Recent Posts

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Useless facts...


Travelling of course gets you immune to being dirty.  But as my mum has always said :
- I can not believe you are my daughter, you are never, ever spotless; always messy.
 Which is true as most of you know, so for me nothing has really changed there. Apart from my phobia for hair in the bathroom is gone.


Was invented to be your saviour in most situations. Most of my stuff is now somehow fixed with it, I know it is not aesthetically pleasing to everyone, but Mr M, this is something I can not stop.


One thing I was worried about before travelling for this long was staying in hostels and how dirty some of them are. Well as I already have touched on this subject and as I am not sure how low my cleanliness criteria has become since I exclaimed after visiting a Mc D bano a few days ago: wow that was so clean, all I can say is: use earplugs and eye patch and you are fine.

A  friend of mine believe I have a great gift: I can fall asleep literally everywhere. This has helped me enormously , especially travelling through Argentina and Chile ,where I have been able to sleep on buses during the night and arrive at a new exciting spot in the morning. If you are one of the unlucky ones who turn the whole night in the comfortable "cama"  buses, well: you can add double the travel time it is written in Lonely Planet as you will need to catch up on sleep every other day, oops sorry.


Having met a few people during my trip who did not think twice about complaining about food, people, state of cleanliness: you name it, or just had a negative outlook on life overall has had the opposite effect on me: It made me promise myself to try my hardest to never fall into a bad mood habit during my trip and if for whatever reason I did: all I needed was to count my luck and I would be happy again and honestly it has worked. I can not remember when I last had any negative feelings. And that makes you feel good.


My mum just told me I looked healthy in one of the pictures I sent, I know what that meams. Last time she said that I had been living in LA for months and had gain so much weight I had gone up one clothes size. South American food is not the healthiest.

Judging people

On a serious note:
Before travelling, I thought I was one of those divine people who don't judge people just upon meeting them. Oh, how wrong I was. We all do! but somehow these months have taught me that I am the one who lose out by doing that, SO MUCH.  We all play the:  Oh," I am so interesting role" when we meet someone new and are only concerned by how we come across ourselves, so how can we rightly judge the other person when we can not even remember their name a minute after having been introduced. Yes,  I am exaggerating I know but the point I am trying to make is that I have met so many people whom I was not half interested to talk to, then met them again somewhere else and realized that person had once again challenged all my perceptions of what an interesting person look/talk/act like.


As most of you know, reading is a big part of who I am, and one of my still existing phobias is not having a book to fall asleep with.
Another one is not having enough information ie guide books of the place I am going to.

This can be a bit of a problem when you are carrying your whole life on your back:

Upon leaving Cusco I did not realize how many guidebooks/books I had amassed,  so when I got into the taxi, my back suddenly made an awful noise and I realized I was back to where I was a few months ago when I had the surfing incident. So being a very unlucky girl...hihi,  I have had to rely on lots of kind men to carry my oh still so heavy backpack.

Vino, vino and vino

Don't do a bike and wine tour around the beautiful Mendoza wine district and follow it up with a bus tour and a hike at the Aconcagua mountain (7000 metres) the next day. Just don't.

Toilet paper

Is worth more than gold in Bolivia, make sure that you bring lots across the border.


Will also mean a lot to you in Bolivia, believe me. But as you are usually on a high altitude there, the water boils at 85 C. This means that the "tea" will look and taste like dishwater, a good tip is to microwave it after brewing it.


Don't overestimate the quality of a fake North Face/Columbia/Mountain hard wear jacket.

Base layers were invented for a very good reason.


Is nearly all bad. I know of a few people who will disagree.
I have not watched any TV whatsoever for many months, and before leaving,  I did not watch much either for many months. Looking back at this period I realize how many hours of my life that I have saved to do some amazing things and tell me when was the last time you said that about your tv watching? wow that was an amazing tv watching night! But I admit that there are some really interesting tv shows, and great nature programs,  the problem is all the time wasted in between. Scary how quick time passes whilst watching that crap.

Flying the flag

During the rougher parts of my trip, in more extreme weather conditions etc I have noticed that the "advanced looking" travellers were mostly wearing Swedish labels! This really surprised me as I have always thought that clothes from more exotic locations like hm...Canada and US had to be best for outdoors activities. After some investigation and  asking travellers why they had chosen those labels they all answered that they were the best you could find, in the whole world! That they were always adviced to buy Swedish if they wanted the best quality but it was usually sold out in their respective countries.
Another thing I noticed during my trip was how many people I have met so many  raving about Sweden and Norway and trying to get me into the conversation. But embarrasingly I have had no comments as I only have seen 1/5 of my home country.... So I am planning to see the whole of my country geared up in Swedish quality!

Getting some affection

The chances are very slim of a south american animal having rabies, so make sure you get to know the locals, not only the humans. Unfortunately sometimes they have been a bit starved and will follow you until you leave the place, that can be a bit heartbreaking.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Chile- a perfect day

Wow, what an enjoyable shower I had upon arrival in San Pedro de Atacama after days and days in the desert. a A looong breakfast and then I headed out into the desert with a few friends on our rented horses. We rode to some Inca ruins, through villages, some oasis and along the desert canyons . Great start to the morning.

Then I had coffee with friends in a cafe outside and more and more people we knew joined us: That is the amazing thing about travelling on the gringo trail: most people are either heading north or south, and to the same places so you are bound to keep bumping into the same people.
 After lunch we relaxed in the hammocks in our beautiful hostel garden then late afternoon we joined a tour into the "Valee de la luna" to climb in the saltmines, watch some spectacular moon valley views and finish it off on top of a canyon watching the sunset.
 In the night we hooked up with some friends to travel back into the Atacama desert to use the amazing LLano de Chajnantor telescopes to view the stars and learn more about the southern star sky.
Jealous anyone?

My hostel

Mum I know I have promised you to always wear a helmet... Sorry


Taken by me with my camera, had to take two different pics though as I could not get the whole moon in.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Travels in a lawless country

Being stuck with 7 other peple in a jeep for a few days, as well as sleeping in the same room could test anyone's patience; but I laughed non-stop with my new-found friends as we travelled through the world´s wonder of Uyuni salt flats and the Bolivian desert. The landscape is too beautiful for words, so I will let the pictures describe the geysers, volcanoes, petrified forests, lagoons in all different colors  and the animals. It is one of those places where you have to pinch yourself constantly.

But being asked to get up at 5 in the morning only to discover that the driver was fast asleep as he was trying to recover from his alcohol consumption the night before did not really start the day off well. When he finally got it together he decided to take a quicker way through the desert, only for us to get stuck in 80 cm mud 15 mins into our second day.  The men of the group gave up straight away and started swearing; but somehow having someone swear in Irish seems to have the opposite effect and we all just burst out laughing.
 Me and the other female of the group took the situation in our own hands as we knew the men would be somewhat useless in solving the situation and the sun was getting warmer... so she headed out in the desert trying to find a car whilst I tried to find wood and stones to plug up the wheels with. When I got back to the car I realized that no, somehow the 4wd was not what it used to be before the car was sold to Bolivian land so we were actually travelling in the sand in a non-4wd. Great. The driver then told me that no, they did not have any rope in the car to use for towing. So I decided we cut off the safety belts to use for towing and by the time we were finished a car had come to our rescue.
When we picked up the somewhat tired german girl on the way from the mudland, she told us that the two cars she had stopped had refused to help. Apparently the area we were stuck in was a no-go area and all guides and drivers knew that. If a driver was stupid enough to try that way then he has to take care of the problem when it occurs himself.
In Bolivia everyone is out for themselves.

The nights were spent eating too small amounts of food for me and the 6"4 german, so we went to bed hungry ready for another competion of Itunes-guess which song/artist in the darkness of our bedroom.

      The world´s driest place where Nasa does experiments

A quick change of tyre...

Active volcanoe ( kept my distance)

         Salvador Dali country

In the cold

Hanging around La Paz waiting for the coca farmers to open up their blockade against: " we refuse to let the government control our coca farming" so that I could bike down the world's most dangerous road, we decided get on to a somewhat rickety- looking bus to go to some famous ruins outside of town. Only to find out that we had caught the wrong bus and this one was heading out for the andean mountains...
 As a Swede I realized that I had to let go of the well known saying that we are taught as children in kindergarden; (and stick to until we die) : "There are no bad weathers only bad clothing" and head out in the snowy mountain in my trainers which instantly of course got soaked.
Hiking for a few hours up the mountain over 5100 metres I was looking enviously at all the mountaineers in their top gear and thinking about my christmas list...

Needless to say that as we were sitting at the back of this bus and saw the driver still reversing whilst we had passed the edge of the mountain we decided to jump out of the bus asap which was :barefoot and hope to find a way to get down the mountain without our shoes and bags...


I decided to treat myself (£3) to a lovely hotel up on a hill overlooking Lake Titicaca in  the Bolivian town of Copacabana. Bolivia is a country full of extremes: it is among the coldest, warmest, windest, driest, saltiest and unfortunately poorest coutries on earth; the latest you notice immediately upon arrival when crossing the borders from Peru. Here the corrupt officers try to get some extra cash by demanding it from US citizens (apart from the $135 they have to pay).

I spent the day on magical Isola del Sol where somehow life seems to have stood still for this century. I hiked around the island with an Irish musician whom shares lots of the same interests and dreams so we had lots to talk about. On our way away from tranquility to La Paz we were told by the bus driver to get out of the bus to walk. Some people got out and then suddenly the bus started to move again. Before we knew it, we were on a wooden canoe inside the bus in the middle of the night whilst waves were rocking the bus like crazy. We all looked at each other with petrified eyes and since the door was automatic and could not be opened we opened all the windows ready to jump out.... What a day.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Lake Titicaca´s floating islands

Puno-Juliaca,-Julia-Puno-Juliac-Pun-uli-Pu-PUNO PUNO PUNO, the desperate voices of women at the bus depot in Arequipa selling tickets at 4 30 in the morning. Yes you read that right, travelling in South America is no trip to the beach a lot of the time. But it is so worth it. In fact that is part of the experience, being in dusty buses; with the locals, meeting other travellers suffering from altitude sickness and listening to their experiences and tips.

Finally I am by some water again, this time Lake Titicaca.. Getting on the boat it struck me how much I have missed being by the sea again. In Indonesia I got so used to have the sea on the door step that it has been weird to be away from it again. I love being in the mountains and being surrounded by them, knowing that I can try to conquer them if I want to , but having been brough up by the sea- I am always drawn to it and need it to feel completely myself. I am sure that people who were brought up by the mountains don´t feel whole unless they are by them.

                                                          Uro´s floating islands


Do you have those days when everwhere you look there is beauty? I definetely could not stop taking pictures in the small town Chivay, I will spare you having to look at all of them....

El condor pasa

Is there a more serene bird? It has problems flying as it is too heavy for its wings so it comes to Colca Canyon to take advantage of the thermal winds blowing through the canyon.( the world´s deepest)