mountain tagged posts

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is an interesting city. Full of gardens (and malls), the city shows a concern for patrimony; public buildings and its surrounding areas are well cared for. Even by spending  a few days there, I could see its beauty and greatness.

One of the things I was more interested in the city was the Petronas Towers. And yes, they are amazing, impossible not to stare at. Wherever I was in the city, my eyes would go looking for the towers. I had seen them on films and pictures before, but I never thought of them as a mosque. Maybe it’s because I saw them through my “western point of view”. The minute I got to the city and saw the towers, I realized the image of a mosque (It surprised me not having seen that before).

Malls

As in Singapore, I was impressed of how many malls there are in Kuala Lumpur. In every corner there’s one, in all sizes, shapes and prizes. I saw the most luxurious malls of my life there, with every exclusive shop and brand...

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Pamukkale

Pamukkale is a visually interesting place, from far away it looks like a white tip mountain. There are white terraces that were formed by the thermal waters rich in calcium bicarbonate. The water as they go down they deposit carbon dioxide in the soil. This creates some incredible white shapes. Scientist say the terraces started to be formed about 14 thousands years ago. The name Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish. For them the mountains looks like a castle made with cotton, for mi looks like made of ice.

In the same area there are ruins from an ancient city. I visited the amphitheater that it is behind the thermal baths. The place looked abandoned, unpreserved. I seams a piece of history was being left behind, being forgotten. Unfortunately I didn’t find much information on the place.

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Quebrada de Humahuaca

I decided to do a tour to the Quebrada de Humahuaca. We left early in the morning. It was cold and foggy. After a 2 hour trip, we got at Pucamamarca – streets with colonial style houses and handcraft fair. The best is the view of the colorful mountain around the city. From there we headed to Tilcara where we visit the ruins, Pucara, and the ¨Museo Arqueológico¨. Pucara was constructed by the excavations done in the area. Among the stone walls grows lots of cactus.

Our next stop was Humahuaca. The city has a great monument in the honor of the aboriginal hero of independence, Diego. There are some handcraft shops and restaurants. Here one can see great indigenous traces on peolple and, for being near by the Bolivian border, the influence of its culture.

The way back, we stop in Uquia to visit a small church with paintings and golden objects. We also stop to see the famous ¨Cerro de las siete colores¨, a mountain with different color stripes.

We wanted to visit the center of Jujuy...

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Machu Picchu

Since the arrival on Machu Picchu was disappointing, a cloudy day, I couldn’t see too much. I decided not to photograph, only feel the place and come back next day to work. I left my camera bag in a looker so I wouldn’t change my mind.

First we did a guided tour with some explanation of the place. The group was divided in English and Spanish tour. I joined the Uruguayans in the Spanish one. The tour was a little vague, since nobody know exactly what was the place, there are only guesses or interpretations. After we walked, rested, laughed and enjoyed the landscape. We were cheering every time the clouds would move a little. The sun could show up any time, after all it was the solstice day. No, the sun didn’t show up.

The next day I walk up early an saw it was a cloudy day. I slept again and only left to Machu Picchu at 9 am. This time the weather was better. I went up the highest point and sat down to wait for the sun...

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Inca trail

Nowadays it is not possible to do the Inca trail without a certified guide, what I think it is good. This regulate a little the tourism, it gives job to the Peruvians that study to be guide and prevent tourists to throw garbage and food on the way.

I decide to do a tour with a group organized by an agency in Cuzco (see services). The first day they got me in the hostel about 7am. After we picked up everybody we went to get the carriers, food, train tickets. It took forever. After I head the other agencies would do the same. On the way to Km 82 (where we start the trail) we stopped for a breakfast in Urubamba. It was the same road from Sacred Valley tour.

We arrived in the trail at noon. There were a huge number of groups and backpackers arriving at the same time. We walked for an hour and a half to the lunch pause. The day was sunny and we sat down on the grass to eat. We all enjoyed the food, or maybe we were too hungry. In general the food offered in the tour was good...

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Alausí and Nariz del Diablo

I woke up early to go the famous train tour to the Devil’s Nose. The train leaves Riobamba at 7am. The tourists arrive a lot earlier to get a good place, the majority go on the roof of the cars to enjoy the landscape. It was cold and a bit rainy.

As soon as it leaves Riobamba we can see the countryside of Ecuador. Mountains squared by the plantations. Farmers working. Some people stay sitting by the railroad to see the train passing by (it works 3 times a week). Kids wave to the tourists. It must be funny for them to see a train crowded with tourists on the roof.

The train stops all the time to local people get in and off with their loads. The last stop before the Devil’s Nose is Alausi, a small town in the mountains. There some more tourists squeeze themselves to get to the roof with their photo and video cameras. The train continuous to the valley.

The way is interesting...

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Riobamba and Chimborazo

By noon I left Baños (1800m) to Riobamba(2800m). At 2 o’clock I got in town and arranged a tour to see the volcano Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador. They say it is the furthest point from the center of the Earth. This time there was a Dutch couple, a guide, a driver and me. My expectations were very low since the day was cloudy and I had stayed a week in Baños trying to see the top of Tungurahua, what I couldn’t because of the clouds.

As we begin to go up, the sky seamed to clear. We started to see a little of the mountain, sudently it was there, the white top of Chimborazo. It was beautiful, as if we had gone higher than the clouds, as if we were looking from the top. The happiness was general, the Dutch couple was also frustrated for not being able to see the Tungurahua. On the way to the refuge we saw some llamas and vicuñas.

At 4:30 we got to the refuge (4800m) and started the walk to the second reguge (5000m)...

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Baños

Baños, a small town south of Quito, attracted me as I got off the bus and could see the mountains surrounded it. With a population of less than 20.000 inhabitants, the city is located in the botton of the Tungurahua volcano. It is active and has probabilities of erupting any time. In 1999 the city was evacuated for being considered dangerous. As the volcano didn’t erupted, the inhabitants came back even though the it is still active. The population complain that their things were stolen when they were away. They even distrust the police that made them leave.

In the weekends the city is croweded with people from the nearby villages. They all come to the mess, to here the band play in the square or to eat marmalades. It gave me the feeling of traveling back in time...

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Quito


My flight came from Bogota. The trip was pretty! In the middle of the whiteness of the clouds I could see the top of a mountain. Now in Ecuador I could see another mountaintop. I could realize how high are the Andes in these latitudes. Quito is 2800 meters above the see level. In the city, to any side you look at, you can see mountains. It is great, I feel a relief when I can see that the city has end (in contrast to São Paulo that if looses itself in the horizon).

With its antique European architecture, the old center (ciudad vieja) is the main attraction of the city, full of centennial churches and it is crowded with street sellers. The indigenous traces were constant on their faces. The “Plazas” is the meeting point for the old people, there they sit down and observe the world to pass around them. It is easy to see children playing all over the place.

The new city, where all the tourists are, is a more modern town, full of cafes, restaurants, art craft stores and travel agen...

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