Countries i will visit on my journey

Countries i will visit on my journey

Flags of all countries

Flags of all countries

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

In Buenos Aires...

Together with Anne and David (the couple from Portugal/England) I took the night-bus from Puerto Iguacu to Buenos Aires.
My goal in Buenos Aires was to do 2 weeks of Spanish-course, eat lots of nice steaks and ice cream and drink very good wine. But of course there was a lot of time to do other activities as well. It is actually so much, that i summarised the most important ones and made some short stories out of them...

Habla espanol?
Did 2 weeks Spanish course at "el Pasaje" in Buenos Aires. It was a group-course and we had lessons for 4-5 hours/day. Met a lot of nice people from everywhere around the world. With some of them we did some activities beside Spanish-school or on the weekends. Thank you Anne, David, Ann-Christine, Maddalena, Jolien, Dom and Sam, we really had a great time, enjoyed it a lot!!

Bailar Tango?
One night David, Anne and me went to a local Tango-bar. There is some Tango-course first and afterwards you can watch the professionals dancing tango to live music. And if you like you can also try dancing tango after the show together with them.
After a little bit hesitation at the beginning I found myself dancing tango with women and men and all in my Flip-Flops... :-)
The "DJ" responsible for the Tango-music was also from Austria. Crazy guy but super friendly...
After the course we watched the professionals, showing us how dancing Tango really works...
As the show ends nobody wanted to enter the dance-floor, because there were just good Tango-dancers. But after some cervezas and a few glasses of vino tinto all embarrassment is forgotten and I also danced Tango in the crowd (...oh if you could see me now ... ) :-) in front of all other people!

"Papeles en el viento"
On Saturday David, Anne and me went to a cinema closed to the Plaza de Congresso. It is sponsored by the government and therefore it is really cheap. Payed 8 Argentinian pesos for the movie "Papeles en el viento", which is about 0,8€ !! That's so crazy!
The whole movie was in Spanish and without subtitles. After the movie Anne and me had to guess
what happened in it. And David, who speaks Spanish well, explained us afterwards what really happened in the movie... ;-)

Cemetario de Recoleta
Went to the cemetery of Recoleta (citypart of Buenos Aires). The graves where the most important Argentinians of the history are buried, like Evita Peron, look like small houses. So that is why the cemetery looks more like an own small city in Buenos Aires.
Went also to a very exclusive Hotel close to the cemetery, pretend that I am a guest of the hotel and went up to the 15th floor. From there you have an amazing view of the whole cemetery of Recoleta. -> Thanks Nat, for this advice!! :-)

La Boca city tour
Did a bike-tour to the city-part called La Boca. There is the famous blue and yellow soccer-stadium of the Boca Juniors. At the beginning the Boca Juniors didn`t know which colour they should use for their team/stadium. So they decided to take the colours of the flag from the first ship which will arrive at the harbour of Buenos Aires.
And which ship was it?
A few hints:
The ship came from Europe, from an Scandinavian county, the last letter of the country is a "n"...
La Boca itself is a nice part of the city with lots of colour-full houses where the working class lives. The reason for the colour-full houses is a funny story:
The people from La Boca didn't have enough money to buy colours to paint their houses. So they asked every ship which arrived in their harbour for some colour. If they get one, they start painting their houses until they run out of it. And again they asked for some colour at the harbour. But instead of e.g. red, they only got green this time. But they did not care and continue painting their houses. And that's why they look so colourful today. :-)
La Boca is Spanish and means "mouth". Why mouth? There is a story that the first people living in this area were from all over Europe. From Italy, France, Germany, England, Spain, Portugal,...
To communicate with each other they sang songs from their countries and played the typical instruments of their countries. And then they started dancing with each other and that's how the Tango was born. And when you listen close to Tango music, you will hear all the different music instruments like a piano, guitar, violin, accordion, ...

La bomba de tiempo
On Monday a few friends of mine from the Spanish-course and me went to the famous "La bomba de tiempo". It is a show where there are all kind of drums, but no other music instrument.
It was amazing what the drum-guys did with them, so cool rhythms and beats!!
The whole crowd was shaking their bodys to the beat of the drums, a really unique show...

@ Tigre: kayaking and the crazy bike-ride back to Buenos Aires
On the next day the weather was again perfect and we went for a daytrip to Tigre. This small town is loacted ~30km away from Buenos Aires close to the delta of Rio de la Plata. There are lots of big and small water-channels and it is a nice place to escape the city of Buenos Aires.
We went there by train and once we were there we rent 2 Kajaks, one for 2 and one for 3 persons and paddled for three hours through the water channels of Tigre. The landscape is really amazing there and it reminded me a little bit to the Amazon Jungle...We were also swimming in one of the smaller channels and enjoyed a really nice sunny day...
I brought the bike with me and decided to ride back to Buenos Aires by bike and not taking the train.
Well, not one of my wisest decisions, had better ones...
My bike was one of this fu**ing city-bikes with just one gear and in really bad conditions.
I had no city-map with me and i forgot my phone in the hostel in Buenos Aires.
So yes..., of course i got totally lost, asked several times for the right way ("Donde esta Buenos Aires?", Donde esta Plaza de Mayo?"), went through really run downed neighbourhoods of BA and twice i almost entered the highway to BA...
But finally after 3 hours I somehow made it back to my hostel, it was already completely dark and I had no lights on the bike. What a hell of a ride...!! ;-)

On my last night in Buenos Aires I went to an event called "Mundolingo" at Oliver`s Pub. There you get a flag-sticker for each language you speak on your shirt. Then you meet people from all over the world and talk to them. Most of them are also travellers or Portenos (= inhabitants of Buenos Aires). Had a great time and could use and improve my Spanish i learned the last 2 weeks.
I totally forgot the time while i was talking with a really nice girl from Buenos Aires and got back to the Hostel very late in the morning...
But it was really a perfect last evening/night in Buenos Aires!!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Last days in Brasil

After the Pantanal i went south to Bonito.
It is a small little town surrounded by crystal clear rivers and the biggest and deepest caves of Brazil.
Unfortunately you can not visit this attractions without booking a tour. And most of the tours are pretty expensive. I finally did a snorkeling tour on Rio de la Prata. And it was definitely worth it.
Snorkeled in crystal clear water downstream the Rio de la Prata, surrounded by lots of fishes and beautiful underwater landscapes. And because the water is so clear you can see hundreds of meter wide, it was really amazing!

The day after me and a few guys i met on the snorkeling trip, rented bikes and went to a small river, 6 km outside of Bonito. To get in the area next to the river, you need to buy a voucher in Bonito, because it is a private property. One guy from USA and me did not have that f***ing voucher and after hard discussion we were allowed to get in without paying anything. But we had to promise the owner, that next time we come, we have to pay.
Well, i will try to remember, in case i will ever come back to Bonito... :-)
But it was really nice there, you can go for a swim or snorkel along the river.
I even tried myself in"foot-volley"... Believe me when i say, playing volleyball is a lot easier! :-)

After Bonito i took the night-bus to Foz de Iguacu. From the bus station it took me an 1 hour walking with all my stuff on my back, to get to the hostel. I didn't want to spent money for a taxi and on the map it looked pretty close... :-)
When i arrived at the hostel i was sweating like an old post-horse, but i immediately made myself to the famous Iguacu falls.

The Iguacu falls can be visited from Brazil and Argentina. I did one day the Bralzilian side and on the next day the Argentinian side.

I visited also a small zoo next to the falls in Brasil, where you can see all different king of tropical birds.

In the hostel i met a nice couple from England/Portugal. We spent the day on the Argentinian side of the falls together. We even made a boat-trip very close to the falls and get completely wet, but it was really funny.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

In the Pantanal...

Spent 4 days and 3 nights in a place in Brazil close to the border to Bolivia called the Pantanal. This big territory is famous for it's wildlife. You can see many caimans, birds, capybara (= water pig), spiders, snakes...
It is more or less a very flat landscape with wide open plains and forests. 

During the rainy season a lot of the region is flooded, the best time to see also jaguars and anacondas. And during the dry season the big lakes become small ponds, where all kind of fishes and caimans are fighting to survive until the rain is coming again...

After a long bus/pickup-truck trip from Campo Grande, i arrived on the Fazenda "Arara Azul". The range is in the middle of nowhere but therefore pretty relaxing...
Every day we did 2-3 activities like a night-safari with the pickup-truck,
a 2h tracking tour around the Fazenda, where we almost got killed by the f**king mosquitoes and the burning sun. But hey, at least we saw some dears and monkeys...

My personal highlight was the horseback riding one afternoon. I have never ride a horse before but together with 2 nice girls from Norway and Anaconda (our guide) we had a lot of fun... And they assured me that i am doing quite well for my first time on a horse (Cowboy-Raphi! Cowboy-Raphi! Cowboy-Raphi! :-) ). Although i was jumping up and down on the back of my horse like crazy everytime we start galloping... :-)
And after the ride it hurts on certain parts of your body, if you know what i mean... ;-)

One morning we went piranha fishing. It was not that interesting, because i already did it in the Amazon jungle. So i spent more time with watching the sunrise, taking lots of pictures. One of the most beautifulest things here in the Pantanal...

We fed the caimans next to our fazenda with the piranhas we caught. For Anaconda (guide) they are like his dogs. They always come, when he is calling them, and he was playing with them using a wooden stick on a fishing rod, like playing with a dog.

On a boat trip we heard a jaguar roaring pretty close to us, while we were fishing in the river.
But unfortunately we never saw him, only loads of caimans...
And you really have to take care that you are not fishing a 3m caiman instead of the fish by accident... :-)

After those relaxing days i went to Bonito.
-> The name of the small town means "The Beauty or beautiful" if you translate it from Portuguese...

Monday, 2 February 2015

Last days in Manaus

The last days in Manaus i didn't do anything special.
Washing my clothes, relaxing, reading and planning my further trip to Campo Grande to visit the Pantanal.
I met a German and a Brazilian and together we spent a day in Manaus.
Went to a church and inside i could not believe my eyes. A big party was going to get out of control...
Everybody inside was singing and dancing like crazy. It was really funny to watch and not that boring like back home in Europe...
Went to the harbor and checked out the ships to Belem. You can buy a hammock for 20R$ and stay on the ship for five days to get to Belem. Always down the Amazon river...
Must be quite relaxing and a great adventure, because the ships look pretty old! :-)
Also ate some Tacaca. Tastes like soup with shrimps and some leaves from mangroves plants.
But essentially it was pretty disgusting... :-)

I also met 3 guys from Austria (2 girls and 1 boy from Vienna). Together we spent a day on Punta Negra. That's a beach on the shore of Rio Negro. Went swimming in the amber water and had a lot of fun.

Before i left Manaus, i went to the Amazon Opera house. The 20R$ were really worth it to visit. Such an amazing building with a long history.
I was also very lucky, because i could listen to an music-orchestra practicing some classical compositions.
After that, i took the public bus (holy shit, it was crowded and i was the only foreigner) to the airport to get to Campo Grande and the Pantanal.