Thursday, March 16, 2006

PERU, BOLIVIA and TURKEY: Shahaf's Trips

I recently recieved an email from my friend Shahaf, detailing his trips to Peru, Bolivia and Turkey. Here's where he went and what he thought of them:
I took one trip to Peru and Bolivia. I was there for 4 weeks around December. It went like this:

Lima – Actually not as bad as they say. There are some nice town squares, churches, etc., and the miraflores area is a fun night life area. Still, don’t stay too long.

Nasca – Seeing the desert drawings from an airplane is awesome; it’s better in the morning when there are less air gusts. The cemetery is cool too. You get to see sun-bleached mummies there. Otherwise the town is a dump. I would recommend getting in on a night bus, doing both things in one day, and taking another night bus out.

Arequipa – Pretty colonial town. The best thing to do is a trip to the canyon. I did a 3 day trip into Kolca canyon. It was beautiful.

Cusco – Beautiful city. Reminds me of Florence with all the red-tile roofs. Of course, you come here to do the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. I would definitely recommend doing the 4 day hike with one of the outfitters from town. It’s a bit of a hike but it’s not too hard and you get to see lots of other beautiful ruins along the way to Machu Pichu.

Puno and Lake Titicaca – Puno is kind of a dirty industrial town. The trips to the lake are cool. There are touristy trips that just go to the reed islands, and better trips that let you stay with a family on one of the islands. I did the latter and I enjoyed that.

Sorata – A small town just south-east of Titicaca. DON’T MISS IT!! Such a beautiful place surrounded by Juan Valdez style green hills and then by white cap mountains. I wish I could have stayed there longer.

La Paz – the town is a serious shit-hole. I saw more poverty here than most other places I’ve visited. The town also has some very swank areas for the wealthy. Big dichotomy.

Salar Uyuni – I did a 3 day trip to the desert. This was beautiful. Green lakes, red lakes, bubbling mud baths, and octagon-cracked flat ground that stretches to the horizon in all directions. Wow.

Potosi – Sad place, especially the tours into the silver mines. You could skip this.

I also took a brief (8-day) trip to Turkey:

Istanbul – Really cool city. Lots of mosques, waterfronts, markets, a mix of old a new.

Goereme – in the middle of Turkey. This place is famous for the old churches carved into rocky formations. From the outside they look like cavemen dwelling, and from the inside they look like European churches, complete with frescos, etc.

Oludenizs – Southwest turkey. Possibly the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. I went paragliding there which was incredible.

No comments: