South American trip (9) – Nazca and Caral

Nazca was really another highlight of the South American trip. It was impressive and nothing short of the expectations I had built up over time, from reading books about the mysteries of the world as a child to documentaries on Netflix.

It’s wow. But for some the flight can be bad, being a small plane. But I really liked it. Pilots tilt the plane far enough, and often enough, that every part of the plane can look at every important drawing. There are a lot of gigantic drawings. The lines are said to have been created by the Nazca culture between 100 BC-700 AD. The specialists used satellite images, but also on-site research, walking these lines. In total, these lines are 4.4 km long.

These drawings are not only visible from the plane, but also from the surrounding hills.

Some of the drawings feature images of animals such as birds, llamas, monkeys, human forms, fish or jaguars. Some images are simple geometric shapes and lines, while others feature more complex symbols such as trees and flowers. The shapes were first drawn by removing the reddish stone above to expose the earth below. While the exact purpose of the shapes is unknown, most scholars agree that they carry some religious significance.

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South American trip (8) – Peru – Cusco and Machu Picchu

There is much to tell about Machu Picchu. Although the ruins are indeed breathtaking, fascinating, the experience itself is strongly touristic. To take the bus to the site, you have to stand in a huge queue, which nevertheless moves quickly. Once at the site, you have to struggle to find a window without other tourists behind you, the area being extremely crowded even in the early hours of the morning.

They are two different aspects, yes the ruins are extraordinary and there is nothing inferior to the pictures, but the tourist experience is one of a dozen.

As I wrote before, some people have a projection very different from the historical truth about South American civilizations, including the Inca. Some yes, they are shrouded in strong mystery, being very old, as we later found out in Caral. But Inca is neither old nor lost nor so mysterious. Not to be confused with the Maya, the Olmecs or the Caral culture. The history of the Inca is quite well known, the Inca being the name of those who conquered this area, subjugating the tribes in the area to be conquered by the Spanish conquistadors who took advantage of the differences and dissensions between the populations of the new empire.

All I can say about Machu Picchu is that it is impressive. Let the pictures speak for themselves.

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South American trip (7) – Bolivia

La Paz, Tiwanaku and Titicaca Lake

As a country, Bolivia was the most authentic and interesting part of the South American trip. It is a poor country, cheap but without tourist traps. The most interesting experiences were the witch market in La Paz and the fascinating Tiwanaku. Lake Titicaca is included in this article, although it is on the border with Peru.

I know I’ve probably used the words fascinating, extraordinary, magnificent, galactic a lot. But this trip was full of highlights.

Located 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz, near the southeastern shore of Lake Titicaca, lie the ruins of one of the oldest and largest urban cities ever built.

The ancient buildings and ruins (pre-Columbian, pre-Inca) show you the obsession of the people of that time for geometric perfection. Tiwanaku. 

But first, we got to cross to Bolivia and stop on the way, we got to visit Titicaca and the amazing universe of the Uros natives. We visited the witch market of La Paz. Solar de Uyuni is described in another separate post.

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South American trip (6) – Salar de Uyuni – Salt Desert in Bolivia

The experience there at night leaves you speechless. I could say magnificent, galactic. I was in an area of the desert flooded with water about 10-20 cm from the “permasal”. I got rubber boots and went down to the pictures. The water was very very cold and you could feel it even through your boots and 3 pairs of socks.

Photo credit: Attila Munzlinger

We managed to take magnificent pictures. I didn’t manage to get exactly the mirrored galaxy effect in the water, because there were still a few gusts of wind that stirred the water a bit and distorted the reflection in the water mirror a bit. But the pictures turned out super amazing anyway and the Galactic experience, the sky being extraordinarily clear, without light pollution.

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South American trip (5) – Moon Valley and Flamingos

About the Valley of the Moon, what can I say? It was yet another transcendental experience.

We stayed all night to take pictures of the starry sky and the rock formations in the valley of the moon park. And a funny incident or adventure. The park is closed at night as is normal. But we, that is, me and Valentin Grigore, after taking pictures and exhausting the potential of the belvedere observation point on the side of the road, we decided to enter the park anyway.

Well don’t imagine that belvedere point was right on the side of the road I did some climbing and stayed for hours at that point. But it wasn’t enough for a whole night, was it?

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South American trip (4) – Chile

Atacama Desert, Valley of Death (Valley of Mars) and ALMA Astronomical Telescop

The time spent in Chile, I divide it into 2 parts, one before Easter Island, the 2nd, after Easter Island. Although the eclipse event is placed in the first part of the Chile experience, I would say that the second part was much more attractive and much more beautiful in terms of landscape and nature.

Thus in the 2nd part of continental Chile we had the opportunity to see a giant stone hand in the middle of the desert, to see the monument of the tropics, take night pictures in the Moon Valley, a place with gems all over de ground, walk the sand dunes in the Valley of Death or the Valley of Mars, where I saw sand dunes surfing and an almost Martian landscape.

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South American trip (3) – Easter Island

I couldn’t wait to get to Easter Island, one of the highlights of the trip.

The island is located in the Pacific Ocean, quite far from the coast of Chile, approx. 3,500 km.

Although it belongs to Chile, it has an autonomous status and its inhabitants are Polynesians, being the eastern extremity of Polynesia.

I wonder how those people would have arrived on such a vast territory spread across the entire Pacific Ocean.

Btw, the photo on the Home page is not mine, is a photo taken by Attila Munzlinger.

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South America (2): Introduction to Chile and the Solar Eclipse

Valparaiso, Solar Eclipse and the Penguins

Let me tell you about the mega trip of about 6,000 euros for a month in South America, the trip where I visited Buenos Aires in Argentina, Chile, saw the solar eclipse in Chile, went to the desert, took night photos, I saw petroglyphs in the desert but also Easter Island in the Pacific 3,500 km from the coast, I was in the salt desert of Bolivia with its cacti island, I saw Machu Pichu, Nazca and the old pyramids of Caral. Really fascinated.

Most of the South American trip took place in Chile for a two-week period, half of the trip. In Chile we also achieved our final objective, that of observing and photographing the Solar Eclipse 2019 and also in Chile we took the most night photographs in fascinating, interesting, strange places such as the Hand of the Desert monument in Atacama or the formations of semi-precious stones from Death Valley (or Mars Valley) and Moon Valley.

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South American trip (1): Buenos Aires

Tango dancers in the Plaza de Mayo.

About Buenos Aires I can say that it leaves you with a special flavor – un cierto sabor. At first glance it looks like a European city teleported to South America.

The architecture and the people give you that impression.

Then you hit on its South American personality with the first couples dancing the tango in the street. I only stayed 2 days in the city.

The exponents of life and death stuck in my mind – the cemetery, which is a smaller town in itself and the fascinating tango show seen from the most famous club in town.

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West Coast of Canada and Vancouver Island

At the beginning of June 2018 I went to Canada to see the most interesting kind of place, where the ocean meets the mountains. The West Coast of Canada confirmed everything I imagined about such a place. It is the ideal place to live, surrounded by majestic landscapes, the freshness of the great mountain ranges combined with the ocean breeze. The ocean, the mountains, the lakes, the rivers, the wildlife and the freedom of man – that’s what the Canadian West Coast means to me.

Of all, Vancouver Island is the most precious, it has all this without being affected by major urban developments, and this on an area about the size of a small European country.

Being from Europe, In Canada it had that feeling of Terra Nova, at least on the west coast where I was.

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