Category Archives: Central & South America

Lake Titikaka, Copacabana and La Paz, Bolivia

The Lost Girl

Lake Titikaka is enormous and stunning. By sheer volume of water, it is the largest lake in South America and forms part of the border between Bolivia and Peru.

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I went to Copacabana from Cusco ny night bus, passing through quite an easy border control to find myself in the small Bolivian town. My main reason for visiting Copacabana was to head to the Islas de Sol y Luna – two islands which were beleived by the Incas to be the birthplaces of the sun and the moon.

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The boat out of Copacabana was cheap and very rickety. There are waves on this lake, and big ones, so it’s probably not advisable if you get sea sick. Honestly, the islands are just islands, but it was nice having a walk around them, especially when it was sunny.

Back on mainland and I took a collectivo from Copacabana to La Paz.

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Cusco, Ollataytambo and Machu Picchu

The Lost Girl

A night bus from Nazca and I arrived in the old Inca city of Cusco. Now the place is a sprawling metropolis, with busy roads and industrial block buildings on the outskirts. The old city, however, was a very pleasant place to spend a couple of nights and was always buzzing with activity.

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Anyone making the visit to the world-renowned Machu Picchu will probably stop here for a day or two. The place is close to a number of Incan ruins, such as Saqsaywaman (I thought some guy was saying “sexy woman” to me when I first heard this…) sitting high up on a western hill. Furthermore, though the centre is now full of colonial buildings constructed as a result of the Spanish, there still remains some examples of Incan architecture. The town is also said to have been built in the shape of a jaguar, which I was sceptical…

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Viva Peru! Lima, Huacachina and Nazca

The Lost Girl

So, after a pretty uncomfortable night spent sleeping on the floor of Mexico City airport, I got the six hour flight I had booked a month and a half ago to Lima.

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I only spent one night in Lima; I will be passing rough here to go to Colombia in two weeks so I figured I could get a better taste of the city then. From what I saw though, Miraflores was a very nice, happening place, especially around Parque Kennedy. There are a lot of bars and restaurants and a nice buzz at night. Or maybe I was just influenced by the fact that the supermarket close to there sold super-cheap focaccia…

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Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, Lima

Anyway, I managed somehow to take public transport to the Cruz del Sur terminal in the city. The receptionist recommended me this company, and although it’s cheap with a good service on…

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Mexico City, Teotihuacan and the House of Frida Kahlo

The Lost Girl

Mexico City is a large, sprawling metropolis with plenty to occupy oneself with.

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The Cathedral is absolutely huge. One of the major sights in the city, the structure is built atop the old Aztec settlement known as Templo Mayor, and you can also walk around a raised path to see the ruins. Housed in the cathedral is the painting Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. Indeed this image was present in pretty much every church I visited in the country.

IMG_3650.JPG Cathedral in Mexico City

The Zocalo (Main Square) was home to a market/stage whilst I was there, and it was very pleasant indeed to walk around and be given tasters of traditional foods. There’s also a large pedestrian street stretching away from the Zocalo towards Palacio de Bellas Artes. The palacio is a strange gallery as the main paintings housed here were large murals depicting bloody…

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Puebla, Mexico

The Lost Girl

Puebla is a larger colonial city than I expected. Again set on a grid, the heart of this city was at the Zocalo with the touring city cathedral just behind.

IMG_3429.JPG Cathedral in Puebla

Puebla is famous for the Battle of Puebla, the aforementioned reason for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Taking place in 1862, the battle marks an important victory for the Mexican army over the French occupation. The battle site lies a little walk out of the town, and up a hill… But a nice park now resides there which is well worth an amble.

IMG_3436.JPG Memorial to the Battle of Puebla

Also present in the town is the oldest library of the Americas – Biblioteca Palofoxiana. Various museums and a market serving Cemillas (essentially a sandwich with most of the bread taken out) is also in the town.

IMG_3447.JPG Cathedral at night

I’m going to be honest with you…

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Oaxaca, Mexico

The Lost Girl

Another night bus, another colonial city in Mexico.

IMG_3361.JPG Zocalo in Oaxaca

Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-ha-ca, which I embarrassingly found out inquiring about tickets at the bus station) lies in the Central Valleys of Mexico, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery including some impressive petrified waterfalls.

IMG_3388.JPG Inside Cathedral of the Lady of the Assumption

The city has a nice atmosphere, especially in the Zocalo, or main square, where music was playing both evenings I was there and people gathered to socialise and sip frozen fruit juices. The imposing cathedrals of Santa Domingo and Cathedral of the Lady of the Assumption are also fantastic buildings to peruse over.

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But the real star of Oaxaca is the cuisine. Considered by some as Mexico’s culinary capital, all the food I had here was delicious and very cheap. I would definitely recommend a visit to the eclectic and varied markets just south of Zocalo…

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San Cristobel de las Casas

The Lost Girl

After a hefty night bus journey from Merida, I finally arrived in San Cristobel de las Casas.

IMG_3337.JPG Busy Street in San Cristobel

Set in the central highlands of the Mexican state Chiapas, San Cristobel is a delightful city featuring cobbled streets and lots and lots of churches. The city reminded me very much of Antigua in atmosphere, though perhaps not quite as big or busy. It is cold here though – I actually had to bring out the jeans and jacket. This is when I realize how much I adore blue skies, sun and hot weather.

IMG_3342.JPG View from one of the hilltop churches

I attended a free walking tour here which I found included free samples of the region’s coffee, soup and mezcal – a Mexican drink very similar to tequila, though perhaps more lethal if such a thing is possible.

Some of the churches are worth a browse too…

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