“No, this is the Southern Cross, no this is …….”, La Paz, May 15th, 2011

After leaving Buenos Aires I was ready again for a bit less big city and a bit more adventure again. Arriving in Jujuy (after 22 hours in a bus), the north of Argentina and therefore the area I knew from my internship, I was a bit disappointed as the local supermarket had size I imagined the whole city like. Things obviously have changed in 11 years. Some local street food and some historic buildings could make up for the Gucci stores and fancy restaurants. So I left the next morning with a local bus for Susques and I got what I wanted. A very small village high up in the Andes, people wearing traditional clothes and observe the visitor rather shy than trying to sell stuff. What I did not wanted was some sort of headache but being above 4000m is taking its toll. Meeting 3 French cyclists and having dinner with them in a very local restaurant got me sidetracked quiet well.

The next morning I tried to hitchhike to Chile but within 4 hours only 6 trucks passed by, 5 of them did not go my way and one did not have space. However, the official bus from Jujuy picked me up and so I did cross the Andes at its highest pass of 5200m and entered Chile at the famous tourist hotspot called San Pedro de Atacama. Despite being touristy it was really nice and I luckily got a spot on the “star tour”. As this areas has 325 cloud free days per year and as the next big city is 800km away (no light pollution) it is the perfect spot for sky observations. Already the most famous observatories are based here and the biggest one is being built. We got a tourist version but truly amazing enough.

Our Canadian guide has moved down here being addicted to the views and he passed his passion right on to us with wonderful explanations and easy to understand examples. On the video you do not see anything but listen carefully how he explaines……………. I really loved this 3 hour night tour.

The next day I rented a bike for a half day trip on my own and see where I ended up:

It was hot but worth every effort. I enjoyed so much the views but also got a real good understanding of how quickly you reach your limits in the dessert. Some Dutch guys walked the hill and we ended up taking photos of each other.

Going up was hard, going down dangerous but check it out. Am I cool or what??……..

Back in town I enjoyed a nice lunch before taking the bus to Arica in North Chile. Here I wanted to spend a day or two and the man singing at the ticket shop seemed welcoming too.

But at arrival in early morning I felt that a cold is coming. So I decided to go right on to La Paz and rest there, a great decision for 2 reasons. The ride was special, crossing the Andes again, going through a national park with fantastic views and entering Bolivia with my mind still operating.

However, entering La Paz, the mixture of a big cold and high altitude (La Paz is the highest capital (there is no united opinion if La Paz or Sucre is Bolivia’s capital) in the world at 3800m) got me big time and I really struggled to get to the hostel standing up. At 9pm I felt asleep and would not move for 12 hours. As the Loki hostel is famous for partying rather than silence I moved on to a nicer hotel, enjoying all day cable TV, WIFI at my room and fresh orange juice from the street. Quickly I got much better and at night a started to enjoy the view again.

My last night alone was about to start. Tomorrow I will pick up Thomas from the airport and everything will be different for the next 6 weeks. I am looking forward to it but how will it be????????

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  • gabor says:

    Next time when you are riding a mountain bike you have to take the stairs on the left hand site not the little path on the right :-) !

    Nice trip through the Andes and great summits

  • hendrik says:

    Cool tour, sprectacular photos! You got it. Keep going!
    Best wishes

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