Welcome to Marion and Alfred

CIMG2090We are traveling through South America with our motor-home since January 2011.  We visited Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. We love nature and we enjoyed many times pristine and remote places with abundant wildlife, for instance in cold Patagonia or hot Pantanal. Our passion are mountains, thus we stayed much time in the Andes and climbed up several high peaks like Mercedario, Huayna Potosi, Ojos de Salado and Volcan Parinacota. This webpage is organized in articles with many pictures and some hints like GPS coordinates of nice campsites for travelers and mountaineers.

Our idea is to travel from Patagonia to Alaska!Marion in the Atlantic Ocean

At the moment we are in beautiful Colombia. We plan to return to Ecuador beginning of April. End of April we want to fly back to Germany for some months to see our grandson Theo again.

Jumping Whale

We are happy about every comment, question and hint. Please feel free to subscribe our newsletter, to use our guest book, the email or comment functions in the articles. Of course we will answer as soon as possible, but it might happen that we have no Internet connection for some days.


to travel to Patagonia
   

Amazonia the second

Saturday, 08 March 2014 03:14

Leticia is exactly on the triangle border Brazil, Colombia and Peru. No street leads to the capital of the Colombian province Amazonas. Leticia is the southernmost town of Colombia and an important port city of the Amazon river. It is a bustling town of approximately 40,000 inhabitants more or less grown together with the Brazilian town Tabatinga. There are no real border between Brazil, Colombia and Peru on the other side of mighty Amazon, and it is possible to pass the virtual borders without passports, stamps or visas. The people living here are feeling like Amazon citizens and not Brazilians, Colombians or Peruvians. Most of them speak Spanish as well as Portuguese. Thanks to its remoteness the jungle in this region is relatively well preserved with huge trees, abundant wild life and some indigenous tribes.

Scorpion of the Amazon


When we came to the nice hostel La Jangada owned by the Swiss guy Herve, he convinced us to do a three days trip on Rio Yavari together with the German / Australian couple Anna and Duncan.

   

Bogota and Hacienda Guayabal

Friday, 28 February 2014 05:00

The capital of Colombia, Bogota is with more than 9 millions inhabitants one of the biggest metropolis in South America. It is located 2600 meters high on a plateau on foot of the Cordillera Oriental of the Andes nearly in the center of Colombia. Bogota has a wealthy face with fancy shopping malls but on its other side poverty is still a huge problem like homeless people sleeping on its streets and begging for some money or food. For tourists it is a relative pleasant city with interesting museums and the picturesque old town Candelaria. Bogota is famous of its wall paintings which can be seen almost everywhere. Some demonstrate critics and resistance to political injustices, exploitation of people or social evils.

Dangerous girl with dynamite in her hands

 

Before we came to Bogota we visited a coffee farm, a must to do in Colombia. Hacienda Guayabal close to Manziales was an excellent choice in a marvelous environment with lovely people. There was a little surprise when we came to the farm after struggling with a steep and narrow road.

   

Nevado del Tolima and Farallones de Cali

Saturday, 01 February 2014 21:52

Majestic Nevado del Tolima is with 5215 meters sea-level the second highest peak of the Cordillera Central in the middle of Colombia, a perfect volcanic cone adorned with a glacier on its top with enormous mass of ice and snow. Full mountain equipment like crampons or rope is essential to achieve the summit. Its access is relatively easy but very long because all possible useful starting points are low, around 2500 meters sea-level.

The most critical part to the summit of Nevado del Tolima

 

Between the Ecuadorian border and the Parque Nacional Los Nevados with Nevado Tolima are the Farallones de Cali, a wonderful mountain region close to the huge metropolis of Cali. They are part of the western Cordillera Occidental of Colombia with peaks up to approximately 4000 meters sea-level.

   

Pico Fuya Fuya and Laguna de Cuicocha

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 23:30

Pico Fuya Fuya is with 4286 meters sea-level the highest peak around Laguna Mojanda in northern Ecuador close to the famous village Otavalo. It is a popular 3 to 4 hours hike in a marvelous environment. Few kilometers North is the beautific Laguna Cuicocha with two islands. It is an outstanding dark lagoon in a collapsed volcanic crater. The 5 to 6 hours trail around the lake provides excellent views.

4939 meters high Volcan Cotacachi seen from Laguna Cuicocha


When we came to Ecuador on October 10th 2013 we were in a hurry because we were more than eager to see our first grandson Theo in Germany, just 2.5 months old.

   

Pacific Coast North of Lima

Friday, 01 November 2013 14:34

Southern Peru has Machu Picchu, Cusco and many other historical sites of the Incas but on the Pacific coast north of Lima are innumerable testimonies of ancient Peru, many still not detected or buried in the sand of the extreme dry Atacama desert which is a perfect conservation medium. The UNESCO world heritage site Caral is supposed to be one of oldest city on earth, founded 4500 to 5000 years ago. Other top highlights are the ruins of the pre Inca cultures Chavin, Moche, Sican and Chimu like Chan Chan the mightiest town of our world built with adobe, which we had visited in the year 1980.

Today there are huge cities like Trujillo or Chiclayo in the desert, where the sweet water from the glaciers of the Andes flows into the Pacific Ocean. Close are beautiful beaches, which are popular holiday destinations in the austral summer. The coast turns 90 degree on the most western point of the continent and the the impact of the cold Humboldt ocean current weakens. The landscape becomes more green and tropical the closer you come to Ecuador. The water temperature is pleasant and on the border are the only mangrove forests of Peru located. This region is very fruitful with many rice, bananas and sugarcane fields.

Peruvian family enjoying the beach of Zorritos

Approximately hundred kilometers Northwest of Lima is the incredible lush national park Reservas Nacional Lomas de Lachay, a true oasis in the dryest desert of our planet. The mist of the ocean is sticking so long on its crests that a rich fauna including raptors and flora with trees are able to exist. Lachay has a remote campground and superb hiking trails over and around its ridges. We were lucky because we spent a sunny day in Lachay, which is very rare.

   

Cordillera Huayhuash

Friday, 25 October 2013 12:42

The spectacular Cordillera Huayhuash lies few kilometers North of the famous Cordillera Blanca and its main city Huaraz. It is a relative small range with stunning pinnacles sugared with enormous mass of ice and snow. Nevado Yerupaja is with 6617 meters sea-level its tallest peak and the second highest mountain of both: Peru and the tropics. Like all other major peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash access to its summit is extremely difficult and dangerous. Even today some peaks are without any successful ascents for years.

North-east face of Nevado Yerupaja at sunrise

 

Thanks to the book and movie Touching the Void Cordillera Huayhuash became very popular in the last years: It shows the unbelievable story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates when they climbed up the south-west face of 6344 meters high Siula Grande in the year 1985. On the way down Joe Simpson broke his leg. His companion roped him down the steep, dangerous and difficult north-west ridge. Suddenly Joe Simpson hung under an overhang and he couldn't move. There was no more rope. Simon was standing in deep powder on the very steep ridge. The weight of Joe Simpson moved him slowly but constantly to the abyss. His only choice to survive was to cut the rope. Joe fell into an huge crevasse. Simon searched him desperately but couldn't find him. He returned to the camp and was sure that Joe didn't survive the crash but Joe found a way out of the crevasse through the glacier with his broken leg. After three days he came back totally exhausted to the camp in the night just before his companion wanted to leave.

Cordillera Huayhuash can be circled in a 10 days hike with many high cols (two more than 5000 meters sea-level), pristine lagoons and beautiful campsites. Only one little village is on its way - a lot of food and other stuff must be carried. Thus we searched for mules in Chiquian, the last bigger settlement on the western side of Cordillera Huayhuash and reachable via a decent paved road.

   

Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Lima

Monday, 07 October 2013 21:43

Ayacucho is supposed to be the second most attractive and fascinating town in the Peruvian Andes (after Cusco). Ayacucho, also called Huamanga by its 180,000 inhabitants, has a huge colonial inheritance with many beautiful churches and buildings. Andean life is very traditional and authentic because the tourism industry has neglected it more or less so far. The region of Ayacucho was the center of the Wari culture (700 - 1100 AD), which dominated the southern part of Peru between the city Chiclayo and lake Titicaca.

The name Ayacucho means corner of the death. It is located in a poor, rural and remote region. In the early 1980th the Maoist guerrilla organization Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) was founded here and a brutal civil war with Peru's military government broke out. More than 70,000 people were killed until 1992, mainly innocents in the villages of this region. The shadows of this terrible time are still visible and perceptible, for instance most of the elderly people are very shy or there are doors secured with eight heavy locks.

Wall of the sad Memorial Museum for the murdered people


We came to Ayacucho from Cusco on Saturday late afternoon, August 10th 2013. This street had been partially horrible because it was under construction. Two times we were nearly in detonations with huge falling rocks. Sometimes we had to pass awful deviations on narrow and steep rugged or muddy dirt roads. Like in most cities of South America there were high bumps every few meters on the street to prevent drivers from speeding. On a very high one our car gave a loud strange bang and the left top side moved down a little bit weirdly.

   

Amazonia

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 23:05

The grandiose river Amazon is with its uncountable tributaries with a length of more than 6000 kilometers the biggest river system and tropical rain forest on earth. The complete basin of Amazonia covers more than a third of South America. Besides exploitation, deforestation and environmental pollution wild life is abundant and biodiversity unique. Thus it is called the green lung of our planet. Amazonia is a remote, lush, green, hot, humid and wet area covered with rain jungle but with just few streets and settlements. Transportation on its rivers and by air is very often the only choice, for instance to Iquitos which is with more than 400,000 inhabitants the largest city in the Peruvian Amazonia. Indigenous life still exists with many legends, myths and priceless knowledge about the secrets of the rain forest.

Condor of Amazonia in the zoo of Pucallpa

Its main sources Rio Marañon and Rio Ucayali rise in the Peruvian Andes on its eastern slopes. Peru has a proportion of 12 percent of Amazonia. It covers more than 60 percent of Peru's size but less 10 percent of its people are living there. The Peruvian people call their Amazonia La Selva - virgin forest. After our car had gotten broken in Ayacucho we realized that we had to wait more than three weeks for spare parts from Germany. Thus we took light backpacks and traveled by public transportation into the Peruvian heart of Amazonica, which was an unforgettable stunning itinerary for us.

   

Cusco, Machu Picchu and Puno

Monday, 26 August 2013 19:12

Machu Picchu is probably the most famous tourist destination in South America. The mystic Inca site is located isolated on the eastern slope of the Andes in a marvelous and nearly tropical environment. Its buildings are in very good conditions. Thus life of the Incas can be imagined well besides thousands of visitors every day. In addition it shows the fabulous engineering and construction capabilities of the Incas.

Buildings of Machu Picchu with the only round shaped house

 

But Machu Picchu is not the only historical site of the Incas in southern Peru. Cusco was the navel and center of the Inca world. Today the city with more than 300,000 people is the major hub for tourists in Peru but also here you can feel former Inca life. Close to the town is the Inca fortress Saqsaywaman, on the way to Machu Picchu in the sacred valley are Ollantaytambo and Pisaq.

After crossing the Bolivian border we traveled along the western shore of lake Titicaca. The main city Puno is famous for its festivals and the floating islands on the lake Titicaca, established and inhabited by the indigenous Uro people. Nearby are Chullpas, large tomb towers put up by the pre Inca culture Colla for their important people. Later the Incas used and enhanced their Chullpas.

   

Ancohuma and Copacabana

Saturday, 10 August 2013 22:09

Ancohuma is with 6427 meters sea-level the tallest peak around the largest lake of Bolivia and Peru Lago Titicaca which is with 3810 meters sea-level the highest navigable lake on earth. It is a ice and snow castle and the second highest summit of the awesome mountain range Cordillera Real of the Bolivian Andes. Our dream was to achieve its top but we had bad conditions in the early morning like heavy snowfall, unusual high temperatures and groundless deep snow. Consequently we decided to turndown at 6256 sea-level below the last steep slopes. Especially we didn't want to accept the serious risk of avalanches. Nevertheless this trip was an outstanding nice experience for us.

Illampu and Ancohuma seen from lake Lago Titicaca

 

The tour to Ancohuma starts in Sorata, a pleasant and warm village on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Real at 2700 meters sea-level. After struggling with its narrow and steep streets we found the heavenly campsite Altai Oasis with wonderful people (GPS coordinates: S15 46.179 W68 39.306). Johny and Simon thank you so much for your extraordinary support and creating this marvelous place.

   

Cerro Austria

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 17:01

The marvelous Condoriri range of the Cordillera Real is close to La Paz nearby the village Estancia Tuni. It is named after its most striking mountain which looks like a Condor seeing from West. It is "just" about 5600 meters high but very difficult to access due to serious technical ice and rock climbing. West of the main peak is the much easier Cerro Austria (5328 meters sea-level) which provides stunning views to nearly the whole range of the Cordillera Real.

Cerro Condoriri with the head and its two wings

 

There are other nice trekking mountains in this area like Cerro Mulamania (4949 meters high) and Cerro Thipala (5045 meters sea-level). But before we came in this region we had crossed Bolivia from Tupiza to La Paz. Outstanding were the rocky mountains Cerros Kari Kari close to Potosi.

   

Page 1 of 7