John Morris’ Blog

Rio Carnival - Brasil 2007 - South American Adventure

by John Morris on 3rd Mar 2009, under Adventure Travel

south_americafeb07_366-1Hola! The adventure was a 3 week tight schedule which was to encompass 4 countries commencing in Santiago Chile. From here we headed up the coast to Lima Peru and across the mountain ranges of the Andes, soon landing in the high altitude ancient Inca City of Cusco. Here we discovered the wonder of the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. We then travelled by road to the amazing beauty of Lake Titicaca and the floating straw villages, onward into Bolivia to the thriving city of La Paz; then finally into Brazil to experience the colour excitement, and madness too of Rio de Janeiro and the world’s biggest Carnival Festival.

The moment you arrive in South America, there is a sense of no frills, no fuss. The South American people are very easy going where time does not influence a great deal of how everyone goes about their day.  Lifestyle is a very important factor to daily life. Santiago is a modern city, encompassing the past with its amazing Spanish architecture, evidence of volatile times and many prominent Cathedrals which house priceless works of art and this was to dominate the landscape for much of the journey. Markets are set up in many locations where people and families from all over come together to buy and sell or simply hang out to absorb the thriving atmosphere and enjoy the many eateries and fine local wines, listening to buskers and bands play authentic tunes. You are soon thrust into the groove of the South American happy go lucky way of life. Bring it on.

Lima, Peru is perched standing firm overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean and is also a thriving metropolis and modern city and the task at hand was to get my Spanish in order. Most Peruvians speak a little English, however they enjoy your company more when you make the assertive  attempt to speak a little of their lingo. Restaurants & bars litter the cliff tops and the Lima locals gather to enjoy the stunning sunsets. Peruvians can find any reason to celebrate, where laughing is essential.  A lovely lady I met was selling crucifixes and holy items at the Lima Cathedral which stands as a testament of Spanish colonialism and the Catholic Church. She was warm and exchanged a welcoming and a goodbye so genuine. You smile, others smile too.

south_americafeb07_224Located 11,444 ft above sea level in the Andes Mountains is the beautiful ancient City of the Incas, Cusco with a population of 300,000. As you arrive your blood begins to tingle adjusting to the altitude which may take a couple of days to acclimatise. Cusco is one of the undisputed highlights of South America. Cusco’s beautiful natural setting, colourful festivals, sheer number of sights – unparalleled in Peru – Cusco is a historical city with a thriving local community, cafes, bars, restaurants and many churches, namely the Cusco Cathedral a Baroque-style cathedral built on the foundations of the Palace of the Inca Wirachocha, which looks over the stunning Plaza de Armas. There are also other significant sites containing priceless works of art, remnants of a bygone era and the amazing architecture of the Incas. Ancient narrow cobble stone lane ways weave in and out, blocks of perfectly laid stone established long ago. It’s very clear the Inca people excelled in their ability to create perfection. Visiting the Quechua Indian markets where the local school kids were performing a play and a colourful crowd, applauding, laughing and water bombing each other was a highlight. Being among the locals is what travelling is all about.  Passing through the Sacred Valley of the Incas you are stunned by the remarkable Inca architectural masterpieces which date some five hundred years. Cusco is one of the most exciting places in South America and is the gateway to the imperial city of Machu Picchu.

south_americafeb07_605You are in awe, the magnitude of standing absorbing the ancient Inca City & fortress of Machu Picchu as mist cloud hover pierced by rays of light, the jungle below steaming cracking with bird song. Stunning comes to mind the efforts made to build such a master piece. It’s a place you to must see and experience for yourself. It began raining heavily, soon stone stair wells became cascading gushing rivers, as they were designed. Machu Picchu was constructed as a safe haven high on the mountain top in defence of any Inca enemy which certainly would have challenged any potential foe.

Click here to view John’s South American Adventure photo Gallery.

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