Well friends, I return. I apologise for my radio silence for the past month, but unfortunately travelling with a four year old phone doesn’t allow you the best wifi connection on the planet. I’ve been getting my thoughts on these wonderful places ready for you in the meantime, and this week, I’m going to be giving you a blog post a day until my travel stories run out. You’ll be reading about many wonderful things that I’ve been lucky enough to witness with my own eyes, and I’ll open yours to a country that I’ve absolutely, irrevocably fallen in love with.
First, I’ll be giving you a run down of my New Year experience in Rio, or as the locals call it, Réveillon, and my experience of being a tour guide for my parents, who had come out for their own trip of a lifetime on the continent. After that, I’ll be telling you about my journey to the Lençois Maranhenses National Park, a natural wonder of Brazil and one of the more beautiful places I’ve visited. Then, as I began my travels with a good friend, we went to Iguassu Falls on the Brazilian, Argentinian and Paraguayan border, which will come with some exciting photos of some of the most incredible waterfalls in the world. Porto Alegre and Florianópolis were our next stops, and some breaking news: I have officially ticked off a dream on the dreamlist, which I’ll clue you in on in the post that comes out. The capital, Brasilia, was our halfway point between the South and the Amazon, so we made a 24 hour stop worth our time and found a city that was nothing like expected. Our final travels in Brazil took us to the Amazon, where we spent 3 days exploring the banks of the most famous river in the Americas.
I’ll be telling you about my journey to Peru, where I met back up with my parents (who had been on their own adventure), going through Cuzco, Puno and finally through into Bolivia, and the small port town of Copacabana – not to be confused with the beach in Rio.
So, friends, you have all of that to look forward to; but right now, I’m beginning a new momentous phase of my degree. Arriving in La Paz was gradual, for a while, as we had been driving through the highest city in the world of El Alto. The city itself is rather strange, and there’s a clear warning not to venture out at night; handmade dolls, much like scarecrows, hang from lampposts near some people’s houses, warding off nocturnal thieves and criminals, which to see in the day is rather disturbing. As we began to leave the city and descend into the basin that holds the city of La Paz, we finally got a view.
It was all rather overwhelming at first. The city stretches for miles, the only other things on the horizon being mountains and peaks that are just snowcapped at almost 6,000 metres. It’s all rather daunting when you look at that view and think, ‘I’m going to be living here’.
The city itself I haven’t had all that much time to explore, so that will come after my travels, but my first couple of days have been wonderful already. I made a trip to Valle de la Luna, and a very fruitful morning cable-car ride to El Alto. Using cable cars without snow on the ground, however, was a very strange feeling.
The Valle de La Luna could be compared somewhat to the Bryce Canyon in Utah, but less red and a little smaller. Despite its more compact size, it still leaves one rather stunned. Jagged rocks stick out of the valley in every corner, all different shapes and sizes with only one winding path running through it. Its views from the highest points, though, are something to behold; you can look back at La Paz from the south side, or look further south to the valleys beyond. Wherever you look, it’s a beautiful sight.
Friends, as I sit here and write my first blog in a month, I’ve just waved goodbye to my parents for another five months, waiting to go to my new post at the Bolivian Express magazine. There, I’ll be experiencing something of what it’s really like to be a journalist: writing my own articles, setting my own day, and going wherever the story takes me. Stay tuned for the travel write-ups, and of course, for this exciting new point in my year abroad, and my life.