Hopping between Peru and Bolivia

With retirement, our travel is pretty casual.  Mostly, we spend a month in one place, then a few short trips or maybe a week in each place along our itinerary.  We learned about the long distance hop on / hop off experience in South Africa.  The reviews for PeruHop were positive and provided useful details.  The suggested itineraries allow for a thorough Peruvian experience in seven or eight days.  We ended up spending 14 days by stopping at every city for two or three days.  What an incredible two weeks.

Our trip consisted of eight different buses from Lima, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia.  For me it was the trip of a life time. Forty years ago, I was in Santos, Brazil planning a trip by train from Sao Paulo to Bolivia.  This had to be cancelled when my stomach aches required an immediate operation for appendicitis (sometime, I need to blog about our adventures getting sick on the road).   I was never able to schedule a journey to Bolivia until this trip.

There is so much variety and so much to see in Peru and later Bolivia that we ended up with a million photos.  All of them are fascinating.  I post one or two from each place attempting to show a variety of experience, not necessarily the most perfect photos.  A couple of notes: Links are provided to the Wikipedia explanations.  Second: I will use the word “Quechua” as opposed to “Inca” to refer to the Andean empire and culture of the 1400s to 1600s.

Tambo Colorado

Ruins of a 15th century city using Quechua and Chicha building techniques.

 

Paracas

The city is famous for its bay and beaches.  PeruHop includes a tour of the National Reserve highlighting the desert dunes and the natural cliffs along the coast. The natural reserve of the Ballestas Islands features sea lions, penguins and other natural diversity similar to the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

 

Huacachina

A historically, natural oasis famous for its sand dunes.  We hiked up to get a perspective of the city and watch the sunset.

 

Ica

Wine country in the middle of the desert.  The grape juice is distilled to make Pisco brandy.  There is a small natural history museum which has a few amazing artifacts from the early cultures discovered here.  There were quite a few visitors as it was free Sunday for Peruvians.  Nice to see the excitement of the children.  Sorry, no photographs allowed.

 

Nazca

Historically spelled Nazca, now officially Nasca is famous for the lines etched into the desert depicting animals and astrological markings. In 1996, the city was devastated by a 7.5 earthquake. Wife experienced her first earth tremor when a 5.5-6.0 earthquake occurred about 80 km away.

 

There are many interpretations of the Nasca Lines.  My theory is the that the straight ones were created to identify seasons when rain is likely.  The pictures are pranks made by teenagers tired of redrawing the straight lines in the desert one more time.

Arequipa

Our bus left Nazca at 7 PM arriving at 5 AM the next morning.  This was the only overnight we took. It was comfortable enough but it might have been interesting to see the curving roads from the coast.  This begins the real mountainous region with Arequipa at 2335 meters (7661 feet) above sea level.  Still desert climate, this marked the farthest south we went. There is a strong influence of Spain in the architecture. During the colonial period, Arequipa was one of the most loyal cities to Spain. Extinct (for now) volcanoes dominate the Northern skyline.

 

Puno

We left Arequipa at 6 AM heading toward Puno on the banks of Lake Titicaca. The air was thinner as we crossed the divide near Lagunillas at 4400 meters (14400 feet) and it began to getting colder. The Puno side of Lake Titicaca is famous for its floating islands made of stacked reeds in a crisscross method. The sensation is like walking across a marsh.

 

 

Copacabana

On the eastern shore of lake Titicaca, the village of Copacabana is dominated by the Basilica of our Lady of Copacabana.  The name may come from Quechu, “Kotakawana” the God of fertility who ruled in Lake Titicaca. The basilica is located on the site of the original temple. We arrived by BoliviaHop after getting our visas at the border.  For US citizens it’s complicated with copies of passport, itinerary, hotel reservations along with U$S 160. Since Wife and I have different last names, they weren’t sure about the hotel reservations that only mentioned a double room with only my name.

La Paz

We arrived to this amazing city at 10:30 at night.  Our adventure here will be covered in the next post.

2019-05-17 10.39
Our first day out

 

 

Lima: Walks and Ruins

Waiting for my passport pickup day (even though it was ready quickly, I had to wait for the day the Consulate assigned), we spent Catholic Holy Week and the week after in Lima. We watched our neighborhood processional. On other days we hiked over to Pre-Incan ruins, around parks, and down along the beaches on the Pacific.

 

The windsocks in the banner photo are used by Paragliders and Hang gliders at the Parapuerto (Paraglider Airport) of Miraflores.

 

 

 

 

Hot and cold, High and Low

From Lima we made an isosceles triangle trip, North to Iquitos, South to Cusco, with a side trip to Machu Picchu, then back to Lima. Peru is clearly a country of colors and contrasts.  The photos show some that we discovered.

Iquitos

At the junction of the Itaya, Nanay, and Amazon rivers, it is only reachable by boat or by air.

Cusco

The capitol of the Inca empire.  Its altitude of 3400 m (11200 ft) makes Cusco one of the top ten highest major cities in the world.  On my first visit many years ago, it was written Cuzco. Quechua versions of Qusqu are still used. Discoveries in the last ten years about the Killke culture made our walk to Saksaywaman ruins a worthwhile effort.

Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes

The restored ruins exhibit the skill of the artisans 600 hears ago. It’s called a Citadel but really functioned more as an Inca Lord’s estate. Machu Picchu was promoted as the lost city of the Incas.  Academics now believe Vilcabamba was the last sanctuary of the Inca emperors.  Aguas Calientes, the city at the base of Machu Picchu, was our base for exploring for three days.

 

Out of Pages in Peru

Nope, not lost in Lima.  Instead we will spend over a month in Peru.  Our plans require several visas which require passports to have 1 or 2 blank pages per visa.  With some stamp happy immigration officials in the last few years, I only have one page left.  We arrived on a Wednesday and I submitted my application on a Friday.  With the Good Friday holiday, it takes four weeks to get a new passport.  Our first week was orienting in Lima and Peru.  Later, I will post about our two week exploration of other sides of Peru.

For now, here are our first impressions of Lima.

Answer to previous trivia question:

Why does the Boca Juniors Stadium look like an IKEA Store?

Stadium and Supporters

From Wikipedia: “Legend has it that in 1906, Boca played Nottingham de Almagro. Both teams wore so similar shirts that the match was played to decide which team would get to keep it. Boca lost, and decided to adopt the colors of the flag of the first boat to sail into the port at La Boca. This proved to be a Swedish ship.”

After that Boca sported the Blue and Yellow of the Swedish Flag just like IKEA.

There are other legends but all end in Boca Juniors having to change their colors to the Blue and Yellow of the Swedish flag.