Saturday, June 30, 2007

Buenos Aires

To clear out the issue with incorrectly entering Brazil, we decided to travel to Argentina next day. Another reason was that we wanted to do some mountain hiking in Argentina before the coldest winter days come. So we got ourselves on the next bus to Buenos Aires (Bs As). Luckily we didn’t have any trouble at all at the border, probably because of the young friendly officer who solved the issue by pretending we hadn’t even entered the country the day before. “With no entry stamp, I can’t give you an exit stamp” he said. We were happy.

The bus ride to Bs As took 15 hours, with many sleep disturbances. The police made the bus stop 5 times during the night to search for drugs, we believe. Once they even brought dogs to sniff around. The bus ticket included a meal, but they didn’t explain anything, but thanks to Polonas good nose we were the first in the restaurant. Two British passengers with limited Spanish knowledge almost missed the dinner.

The bus terminal in Buenos Aires happened to be the biggest anybody would imagine, with 99 gates that were more than half-full all the time. We arrived at 8 am wearing sandals and shorts, and noticed the outside temperature was 7° cold. Well inside the station building we added jackets and wind-pants, and went looking for tourist info. Soon we got “picked up” by a messenger for the local youth hostels, who convinced us with an offer with good location, price and dinners included.

After checking in we went downtown to find the Sunday arts & crafts market in San Telmo. Polona started feeling more “at home” from understanding the language, and memories from her Peru stay came back to mind. But compared to Peru, here are much fewer poor people visible – and it didn’t seem like police would have just “hid” them away. The 3 million habitants of Bs As, called Porteños, are in general very respectful – which is taken to its extreme when they queue for a popular bus line or in front of a bank. Several queues stretched a whole block. People are very happy and cheerful and always wait or walk around to not block the view when photographing. We felt like they treated us really well, sometimes even believing we were locals. Along the streets we saw people selling just anything, performing or even giving away free hugs – which is actually a quite famous international campaign. We also found some freezing tango dancers who danced for tips.

The second day was spent walking the recommended “to be seen” streets. Near the Congress we found a group of retired militaries protesting to free some prisoners from a war of Malvinas/Falklands islands. We saw them again while resting on Avenida 9 de Julio which is the biggest city street in the world. It has 22 lanes plus pedestrian space, in total 140 metres wide! It’s easy to orientate the well marked streets and once we passed a small street “Republica de Eslovenia” (Slovenian republic).

We liked the city because of colourful streets of La Boca, street art, its people and the small nice town Tigre. It lies just an hour north of the city centre in the middle of the river delta of Rio de la Plata. That is where we spent the last few hours before heading to the Andes!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Prvi dnevi v Braziliji

Simon in Polona
Koncno sva letela v Brazilijo! Let je bil enostaven. V sao Paolu sva pridno izpolnila vse uradne formularje na carini. Na koncu pa jih uradniki niti pogledali niso. Ruzaka sta naju k sreci ze cakala; prispela sta en dan prej. Iz S.P. sva hitro pobegnila s prvim busom do Foz do Iguacu - do znamenitih slapov. Voznja do tja je trajala 15 ur, a je bila kratkocasna. Starejsa invalidna gospa nas je celo pot zabavala s svojimi zgodbicami. Ful veliko potuje in je navajena vozenj z busom, saj invalidom voznje ni treba placati. Naju je se posebej zabavala, ker naju je celo pot razvajala s hrano in sladkarijami. Na koncu se je celo povabila k nama v Evropo na obisk :). K sreci bus ni bil poln, da je imela dovolj prostora zase in nestete vrece, polne hrane.

Zgodnje jutro, po prihodu v Foz do Iguacu, sva izkoristila za urejanje prvih zadev - poceni prenocisce, prevoz in organiziran ogled lokalnih zanimivosti. Po treh dneh potovanja se je mala sobica z udobnimi posteljami zdela kot raj. Kasneje tistega popoldneva sva si ogledala najvecjo hidroelektrarno na svetu Itaipu. To je skupen projekt Paragvajcev in Brazilcev, ustanovljen leta 1975. Elektrarna proizvede 14GW energije, kar pokrije 90% potreb Paragvaja in 25% Brazilije. Ime Itaipu v Guarani indijanscini pomeni pojoca skala, izhajajoc iz hrupa padajoce vode. Naju je bolj kot sama elektrarna prevzel trud, ki ga podjetje usmerja v zmanjsanje negativnih posledic na okolje zaradi prisotnosti elektrarne.

Prvi dan sva zakljucila z vecerjo; se vedno imava tezave z narocanjem hrane, ker ne poznava lokalnih specialitet, ne brazilskih imen za tipicno hrano. Morala bi preziveti vec casa z lokalci, ampak sva zaenkrat se prevec zasedena s privajanjem na novo okolje in zivljenjem kot turista.

Naslednja dva dneva sva prezivela v naravnem parku Iguacu, pri slapovih. Oba sva bila ocarana nad igro narave , kjer na treh km vec kot 200 slapov buta 80m globoko. Fantasticno. Poleg tega je park poln pticev, barvitih metuljev, neznanih sesalcev in tropskih roz. Park lezi na meji med Argentino in Brazilijo, zato sva ga obiskala z obeh strani. Brazilska stran ponuja lepsi pogled na cel sistem slapov, bolj osebno dozivetje in vec zivali. Iz argentinske strani pa sva prisla blizje vodi, mogocnemu hrupu in fantasticnemu obcutku padajoce vode. Iguacu slapovi so po besedah vodica lepsi od bolj znanih Victoria in Niagara falls. Zares fenomenalno dozivetje!

Za dodatno razburljivo dozivetje je poskrbelo dejstvo, da sva morala preckati Ag.- Br. mejo. Pri tem sva imela smolo, ker nisva dobro poznala sistema. Pri izstopu iz Brazilije sva tako preplacala voznjo z busom, nazaj grede pa zaradi neresnega voznika busa pozabila urediti formalnosti na meji. Primerno sva zapustila Argentino, a neuradno preckala mejo z Brazilijo. Tako sva trenutno "Nikjer".

First days in Brazil

On the flight we made friends with a japanese who was happy to photograph us. When we landed in Sao Paolo we noticed that our huge airplane was not the biggest Beside ours was parked a two-floor plane. We dutifully filled in all the paperework, which was then dutifully ignored by customs staff. The luggage was waiting for us for one day already. We didn´t tour around SP; we quickly ran for the next destination. We took the first bus to Iguacu water falls which meant another night without proper beds. The ride took 15 hours and it was extremely joyful due to an amusing old invaild lady from SP. She traveled a lot, as disabled people pay nothing for buses. The whole bus, including the drivers, was dying out of laughter when she was telling stories. She adopted us, gave us food for the whole trip and invited herself to visit us in Europe :). Luckily the bus was half-empty, so she had enought of space to fit herself as well as her numerous bags (of food?). Simon already likes traveling by buses because of good seats and nice air temperature - now in the winter season at least. Arriving early in Iguacu, we used the morning to gather information. Meanwhile we got a hostel booked, transportation arranged and a promise for a guided tour. After three days of travel, a tidy room with comfortable beds was true relaxation for us. Later that afternoon we visited the Itaipu power plant - 14GW continuously, by the means of 20 turbines which are jointly owned by Brasil and Paraguay - "Itaipu Binacional". Those 14GW covers 90% of the needs of Paraguay (and they have even more water power upstream) and 25% of the needes of enormous Brasil. The name Itaipu comes from the Guarani indian language and means singing rock, because of noises from the waterfalls. Noises that were heard in old times -- before the dam was built. The massive concrete construction built in 7 years, finished 1975, didn´t impress us as much as the effort put into counter the negative side effects of the dam. It was difficult to see what was propaganda and what was true, as they chose their statistical measures and frames to give the best result. Upstream of the dam used to be another set of beautiful water falls that almost got the countries into war in the past. The dam construction flodded those waterfalls and ended the land dispute there.
The first day we finished with dinner. We still have problems ordering the right type and amount of food, as we are not familiar with local specialties nor the common words of typical dishes. We would like to spend more time with local people, but so far we've been too busy getting used to the country and doing tourist things. Next two days we spent in the nearby Iguacu natural park watching waterfalls, birds and butterflies. The park lies just on the "border river" between Brazil and Argentina. That why we visited from both sides. The Br. side gives gives a majestic overview of the system of more than 200 waterfalls. We enjoyed the view and lack of tourists at a viewtower. The river Igacu is 2km wide and offers a varying play of nature. From Argentinian side we got a close feeling of the falls, coming up close on both the upper and lower side of the falls. The Ar. side also allowed us to come just above where water falls 80m down into a chaos that completely hides how deep it is. We liked both sides. Brasilian for its mature organization -although a bit overdue with regard to repairs. Ar. side was more confused and artistic, with much more butterflies, bees (in our food), guinea pigs (?, morski prasicki) and less "coaties" that would try to steal food and dive in trash cans.
The majestic water falls are made up by volcanic matter that slowly covered the soil and formed a hard "mattress". Later a second "mattress" came on top. Erosion then removed the non-volcanic matter, forming the falls in two layers, plus an island in the middle.

Passing the border to the Ar. side brought an interesteing adventure. Only five of us on the bus needed paperwork for border crossing, and the bus couldn't wait. We werer supposed to get some paper from the driver, to be able to enter a later bus without paying again. Our companions had such a paper. But for us the new driver couldn't take our word, so we paid again. In Brasilian Reals - but we know now that Ar. Pesos are 30-40% lower valued and prices are always set "equally" at 3 R$ / 3 Pesos. Including the 4 Reais paid in vain at the "local main bus station", the morning bus trip cost 16 R$. The way home cost only 6 R$, partly maybe because the bus went directly and even forgot to let us do paperwork for re-entering Brasil. So we are already "nowhere".

Monday, June 18, 2007


The flight to Brazil passed through Zurich, where we needed to wait for 26 hours. Somehow we didn't think especially how to spend a day in Zürich, but since our hand luggage was prepared for 3 days of "survival", the only things we really missed were sunblock and some local currency (CHF) to buy some food and 2-way tickets into town. We exchanged 30EUR and went downstairs looking for the subway "S-bahn".

7am. Rainy. We circled the building and found stairs around the corner from were we had started searching. The ticket seller sold Tageskarte (valid 24h for two zones) for 12CHF per Karte. Quite a lot - and probably it couldn't really get cheaper. Already doubling the planned daily "allowance", we paid by card. At the main station, we bought excellent breakfast: yoghurt and bread, which we ate in the lobby of a consulate of some island kingdom with a Welsh-sounding name. Zürich is nice! As Petter from Sandviken said, you're the most impressed in the beginning of a trip. Zürich felt spacey and not at all crowded. Maybe just low tourist season? We slept 2h by the lake, moving twice because of polite requests, and got to see the whole (?) street-cleaning force. Every hour a new cleaning truck, trash-picking team or similar passed by. Maybe it was the after-weekend cleanup.

2pm. Looking for chinese food, a nice retired man suggested us to try the self-service buffet of nearby Migros Restaurant. Looking like a German highway restaurant; and 2,60 seemed cheap but not strange, but it turned out they bill per 100g. That explains why it was filled with gray people with small plates. Another 40CHF (ca 25EUR) spent, also paid by card.Our cash money also lasted for one ice-cream, and at the airport a couple of Toblerone (Swiss, they say). While waiting for the flight we had a chat with our neighbour from the previous night - a wrinkled French woman who probably lived in the airport. She enjoyed telling us how to make the sofas more comfortable. We also saw her boil eggs and quick-soup.


Na poti do Brazilije sva prezivela 26 ur v Zurichu. Se k sreci, da sva imela nekaj nujnih stvari spakiranih pri sebi, ker je sla prtlaga direkt v Sao Paulo. Ceprav nama je bilo sprva receno, da jo v Zurichu dobiva ven. In zato sva v Zurichu pogresala samo nekaj frankov in soncno kremo.Po preziveti noci na letaliscu sva zjutraj odsla v mesto. zmenjala sva "samo" 30 CHF, v upanjo da bo zadostovalo za dnevno potepanje. Vendar sva samo za karti za S-bahn do centra zapravila 24 CHF. Dnevni budget se je s tem ze podvojil!!!Zurich nama je bil vsec. Zdi se prostorn, odprt. Brez prevec ljudi in gnece. Pomanjkanje spanca sva nadoknadila v parkih ob jezeru. Dvakrat sva bila prijazno pregnana. A parkov v tem mestu res ne primanjkuje. Za kosilo sva si zazelela poceni kitajske hrane, a po priporocilu starejsega gospoda pristala v samopostreznem buffetu. nevede sva si nalozila zvrhane kroznike, saj nisva pricakovala, da se placa po tezi hrane :(. To naju je stalo naslednjih 40 CHF. Sicer prijazno in lepo mesto. Skoda le da je tako drago.Simona so predvsem osupnila red in redno ciscenje ulic. Veckrat so naju cistilci zmotili pri najinem zaspanem pohajkovanju po mestu. Na letaliscu pred odhodom v Brazil, sva se sprijateljila s starejso Francozinjo, ki je zivela na letaliscu. Precej cudna in odstekana. Tam je na gorilniku kuhala jajca in instant juho. Bila je ze precej udomacena in prejsno noc nama je svetovala, kako si pripravit lezalnika karseda udobno.

Friday, June 15, 2007

First try not successful

We should have departed yesterday. Should have – and we didn't. We started our trip to the Venice airport well in time, but 30 km before the destination we got into a 6-hours traffic jam because of a truck accident. The rumors told about a chemical leakage. Ineffective Italian highway personnel didn’t arrange a detour, neither a proper communication. We simply just drove into a traffic jam and were soon surrounded by kilometers of local natives. Even though we tried to walk, hitchhike and patiently wait, we couldn’t make it at the end. We arrived to the airport just to see the plane in the air. What a disappointment!!! We were completely down and angry about the inefficiency and ignorance at the highway and in the airport. At 8pm almost all offices were closed and nowhere to get information. Our hope to reach Brazil was almost drowned in tears and despair.
We were disappointed and exhausted on the way back to Ljubljana and cursed the supposedly Italian way of managing things.
Next day we woke up with blank heads. It was unbelievable to think that our adventure had finished before it eventually started. In hope for a promising solution, we went to the travel agency, where we had bought the flight tickets. And here we announce that the helpful agent at the Kompas agency managed to arrange new flight tickets!!! They were very helpful and professional and created a solution with Swiss Air, who had had more customers lost in the same traffic jam. We’re sending some thoughts for those others. Kompas found us a new flight 2 days later without complicating and with very small additional cost. And now we are happy and full of adrenalin again. We only hope that the Slovene proverb “the third time it the successful one” doesn’t hold for our situation and we will be in Brazil already next time we try, the 17th of June.

Prvi poskus neuspesen

Včeraj bi morala odleteti. Bi morala in nisva. Do letalisca v Benetkah smo se pravocasno odpravili, vendar 30 km pred ciljem naleteli na 6-urni zastoj. Zaradi nesrece na avtocesti. Mende se je razlila cisterna z nevarnimi kemikalijami. In nesposobni Italijani niso uredili obvoza, ne obvescanja. Enostavno samo v guzvo smo se pripeljali. Ceprav sva tri ure zavzeto poskusala pesaciti, štopati in potrpezljivo cakati, nama na koncu ni uspelo priti pravocaso. Na letalisce sva prispela, ko je bilo letalo ze na pisti. :((. Kaksno razocaranje!!!! Italijanska neucinkovitost in ingnoranca sta naju dokoncno potrla. Nobenega nadomestnega leta, novih vozovnic; pisarne zaprte, informacije nepopolne. Upanje na odhod v Brazilijo je skoraj utonilo v solzah in obupu.
Razocarano, razburjeno in izcrpano smo se pocasi vrnili nazaj v Lj. Preklinjali smo Italijane, njihovo ignoranco, neprijaznost in predvsem nesposobnost.
Danes sva se zbudila s praznima glavama. Neverjetno je bilo pomisliti, da se je podvig koncal se pred zacetkom. V upanju na dobrodoslo resitev sva se oglasila na Kompasu, kjer sva bila kupila propadle let. karte. In tukaj naglas sporočava, da nama je prijazni in zavzet Kompasov agent uspel urediti nove karte!!! Prijazno in profesionalno. Brez kompliciranja, z majnšim doplačilom. In sva spet srečna in polna zagona! Upava le, da slovenski pregovor " v tretje gre rado" ne drzi, in nama bo že v nedeljo, 17.6., uspelo.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Rakitna in all seasons.
Here are some pictures from Rakitna. We kind of miss it.

Close up

Just before the final departure we made a quick jump to Sweden. To pack and say goodbye. And to arrange some other things. Of course, to enjoy the late spring as well.

It's getting a bit tighter now. Some things are getting piled up, while backpacks have been emptied from the previous trip. Soon they will be the only property we have.
The opportunity of travelling light makes me feel so relaxed. It's kind of funny thing with travelling; more you do, less you need to bring. And one more thing that I recently discovered - I am not fond of travelling anymore; it's bizzare. Polluting only for the sake of pleasure? It doesnt give me an authentic satisfaction any longer. I rather integrate in a society and live a life of locals. We gonna do that.


close up
close up
spring flowers up north
Pred glavnim odhodom sva hitro skočila še na Švedsko. Da spakirava in se posloviva. In urediva še par stvari, hkrati pa še uživava pozno pomlad.
Bliža se. Nekatere stvari se že kopičijo in ruzaka sta že izpraznjena od prejšnjega izleta. Kmalu bosta to edina najina lastnina. Dejstvo o potovanju brez odvečne prtljage me vedno na nek način sprosti. V bistvu je s potovanji nekaj smešnega - več kot potuješ, manj stvari potrebuješ s seboj.
Ugotovila sem, da nisem več navdušena nad klasičnim potovanjiem. Ne maram onesnaževati zgolj zaradi zadostitve užitku. Raje se vpletem v novo družbo in tam živim. Na tak način bova midva potovala.