if we'll be able to hike all the way or will have to take advantage of one of the horses they offer to get up 🙈 after over 55km in the past 4 days and lots of heat, sweat and steps that doesn't seem too much of a silly idea!
MACHU PICCHU DAY 4! I can't even begin to explain how happy happy happy I am!! Today we got up at 3:40am to be at the gate to Machu Picchu at 4:30 and then we hiked up around 2000 steps which was supposed to be the toughest part. Luckily it was early in the morning so not terribly hot but we were all so stoked when we managed that last bit of incline at its finest! Up there we all had the most amazing day ever. I really don't know if I've ever been so amazed by anything. I know I've said that a couple of times but what the Incas established up there is so incredible! I would want everyone to go and see it at some point as we were all so fascinated. I took way too many photos so I'll just do another post with more photos 🤗

1 October 2017

Day 1 and 2 of 4 days inca jungle trail! Yesterday we did downhill mountain biking, starting at 4000m. It was so much fun and amazing to see those tiny villages on the way. Hard to believe that people actually live in, what we consider, the middle of nowhere! Today we left at 7am and hiked 20km along rivers, original Inca paths, through jungle, up and down hill. At one point we even had to sit in little boxes (?) and the locals pulled us over the river. Difficult to describe it but it was also something I've never experienced. We ended up at thermal hot pools which obviously did our muscles so good! I bet we'll have a good nights sleep tonight 😋

29 September 2017

Salt terraces in Maras! Even though I feel like New Zealand has left me speechless in many ways, this was something different. Those salt pools were incredible! The water comes through the bottom of the ground and the sun then makes it dissolve - what is left is sand. On the way there we also stopped at a factory with all the typical Peruvian bags, wool and of course alpacas 😍

24 September 2017

After two relaxing days in Mendoza we're on the bus back to Santiago. Our bus ride going there was luckily not too bad, just as our way getting back into Chile. Interestingly, we felt a little safer in Mendoza and extremely comfortable. The weather was amazing so luckily we could just wonder around. Even though the city is nice there is not that much to do there. Most people go there for wine and steak. In fact, it is one of the most well-known wine regions in the world. So one day we rented bikes and went to two different vineyards outside of Mendoza and to one olive oil/mustard and liquor tasting. I really enjoyed the day and being outside! Later on we went for those ridiculously massive steaks (although I had to sneak a photo I wasn't tempted enough to have one 😇). One extra day to go to a volcanic spa would have been great but we still had a good time fueling up on some sun! On Wednesday we're already off to Cusco for Machu Picchu and I am SOOOOO EXCITED!!!

21 September 2017

(Still Valparaiso) We got back from Valparaiso this afternoon and had three hours to do some Uni stuff. Now we're already on the next bus to Mendoza, Argentina which is a town just behind the border. We will be crossing the Andes but as it's a night bus we won't see much of the apparently stunning view (on the way back though). The ride actually is only 8 hours but sometimes the busses get delayed at the border. A friend of mine who is already there had to wait at the border for 7 hours so fingers crossed we will have an easy and quick trip!!

20 September 2017

(Still Valparaiso) I will just have to make a couple of posts to share some of the art we saw! I really had no clue whatsoever of what really was behind the typical grafitti and what has evolved to be known as "art".
Hola amigos! On Tuesday We webt straight from Pichilemu to Valparaiso, a city around 2 hours west of Santiago at the coast. It is known for its arty and colorful favela-like looking and is a spot a lot of people from Santiago like to go to at the weekend. Strangely enough some of our friends had been there and did not like it, as in really not recommending it, so Theresa and I only booked two nights. Silliest decision, we loved it!!!! Me being into photography, this town was dreamy. Every corner had grafitties and art to present and luckily on our last day we did a street art tour that highlighted all the little but important details and showed us some hidden gems. I especially loved how colourful the city seemed (even though one could argue it was quite run-down) which was also die to the perfect weather we had. One day we also took the bus to Viña Del Mar which was very different but still interesting to see as a contrast. (Tbc)

18 September 2017

What a whirlwind of days! Yesterday was "dieciocho" (the 18th) or better said, the whole week is also known as "fiestas patrias" which is a national holiday. We only heard beforehand that Chileans go crazy the whole week and I can now fully support that statement! I'm off Uni the whole week so a group of friends from Uni and I went to Pichilemu on Friday. Pichilemu is known as a surf hotspot and was a really cool small town. The city was still quite quiet on Friday as can be seen on the photos. That changed quite fast! We spent the evenings meeting Chileans and the days just lying in the sun at the beach. Safe to say after four days of partying straight we're all a bit knackered now. We were so lucky with the weather though! It felt like holiday and was so much fun! Now we're on the way back to Santiago from where we'll go straight to Valparaiso, a beach/port town not far from Santiago which is known for its artsy touch.

11 September 2017

Desierto florido 🌸🌺🌵 once every 5-6 years the desert in the north of chile is lucky enough to have flowers and we were lucky enough that this is the year! Unfortunately as we arrived in the morning the sun was not out and thus, neither were the flowers. The thought of the fact that it should all be dry is still quite impressive when you think about it. Later on we went to the coastal part of the desert where we did a hike which was my personal favorite! Flowers, cacti but still sand. And the views 😍 I love seeing the ocean so it was just amazing. After hanging around at the beach a little we drove on to Huasco, where we had 3 hours before we went back onto the night bus. I would love to go back in the summer time as it seemed like a nice little summer spot with a nice promenade, volleyball fields at the sea and again, lots of artwork on the walls! We deliberately chose to make this a short trip (Friday night to Sunday morning) so we'd have some time in Santiago. Now for some Uni...

8 September 2017

The next and last day we wanted to visit "la porteda" - probably the only touristy sightseeing thing to do around Antofagasta. We decided to just take one of the small local busses to get there. Unfortunately though, the bus didn't stop where we had to get off. So we stayed on the bus, the problem being that it was literally in the middle of the desert so there was no point in just randomly getting off at the next bus stop. So we decided to go to the final destination, being Mejillones. What we didn't realize was that this small village is 80km north of Antofagasta! Anyway, 90 minutes later we arrived in this small, authentic and REAL port town. Beautiful water, interesting buildings and art and no tourists anywhere. As we had to make sure to catch our flight we only wondered around for roughly 1,5 hours and enjoyed the sea breeze. I think this was much more value-adding than just looking at a boring rock in the sea, as originally intended. It was a different yet inspiring little trip!

3 September 2017

..continuation of our Antofagasta trip, as I didn't get round posting this second part! So probably the most inspiring part of this journey was meeting a mid-40 year old French man who had been traveling for 7 years!!!! 7, can you imagine?! Currently he is driving down the pan-Atlantic road which is a road around 30,000km long that connects Alaska all the way down to Ushuaia in Argentina. All with a tiny car he bought in Arizona. There were so many sentences of him I would have liked to jot down but the four of us listening all agreed on that we would have loved to listen to him for hours! He kind of motivated us to think positively, strive for what you want and that there is always a way to figure out your dreams. If you're not doing what makes you happy - change what you're doing. If you want to learn Spanish - speak to the locals. If you want to see the real roots of a country - go out and explore. Theresa and i actually took that a little too seriously 😂(to be continued...)

31 August 2017

After 3 different but interesting days in the north of chile we are heading back home to Santiago! To be honest, Antofagasta was partly our destination because flights were cheap but also because I personally think it's also nice and important to try and see some "real" chile. The touristy hotspots are obviously nice, otherwise they wouldn't be known destinations. And everyone always says "Santiago is not chile", so just going to a more or less random place seemed like a good thing to do. Even though Antofagasta, which is in the desert, apparently is the second largest city in Santiago, there was not much to do here. But still it was very authentic in my opinion. Lots of arty street work, colourful (and by European slightly run-down) houses and a port that offers fresh fish en masse.

14 August 2017

Just spent some very happy days with a friend (one of my flat mates) from back home who is on exchange in Buenos Aires and decided to pay us a visit before she heads over there 😊 it was another hike up Cerro cristobal which again gave us an amazing view over the city. Probably won't ever get sick of those sunsets! The next day we visited the Baha'i temple which was quite a weird experience. It is situated literally in the middle of nowhere a bit outside of the centre and is one of the 8 Baha'i temples in the world, there is one on each continent and here is the one in South America. Very interesting architecture (just like all the other ones around the world)!

12 August 2017

Currently on my way back from this absolute stunning "Embalse el Yeso". Apparently it is the lake Santiago gets its fresh water from. We left early this morning and it took us around 3 hours from Santiago to get here but it was totally worth it. I actually didn't expect to see that much snow in Chile! It had been raining the past two days so the view was very clear and we had sunshine and blue sky! I don't think there could have been better weather circumstances for this trip 😍on the way back we will stop at some typical Chilean place to grab some food so this day is looking good so far 🙃

31 July 2017

Sunny hello from Huacachina! Huacachina is a tiny town (actually not even that, there's only restaurants and hostels and so far there have only been 95 people born here) near Ica, south of Lima. It's a little oasis surrounded by huuuuge sand dunes. Yesterday we sandboarded down them and also did a sand buggy ride whilst the sun set! Scary but beautiful. As you can see on the last picture there was a moment of fear where we actually thought the buggy would topple over - luckily we didn't. We only have half of today left here but that's fine as you can stroll through the village in like 20 minutes and there is not that much to do in the town itself. Bu it was totally worth it for the dunes and some sun! Later today we're back off to Lima and tomorrow to Santiago. So looking forward to going back 😍 I will be moving into the house straight away and Thursday is an introduction day for exchange at Uni. Monday Uni Starts. Let's hope everything goes well 🙌🏼

28 July 2017

The previous entry I wrote whilst we were in the canon as we had to wait around an hour for the rest of the group. Okay well, just when I thought we were done probably one of the most dangerous things I've ever done stood ahead. We had to climb up around 100m of ridiculously unsafe and incredibly narrow stairs, all not being secured. In the dark. I really had to focus on not thinking about it and just squeezing my way up. The view and walk afterwards was breathtaking though! We ended up at one of the remote local restaurants and had a super delicious meal! Fresh trout it was 👌🏼we found out that the woman owning the restaurant and her family had been living there for a while, with no electricity whatsoever. They cook with wood or gas and have some solar panels. Crazy to imagine but eye-opening. Now on the bus back to the camping spot, hopefully not with another surprise 🙃
Best day ever (with exception of my skydive 😇). Yesterday evening we drove out of Lima to a campsite and after an early (5:30am) start of the day we drove up to the autisha cañon to do some canyoning (180m). Even though I found it more daunting than a skydive, seeing those heights so deliberate and having to confront yourself to actually go done, it was amazing. I've never been in a canyon before so the Grand Canyon just shot up on my bucket list!!! The views were absolutely incredible, just as the waterfall at the end. We'll stay at the camp site until Sunday evening and then we'll go back to Lima. Actually one can even go a bit further up the mountain and we met lots of people who did so as it's a long weekend due to Independence Day. It's a proper wild outdoor camp at the top which is also a spiritual place. Usually people drink a certain traditional drink and then hope to meet aliens. Was slightly to weird for me!

24 July 2017

After classes we went up to Churillos where we had an interesting ride up to another rio-imitating statue. It was similar to an Asian Tuk Tuk and I for sure wouldn't have gone on it without having a local with me! At some point I thought we were literally gonna slide down the steep mountain haha but it all worked out fine and the view from up there went to show how absolutely huge Lima is!

23 July 2017

Touch down in Lima! Spent the first day at my friend from uni's place which was super nice as I thought I wouldn't get to see her for 7 months :) although I haven't heard that many great things about Lima I'm positively surprised by what I saw the first night. Yesterday the second week of language school also started.

14 July 2017

A hike up Saint Lucia Hill which is a ruin on a hill in the middle of the city. We were a bit too early which is why the view was not that great yet but luckily that changed later 🙃
..luckily the sky brightened up on our hike up the Saint Cristobal hill. A rio-alike statue which in fact is virgin statue. The view from up there was stunning, though difficult to capture in photos! Even today they still hold ceremonies up in their amphitheater. As we spent the whole day there we were lucky to capture the sunset on the way down. On Monday language school starts: one week in Santiago and one week in Lima, so I'm super pumped about that! 😍

7 July 2017

A cold but sunny day full of flat viewings! Santiago seems to be quite a diverse city with cultural hidden corners but also busy business districts. Exciting times!

5 July 2017

Goodbye Europe! Touch down in Paris, soon on to the lovely 14,5hr flight.