tirsdag 8. september 2009

Bolivia to Arequipa, Peru

The old road from Coroico to La Paz is called the death road. A high number of cars and buses have had severe accidents here in the steep mountain road. Today several tour agencies in La Paz arrange tours with bikes down this spectacular road. That road reminds me of a road in Peru I travelled by bus in 1980, the road from Huancavelica to Pisco which takes you from 3600m up to 4850 and then down to the coast. It is only about 270km but it took 13 hours on a narrow dust road carved into the mountain sides. After that trip I had to go back to the bus company the day after and give them back the armrests for the bus seat... But now there is a quite new and mostly paved road from Coroico to La Paz (there is still parts where the road is not totally completed), so I never got the experience with the death road. Next time I will do it on bicycle for sure. The new road is also quite spectacular though, so there is a lot of viewpoints – for those who are not squared of heights.

After a night in La Paz I went on the bus to Arequipa. I – and others – were told that it would be a 10 hours bus drive, and it was said to be a direct bus with so called semi beds. The bus we got on had OK standard but no semi beds or chairs you could regulate. It brought us to the border to Peru at Desaguadero where there of course were all the things with border crossings, control of passports out of Bolivia and into Peru, customs and so on, and we were then told to go 200 metres to another bus company and change our tickets into new ones. There we got the message that the bus was not going to leave before 2 and a half hours later! So much for a direct bus. So I have one advice for those doing the same trip: Don't use the company Nuevo Continente. We arrived in Arequipa 14 hours after we left La Paz.

Well... the bus drive took us by the Titicaca Lake, both the Bolivian and Peruvian part of the lake. Though placed some 4000 m above sea level, Lake Titicaca has in fact once been a part of the sea. After the ice age the Andes raised and the water in Titicaca were “trapped”. In fact the land here still rises with about 3 cm each 100 years.

Arequipa should be the only place in Peru I visited this time. I had some other plans, but due to a longer stay in Bolivia than planned, I had to skip most of it. But Arequipa showed to be a good choice for the few days I had in Peru. It is a beautiful city placed at some none-active volcanoes which is about 6000 m a.s.l, Arequipa itself is around 2000 m a.s.l. It has some great buildings from colonial time, included a big and great Dominican monastery. A tour here will tell you a lot about the way Christianity was imposed and used in the colonisation of this continent.

And for those of you who think about monasteries as a place with equal human beings – a tour here will show you that this is far from the truth. Nuns from families with good economy could buy themselves their own flats in the monastery, and get their own maids, which would be girls from the Quechua or Aymara indians.

After some days in Arequipa, at the family of Marina, a Peruvian cs'er at the moment living in Stavanger, I went on to Lima to take a plane to Panama. I just stayed one night and did not get the chance to see much of Lima unfortunately.

Pics from Coroico

Pics from Titicaca/Desaguadero

Pics from Arequipa

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Jo Jenseg Web-album by Jo Jenseg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Norway License.

Based on a work at picasaweb.google.com.

1 kommentar:

  1. Wow, this was great:) I kinda learn spanish for my next year trip to this destinations (adding some extra), so it was really cool to read some practical expiience about it! Thank you for sharing! [and there, i got here from ur cs profile looking for some norwegian tips LMAO]