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July 2005

Sunday 3 July                   Ushuaia

Oops, my first big mistake. I trusted someone... I shouldn’t have.

Actually I ended up at 3 o’clock at night on the streets of Punta Arenas, after making somebody clear that I did not appreciate being lied to, being made false promises, etc... somebody had wrong intentions and it was better for me to get to a hostel ASAP.

So Antonio wasn’t what he intended to be.

And I felt hurt, just because I thought it was true and real and also I invested some ideas and time and energy in his house/boat/dog. I had a nice time dough, shouldn’t put it all into the same perspective, because I healed the little puppy dog he had, being sick, fell in love with me when he saw me (the puppy) and visa versa. So that was a very good thing. I also met some very interesting people and went for a trip to a former ghost town. Puerto Porvenir, Tierra Del Fuego, Chile. A nice boat trip up there, a couple of hours walking around in that little town on the other side of the Magellan Straight. Strange how the people are different when living in such isolated locations, but still very friendly and sweet!

Like this, I just left Punta Arena and wished I had done that a while before, because the place I am visiting right now, is just amazingly beautiful again... another surreal environment! Ushuaia, the end of the world, Argentina... much nicer and more to do than in Punta.

Today I went hiking in the Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Ice walking, so much snow and Ice...but so beautiful. Not that cold as I thought it would be... really ‘presioso’

It took me about 12 hours to come to Ushuaia with the bus. Probably will go for one day skiing, and one day more to see something else... and have to go back to Punta from where I will visit, Torres Del Paine and than fly back to Santiago... on Friday the 8th, a change of plans but just a small change.

I guess Punta Arenas is just not that promising as I thought, and I feel like seeing more anyway!

It is good to learn from the right beginning that you can’t trust anybody down here... to be really careful.

I will and will be very careful, but I’m going to explore, that’s for sure.

Monday 11th July               SANTIAGO


Santiago, with a cold… fine weather, different place.

Hello all, I’m half way up Chile by now. A big city, crazy traffic and impressive buildings.

I’ve been traveling quickly lately, probably to take as much as I could before flying up here.

I had a wonderful time in Ushuaia. This place is beautiful and has a great atmosphere. The Hostel I was staying at was super nice (Hostel Antarctica).

I went for a day skiing at Cerro Castor in Ushuaia, had lot’s of fun. Almost no people around, excellent snow and nice slopes, so what more do I want? The cold wasn’t even that bad. I would have thought I was going to have a hard time so close to the South Pole, but actually the cold isn’t bad at all. During the day it was around 5, at night dough it went below -5. But I was sage and sound in my very hot Dorm room with nice people around me. My third and last day in Ushuaia I spent hiking through the centre and around the city, to get a good taste of it. Who doesn’t want to settle in a place like this? Pretty special such a city growing in between those beautiful mountains. You can go skiing whenever for 20$ a day all in, take a boat to the Sea Lions, hike in one of the most amazing National Parks. Argentina sounds great and I already know I have to come back here as well…


One full day it takes with the bus to go back to Punta Arenas (Back to Chile), Another bus from about 3 to 4 hours strait through to Puerto Natales, from where I went to visit Torres Del Paine. One of the famous places in Chile.

I don’t wonder why anymore, because I’ve seen it. A National Park with Guanaco’s, Puma’s, Condors… I saw them all except for the Puma’s… L

Fluorescent blue glaciers floating in A Grey Lake, a mountain range with an unbelievable formation, still growing towers of 2800 m high were rising up like that.

An amazing place, wish I had more time to spend here, now that nobody’s around. I was told all the trails were closed, but they weren’t. Nevertheless I had a super day, with 5 other backpackers in a mini-bus and a cool guide. We went to skate (shoes, no skates) on the frozen lakes, take close up’s from the condors and see the waterfalls. Just great!

The same night I had to go back to Punta Arenas, because I had a plane to catch the next morning.

It took me about 5 hours to get back, because all streets were frozen, the bus had to stop a lot of times to make sure the chains were holding. Luckily this time I took a Good bus company, because some of the others I took were just mad. They drove about 90km/h on snow and ice, with a view of no more than 2 m, because there windows were frozen???? It’s very impressive to see how these people dare to drive on these types of roads. For example those in Ushuaia were all covered in snow and ice, without chains cars and buses just cruise around.

At 2 o’clock in the morning I arrived in Punta, at 6 they came to pick me up for the airport, so I had about 4 hours to organize and get a bit of rest.

I arrived tired in Santiago and I guess that’s why I got a bad cold now. It’s my first time to get sick in this trip. Nothing really bad, but still unfavorable.


I’m a lucky girl with an uncle like mine, Paul. He arranged some friends (Juan Pablo Castro and Sebastian Allende) of his here in Santiago to pick me up on the airport, get me to the office Juan Pablo, where the third box was send to, call me a taxi to drop me of at Sebastian’s house, where I could stay for the weekend, super spoiled weekend and guided through Santiago City… Thank you so much all of you!


Sebastian has a sweet family, Fernandez, his wife, Tatan (3 year old sun), Amelia and Maria (1 year old twin) and two maids. Having a maid is usual in Chile.  Little baby girls also don’t leave the hospital without earrings after being born. Schools only take ½ days, etc… Fernanda is 6 months pregnant of her 4th child. She’s a ballerina and oh so nice! Sebastian took me around in Santiago and we went to visit a museum and everything. He gave me some recommendations about the North of Chile and they just helped me out perfectly!


Today I’m heading on to the North. I’m going faster as planned because of a special happening next weekend in La Tirana. There is a kind of carnival happening, which is quite unique for Chile. Chile is the most down to earth country in South America I think, less dancing, less music, no specific type of Cuisine or anything. There history with Pinochet caused this. That’s why this kind of celebration is unique. This place has been more influenced by Peru and Bolivia than Chile. There is going to be dances with masks and decorations of dragons and more. It’s all about the virgin’s offer and all the people ask her for a favor and will do something in return… (will tell you more when I’ve seen it).

Anyway, today I take a bus to San Pedro de Atacama, which will take me 23 hours. Haha

But I will arrive in the desert, to change the environment once more… beyond the Moon valley lie the well known salt lakes, the desert, with volcanoes in the background.

It’s something unique, so … let’s go!



Tuesday 19 th of July                                  Arica


My last couple of days in Chile, I’m in Arica now, which is just an hour from Peru.

I had a great time travelling up North.

San Pedro de Atacama is one of my favourite places in Chile. It is unique in it’s form because of the way the buildings are made and by law the materials used for building can only exist out of a mixture of sand/water/flower/sort of plant material/a bit of cement… which makes it look like all the houses are a kind of shelter, perfectly corresponding with the desert around, most of the seats and tables are also made out of this mixture.

In the background of this little village you can find the impressive skyline of the Andes, including some huge volcanoes. When you try to observe the scenery, it looks fake, that different. People in San Pedro are different than in the other parts I’ve visited, they are a little closed up (locals) because this place is an invasion of tourists and I think the location is only getting more famous with the day. The local people don’t appreciate it completely but the little town flourishes because of it. It has his reasons; Valle de la Luna, which a moonlike landscaped valley, with dunes and the great Salt lake of Atacama behind it. Me and to French guys I met on the bus went at sunset time, which gave the surroundings just unimaginable colours.

The day after I went on a day-tour-trip to the Salar of Atacama itself and laguna Chaxa in Reserva Nacional ‘Los Flamencos’. I saw loads of flamingo’s, a surreal plane with salt-rock formations, unique thing to see really. The same day we drove up to Laguna’s Miscanti Y Miniques, which are volcanoes of about 5700m high. The lagoon’s lie in between these volcanoes and provide the whole area of water, by underground streams.

Sacred for the locals, because without these lagoon’s there would be absolutely no water in these little towns. Even now they cut of the water supplies at 9pm and at 6 in the morning you’ll have water again. Electricity similar, you’ll have to take a torch to the town centre of you’re planning to stay late. I loved it, it was just typical and that’s what I was looking for.  

We visited some other little ‘pueblo’s’ (towns) in the middle of the desert and looked up a part of the Inca trail, which goes through the whole of Chile, from North to South.  An amazing day, full of discoveries.

The same night I took a bus to Iquique, to make it for La Tirana, the festival I was advised to go and see. Friday was supposed to be the most important night and Saturday the actual ceremony of the Virgin took place.

I arrived early Friday morning, had to wait for my hotel room until midday, and so took advantage of exploring Iquique, which is actually a nice place. This city was the most important economical place in Chile before (1870-1930), because of the Saltpetre deposits, which were in those times the world leading provisions of this fertilizer.

Typical Western looking houses and buildings make up some of the streets, huge beaches with wild waves from the Pacific Ocean. Days are very hot and nights are pretty cold.

The reception guy was going to La Tirana that afternoon, with some friends so I was happy to ask if I could join them. Preferably locals to show me what it all means and what it is about exactly. I had a great time and was safe from harm of wrong encounters.

Meat local families and had the best spot on a balcony around the church plaza to admire all these people dancing and playing music. More than 50 groups pf people form a band, every group has it own costume and rhythm. They are all playing and dancing at the same time, parallel in between the 1000 of people that come to see the happening.

The celebration concerns the Virgin of Carmen, which is believed to fulfil wishes and protect your soul. Around this time people ask the virgin for help, a favour or protection and demonstrate a sacrificing in stead.

A very religious event where people are wearing incredible masks full of pure colours. At night these masks were filled with little lights. The whole place is filled with little market stands and visitors. Normally this village contains like 600 people, now 80.000 people were celebrating. It was worthwhile!

After La Tirana, I went for another tour in the neighbourhood, because this place is surrounded with ghost towns, places where people used to live in a community and all left, leaving behind typical western looking towns now protected by UNESCO.

The giant of Atacama and the Pintados were also included in the tour. Huge hieroglyphs conserved in the desert dunes, dating from the Inca times. I find it very impressive! A sign of deep believes and desire for rain or a sacrifice for their god.

Now in Arica I will go to Lauca National Park. My last tour in Chili for now, I will take a train to Peru the day after tomorrow for a little more than 1Euro.




Wednesday 27th July 2005                        PUNO (PERU)


Hi all, Things are great!

The National Park Lauca and Chungara lake were just breathtaking… we had a great tour all day long and saw some incredible things… We drove from sea level up to 4500m, again up and down. It is noticeable that the air and general feeling changes in such different altitudes. Less nice was that one girl got sick in the bus because of the altitude. You have to take care if you want to do trips like this, like no red meat, not to heavy food, no alcohol, etc…

Nevertheless it was an amazing trip, with the most beautiful little towns in the middle of emptiness, volcanoes, and lagoon’s. Chungara lake is a beautiful lake at 4500m high (the highest lake in the world) and surrounded by volcanoes and impressive mountain ranges. We visited Putre and other small villages, with typical churches and small houses.


Than I met up with Santiago, a nice poet that works in a travel agency. As I’m traveling without a guide (which is quit an adventure if you’re not sure where you’re going) I often walk into these places to get some information. He helped me out big times, sharing me information of places and tours in Peru, with a nice discount.

An ‘amaretto sour’(njamnjam) to close of my last evening in Chile.


The next day I took the train ( well it was just 1 little wagon filled up with people) to Peru. What a nice trip… I found out afterwards reading someone else’s lonely planet, that only the very adventurous travelers go that way to Peru… It was fun, again the only tourist on that train, with beautiful views and good conversations. It took about 1.5 hours.

Once in Tachna, I booked a Bus to Arequipa. I only spent a couple of hours in Tachna, the only interesting thing in Tachna are the duty free markets. I had a look there just to find out if buying another compact flash card (digital camera) would be beneficial, but didn’t buy anything in the end.

Arequipa was a delight.

The drive up to here was already making me smile… Peru is just amazing. Chile is very beautiful, but for my eyes Peru is the end. Arequipa is a big city at the foot of Volcano Misty. 750.000 people, a pretty Plaza de armas and the haven to start a trekking into the famous Colca Canyon. I booked the 3 day trekking straight away and left 5.45 the next morning…

Maybe I shouldn’t talk about this because it is just to much. Colca Canyon is the 2nd deepest  in the world and you have the most beautiful panorama’s of Peru an mountain ranges, filled with terraces, small villages and an Oasis!

First day we walked down the valley and spent the night in one of these little villages in bamboo huts with candles. The next day we walked through the valley… through some of the other villages to see how they live and survive… and at 1pm we arrived at the Oasis, where we could stay until the next day. This place was like heaven on earth. In the dry (but beautiful) valley, lays a green tropical oasis, with hot water pools nourished from the mountains.

The next night we departed at 2.30 in the morning, up the valley… climbing during 3 hours, we had an altitude difference of 1,2km… we walked that early first of all to escape the heat but also to go to the Cruz Del Condor… a place were many condors start circling around the deepest valley on earth, really beautiful. The bus ride from the town of breakfast towards this Condor valley we were accompanied by 30 typical ladies, dressed in the most typical way, going there to sell the souvenirs and postcards. The bus was more than full if you know what I mean, but we made it.

The 3 day trekking was closed of by an extraordinary visit to the thermal pools. Pools with water as hot as 40 degrees Celsius. To relax the well used legs and shoulders we could stay in those pools for 2 hours… I could have stayed for 2 days.

I meat some great people on this trek, we were in total with 10 (guide included). Matt, Alex and Caroline were three of them and we stacked together back in Arequipa.  Caroline and I shared a room, and the two brothers as well.

The next day we went for a horse trek into the valley’s around the center of Arequipa.. which was great.

The day after The brothers and I had a bus trip to Puno, the village next to TITICACA lake 3500m high.

That’s were I am right now. Tomorrow is the National Independence day of Peru and thanks to Santiago I have a 2 day trip for a very nice prize to the Islands on Titicaca lake.

Where we’re going to spent the night with local families…

Will tell you all about it when I get back…

Important notice; I feel great!

Here in Puno I’ve been able to witness little kids performing dances in the most beautiful costumes, walk around and taste some great traditional trout from the lake.