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2007-02-19  Bolivia, Chile. 16/01-18/02



The journey from Lima, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia took: 1 plane, 2 taxis, 4 buses and 12 hours.
As national flights are much cheaper than international we reached the border of Peru by plane. The flight to La Paz would take only half an hour more, but it would cost 450 instead of 85USD.
La Paz turned out to be a great surprise. It is an ideal place to discover on one's own, without the main attraction, but with plenty of little things that can make you happy. It is amazingly located in a beautiful valley. Pictures here:
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=109&gID=0  
Our next stop was Uyuni with its magnificent Salar. It is among the most unusual places on Earth. Perfectly flat land covered with 5 meter thick layer of salt... It used to be part of the ocean separated from its main part and dried. In some places the lake that deposited the salt is still visible. I think some of the most amazing pictures from our journey will come from this trip. See for yourselves:
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=110&gID=0  
Just as we arrived in San Pedro de Atacama we started to search for a way to reach Vicuna, a small town, home to some of the largest astronomical observatories on Earth. More than that - also 2 small ones avaiable to tourists. We realized that buses to Vicuna were booked for the next 4 days, so we hitchhiked along Panamericana. 900 km in 15 hours is a pretty good result. Miraculously, we arrived just on time. Although we have seen stars/planets better then ever before, the whole experience was a little below our expectations.
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=117&gID=0  
Santiago de Chile is the most European city we have found in SA. It is also the place where Aga and I separated for the first time. Alcohol was the reason. Aga went to visit a vineyard and I being teetotaller enjoyed SdC on my own.
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=118&gID=0  
We also headed for 1 day to Valparaiso. It is known for 2 things: artists and escalators. The first group, being sincerelly in love with it, covers every available space with paintings. The second, help you get around this hilly town.
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=118&gID=0  
Pucon is the outdoor Mekka of Chile. Only 3 days there and we were white-water rafting, riding mountain bikes, hiking and peering into a crater of active vulcano. Very enjoyable days. Pictures here:
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=119&gID=0  
Quite on the contrary, Chiloe island was as peaceful as you can only imagine. While our bodies had a blast in Pucon, our soules rested in Chiloe. Balance is good in all aspects of life.
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=124&gID=0  
The biggest town near Chiloe is Puerto Montt. We flew from there almost to the very tip of Chile - patagonian Punta Arenas. This way, by bus, plane and hitchhiking, we covered 4000 km from north to south of Chile.
Aga had a great time visiting Magellan penguins colony. They are a very curious and funny animals.
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=125&gID=0  
Our last stop in Chile is the national park of Torres del Paine. Nature lovers, hikers love the place and so do we. Even though it is very windy. Pictures speak for themselves:
http://www.roundtheworld.pl/news.php?nID=127&gID=0
Chile, the most expensive place in South America, rewarded us not only with stunning sites but also provided sth we did not expect. We felt kind of like home, Poland... Similar climate and nature, modern cities, same kinds of plums and berries, local traditional food that was just alike polish tatar (minced raw meet). The small things we appreciated very much after 2 months away from home :)



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