South America - photo index

Map - introduction During some five months from February to June 2002 I took a vacation from my work and left for a small adventure in South America. With a backpack on my back I traveled from Quito in Ecuador to Rio in Brazil (click on the map). This trip is the best thing I've done so far. Despite language limitations with but simple tourist Spanish in my luggage, I had wonderful experiences and met nice people from all over the world. The thing that surprised me the most regarding the trip, was that everything went so smooth, almost without any problems, despite the fact that this was my first longer trip on my own.

Sweden, Linköping - A photo from work (Ida Infront) to test my new camera. Björn, Magnus, Andreas.
Ecuador - A road outside of Quito, on our way to the volcano Pichincha which we climbed. The excursion was organized by the language school (Simon Bolivar) my first weekend in Ecuador.
Ecuador, Quito - View towards the house I stayed in the first month when I studied Spanish in Quito (the gray two-floor residential building in front of the big military hospital).
Ecuador, Quito - The room I stayed in, at the Ochoa family residence. The military hospital is right outside the window.
Ecuador, Cochasqui - Me and my Spanish teacher William on a school trip. I'm paler than a snowman.
Ecuador, Cochasqui - The school arranged a trip to an archeological sighting called Cochasqui, some distance from Quito. As homework I had to write an essay on the trip; felt like being back at junior school :)
Ecuador, Quito - Plaza de la Independencia in Quito with the cathedral, the presidential palace and the government building on the respective sides. The Ecuadorian flag looks nice on photo.
Ecuador, Mitad del Mundo - The Center of Earth. The big monument marks the passage of the equator. I could not resist having a photo taken with me standing with one foot on the southern hemisphere and the other on the northern.
Peru, Nazca - A fairly boring picture of Nazca, symbolizing life in a Peruvian small town.
Peru, Nazca - Nazca is renown for the so-called Nazca lines; several kilometer large figures in the desert, only visible from the sky. The purpose of the figures, which were create hundreds of years ago, remain unknown. This has resulted in the flourishing of more or less believable theories (the famous ufologist von Däniken, for example, believes they are landing areas for aliens). A nice tourist trap. The top of the photo shows the wing of the plane I flew in; in focus is the figure called 'The Astronaut'.
Peru, Nazca - The mummies are remains from the Nazca civilization, who lived in the desert once upon the time. Quite an odd image which fits my collection of curiosities fine.
Peru, Cañón del Colca - On our way to the spectacular Colca canyon near Arequipa we encountered this people-friendly llama; surprisingly keen on sweets. Gave me a chance to finally catch this normally shy animal on a close up.
Peru, Cañón del Colca - I made a two-day trip to the Colca canyon with an overnight in a small village. On a restaurant we were offered typical Peruvian entertainment. (Typical for tourists, that is.)
Peru, Cañón del Colca - With nice food, plenty of bear and good companion, we were in a great mood. I myself had a meat stew with llama meat - tender and tasty.
Peru, Cañón del Colca - The Colca valley is famous for it's dramatic nature, deep valleys and high mountains. An extraordinary view! The deepest valley in the world is supposed to be here, but what's really attracting all the tourists is the possibility to see condors fly here on a close distance - if you are lucky. We were lucky!
Peru, Cañón del Colca - A group photo with the guys I made the trip together with. We were a mixed group with people from France, England, Ireland, Canada, Japan and Australia. Nice!
Peru, Cuzco - A terrace from the Inca time, used for growing crops. Shows the astonishing capabilities the Incas possessed when it came to building things in stone. The different blocks of stone fit together like peaces in a puzzle, without the use of concrete or anything similar.
Peru, Cuzco - A somewhat famous stone with twelve corners in central Cuzco, shows what splendid stone masons the Incas were.
Peru, Inca Trail - Me posing on the bridge leading over to the Inca Trail, the starting point to that part of the trail that most tourists walk. I thought the wind would blow me off the wobbling bridge, but I was happy as a clam.
Peru, Inca Trail - View from the tent on our first overnight. We were wet and tender from the first days hiking in the rain, but with such a view those things are forgotten. Magnificent!
Peru, Inca Trail - The rain gear came handy.
Peru, Inca Trail - On the second day we climbed 1200 meters up a mountain, and then down the other side. It was like climbing up a staircase all day long, in rain and cold wind. But I made the top, and look how happy I was :-)
Peru, Inca Trail - A nice part of the trail, showing what the it often looked like; like a never ending stone staircase with the mountain steeping down on the side of it.
Peru, Inca Trail - Tulips.
Peru, Inca Trail - Along the entire trail there were ruins to look at. Nearest on the photo is a defense structure, and a happy guy from Chile.
Peru, Machu Picchu - Finally we arrived at the dreamlike Inca city Machu Picchu, which the Inca Trail leads up to. The morning we were there the entire area was sadly covered in a thick mist, but when the sun rose the mist disappeared and I got a pretty nice photo.
Peru, Machu Picchu - Group photo with some of the people I walked the trail with, posing in front of the Inca city. Yet again, a nice group with mixed nationalities: a Dutch guy, two Germans, two girls from a with economic crisis struck Argentina, two British guys and two from Australia.
Peru, Machu Picchu - The city seen from slightly above. Like a postcard, if I may say so myself..
Peru, Machu Picchu - A last memory from the city.
Peru, Lake Titicaca - On the Titicaca lake, right outside the city Puno, lies these peculiar floating islands, habituated by the Uros people. The islands are actually gigantic floating rafts made by reeds. Walking on the islands gave a strange mushy feeling.
Peru, Lake Titicaca - Some of the houses on the islands were quite modern, with tin roofing and solar cells producing electricity (for the TV, so that they could see the in South America so immensely popular soap operas, novelas :)
Peru, Lake Titicaca - A more tourist like photo than this can hardly be found. A nice Frenchman almost fell out of the boat taking this photo to get the right perspective.
Peru, Isla de Taquile - I stayed one night on the Taquile Island in Lake Titicaca and got to experience the meaning of "quiet". The island is mostly habituated by farmers who apparently keeps their traditions close at hart. Everything on the island was a bit primitive, yet picturesque, harmonical and very relaxed.
Peru, Isla de Taquile - The majority of tourists visit the island over the day, but I choose to stay over night in the rustic little room this photo is taken from. In the evening I was almost the only gringo left on the island - a very peculiar feeling indeed. With a staggering tourist Spanish I actually was able to communicate with the locals somewhat.
Bolivia, La Paz - The capital of Bolivia, La Paz, was a nice surprise indeed. I had pictured myself a worn down city with serious problems and high criminality, that I would visit on the run and soon leave. But La Paz turned out to be a quite modern and nice city which I came to like. The lowest crime rate of all the South American capitals, they said..
Bolivia, La Paz - Just like Quito the city was situated in a valley, surrounded by massive mountains on all sides. As I like mountains I found the sky line wonderful.
Bolivia, Tihuanaco - Some distance outside of La Paz were archeological leavings of the Tihuanaco civilization. The stone man was the most photogenic thing on site.
Bolivia, Tihuanaco - A bunch of stone faces in a wall, but mine was missing..
Bolivia, Tihuanaco - According to those who knew, this rather unclear stone face is supposed to show an alien from outer space. I just had to take a photo.
Bolivia, Cochabamba - Cable cars going up the "Christ mountain".
Bolivia, Cochabamba - In the city Cochabamba I quite unexpectedly encountered the highest Christ-statue in the world (higher then the one in Rio). I had never heard of this tourist attraction before, but didn't let the photo opportunity go lost.
Bolivia, Cochabamba - Big!
Bolivia, Potosí - The city Potosí is famous for it's once immensely rich silver mines, that from the 16:th century and onwards financed the extravagances of the Spanish court.
Bolivia, Potosí - In the mine I visited, there was a "mine devil" to which the workers sacrificed cigarettes and alcohol before they went to work, to avoid accidents. Any other security measures did not exist..
Bolivia, Potosí - They fired of a dynamite load above earth for us tourists. In the background lies the little mining town (the highest located city in the world!)
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni The salt desert Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia towards the Chilean border, is a must see for tourists! The desert is made up of a dried out salt lake, with beds of salt as long as the eye can see. Wandering around there felt just like walking in snow. The local population collects the salt and sells it; the bicycle in the picture belongs to a "salt harvester".
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Some industrious people had built a salt hotel in the desert, similar to the one in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, but with blocks of salt rather the ice. Fascinating. The white jeep was the one we traveled around in.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni A Christmas card? It looks wintry, but it was as hot as a nice summer day.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Somewhere around here we should have reached the maximum height of the trip: some 5000 meters above sea level. Higher up than this I have never been before.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Panorama.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Panorama.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Flamingos in the mirror-like lagoon.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Árbol de piedra - The Stone Tree. A mighty block of stone, which the wind has given the form of a tree.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Llamas with the dramatic blood red Laguna Colorada in the background.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni A dog suddenly attacked the hoard of llamas, but they drove it away. A fascinating spectacle to watch..
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni The hoard protects the little llama kid.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Llamas.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni More llamas.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Even more llamas.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni What looks like ice is in effect a layer of salt.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Beautiful colors!
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni It wasn't easy to get a photo of a lonely llama, standing still and looking into the camera..
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Geysers.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni Yet another lagoon.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni A dramatic mountain scenery.
Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni I have heard about flying into the clouds, but to drive into the same is not as common. Here the clouds hover just above the valley below the mountains. That's the altitude we were at.
Argentina - A funny toilette I found in Mendoza. By pulling a lever and turning a handle, one got a water cascade in the center of the toilette. The only practical area of use I could find, was to use it as a fountain - and as such it worked great!
Argentina, Buenos Aires - The bohemian quarters of La Boca in Buenos Aires is famous for it's relaxed atmosphere and houses painted in a colorful manner. Charms some - I myself just found it old and worn down.
Brazil, Curitiba - In Brazil I visited my friends in Curitiba, which I got to know while working as a trainee at the company EBS Sistemas summer 1999. Since I last was there, the company has grown rapidly and moved into new nice quarters in a technology park right outside the city. Nice to see! Almost everyone I met while working at the company, were still there, so it was nice to see them again. The hospitality I was offered was undescribable!
Brazil, Curitiba - Josias, Mario, Tiago, Fred. And me with a shaving wound.
Brazil, Curitiba - A panorama of the office.
Brazil, Curitiba - The EBS building.
Brazil, Curitiba - Josias and Carlos.
Brazil, Curitiba - Me and Carlos.
Brazil, Curitiba - One evening I followed Josias and Rodrigo to the university where they study, to see what a normal lecture was like. Funnily the lecturer never showed up, so we went to a student place instead. Just as fun!
Brazil, Curitiba - Rodrigo to the left and Josias in the middle.
Brazil, Curitiba - The last day I was there visiting the company they celebrated Gilmar's birthday. Gilmar, me and Carlos (the two founders of the company).
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro - The samba stadium from where the great carnival procession starts off. Or ends? Or both? Anyway, I just had to take a photo (I suppose there's more going on there in February :)
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro - Me in all my divinity posing in front of the big Christ statue, famous from post cards, looking out over the city of Rio. Our tour got there rather late in the day when the sun was setting and the lamps where turned on, but the odd light made the picture quite nice.
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro