Why we Love the Lake District in Argentina

Lake District in Argentina, the blue lago Alumine surrounded by Andean MountainsI follow a winding trail along the slopes, which demands a bit of clambering over slippery rocks. I pick another handful of those juicy blackberries along the path, which constitute my breakfast. At a stream, I strip and lower myself into one of the shallow pools sheltered by rocks. Water of 100º degrees (40 degrees Celsius) flows down my shoulders, which is bliss in the crisp temperatures of dawn. Continue reading

Forms of Public Transportation in La Paz, Bolivia

I love exploring villages, towns and cities on foot. In South America, La Paz is one of my favorite destinations, which center is a hive of activity but still has the amiable feel of a town. I lived there with great pleasure for some six months.

However, going on foot is not a matter of course as streets are steep and at an altitude of 3800 meters it is easy to get out of breath. Taking a taxi or bus is a cheap and often easy way to move around. Continue reading

Camping in an Ocean of White

Salar de Uyuni, in southwest Bolivia, is a vast ocean of white of 130 by 90 kilometers surrounded by the Andes Mountains – it is said to be the largest salt flat in the world containing some 10 billion tons of salt. At the entrance are series of salt pyramids that have been scraped together from the surface and are ready to be transported to the nearby village of Colchani.

Wherever we look we see white. It looks like a world of fresh snow which has not yet been disturbed by footsteps. Continue reading

The Rewards of Rough Camping

I lean backward, balancing my body on my tailbone, holding my hands under my 45-degree-bent knees. With my feet just reaching the surface I can perfectly balance myself in the river, sitting on the laterite road. According to our GPS the river should run 1.8 kilometers from here! However, it is rainy season and the river has flooded vast stretches of the countryside, including the road. Continue reading

An Act of Kindness (Day 6): Pointing Out a Short-Cut

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there ~George Harrison

This is day 6 in the 30-day series “An Act of Kindness by a Stranger. Our journey through Bolivia’s Jesuit history is pleasantly interrupted by seeing some wonders of nature.

In the Jesuit Mission of Santa Ana we take a look at the map and conclude we will have to return to the mission of San Rafael in order to be able to reach San Miguel. While we are discussing this, Flora, the caretaker of Santa Ana’s Jesuit Mission, chimes in and says there is another road which, in fact, is a short cut. Continue reading

Allowing a Place to Unfold

“I have some chicken on skewers left. Would you like one?” Marcel asked.

I looked at Coen; we just had noodle soup for dinner and aren’t hungry.

“With peanut sauce,” Marcel’s wife Sandra added with a smile.

Coen was lost: this guy lives for peanut sauce. The chicken, succulent thanks to a marinade, and peanut sauce came with a beer. We had already fallen for the charm of Pousada (guesthouse) Portal do Vento on arrival, but now we wanted to stay. Continue reading

How Much Stuff Do We Need? It’s Christmas Time

Instead of buying dead butterflies, why not go for a walk to admire fluttering butterflies in nature?

In North America only 1% of the purchases lasts longer than six months, says the narrator on the excellent movie about the Story of Stuff. That’s a depressing thought, and one day I am confronted with this madness of buying, largely on impulse, when we need to replace an oscillating fan in the Land Cruiser. Continue reading