Bolivian Adventures ๐Ÿ˜Š

Hola amigos!

Comรณ estan? Todo bien? Comรณ esta la vida in Holanda? Aquรญ todo es muy muy bien ๐Ÿ˜ mi Espaรฑol es mucho mejor ahora y me encanta hablo la idioma.

Okay, enough Spanish writing for now! I’m curious how many of you understand what I just wrote, haha ๐Ÿ˜‰ But first.. let’s go back to where I was with my last post. Just coming back from an incredible adventure in the Amazon of Peru ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿœ, Gin & me making our way to Bolivia. Be prepared, this post is quite a long one again ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was a long journey, all the way from the Amazon to the border of Bolivia and even further. The nightbus we had to get there was a bit crappy.. Not as luxurious as the ones we had before unfortunately, but it was cheap so we booked the VIP seats this time ๐Ÿ˜Š a bit more comfy. These kind of busrides are for me nothing special anymore, 10hrs in a bus, movies/series on my tablet, music, sleeping mask and go! It still amazes me that before I went to travel I thought that going from Hilversum to Leeuwarden was far.. Now I laugh at distances like this ๐Ÿ˜‚ Do we really understand what distance is in Holland? I don’t think so ๐Ÿ˜… The next morning we arrived close to the border of Peru-Bolivia. We had to change buses at another smaller terminal. Luckily the next mini bus to the border was almost full so was taking off shortly. Thats how the mini buses mostly go here in South America, waiting till they are full. Sometimes you wait quite a while.. In the mini bus we were talking with some nice Peruvians. A great way for Ginger to practice her Spanish! I helped her in most of the situations, but sometimes I just left her dealing with it by herself so she learns more, ghehe. Thats basically how I learned it as well, JUST DO IT! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Finally we crossed the border, which was super quick btw and we made our way further to Copacabana. This town is a bit of a hippie village and is located at Lake Titicaca, the highest massive lake in the world. Also a very important place for the Inka’s. So within 1.5 days we were from the Amazon back into the mountains at 3800m next to a beautiful lake. It keeps on being impressive for me how quickly the landscapes and surroundings are changing in my adventure here ๐Ÿ˜Š Immediately you can feel a bit of difference of culture in Bolivia. This country is one of the poorest in the whole of South America, people aren’t as friendly as I experienced in Peru. There is no possibility of negotiating prices. “You just pay what I say you have to pay or you f*ck off” Thats basically their attitude there.. ๐Ÿ˜• Everything is super cheap already, but you pay the Tourist price as you’re white eventhough you know that it is normally cheaper. To situations like this I always have to adjust a bit. Now I wasn’t alone as I had Ginger with me and that made the adjusting a bit easier and faster โ˜บ The first thing we did when we arrived there was going to the lavandaria and getting our dirty Amazon clothes washed! Gosh, what a smell ๐Ÿ™ˆ Ginger was wearing all the days there a white shirt with long sleeves to protect herself from the mosquitos. However, that shirt was not white anymore at the end of our 3 jungle days.. After a good wash with bleech it still looked like it wasn’t washed at all ๐Ÿ˜… haha. Blegh! Ready for the trash bin..
One tour very famous to do at Lake Titicaca is to visit one of the islands, Isla del Sol is the big one. We agreed to stay 1 night in the north of the island and then the next day walk to the south so we could take the boat back from there to Copacabana. In the morning we had to run for the boat as I was a bit behind schedule. I just found out that there was an hour difference between Peru & Bolivia.. ๐Ÿ˜… So when Ginger’s alarm went off I ignored it as I didn’t think it was that late already ๐Ÿ™ˆ Well.. we catched the boat on time as nothing runs exactly as scheduled here in South America ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lucky me! As soon as we arrived on the island it was a bit shitty weather and kind of death. Very peaceful I would say, but Ginger got almost a panic attack because of the emptyness and quietness ๐Ÿ˜‚ She just can’t deal with places like this. She hates it! Me on the other hand loooooved it!! The weather was getting better already. Finally no traffic, just nature, a beautiful lake, peace and stillness ๐Ÿ˜โค Exactly what I needed.. So, we decided after a cup of tea that we would split up and I stay the night on the island as we planned and Ginger would make her way down south on her own so she could catch the boat back to the mainland.

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I fully embraced my moment alone.. I was so happy! ๐Ÿ˜„ I really love traveling with Ginger, we had so much fun and everything went super smoothly together, but I experienced that the traveling Nadine I was before she came to visit me, was a bit gone.. I wasn’t as concious anymore of myself which I was a lot when I was traveling alone. Our rythm of traveling was also so different from what I do when I’m alone. Then I take everything super slow and listen to my body what it needs. So this unplanned moment of being alone was for me a great way to take a step back, reflect, write and come closer to myself again ๐Ÿ˜Š The next day when I started my walk to the south I was at one point accompanied with a lovely dog! She was so nice and sweet. Waited for me and showed me the way, my private guide ๐Ÿ˜‰ If I could, I would have taken her with me, but unfortunately our paths were splitting up again.. One interesting experience what happened to me after I arrived in the south of the island and had some lunch, I took the wrong route to the boat. I was so happy with my surrounding, enjoying the moment, that I totally forgot to look where I was going ๐Ÿ˜… I walked all the way down and asked somebody if there were boats going from here.. No seรฑorita, you need to be on the other side of the mountain. Shit!! I agreed with Gin to come back in the afternoon so we were able to go to La Paz that night. The man offered me a private ride for more money then I hoped for so I could still catch the boat back to Copacabana. The boat was leaving in 30 mins so it was basically my only option! Well, that’s a nice twist of my Isla del Sol adventure, a short private boat experience ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had to laugh of myself quite a lot. As soon as I was on the other side and the passengers saw me coming from a private boat to theirs, they all looked at me and asked me what the situation was as they were quite surprised, haha ๐Ÿ˜… One big learning here during my journey, absolutely nothing goes as you planned or as you expected so again, I just embraced the fact that I had to spend more money and made my way back to my dinnie ๐Ÿ˜Š
Our next stop was La Paz, the economic capital of Bolivia. It is not the real capital of the country, that is Sucre. We were back into the very polluted city.. We went on a city tour and met another girl in the hostel we continued hanging out with. The city tour was nice! In La Paz there is a famous prison called San Pedro Prisom and its a village/littlw society on itself inside the big city. Prisoners live there with their families, they have little shops inside and a whole lot more. Thank god we didn’t go in there as its very dangerous, but it was for me a very interesting fact to hear about. Besides that, the Bolivians like to be weird, as how I would say it ๐Ÿ˜… They have a Witch Market in La Paz with lots of species which do weird things with you when you take them. They also have a clock on the plaza which runs backwards! Our guide was even wearing a watch with the same clock, hilarious ๐Ÿ˜ƒ While we were in La Paz, there was an important football WC Kwalification game planned to happen, Bolivia-Argentina. The tickets were super cheap so the girl we met in the hostel, Ione, and I made the decision to go to the game at the stadium. Hoping we would see Messi play, but too bad, he wasn’t selected for this game. Gin doesn’t like football so she did her own thing. It was an authentic experience.. Not as crazy as I thought, but really cool to be part of ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Later that day I met my American friend Nate again as he was also in the city, made his way to Bolivia. When we were in Cusco he asked me to join him for a WorkAway volunteer project close to La Paz. It would include teachingย English toย children from the streets, especially boys, and play with them. It also included organizing different other workshops with them, etc. You could only apply as a couple or guys only.. It would be a great way to spend some more time in Bolivia after Ginger would go back to Peru again. So, Nate and I worked on our application to get in touch with the project. It was a nice time again together in the city. We spend the next day together as well, eating lots of Chorizo and exploring the city ๐Ÿ˜Š Ginger was having her own little adventure.. ghehe. Not that I just left her alone ๐Ÿ˜‰
After La Paz, Gin, Ione and I, made our way to Sucre. This was a whole different city then La Paz! More colonial with beautiful white buildings. It reminded me of the ‘white city’ in Colombia. Sucre had a huge market which we visited and besides that I unfortunately had some visits at the hospital. Nothing extremely serious.. I had an infection in my body which needed to be tested and I received some antibiotics which were a lot stronger than the first I had in Copacabana. Yes, I had the infection for quite a while already.. But all well now! The antibiotics worked so no infections anymore ๐Ÿ˜„ The area of Sucre is known for some very old and impressive dinosaur footprints. Yes, dinosaurs! Of course we had to check it out as I’ve never seen that before. We went to the dinosaur park and got a free tour to learn more about these big giant animals and the jurrasic time here on earth. It was pretty interesting I have to say and from the park you could see a big mountain wall full of prints. In total there are over more than 5055 prints there! The way of how it became a wall had all to do with the different earth plates and how the earth was shaped into the way we know it now. As you can imagine I gained a lot of new knowledge because of this little trip ๐Ÿ˜‰
That night we continued our journey to Uyuni, to visit world’s famoust and largest salt flats.ย The busride to there was super crappy and we arrived in the middle of the night. Luckily we could stay in the bus, as it was not going anywhere, so we could sleep a bit more. But still, it was the crappiest busride I ever had in my journey. It completely broke me up.. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ
Uyuni wouldย also be the moment that I was meeting my Dutch friend Vincent. I think in my very first post on this blog I mentioned something about him. He was working at Nike as well and left his job, same as me to go traveling in South America. We both started in Colombia and would make our way south. I started end of aug, he end of September. I sloooowly made my way down and he ended up going to Central America first before he got down into South America. Finally, after 6.5 months our paths crossed and we were going to share an amazing experience together!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ It was so nice to see him.. Lots and lots of catch up we had to do. We agreed to find a tour immediatelyย the morning we arrived so we couldย see Salar de Uyuni and its surroundings. I preferred to just stay a night there, find the best tour agency and go the next morning.. But, I wasn’t alone so we did everything we could to find a tour to go 3 days into the middle of nowhere. I was so grumpy because of the crappy night and rushing to find a tour. I had to take into account 3 other people who all wanted something a bit different than me. Why paying more for a tour if there is just a normal price for it?! I don’t need luxury or anything. Luckily Gin and Vincent were mostly on my side but our other friend from La Paz thought differently.. Well, in the end everybody joined me as I got us a nice deal ๐Ÿ˜‰ So off we went to see the Salt Flats!
We had a really nice group. There were 2 other guys who joined us in the Jeep and we had lots of fun together. One of the guys, a 20 yr old British boy, had so much energy and was full of information about our surroundings. I loved listening to his facts and knowledge. Things like this is one thing I find the nicest while traveling, every person you meet has different knowledge they share with you ๐Ÿ˜ I gained so much new knowledge now because of the people I met! It was great spening 3 days with Vincent as well. We have a nice connection and to be honest I was a bit sad that he picked up his relationship again with his girlfriend in Holland. They even went traveling together for a bit.. ๐Ÿ˜‘ Well, you can’t have it all. Haha! I was just very grateful I could share this experience with him ๐Ÿ˜Š The 3 day trip was great! The Salt Flats were impressive, some places looked like one big mirror as there was still a bit of water on the Salt from the rain season. Super beautiful ๐Ÿ˜ The desert we were driving in for the other 2 days was like a movie set. We visited some colorful lakes with flamingos, volcanos and geysers as well. It was lots of time sitting in the Jeep, but it was worth it! We were pretty high as well. At the geysers we were at 5000m! The last night we had as a group, was one I will definately remember for the rest of my life. We were staying in a hostel which was next to a thermal bath. It was nice and warm in the middle of nowhere. We got ourselves a bottle of wine and chilled the whole evening in the pool watching the stars. We saw lots of shooting stars!! So beautiful ๐Ÿ˜ Damn, I was super happy there.. โค The next morning Vincent and I had to say goodbye again as he took a Jeep to the border of Chile and Gin and I went back to Uyuni. The 2.5 days together was way too short. We had lots of fun with the 3 of us and I would have loved to travel more with him, but again.. You can’t have it all ๐Ÿ˜‰
After saying goodbye to Vincent, it was also almost time to say goodbye to Ginger.. When we made the plans of traveling together, she said that she wanted to experience how it is to travel alone for a bit as well. She had to make her way back to Lima as there her flight was going back to Amsterdam so we agreed to split up after our Salar de Uyuni adventure. Uyuni, the town itself wasn’t really a nice place so we spend our last 2 days together in Potosรญ, a small town high in the mountains (4000m) not that far from Uyuni. Unfortunately I got a bit sick the next morning. My stomach hurted and I just felt like I was hit by a car, I was exhausted.. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ We were quite a lot on the road those last weeks together, traveling way faster than I normally do, sleeping on so many different places, climate/altitude changes and so on. Besides that I was still taking the antibiotics to get the infection out of my body.. I was just too tired to do anything and my body said “no!!” ๐Ÿšซ I had no other choice than to listen to it eventhough it were the last days with Gin. I decided to stay there, got myself a nice hostel and Gin was going back to La Paz and further north. It was so strange to say goodbye. Our time together went so quickly! I’m very grateful of all the experiences we had, what an adventure ๐Ÿ˜ Sharing this part of my journey with my best friend was a big gift.. Memories we will take on with us for the rest of our lives ๐Ÿ˜Šโค I felt a bit sad when we said goodbye, but I also felt that I needed some time alone again. Unfortunately the project with Nate didn’t work out as the people didn’t came back to us. He decided to continue his journey as well. So I had to say goodbye to him too. A lot of goodbyes in just a couple of days!! ๐Ÿ˜” Vincent, Ginger, Nate. And there I was, alone again, not feeling 100% and no idea yet of what I wanted to do next.. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to go home yet, haha ๐Ÿ˜… After some days relaxing, doing basically nothing I felt a bit better and made the decision to go to a different city in Bolivia, Cochabamba. I found a very nice and chill hostel out of the center to just relax and enjoy the surroundings. The people there, mostly couples of my age, did exactly the same. Chill, read a book, be quiet, sleep and just reload your energy ๐Ÿ˜Š One day I went to the city center and did a small hike up to the big Christ which was overlooking the city, 1300 steps up and 1300 steps down. Quite a workout in the heat! The view was nice and the Christ was massive! Its even bigger than the one in Rio de Janeiro. To save some money, as I was really starting to run out of it, I was traveling with mini buses instead of cabs. These little buses are mini vans with about 8 seats and people hop on and off of them. It’s a whole attraction to travel with these, haha! One night I was on my way back to the hostel but apparentaly I took the wrong bus. My phone was dead so I couldn’t see where I was going. Luckily my Spanish is quite on a nice conversational level now so I was able to ask for the directions, showing on the map on their telephone where I needed to go ๐Ÿ˜… Everybody was very friendly and 3 buses later I finally arrived at the street of my hostel. Thank god!
Meanwhile, the universe pushed me a bit into a new direction. When I was in Potosรญ, I was contacted by a WorkAway host in Chile. Updating my profile together with Nate, helped me to get more visable on the site and I got quite some offers from all over the world! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ This Chilean one though, sounded really nice and from the start I had a great connection with the host. First I thought I would skip Chile & Argentina as the countries are so expensive, but then when he offered to pay half of my ticket to come and work at his B&B, I couldn’t say ‘no’ anymore. I would come for about 3/4 weeks, stay with them, get 3 meals a day and work for them, all for free! They live in the Elqui Valley and their B&B is well known there. They have a 9.9 on Booking.com ๐Ÿ˜ฒ and the place looked already amazing on the pictures. I felt that this wasn’t for nothing and was excited about going there. Finally a base again, no long busrides anymore, no stress of where to sleep, what to eat, how much money I have left.. Just a place to relax and also have a bit of a routine againย ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
Its was quite a ride to get to the border of Bolivia so I could enter Chile. In about 3 days I covered around 1300km, took 5 different buses, had to wait looooong times and mostly ended up in very crappy buses with almost no leg space ๐Ÿ˜‘ You can imagine that after all that and the many many more buses I had while traveling here in SA, I was absolutely, completely done with long busrides!! ๐Ÿ˜ฃ To top it all off, passing the border from Bolivia to Chile took us 5 hrs! Being in the middle of nowhere and basically waiting all the time. Guys, you can’t imagine how patience I have become because of experiences like this ๐Ÿ˜ haha. Thank god I had a flight as soon as I got to Chile and was in 1 hr half way the country! What a luxery ๐Ÿ˜ So that’s where I am now. In Chile, at the B&B of Roberto and Alejandra. Already for more than 2 weeks.. I absolutely LOVE it here! โค
OK, time to put an end on this part of my journey. More to come later about my home base here ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just a side note, I’m starting to make plans of coming back to Holland end of June.. Just after I had my 10 months travel anniversary ๐Ÿ˜„ How and what I will tell you later as well.
Ciao for now! ๐Ÿ˜˜
Grande abrazos para ustedes xx โค
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