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Peru

Peru: the Making-up

Log Book - Peru

We liked :

    • The 10 days spent in Sacha Wawa foundation… Their welcoming, their kindness and their work for the foundation. They have a huge heart and wonderful projects to help people and preserve the nature. We hope we could help them as much as we can to make their projects reality.
    • The power and beauty of the Nature: we learnt a lot of things in the jungle like the benefits of medicinal plants.
    • Our Christmas in the Amazonian jungle.
    • The tee of coca leaves (this is only commercialized in Peru and Bolivia).
    • The delicious mangos that we ate almost everyday.
  • drapeau

We did not like:

    • The clothes that cannot dry because of the humidity of the jungle (it does not smell very well after 4 days!).
    • The thin and dangerous roads with cliffs on the side.
    • The traditional Peruvian music in repetition during 6 hours of bus trip (at the beginning we enjoyed it but after 2 hours, it was becoming more and more difficult to bear it!).
    • The klaxons of taxis: as soon as they saw us walking on the street, they made noises to let us know that they were available!

Best memories :

    • Delphine’s: our first steps on the Lost Valley of Machu Picchu (after so many efforts, I was so happy to be rewarded by the beauty of this Inca city).
    • Max’s: The unforgettable Machu Picchu which is a sacred place where we cannot be indifferent. The trip to go up the Machu Picchu and go back to Cusco was unforgettable as well!
One minute with us in a "moto-carro"

Our favorites :

  • Delphine’s : The fire ceremony organised by Christine, i twas a very strong and spiritual moment for me.
  • Maxime’s : I have 3 favorites! When I met Ramy after 10 years without seeing each other, when we celebrate New Year’s Eve with Viva America team and when we spent time with Sacha Wawa foundation.

It made us laugh :

  • The 2 birds living in Sacha Wawa center.
  • The jokes invented by Ramy, Luc, Willy and Pascal (our friends of New Year’s Eve!)
A lama in Machu Picchu

It did not make us laugh!

    • Having neighbours in bus or taxis whose were sick every time the car was turning on the left or on the right.
    • Having to negotiate with Peruvian people to pay the right price for a service or for a fruit!

We were surprised by:

    • Being 8 people sitting on a normal car.
    • Meeting French friends in the other side of the world.
    • Paying only 3 soles (75 cents of euros) for a soup, a dish and a drink.
  • itinraire prou

Our itinary for 4 weeks in Peru

Machu Picchu - Last episode

Log Book - Peru

3rd episode (and the last!):

It was 12:30 when we took the road again to Hydroelectrica. According to our estimation, we were supposed to arrive to Cusco at 8:00pm… And it was a good estimation because we were waited by a musician from Ecuador in a pub fo a concert in the city center at 9:00pm.

Everything was going well during our 2 hours of walking on the railway track. It was just raining during 1 hour but we were well-equipped and we reached Hydroelictrica in the estimated time. On the way, we met a lot of walkers, like us, who chose the «economical option»!

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In Hydroelectrica, we just waited for 5 minutes before taking a "taxi-van" to go to the nearest city (Santa Teresa). The price was good, the road was good as well, everything seemed to be perfect! We found another taxi to go to Santa Maria (the last city before the long way back to Cusco). We were happy to see that our estimations became reality; step by step we managed to be closer to Cusco.

We arrived to Santa Maria at 4:00pm… We were already dreaming at a hot shower, a tapas bus, a pisco sour and a nice concert! But our dreams disappeared very quickly… Instead of 4 hours of bus, we spent 20 hours in the bus!!! It was the worth journey since we are traveling in South America, we are explaining you why:

5:00 pm: a long queue of cars and buses were blocked on the road to Cusco. Daniel, our bus driver, announced us that the road was impassable because of a waterfall which crossed the road. According to him, the only solution was to wait for a better weather… We waited for 1 hour in the bus, it was a good opportunity to speak with Argentina people in our bus. Finally, a few bus drivers decided to be brave and go through the waterfall. The 2 first vans crossed the river successfully.Daniel asked us to sit down because he was determinate to cross the waterfall… We were all afraid (and what if the bus does not cross the river??? With the power of the water we could all die!). Daniel tried to reassure us saying that it was impossible (we were not so sure). We were all panic-stricken, we closed our eyes, some of us said a prayer, but a few seconds later we were in the other side of the road, safe! All the passengers shouted for joy! We survived!!!

 

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6:00 pm: a second time, a long queue of cars and buses were blocked on the road… Same scenario: everybody was asking what was happening? It was not a waterfall but a rockfall at around 20km farther. They announced us that the road won’t be cleared during the night. We had to spend the night in the bus waiting for the machine to clear the way. Fortunately, there was a small restaurant and a shop were we bought a hot dish (adios tapas… L). We left again at 6:30 am, after a night in the bus not so bad (we were so tired that we fell asleep very quickly).

D+1, 7:00 am: we drove only for 30 minutes before seeing a HUGE queue of cars (the worse ever seen, and it’s not a joke). We saw a bus stucked in the middle of a river. Around 30 men were helping to clear the road again. We spent one hour and a half in this place. What a joy when we saw that the road was cleared!

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We finally arrived to Cusco on Monday at noon. We hurried up to choose a young hostel and take a shower… and guess what, this shower was cold! (Sometimes it’s tough to be a backpacker!!!)

Machu Picchu - Episode 2

Log Book - Peru

2nd episode :

Sunday, the 10th of January, at 4:00 am, the alarm clock rang. After a cold shower (even if there was a sign saying «hay agua caliente» in the wall of our hotel… we did not have the chance to have even a little bit of hot water!), we prepared our bags to climb the mountain and arrive to the entrance of Machu Picchu. We walked one hour and a half in the cold and moistly morning in order to be one of the firsts in the queue of Machu Picchu’s entrance.

 

Honestly, the way up to the mountain was really tough: the humidity, the darkness, the irregular steps made of stones and the altitude did not help…! We arrived before the opening hour, sweated but very proud of ourselves (Yes, WE DID IT!). Ok, we did not choose the easiest and shortest path, but this was the most economical path (we saved around 130 euros) in order to avoid giving money to the British company which owns the train stations between Cuzco and the Machu Picchu.

 

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We arrived to the lost valley: the atmosphere was mystical with all these clouds hiding the Wayna Picchu. We waited a few minutes, the sun arrived, the clouds veal disappeared and here we were: all our efforts were rewarded! The Inca city was just in front of us. It was a wonderful moment!

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We spent 6 hours in this “sacred place”. We climbed again up to the Wayna Picchu to have a scenic view on the Inca city (apparently, the long walk we did the day before did not stop us!).

 

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We were very happy, this place was simply AMAZING! But at around noon, we decided to go back to Hydroelectrica. We did not want to walk again in the dark! We took the same way and we walked during 2 hours. The road seemed to be less dangerous with the daylight... Adios Machu Picchu!

 

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(For your information, there are about 2000 daily visitors in the Machu Picchu site and only 80 persons choose the «backpacker» road. Consequently, it’s not so dangerous to take this path, we are not the first and we won’t be the last to walk on this path!)

 

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Machu Picchu Backpacker itinerary

Log Book - Peru

After the canyon del colca we decided to visit the Machu Picchu using the same way. Adventurers’ way! After talking with a lot of people in our youth hostel we discovered that we could avoid taking the train to get to the Machu Picchu. Because the Machu Picchu is unique we decided to write 3 articles to explain everything.

 

1st Episode :

Proud of ourselves to have found another way to get the lost valley, we were looking for a bus to go to Santa Maria, with Hugues, the French guy that we met in Arequipa. We found a van. Despite the negotiation, the price is still high. Not so cool to be a tourist in Peru right now.

It took us 5 hours to get there instead of the 4 initially given by the driver. With all the curves and the same CD of typical music for 5 hours we were a bit fed up!

Then we took from Santa Maria, another van to go to Santa Teresa and finally we reached Hydroelectrica. We knew that from this town we would walk 2 hours to get to Aguas Calientes, the nearest village from Machu Picchu.

The way to go to Santa Teresa was incredible and a bit dangerous for us European people used to highways and roads like that! On our right there is the mountains and on our left nothing, the gulch.

 

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The Peruvians told us that there were afraid too when they took this road for the 1st time. We are so reassured!

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When we got to Hydroelectrica we knew that we had to walk for 2 hours but we didn’t know the way! Actually we just had to follow the railway track.

When we started to walk the night is here. A policeman told us, 5 minutes after we started to walk, to take a deviation. So we went through the jungle, by night to get to another railway.

 

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The path in the jungle.

The way was full of surprises. Firstly we had only a little lamp to see in the dark. Then, we had to pass bridges in the dark. We could hear the water under the bridge…

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"En piste pour le" Machu Picchu !

Then Delphine told us: “my biggest fear would be to see a train”. And guess what happened? We saw a train 5 minutes after! We were afraid because we heard the train coming in the dark and then we saw a blinding light! Woo! But it was not enough to renounce.

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which way to choose: left or right?!!!

We finally arrived to Aguas Calientes, a very touristic village, at around 8.30PM. We negotiated a room in a hostel for a very good price and we went to have dinner. We went to sleep at around 10.30 PM because we had to get early (4AM) the day after to discover the Inca lost city.

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Arequipa and Canyon Del Colca trek

Log Book - Peru

After a great New Years Eve in Lima we decided to take a bus to visit Arequipa. After 16 hours of travelling we discovered a very beautiful city, the Lonely Planet was right. We have chosen an Hostel called “Home Sweet Home” one of the cheapest but a very good one. In Arequipa we know that you must see 2 things: the “Santa Catalina” convent and the Canyon Del Colca. Let’s go!

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The nice Santa catalina convent which seems like a real village inside the city of Arequipa. We  can believe that we are in the South of France with the colors of the walls.


We met a French guy, Hugues, who is travelling through South America for 4 months. He came with us to the Canyon.
In order to do the Canyon we visited several agencies which are all offering “Tours” to get there. We made some very mathematical calculations and we finally decided to go there by ourselves, without any guide and map. We decided to take the risk!

So we took a bus at 1AM in Arequipa to get to Cabanaconde a city which is at the top of the Canyon. In the “bus” it was impossible to get some sleep because of the noise and the way the guy drove this bus.


At 6.15AM we were at “Cruz del Condor” a scenic view where you can see the condors flying. We recommend to any person who wants to go there not to stop at “Cruz del Condor” because there is some fake guides who are selling a “boleto turistico” which is not obligatory to enter the canyon! You can stop 4 kilometers after there is another place to see the condors and it’s free.


Because the condors were not coming we decided to start our walk into the Canyon. After 2 hours walking we finally find the path which is going down in the canyon. At the same time there is a condor flying right above our heads! We got lucky to see it so close.

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This path seems to be easy on the picture...

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A condor flying in the Canyon Del Colca.

 

The way to get down in the canyon was difficult and we had some problems to find our way. We were not that reassured, every time we asked someone from a village, to hear: “Yes, to get down you have to continue to go down the canyon…!”


After 5 hours of walking we are finally deep in the valley. We crossed a bridge and we were very surprised to see that a guy was waiting for us to indicate us a restaurant where we can eat for less than €3. How did he know we were going down the valley? We saw a man going up while we were still at the top of the canyon and this man called his son, when he got the top, to tell him that 3 tourists were coming down the valley and that he could wait for us to guide us to the family restaurant! In a way we were happy to have a guide to get a place to eat and rest a bit.

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Finaly we found our direction!

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The ideal restaurant with a view on the Canyon for less than 3 €.

After lunch we decided to continue our walk, under the rain, to get the “Oasis” of Sangalle. Once again it’s not easy to find the way but thanks to Hugues we found it. Cool!
After more than 3 hours walking we got there: the oasis. What a marvelous place. It was really worth the long walking (more than 8 hours!). We were looking for a place to sleep and to eat and we found it. It was heaven on earth!   We could sleep in very simple bungalows and enjoy the pool and a breakfast the day after for less than €3. Incredible! Even if it was raining we went swimming in the pool for a while and we got dinner with 2 New Yorkers and 1 Peruvian.

 

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These are our « hut» and the swimming pool. The paradise after 5 hours and 30 minutes of walk.

The day after, we got up at 5 AM to walk between 3 to 4 hours to reach Cabanaconde. There was more than 1100 meters difference of high between the oasis and Cabanaconde. We finally got there in less than 3 hours.

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Diner in the dark!


After a second breakfast we took a bus from Cabanaconde to go back to Arequipa.
When we arrived to Arequipa we had to take another bus at 8.30PM to get to Cusco. No need to say that a night in the bus, after such a walk, was not the best idea.


Today we are in Cusco and we rest a bit before seeing the Machu Picchu!

 

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Les rayons de soleil tôt le matin dans le canyon.


Nous avons pris un bus pour rentrer de Cabanaconde à Arequipa après avoir repris un petit déjeuner car notre ventre réclamait sa récompense d’avoir fourni autant d’efforts si tôt le matin (nous sommes partis à 6h du matin de l’Oasis).

Durant le trajet deux pneus du bus ont crevé…

Après être arrivé à Arequipa nous devions reprendre un bus vers 20h30 le mercredi 6 Janvier. Dormir dans le bus après un tel périple ne nous a pas vraiment enchantés.
Aujourd’hui nous sommes à Cusco et nous prenons le temps de nous reposer !

 

New Year's Eve

Log Book - Peru

Happy new year to everybody! We hope you had a very good night and you enjoyed your party. In Peru, we had a very good surprise at the end of 2009.

The 29th of December, Maxime met a friend from his school in our youth hostel in Huaraz! After 10 years without seeing each other, they met in Peru. Unbelievable. Ramy, Maxime’s friend, introduced us to his 6 friends. All this « team » is travelling for 7 months now through the american continent. For those who speak French here is their website: viva-america.fr .

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We went with them to Lima to spend the New Year’s Eve together. So on the 31th we cooked a French meal (it’s so different that the chicken and rice we are eating everyday!) and we even found wine and cheese!

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We also met Delphine a young french girl working in Cuzco that joined us for New Year’s Eve. We really spent a god night with good people!

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From the Jungle to the mountains

Log Book - Peru

Sometimes, we don’t have that much time to update the website so we decided to shorten some articles by putting only pictures with comments. We hope you will like that way of telling stories!


The last 4 days we went from jungle to the mountains by the beaches. We still had sand on our foot that we had to get our scarves and hats.

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The « Plaza de Armas » of Trujillo city in which we spent 2 days near the sea.

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One example of the architecture of Trujillo.

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2 pictures of Huaca del sol and de la Luna. The temple of the sun (Huaca del Sol) is the biggest structure pre-Columbian of the country. They needed more than 140 millions of bricks to build it. We were stunned by the way they conserved it.

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El Perro Peruviano (the Peruvian dog) is a dog without hairs and can have a body temperature near to 40°.

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2 pictures from Chan-Chan. It is the most important pre-Columbian city of America and the biggest adobe city of the world. Simply wonderful.

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The traditional straw kayaks of Huanchaco city.

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We bought the traditional Peruvian bonnet to an artisan in the street. We have been told that they need one whole day to make only one hat!

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Women of Huaraz city, located at more than 3000 meters of altitude. Lots of women wear the traditional clothes in this area.

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Sparkling water from a spring located at 4500 meters of altitude. Sparkling water from a spring located at 4500 meters of altitude.

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Here we are: at 5000 meters! It was the first time we went so high in the mountains.

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Huaraz city panoramic view from the terrace of our youth hostel.


First days in Peru: Lima & Tarapoto

Log Book - Peru

We arrived on the 12th of December in Lima, Peru. A Taxi was waiting for us to get us to Magdalen House. We recommend this hostel to any backpacker. Good service, security and very flexible. We walked a bit in our new neighbourhood to know better this area. We saw for the first time in our life the Pacific Ocean! We were very happy even though the place was not so beautiful.


In the afternoon we went to the « museo de la nacion ». Very good museum. We also saw a temporary exposition on the “shining path”. Very interesting but the pictures were chocking.


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A piece of art in the museo de la nacion


On Sunday we visited Lima. The city can be visited very quickly. We saw all the “key” monuments and we visited the “san Francisco” church in Lima. Well known for its catacombs which were used as a cemetery… It was weird to see all the skulls and the bones right next to us.
Sunday night we wanted to get a bus to Tarapoto but the bus company forgot to book our places on board. We do not recommend the CIVA company to anybody! So we were in Lima with our big bags and with nowhere to go! Damn! We went to another company to get a ticket for another bus in the morning and we searched for a hostel to sleep one night. Fortunately we found one not too far. Thank you Lonely Planet!

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The "monasterio de San Francisco"


On Monday we were ready to travel 28 hours to go to Tarapoto, the most important city of San Martin state (in the Amazonian forest). We were a bit afraid to travel that long, but finally we can tell that it’s not a big deal, the wonderful landscapes made us forget the hours spent in the bus (rice fields, montains, deserts, beachs, jungle).
In order to rest a little bit after this long road trip, we decided to stop in Tarapoto for the night. Just the time to visit the city and we can tell you it’s warm here! We don’t regret to have chosen a hostel without hot water. We walked until to the traditional Plaza de Armas and the artisanal market where we met Napoléon, a shopkeeper with whom we spoke a lot about political subjects, swine flu and the indigene guerilla in Peru. It’s already the 5th person we have met in Peru in 2 days and it’s always a pleasure to talk and share with them (we talked as well with Gilberto, an old man who absolutely  wanted to practice his French with us, it was an excellent moment).

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Napoleon, a Peruvien who likes talking

After a good night of sleep, we will be ready to work with Sacha Wawa foundation.

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The motokars we are going to take tomorrow to get to the bus station.

First message in Peru

Log Book - Peru

We arrived in Lima this morning at 6:30 am and we will take the bus tomorrow night to Tarapoto to meet the association Sacha Wawa. We certainly won´t have Internet access during the next 15 days.That is why we wanted to wish a happy Christmas to all the readers of this blog, anonymous, families and friends.

We will spend our Christmas in the heart of the Amazonian forest with the Peruvian indigenes. Before the future Internet connection, we promess you to work on our next articlesWink...

¡ FELIZ NAVIDAD !


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