WOW! We have been up to so much since the last blog entry that I am not sure where to start! As you´ll see we are now in Peru although since Brazil we have touched down in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia - getting loads of stamps in our passports!
So, we finished up in Rio on Monday and spent our last day (Sunday) visiting the hippy market in Ipanema, where we bought a lovely piece of local artwork showing Rio (sugar loaf/ Christ the Redeemer/ favelas etc all in bright colours). We then went for one last walk along the beach.... in the rain!! We tried coconut water straight from a coconut sat at a kiosk in the pouring rain - I think the locals thought that we were slightly mad! Coconut water is sweet water, I liked it, Andy really wasn´t so keen!
We left Rio early on the Monday morning and started out on a 22hr coach journey to Foz de Iguacu. Not a lot to report about the coach journey other than the fact it was freezing, they seem to like having the air con on in the buses here - not really required at 2am!
We booked into our hostel really early and had a quick sleep to warm up. The hostel was great, really friendly and had a pool and an outdoor kitchen/ bar. Once warmed up we headed out to the Iguazu Falls - AMAZING! We went to the national park and followed the path round where you get all different views of the falls. It´s so impressive. We then visited a bird park which was also really interesting. A lot of the birds were native to South America and many of them were loose in avaries - nice to get up close to them until we were dive bombed by some kamikaze toucans!! That evening we sat and chatted to some other travellers in our hostel and made a fabulous pasta surprise!
The next morning we negotiated the Brazilian/ Argentinian border. Had heard a few nightmares about having to get 5 buses etc to get through but we were actually fine and got through on 2 buses all for one ticket. We must have smiled at the right person! Once we booked into our hostel in Puerto de Iguazu we headed off to the Argentinian side of the falls. We booked ourselves onto a boat trip to take us up the river and into the falls. What an amazing experience. It really took our breath away as we went in under the water. To say we got soaked would be an understatement but it was so worth it to get that close to the falls and to go over the rapids etc. Luckily it was warm and we dried off as we walked around the rest of the park. We got to see quite a few wild animals in the forest as we were going around. A group of about 10 monkeys decided to display some acrobatic manouevres through the treetops for us. I think they were encouraged by everyones cheering! We also a couple of toucans in the trees, some Racoon type creatures and some guinea pigs.
That night we had a little wander around Puerto de Iguazu, a really lovely little town, and then went to get Andy an Argentinian steak. I think he was in heaven! I tried a river fish called Surubi which I have yet to find a translation of.
After one night in Puerto de Iguazu we started our mamouth trip to La Paz. We flew from Iguazu to Buenos Aires, B.A to Santiago and then Santiago to La Paz. We arrived in La Paz yesterday. We had a little look around - what an amazing place. So vibrant and full of colour. Many places we have visited up to now had felt a bit European but La Paz is truly South American and as you´d imagine it. It´s bustling full of markets and lots of women sat on the side of the street selling their wares - all with babies slung on their backs in colourful cloths. Unfortunately we were both affected by altitude sickness so had to retire early and then we left for Puno this morning.
I am typing this from a hotel in Puno where we are with our trip. We have a planning meeting in half an hour to get a briefing about the next few days. Tomorrow we are going over to the islands on lake Titicaca and we are spending the night with local families. We have already been out & about and watched a Peruvian wedding and went into the local cathedral and listened to a bit of Mass. It´s good to be in a country that speaks Spanish - we are starting to make ourselves understood a bit more which is great!
When we get time we will load up our pictures - there are loads already!
Until the next update, we send this with love to everyone who is reading it.
Vicki & Andy Xx