Driving on Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Driving on Salar de Uyuni, optical illusion photo of Karin-Marijke full sized pushing the Land Cruiser mini-sizedHexagonal tiles of salt stretch to the horizon, hemmed in by bluish mountains. The crunching of salt crystals beneath my feet sounds like stepping on fresh snow. I’m encompassed by total silence in an otherworldly spectacle that is largely devoid of life.

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat and is situated in the southwest corner of Bolivia. The town of Uyuni, characterized by guesthouses, overpriced tourist joints and tour operators, is the place to organize a trip to this salt plain. Continue reading

Geocaching In Ecuador – Another Way of Slow Travel

Geocaching in the Netherlands (@Barbara-Ellen Vis)

Grandpa and grandkids found the treasure!

It is just one of these perfect days. The sky is blue, the sunrays are pleasantly warm. The heat is gone, the air is fresh and cool. Like one of those beautiful Indian Summer days. We decide to go geocaching and walk to Quito’s Parque Metropolitano. Most hills are covered with forest and soon I am following in Coen’s footsteps on a narrow trail winding among Eucalyptus trees. Around us people are hiking, mountain biking and even hugging trees. The energy is strong, people are happy, enjoying themselves. Continue reading

Slow Living – Inroads to Suriname

Having a Social Life in Suriname (©photocoen)You can travel; you can slow travel; you can stop for a while and stay in a place. We’ve done all three and each have their charms. What I miss about the first two is a social life. Sure, when you slow travel you have more opportunities to meet people than in ‘regular’ travel, and sometimes you do meet kindred spirits, but that is not the same thing as having a social life. Continue reading

How Can Birds Remind You of the Airlift in Berlin?

Fishermen in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador (©photocoen)I can’t remember the name of the book but it was a fiction novel about Germany right after the war. In high school, World War II had been a major topic in our history classes so I thought I knew quite a bit about it, yet when reading this novel a couple of years later, it was the first time I heard about the Airlift in Berlin. Continue reading

Trail Running in the Mist and Staying in the Present

Trail Running in Peru (©Guy van den Branden)When running, one of my pitfalls is focusing on how much farther I have to go. This can be killing because it often seems too far, which is so discouraging that I give up. The problem is that instead of staying in the present – and thus running right now and right here – the mental focus has shifted to the future.

Understanding this rationally doesn’t mean I’m apt at staying in the present. However, one morning when Coen, two friends and I set off in thick mist I simply couldn’t see how much farther I had to go, which gave a whole new dimension to covering our 10+ kilometers. I had fun!

Coen and I ran without our camera. Fortunately, Guy brought his and all photos in this blog post are his. Thanks Guy. Continue reading

Pousada Portal do Vento Along Brazil’s Kitesurfers’ Beach

At the end of a long day of exploring of Brazil’s beaches we meet the kitesurfers first. It’s late afternoon and Coen and I are in search of a place to spend the night. We drive onto Tatajuba Beach and see the sky filled with a dozen colorful kite sails: with windforce six the skillful kitesurfers put on a fantastic show of sailing at enormous speeds including spectacular jumps. 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

Skip the List and Enjoy

Vendor at Praia da Lua, a popular beach near Manaus.

We arrived in Manaus with a list of places I wanted to visit, but Providence ruled differently. In the past I might have had a fit. I had made a list, damn it, and we were going to stick to it. We had to visit these places. After all, wasn’t that what Manaus was about? The rubber boom, historic buildings, the Amazon Theater, parks with wildlife among which an endemic monkey, the Meeting of the Waters, the surrounding Amazon rainforest and indigenous villages? Continue reading

Dinner without Distractions

It is Saturday night, and it’s dinnertime.

We move two tables next to the swimming pool. Our hosts Leandro and Viviane set them with white tablecloths and light candles. For a second the night is about to go up in smoke as the cat discovers the fringes of the tablecloth – one table with candles and an open bottle of wine wobbles back and forth dangerously, but we manage to steady it in time. Continue reading