Yesterday I arrived in the city Puno.
Puno is very famous for one of the highest lakes at 3810 meters high. We went on a tour to see the floating islands. Apparently also a famous tourist attraction. Our guide told us a lot of information about how the islands were made and what live is like. In total there are 87 floating islands on Titicaca lake.
We also got to enjoy a local snack, called Titicaca banana. It doesn’t really taste like anything haha.
At the end of the day we enjoyed some dinner with live music.
Today onwards to Cusco!
The last two days were amazing!
We signed up for a two-day Canyon Tour. Which meant that we got to see the world second deepest Canyon: Colca Canyon in Peru! At a nice 3270m deep, twice as deep as the famous Grand Canyon.
Colca Canyon is also the home of the Andean Condor. One of the largest flying animals in the world, with a wingspan of 3 meters. Unfortuantely they are an endangered species. They like the Colca Canyon because of the alltitude and because there are many foxes who like to leave little snacks for the voltures.
I actually saw 4 or 5 of these magical creatures. They were definitely too far away to a picture though. So you’ll just have to Google them if you’re interested. Especially from an aerial view they are very distinct and easily recognisable because of the ‘fingers’ at the end of the wings and the black&white colours.
Besides the nature we also got to experience culture on this tour. The first night we had dinner with live music and dance. Very interesting to see!
Ofcourse Sabrine and I joined them to show off our dance moves. Lucky for them we outstaged them for a duration of +/- 1 minute, since there is definitely not enough oxygen in the air for longer. At the end of the show I got to dress up in traditional clothing and joined them (once again) for a dance! Such a cool experience.
Have some trouble uploading pics. Will do that tomorrow!
The last few days I’ve been spending time in Arequipa. It is a pretty city and the second largest city in Peru. It is at 2300 meter high and surrounded by 7 volcanos.
We did a walking tour and saw some real live alpacas! Went to an alpaca exhibit where we learned about the animal, the wool and the proces from alpaca to sweater.
Yesterday we watched the sunset!
I’m writing this from the bus on our way to a two day Colca Canyon tour. Very exciting!
So today started with a calm walk around the oases. Checked out some cool birds!
In the afternoon we went on to the next town. But first a stop for the winevineyards of Ica, Peru. There we got a explanation about the wine making. Apparantly they have a super short fermentation periode because of the weather (always super hot) and they use terracotta instead of plastic or wood to fermate in.
We also got to do a tasting: wine and pisco. Pisco is a supposedly traditional Peruvian drink with 42% alcohol and it tasted horrible haha.
The destination of today was Nazca.
Nazca is a town known for the ‘Nazca lines’. The Nazca lines are written lines in the Nazca desert, most of them are just random lines but some of them are figures. Like animals or plants.
Unfortuan, it is unkown why or how these lines were created. There are a few theories but non of it is certain. The lines were supposedly created between 200 to 600 BCE and are still nicely preserved because the desert has only a few milimeters of rain per decade and there is mostly no wind, according to Wikipedia. It is super fascinated that the people that long ago already had means to mesure and create geometrical forms.
Guys, guys, guys!!
Today was the best day so far, definitely.
Arrived in Huacachina (waa-kaa-tsjie-na) today, it was so bloody hot. It is such a weird thing that Huacachina is an Oasis in the middle of the desert. There are basically three things to do in Huacachina: Dune buggying, sand boarding and drinking lots of alcohol. I’m not a big fan of the hird option but very excited about the first two.
I can tell you, dune buggying was the SHIT! It was very thrilling and exciting. It was basically like a rollercoaster. A lot of ups and downs with a ‘car’ straight out of the Mad Max films. Sitting upfront was definitely the most fun and the driver was doing all kinds of crazy routes for us. We were mostly doing 80 km/hours. I have no idea how high or steep the dunes were though.
The group existed of 9 people and the driver. Since we were al very exciting and yelling ‘vamos’ all the time he also picked out the most challenging dunes for us to slide of off. In my silly enthousiasm I offered to go second and missed some instructions which resulted in me rolling down the hill instead of sliding. Which was not as fun as I had imagined and mostly just painful. You should have seen my face, full of sand. I’m still getting it out of my nose and ears haha. Luckily, Sabrine got my tumble on video and it is the funniest thing ever.
After a few more dunes we went to see the sunset over the desert and oases, so beautiful.
As a cherry on top of today I actually had my first warm shower since the third of October! Which was an amazing timing because there was sand everywhere. I’m going to find sand in my nose and ears for a while probably.
Eventhough my back and legs will match the color of the ocean soon, it was totally worth it!
Today was finally the day that I went paragliding! I have to say, it is the best way to get a good view from above. Not the most thrilling expierence since it was very relaxed. You’re basically just sitting 400 meters up in the air, chilling out and talking to the instructor.
I actually got 2 jumps. At the first one the wind shifted right as we were running so we just went down within 2 minutes haha. The second time was better. The sun was out which meant the sand got warmer (warm wind = is going up) so we actually had to find a sperate spot to land in the shadow haha.
The pictures definitely don’t do the desert justice. It was soooo nice and quiet there. It might be my new favorite place anywhere. Super peaceful and you’ll just forget all your problems and worries once you’re there. Makes everything seem so small. I was also really amazed and impressed at all the details you can see in the sand. It has many, many colors and paterns made by the wind and sea.
We were supposed to join a tour of the National reserve (the desert) in the morning in Paracas but were late because of paragliding. So the instructors drove us to our first stop of the tour. We got to hangout and watch the view for about 30 minutes without other people around.
Eventually the tourbus came by and we could join in. Which meant sharing the beautiful with 50 other tourists, such a shame.
But we saw ‘the Cathedral’ which was a rock shaped like a gorilla. We also checked out the famous ‘red beach’. Which was gorgous. The sand, wind and water carved out this beautiful paterns in the rocks around the beach.
Day 12 was another travel day! Went from Lima to Paracas with two stops, one for breakfast and one for Chincha. When in Lima I kept forgetting that it actually is in the desert. When we were driving through there were a lot of ‘bad’ neighborhoods with unfinished houses and trash.
The breakfast place was really cute, it had a mini zoo with horses and a lot of guinea pigs, probably for food.
Chincha was a stop where I got to see some history of Peru. Apparently it used to be a place where the slaves lived, in very poor conditions unfortunately. It used to have three buildings and a church but in the 2001 earthquake most of it collapsed. Only the main building and the church are still standing. The main building is now a beautiful hotel though.
So now in Paracas, it is a beautiful coastal town in the middle of the desert. Which means it’s hot during the day and cold during the night. But atleast my hostel has a cat! When walking around, Sabrine and I got an entourage! Such cute doggies.
Today started off very relaxing. Sabrine and I met up at Kennedy Parc, which is full of (stray) cats and kittens.
We walked down to the beach and just watched the waves while chatting away. There is a sign on the beach warning you for tsunami’s, thanks sign, very useful.
After this we went up again, which was excruciating and long. We went our seperate ways for lunch and met up in the afternoon to walk down the art district: Barranco. We saw a nice church and went over the bridge where you make a wish and hold your breath untill you’ve walked over it. At the church we had a coconut-sugar snack, delicious but super heavy on the stomach.
In Barranco we went to a super cute store where they sold all kinds of stuff. Home decorations, clothing, pottery, jewelry etc. It was all crazy expensive haha but the clothing at least was made from 100% ‘royal baby alpaca wool’. Which means it was around 400 soles (€100,-). But oh so gorgeous.
In the back of the shop there was a really nice looking garden where you could have a drink and a snack.
We were a bit tired of walking so we got the bus back to the tourist district. Which was quite the expierence haha. Firstly, there is no indication where there are busstops or which bus stops where. Secondly, the bus ride itself was very bumpy and busy with a lot of yelling, honking and jumping on/off the bus.
So much fun to experience! Eventually we could sit and I swear the person in front of me could probably feel my knees pushed into their back.
Could’nt really get a good picture of the bus itself unfortunately. But it was a shift gear and the roads are terrible, so you can probably imagine.
We didn’t end up paragliding because we found out there is another spot in Peru where the view is probably much much better. So we’ll do that instead.
So yesterday was travel day!
There was only one option a day to travel from Curaçao to Lima, Peru. Which involved a 1 hour and 15 minutes transfer on Panama. Ofcourse, my plane was late and I had only 20 minutes untill the gate closes. Picture this: me speedwalking (with the occasional jog) through Panama Airport to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 and ofcourse the furthest gate: 204. I finally arrive and there are a 100 people still getting off the plane. I look around and everybody, inlcuding the cabin crew and pilots, were just hanging out as if they’ve been there for hours, waiting. Since it’s always insanely cold on airplanes but not in the airport, I was a sweaty mess.
We ended up leaving an hour later than expected. The trip itself was hell, major headache, crying and barfing kids. Luckily we did arrive on time and my luggage actually came through! Apparently there was also a flight from Amsterdam coming in so I met a bunch of Dutch peeps. So I traveled to the city with a Dutch woman named Josephine. We immediately found out that the city was crazy busy with lots if traffic as our bus randomly honked and almost hit a few cars while merging.
So today I did a quick tour around the neighborhood, bought a simcard wit 2GB of data for 6 euros and did groceries. So far Lima is grey, cloudy and not very pretty. Check it ouuuut!
Apparently it is rain season in Curaçao at the moment, meaning it is still 30 degrees outside but it also rains. The whole morning it rained. So I’ve just been hanging out at googling stuff about my next destination.
In the evening I had dinner at the restaurant of the hotel/hostel and I got to chat with the owner: Hans. I told him I actually didn’t see much of the island and he insisted on taking me on a tour. He also explaned to me there is no such thing as a private beach on the island. You’re allowed to hangout on the beach but if you want to use a chair of whatever you will have to pay.
We went to a lovely jazz café and talked about the neighborhoods (there even is an art district!), culture and architecture of Curaçao. Hans has lived all over the world and has been on the island for 15 years now. Also, he knows everyone haha!
Anyways, today was my last full day in Curaçao. Will miss this view.
Tomorrow: travel day. After that: new adventures!
I have some bad news, bad news, good news and bad news!
Firstly, There are demonstrations, strikes and road blocks with burning tires in multiple cities in Ecuador. If you want more information, please check out this article. Multiple people were arrested and the president moved the government away from the capital (Quito). Secondly, there are a lot of tourists trapped in the country since there is no public transportation and a lot of flights are canceled. You can probably guess that I’d rather not be one of them.
The good news is that I will spend the upcoming two months in Peru! I figuered, why not? Peru is huge so I don’t think it would be a problem spending more time there and I really like ‘slow’ travel. In my opinion, at least a month is needed to get to know the country and culture a little. I’m excited that I will be spending twice that amount of time in Peru. This decision leads to the last bad news, this shit is expeeeeensive. I’m now through 20% of my budget because I’m not getting any refund for canceling my flights to/from Ecuador unfortunately. And I had to buy a new ticket ofcourse. But you can’t put a price on safety!
In the meantime I’m just enjoying Curacao and the super warm weather. See here, the beautiful hotel in the dark!
Ok, now I’m going to the pool, byeeees.
Today was an event full day. Had a nice stroll around the neighborhood this morning, searching for a nice beach. Unfortunately all the good beaches are private and there was no way of sneaking in (I checked).
Came back to the hostel, drenched in sweat. It is seriously not even comparable to Dutch weather.
Gave me some cool pictures though. Check those out!
Saw some cute tropical birds. Not the best pictures because, well, they keep flying away. My dad informed me of the names, here they are (in Dutch).
Either Keerkringvogels or Fregatvogels
The rest of the day was spend at the pool. Which resulted in a lightly burned scalp?! How the hell. Isn’t that the exact reason I have a bunch of hairs on my head? To prevent this crap?! Tomorrow I’m buying a hat.
Bonus pic of the pool!
First 5 mosquite bites. Check.
First minor sunburn. Check.
You’d think someone would learn after 24 years but unfortuantely not.
Besides that it was a nice day. Did nothing significant and it was great.
I can now officially say I hate long flights. What a terror the last 9,5 hours were. Got a constant headache that won’t go away. Didn’t get any sleep ofcourse. I did start this blog, that’s something. And then I accidentally deleted it from my phone notes. Awesome!
Apart from the above I did watch a few movies and TV episodes, so I basically used those hours the same as I would at home hehe. But way less comfortable unfortunately. I was really impressed by the movies available, so much choice.
Luckily I survived and arrived at the hostel at 21:45 Dutch time and 15:45 local time. I am wrecked but trying very hard to stay awake.
So, my plan is to stay awake until 20:30-ish local time. Walked around the neighborhood, drank redbull and took an amazing semi-cold shower.
I am staying in a sort of ‘village’. With different accommodation types. It used to be an ice cream factory. So all the buildings have ice cream names like cornetto or split or waffle. Very fun!
I already love that Curaçao has so much color. It just looks like one giant rainbow. If I would paint the outside of my house it would probably be blue. Or yellow.
Okay, two more hours to go untill that sweet, sweet sleep. I will post this but will text you all tomorrow so you can check it out. Since I don’t want to wake you!
Almost forgot: Can you help me out with thinking of a name for my travel companion? I had 9,5 hours and could not come up with a good name. I think it’s a kangaroo but I’m not sure haha. Let’s hear some suggestions y’all.
Pic of the little rascal:
I made it back home safely! I just want to thank you for taking the time to read about my experiences. This trip was exactly what I needed and it gave me so much. I figuered a lot out about myself and what I want for my future.
For now I will go back to working for a while until I have enough funds to go on another trip, hopefully outside of Europe! I am ready for a new challenge, a work related challenge. I am sure my love for travel will never go away and I’m sure that ‘itch’ won’t either. So when the time for a new journey comes I might do another blog, this was much more fun than I imagined it to be. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Here are some ‘End of the Game’ statistics:
- Driven through 12 countries in Europe
- Best hotel: In Greece, hotel Nevros next to the lake and with cute puppies
- Worst hotel: In Serbia on the drive to Greece, so gross
- Best to see in Greece: Meteora and its monasteries
- Best to see in Croatia: Plitvic national park, for sure!
- Things I lost:
Shampoo, conditioner and body wash
2 silver rings
2 cups of yoghurt
- Things I broke:
- Thing that suprisingly did not break: Car!
- Longest drive: From Serbia to Croatia, around 9 hours
- Shortest drive: To the supermarket when raining, probably 5 minutes
- What I also wanted to do but did not get to in Greece:
- What I also wanted to do but did not get to in Croatia:
- Most stressful moment: Trying to parallel park on a hill or driving in the mountains.
Until next time, αντίο, pozdrav, tschüss, bye!
Today I drove through Germany! But I did not make it without a 15 minute nap in the car. Can’t believe tomorrow I have to get back to normal, weird. Adjustment will be hard.
Hope you all had a good Sunday.
Today I begun the long drive back home. It started with a hard wake up, I got used to sleeping in. Then an hour long drive through the country sight of Croatia and Slovenia. Not sure why my navigation did that, I need a ‘prefer mostly high ways’ function!
When I finally got to the highway in Slovenia, I needed to buy a vignet as soon as possible. Unfortunately it’s not available everywhere. Let’s hope I was on time because it was only a few more kilometers to the border of Austria by then. We will notice in a few weeks if I get a huge fine or not. Great.
Austria itself was pretty easy to drive, nothing special happened. I did notice it was getting busier and busier. Wasn’t used to that anymore but I’m sure I will adjust very fast.
Anyways, I made it to Germany in one piece. I was just in time before dark and saw the sun set behind the mountains. With fog going over the fields, it was gorgeous.
Tomorrow another long drive ahead. Going to sleep very early.
Hope you had a good day!
Yesterday was the last day in Zagreb and ‘officially’ the last day of the journey. I used it to roam around the city and see some more cool buildings and shop a little. Since it was freezing the whole day (yes also in daylight, help!) I might have been more inside than outside. In the afternoon I had some drinks with Jordan and his fiance Ivana. They are moving from Zagreb to Berlin today! So a very exciting time indeed.
The Christmas spirit is already here in Zagreb! Today they officially open the Christmas markets around the city. Zagreb is known for winning the best Christmas market in Europe, three years in a row now (beating Germany!).
I also got to eat a nice Croatian sweet pastery today. It is called Stanigica malina vanilija which translates to a Raspberry and vanilla pastery.
So today I will be heading back to the Netherlands! Driving through Slovenia and Austria today, straight to Germany. I have a long drive ahead of me.
Hope you all have a good weekend!
Yesterday I drove from Pula to Zagreb. It wasn’t the best weather so it took some time. The wind was so powerful that I couldn’t go full speed on the highway. The clouds above were definitely going faster than I was.
But I made it safe and sound. The Airbnb has a great location. And I finally have more warm water than for just 4 minutes, win!
Today I started the day with a free walking tour. It was, as they always are, very interesting. I saw all the big sights and got a lot of cool stories and legends about (the history of) Zagreb.
For example, Zagreb used to exist out of two villages on top of those hills. One village was the ‘normal’ people and one village was the ‘rich’ and religious people. In the end the villages grew and were merged into one big city. The remains of this are very clear all over the city. You still have an uppertown and downtown (literally) and there are old parts of the city walls visible.
The name Zagreb stems from a time when the water source dried up. Some random bloke put his sword into the ground out of anger and frustration, he luckily hit a new water source. The villagers built a well and were able to scoop up water again. Apparently the Croation word for ‘scooping up’ is similar (a rough translation) of the word Zagreb.
The Zagreb Cathedral
Fun fact: these chandeliers are from a casino in Las Vegas.
The next picture has a story as well. This used to be a watch tower next to the gate of the walls from the upper town. Now it serves for something else. When the towns merged there were many churches that would ring there bells whenever they thought it was time. To coordinate the bells they figured, let’s make one loud noise and after that all the bells can ring. So they placed a canon inside the watch tower. This now goes off every day at noon. I actually captured it on video and below is a sceenshot. The noise of that canon is crazy! Really freaking loud, as you would imagine. Simultaneously, I think I found my new dream job. Joking aside, this canon guy always opens the window and waves at the crowd below. Every. Day.
Unfortunately I already stopped filming by then but if you want to look it up, the canon has its own Facebook page. Every day at noon it posts ‘Boom’. How awesome is that!
If you zoom in, you can spot the canon in the first picture.
I hope you all had a wonderful day.