Monday, May 25, 2009

uploaded pics and goodbye!!!

Dear readers:

I would like to thank you guys for reading my blog, posting comments and in general your interest in what I was doing. I arrived in Germany about 6 weeks ago and now I am almost totally back to my old life. Of course, from time to time I am dreaming a little bit of my journey but life is't that bad here either and my friends here help me a lot having a good time.
As life isn't that exciting anymore how it was while traveling - I would like to say goodbye to you and to this blog. I will leave it online for a while - only for the reason that some other people from my college that are thinking about studying and traveling in South or Central America have access to it.
It will definately not be the last time I will spend time in a different country, I've already got some new plans, but I will tell you soon enough :-) This will happen in another, new blog, but it's too early to even talk about it. Don't worry, I will let you know.

One last thing:

I finally made it to upload the amount of pics of my trip! Before you start: I put them in the order of the countries I visited. So if you are only interested in one specific county, you can click on that appropriate folder. The overview of all folders you can find here.
For those of you with little time, less pacience and more need for a little summery of the best pics of every country, click here.

Thank you guys and


your ladysahne

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

About survivng a 10 meters fall, being on Mexican TV and Pizza for peanuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Hey guys!

I'm back! Sorry, took me a while, was busy. And sick. You know, traveling. Time to let you know where I've been! Alrighty, let's begin with


I think I said that before that I met a nice couple from Canada/Australia. We met in Honduras and crossed the border together and spent some days together in Guatemala. Our first stop was Antigua, a very beautiful, mystical city that's surrounded by three volcanos. From Antigua it was a short trip to Volcano Pacaya, one of the active volcanos of Guatemala you can actually hike up. It was crazy: we came so close to the lava that we sometimes had to be careful not to be hit by a burning rock! Really cool! Cool is the right word because up there it was really freezing! After all the sunshine and warm temperature it had to remind me, how cold it can be and how it feels like when you can't move your fingers anymore... [shut up, those of you living in Canada right now, I don't wanna hear a word!]. After Antigua our ways splitted and I went again by myself to Lago de Atitlan. That is a famous lake again surrounded by volcanos. I rented a kayak for a day and it was great to paddle on the lake on a beautiful day! A few days later I took a bus to Chichicastengango. It's a small town in the mountains and itself is nothing special. The only special thing about this town is its Maya market which is twice a week and supposed to be one of the biggest markets in Central America. Well, it was pretty big, but I somehow expected more. Anyway, I got away with some real cool and cheap stuff. After a few boring days in Chichicastengango [I stayed too long there] I went to Lanquin, famous for its cave system and national park. I normally don't appreciate organized tours, but this one organized from the lovely hostel, was a really great adventure tour through the national park: It started with jumping into the river from a Tarzan swing, went on to swimming with a candle into the caves and a 10 meters fall from a bridge into the river. I climbed up the bridge and jumped! I didn't even think about it! I better should have! It was really deep and I hurt my lovely ass. It even hurt a few weeks after but hey, no risk, no fun! Anyway, a great tour!

From adventure to culture. My next stop was the not to be missed maya ruins in TIKAL. As you may have read I've already been to Copan in Honduras, but hey, this was nothing compared to Copan! Tikal is really big and it took us a 4 hours tour through the area without having seen all of it. I really like this Maya stuff, it's really impressing!


After Guatemala, I decided to spent a few days in Belize, this small little country on the Caribbean Coast. Many people recommended me to go to Caye Caulker, a little island close to Belize City, what I finally did. The funny thing is: English is spoken here! It is the first language here! The only country in whole Central America. The not so funny thing is: Everything is soooo expensive! So far it really was the most expensive country I visited! Even more expensive than Costa Rica! Not so funny, too, were the men. Other than in other countries they are really kind of aggressive and annoying. Once a man tried to get my attention and said something and I didn't answer as usual, but he really got angry and screamed: "Hey lady, are you having a bad mood or why don't you talk to me!?". I don't know where it comes from. Maybe from the weather. It was really, really hot!


On the border from Belize/Mexico I met Cloe and Nico, a French couple, in the bus. We traveled together to Tulum, Mexico. From the very first second I loved Mexico! It seemed really modern on the one hand and very traditional on the other hand. And the food! Oh, I love it! And the beaches... HERMOSAS! Very beautiful! I have to admit that the beaches of Tulum are so far one of my favorites of my whole trip: turquise water, white sand beach [I mean really white] and warm water! But the beaches are not the only cool thing about Tulum. Tulum has a Maya site as well, right at the beachfront. How cool is that! And one more cool thing: Cenotes. I don't know the word in English, but in Mexico they have tons of them. They are like little water holes where you can snorkle and see a lot of cool fish or even turtles. We also went snorkeling in the Sea, which was really nice! After the wonderful days in Tulum, I had to go to Cancun to catch my flight to Costa Rica from where I was flying to Cuba. So I stayed one night in Cancun and I didn't like it at all. It was very touristy, ugly and full of Americans. Somehow it reminded me of Las Vegas. On my way back to the hostel somebody threw a fake snake onto my feet. I got really angry and threw a little bit of water on the man's head. Then another man came up to me and told me to stop! It's only a TV show! I looked around, found the hidden camera and thought: damn, they got me on tape... Lol, so I guess I was on Mexican TV.


Oh my God, Cuba is so different than anything else! And a lot more complicated than other countries. It begins with: There are no hostels. It´s not allowed. But a few decades ago the government decided to let people rent out up to two rooms to tourists. If you traveling like me by yourself it´s the best option, but still really expensive. The prices for a room are about 20 CUC, so about 20 Euro a night. So really expensive.
The second complicated thing: There are two (with the inofficial dollar even three) official currencies in the country. La moneda national (the cuban peso) and the peso convertible. Because everything for tourists was really expensive, I started to save money on food: Pizza de la calle! Pizza, they sell on the streets in moneda national which cost a few dollar cents! Crazy, if you think about it! So I didn´t spend more than 10 dollars the whole two weeks on food... Crazy, huh!?
Well, the third annoying thing is: Because Cubans are not really rich people, they try to offer you stuff ALL THE TIME! It´s really, really annoying! When I was staying in these "casas particulares" (families, that rent out 1-2 rooms) they tried to convince me all the time to have dinner at their house, asked me to leave medication if I have (so I left a bag of asperina) or better soap and clothes. They have really lack of many products. Another weird thing is that they don´t have stores like we have. I don´t know how else to describe it. You can´t just go on the streets and go shopping. Cuz there is no real shopping... Anyway, I guess partly the reason is comunism. On the other hand it´s funny, because there is no advertisement or shopping signs how we know it. They put a lot of "advertisment" on the 50-years aniversary of the Revolution and Che is everywhere and stuff like that.
So what did I do? The first few nights I stayed in Habana Centro, so in the middle of Havana. And it was great! The city is really beautiful, many buildings in the old part are restored and its a great feeling to walk by all these nice colonial buildings. It is really one of the cities that has a real great flair. On the other day I went to a tour in a tabaco fabric. You probably heard that the best cigars come from Cuba so I couldn´t miss to see how they really make it. It was really impressing how precisely and perfectly the workers of the factury made a cigar. Everything is handmade and a long process. Unluckily it wasn´t allowed to take pictures...
How could I write about Cuba without mentioning the old cars! Oh my God! They are gorgeous! Everytime I saw an oldtimer, I took a pic, after I few days I really got used to them.
After those nice days in Havana, I took the bus to Trinidad, another really beautiful colonial town, heritage of UNESCO. By coincidence I met a German girl and her friend again (I met her in Tulum before) in the park and hung around with them a few days there. Then I made my way to Viñales, a nature lover´s paradise. I hiked up hills, rented a bike to the famous cave system and had a great time in the nature and a great "host family".
I talked a lot with Cubans about their country and I can say for sure that´s the country that really affected me the most, because it´s so stunnishing, unique and poor at the same time. Both in a bad way and in a good way. I didn´t feel very comfortable from the beginning because you have to make a lot of sacrifice (mostly you have to pay the "tourist prices", often you are not allowed to go on a public bus, if there is one, lack of many products, this stupid segregation of being a "tourist" and a Cuban, I guess that´s the class system). And of course it was really annoying when the first step you go out of the door people are trying to sell you stuff. On the other hand, I try to understand. Cubans get a house for free (mostly in a not very good condition), free education and free healthcare, but they earn between 15-20 CUC (so about 20-25 Euro!!!) a month! If I was in this situation I would probably do anything in order to get to more money. When I talked to people about the country´s future and about the system itself I got very different answers. Some people think it´s not that bad, other people (especially my generation) hope for some change and other want it to be a lot more open. For sure I realized that Cubans themselves are really close to each other, they help each other all the time, the have connection all over the country. They are pretty isolated in many ways, that´s why they try to help each other, that´s what at least my last host family said.
One more thing I have to tell you, the strangest thing ever. I was sitting in a park in Trinidad waiting for a friend. Some nice Cubans came up to me and we were talking a bit about this and that. Suddenly they said: "Sorry, but we have to leave you now. They don´t want us to talk to you, because we are actually not allowed to talk to you". Somehow that reminded me of the Stasi of the DDR in Germany, must have felt somehow the same. Isn´t that crazy!?
When I left Cuba, I was kind of happy to be back to capitalism, even though I am really happy having had the chance to visit Cuba. I left this country with a lot of open questions.


After Cuba, I flew back to San Jose, Costa Rica and took a night bus to Panama City. I got a really bad cold on the bus (I tell you, I HATE AIR-CONDITIONING!!!). This time, I am not kidding. I saw a woman wearing gloves, I wasn´t the only one freezing. The stupid bus driver wouldn´t put the air-con down, even after we told him a few times. Anyway, sick in Panama City, great. I went to see "Casco Viejo", the old part of the city, heritage of UNESCO again, but honestly, I was a little disappointed. The next day I spent at the famous Canal and saw ships crossing it. I couldn´t really enjoy my time in Panama City because of my bad cold, so I decided to go to "Bocas del Toro", some nice Islands on the Caribbean Sea. My cold got even worse, so I hardly left the hostel and didn´t really see a lot.
Guess where I am right now: Nicaragua. Again, I know. I came from Panama, stopped in San Jose, Costa Rica for a night and went staight to Nicaragua. Here in Central America I got about one week left, so I chose to spend that week at a nice, cheap surf beach. I tried surfing the other day, still not that successful yet, but I am working on it. In a few days I will be flying back to Asuncion, Paraguay to spend my last two weeks in Bolivia.

So far from now, keep me up to date! Next and probably last episode: Bolivia!
Nos vemos!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras

Two weeks ago I arrived in Guatemala but first I would like to give you some kind of summary of the countries I visited so far. Next time more about Guatemala. So lets begin with Nicaragua. In my opinion Nica is a very beautiful and nice country! People are very friendly, it is a lot less touristy than Costa Rica and a lot cheaper as well. My trip to Nica started with Isla de Ometepe, that´s a little island formed by two climbable volcanos. I hiked one of them (only up the the cloudline) and I tell you - I have probably never ever been so exhausted in my whole life! I was really happy when we arrived at the top! After Isla de Ometepe I took a bus to Granada. It´s a very nice colonian style city. I liked the city a lot, but I was pretty bored because in the hostel I´ve been to there was NOBODY else. Especially if you travel by yourself you appreciate a little company. So I left the city pretty soon and went to Leon, another colonian style city. There I met a Swedish guy who convinced me to go to the Corn Islands. The Corn Islands belong to Nicaragua, are in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and easy to reach by plane. First I really wanted to go by bus, boat and ferry (that would have taken about two days of travelling), but then I found out that the ferries only leave about twice a week and I just missed one of them. So within an hour I told myself "You know what, I´m flying!". Its only a one-hour flight and a lot less complicated. So the next day I took the bus to Managua, the capital, a very ugly, dangerous city and tried to get out of there as soon as I could. From there I flew to the Corn Islands. The Corn Islands consist of two islands, the "Big Corn" and the "Little Corn". Everybody recommended me to go to the smaller one as it doesn´t have any streets and cars and seemed to be a lot less touristy than the bigger one. If you would like to have some kind of impression, take a look here. I tell you, so far, that was really one of the most beautiful places I´ve seen in my whole life! I spent about 5 days there and I really met a lot of nice people on the Island.
All in one I had a great time in Nicaragua, everything was a lot less touristy - what I liked - and a lot cheaper. I never felt any danger or uncomfortable situation (besides the fact that I had to wait one day for my luggage and the 10 minutes I spent in Managua) and people were really, really friendly and helpful.

El Salvador
After the relaxing Corn Island experience, I was ready for some more action. I wondered: Should I go or shouldn´t I? It really took me a while to decide to visit the country El Salvador. Why? Maybe I should give you some more information about the country: The country is the smallest of Central America (about the size of "Hessen") and at the same time it is the most populated (about 7 million live here). Well, so far, that´s nothing frightening. But if you start reading the information from the embassy you might guess why I was thinking about it a lot: The country has one of the highest crime rates, has about 10 murders a day, a bunch of weapons and especially the capital has a serious gang problem ("Mara Salvatrucha"). Well, honestly I didn´t feel a lot better in the country when I bought a newspaper saying that about 336 people were murdered in the first month of the year 2008. I just looked up the number of murders in Germany of the year 2007 (source: Bundeskriminalamt) and I am talking about the whole year not only the first month: 339 people were murdered in Germany in the year 2007. So about the same amount of people dying in Germany within the whole year die in El Salvador in a month! Besides that shocking fact I finally decided to go anyway. I went to the village "El Perquin", in the Civil War it was the headquarter of the Guerilla and you still see some damage of the bombs. After that I went to "Playa El Tunco", that a really nice, black sanded beach on the Pacific Coast. Most people don´t know that El Salvador is pretty famous for surfing. Close to el "Playa el Tunco" is supposed to be one of the best and longest waves in the world.
I stayed there in a really nice hostel with a surfer as the owner. I had the pleasure to take a surf lesson (my first one!) which was more a disaster than a pleasure! I really want to do a real surfing course about the length of two weeks. Its just impossible to learn how to surf within an hour. At least it was for me :-) At least I got a taste of it. I will keep you up to date with my surfing progress :-)
On the way back to Honduras I had to switch buses in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador and I tell you guys - I´ve never seen so many electric fences in my whole life! The city was really big, pretty crowded and loud. I wish I could have taken a few pics, but I was too afraid to take my camera out (being kind of blond, blue-eyed and with my backpack I seem to be quite vulnerable sometimes, so I am always afraid they could rob my camera). As always I tried to avoid the capital as much as I could (the capitals of Central America are all nasty places, maybe of the exception of Panama City). Summary: El Salvador was a really nice place to visit and I am glad I went!

After a few beach days, I went all the way to the border of El Salvador/Honduras and went straight to the "Copan Ruinas", what Honduras is really proud of. The Copan Ruinas are famous Mayan Ruins. Unluckily it was raining the whole day (I shouldn´t be complaining as I only had about 3 days of rain of my whole trip!) but a girl from Brasil and me we went anyway. I was really impressing to see all this over 2000 year old ruins and to imagine how the Mayans life was as that time.
I could have done a little more in Honduras, for example Honduras has the Bay Islands, good place to dive and learn diving and snorkeling. I decided not to go there because I already spent more time than I thought I would be spending in all those countries, secondly I am not (yet) into diving really and one open water certificate costs about 250-350 dollars which is too expensive for me. And having this certificate only means you are allowed to dive but still you have to pay for every dive you do, which are also pretty expensive. But who knows, I might change my plans again :-)


I would like to tell you some general info about my travelling.

Some people ask me, how can you afford it?

Honestly, it´s not that expensive! I´m lucky to travel in cheap countries. The only country that was really expensive and had about the same prices than I have in Germany was Costa Rica. Every other country was pretty cheap. Pretty cheap means: a bed in a hostel or hotel between 3 and 6 dollars a night. I also try saving money by using the local buses ("chicken buses"), that might take longer but are a lot cheaper than the airconditioned tourist buses (I hate air-con anyway!). The other good thing how to save money is: Cook yourself! I eat rice (really cheap), eggs and fruits and my great hot spicy salsa sauce fills ever little boring rice corn with a lot of flavour.

How do get along by yourself?

Actually, I can´t complain! The good thing is (and I am really happy to be able to speak it now) that I know Spanish. It makes things a LOT easier. Some Americans really have some problems here because people barely speak English. It´s great for me though, so I won´t forget and keep on practising.
The other thing is, it´s easy to meet people when travelling alone. There are many people travelling by themselves and sometimes I think it´s even easer to meet people travelling alone than to be in a group. The bad thing is that I never stay more than 3 nights, so mostly it´s just a short pleasure. But sometimes you meet people you meet coincidently again. Life is full of surprises!
But travelling alone is not always fun. Sometimes I came to lonely hostels with no guests, but that´s why I carry a lot of books with me so I´m never really bored :-) What´s really annoying is that I have to take care of my stuff ALL THE TIME! If you travel with somebody else he/she can keep an eye on it. Also pretty annoying is arriving at a new city. I look so different and touristy (blond, blue eyes, tall) that as soon as I step out of a bus, people jump over me to offer me 1000 times "Taxi, taxi, taxi". I sometimes really get angry and shout at them "No, No, No, No, No!", otherwise they won´t let you go. Being different is also funny. Once a nicaraguan man came up to me - fully surprised seing me alone riding a bike: "Where is your husband and where are your kids??". I said I had no husband and no kids. I think he was shocked the whole day... :-D And I get so many compliments here... From "chica guapa" to "te quiero" up to "mi amor". I tell you guys, I never felt so pretty ;-)

Anyway, now you guys are up to date again. Keep me up to date as well! I´m looking forward to read your comments! Next episode: Guatemala, Belize, Mexico.

Hasta luego,

Friday, January 16, 2009

little travel update

Hey there!

I would like to give a short update of my travelling. I would love to upload some pics, but I can't, I only have the memory card of my camera and no cable. I've been travelling for about 2,5 weeks now and I love it! Today I put my feet on Nicaraguan earth, I'm at the "Isla de Ometepe", a little island in the middle of the Nicaraguan lake which has 2 climbable volcanos. My aim tomorrow is to hike up to one of them. So far I really had a great time in Costa Rica. The landscape is amazing, the beaches beautiful and people very friendly. First I stayed some nights in San Jose, in my opinion a very ugly capital where is not a lot to see. It's only an important travel center point, because most of the time it's necessary to come back to San Jose to be able to travel to another place of the country. Anyway, I was lucky to meet two German sisters from Munich which had the same travel plan, so we decided to travel together. We took the bus/boat to Tortuguero, that's a little village in the north of Costa Rica at the Caribbean Coast and famous for its Rain Forest. After that we went on to "Puerto Viejo", a little "Reggae" beach town on the Caribbean. After the rainy rain forest it was really nice to have a little of beach and sun :-)
Back to San José, another German girl decided to come with me to the National Park "Manuel Antonio", in the South of Costa Rica, famous for its jungle and nice beaches and further we went down to the Pazific Coast to "Montezuma", another Reggae town but on the Pazific Coast. She returned to San José whereas I went on to "Monteverde", in the inside of the country where you can find jungle and hanging bridges. I did a great "Canopy tour", you hang on a cable and literely fly through the jungle with speed. That was a lot of fun. From there I took several buses to the border of Costa Rica/Nicaragua and finally I arrived here after a long day of travelling, considering I took a bus this morning at 4 am... Since I started travelling I started to get up very early in the morning, between 5-6 am. Yeah, right! I'm not kidding! For one reason buses leave very early here and mostly there are no night buses and secondly I would miss most of the day as daylight is only until 5-6 pm. I got used to that by now. I prefer to get up early and to see places rather than to sleep in the whole day. That's for now! Keep me updated as well, please!
Entonces les deseo una semana feliz (Well, I wish you a happy week),
nos vemos,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Hasta luego" or "see you again next year"

Hey there,

today I will do my last shopping here in Buenos Aires and have my last party here, tomorrow I will pack my backpack and give away my laptop. On Monday I finally leave Buenos Aires and my big trip will start. I just booked my flight to Cuba yesterday and now I am really excited to start my trip. I will be travelling from the end of December until April, so I am having about 3,5 months to travel. I will start in Costa Rica and will make my way through all the countries up to Mexico. So far the only fixed things are my flight to Costa Rica and back and one from Costa Rica to Cuba and back. Everything else I will figure out when I'm there. I didn't want to plan to much as things used to change while travelling. To those of you that are interested in my trip, I did a small animation :-)

My trip:

So for me it's time to say goodbye! Thanks for those that were reading my blog. From time to time I might post some news stuff but I don't know if it will work out. I would just like to concentrate on my trip and I won't have a laptop with me. With other words: Merry Xmas, a happy new year and hope to see you all again in April.

Hasta la vista!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trip to Santiago de Chile, Valparaiso (Chile) and Mendoza (Argentina)

Hey everyone!

Last week I had to leave the country again (because I'm living here on a tourist visa and every 3 months I have to leave the country to get another stamp in my passport that allows me to stay for another 3 months). I decided to go to Chile because I've already been to Uruguay (which is a lot closer though) and I wanted to see something new. And I loved it!
Last thursday I had my last exam (my professor gave me 8 points out of 10 and recomended me to think about studying in Mexico or the USA :-) , so I was extremely happy!) and a few hours later I found myself sitting in a bus going to Santiago de Chile. Duration: 22 hours. I was travelling alone, I saw it as a test for myself and for my new 60 liter backpack I just bought. It's was not the first time I was travelling alone, but it was the first time travelling alone in Southamerica to a country for that I haven't had a guide book. I've never been to a country without any guide book so I was a little afraid to find everything I was looking for. The only thing I had was the direction of my hostel that's it. But as usual everything turned out well besides a little inconvenience: After a little 2 hour break in the middle of the Andes, because the motor of the bus broke down, we had to wait for another bus to pick us up. The border crossing was not complicated at all, checking passport, argentinian leaving stamp, chilenean arriving stamp and checking the lugguage.
Luckily in Santiago de Chile the bus terminal was right at a metro station so I just jumped in to get to the hostel. The hostel? Was really great! I had such a good time there! During the day I walked all around the city and luckily I found out that right at the time there was a doble exhibition of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (mexican artists) , so one of my favorite painters! It was really great to see their art in real! And nights, we had asado at the hostel (barbecue) and went out. In my room was a groop of Irish girls and a English guy and we had a really good time hanging out together and going out with the staff.
After two days I took the bus to Valparaiso, it's a city at the coast and famous for its UNESCO site. The houses are all built up on hills and are often only connected by stairs. I almost felt like I was in San Francisco, deep hills, up and down... With the staff from the hostel we climbed up the hills and found out that on the same day there was an art festival. So many trolleys of the city were changed into moving stages! See here for the video I made. It was really funny. I really think that the city is one of the most creative cities I've seen so far.

Here the first video: A small band playing:

Here the second video: some kind of a drag queen :-)

The next day I met Steffi, a friend of Dani, my German friend here in BsAs. She came to BsAs last week and we found out that she was going to be in Valparaiso the same date so we decided to meet up again there. We did a small harbor tour and made again our way through the city. Unluckily I had to leave the same day to Mendoza. I wish I could have stayed a little longer there, I really liked it. The only bad thing was the cloudy weather.
Arrived in Mendoza I did the obligatory thing: A wine tour! 75 % of the wine in Argentina is produced in Mendoza and surroundings. So I didn't miss the chance to try out some wine there! On my last day I was walking around the city - and - suddenly somebody was screaming my name! I turned around and who was there: Steffi! Steffi from Augsburg! So funny, I knew that she was travelling also, but she had a totally different route and so I never thought about that at some point our routes would cross again :-) What a coincidence!
Now I am back home in BsAs, I'm really exhausted and I am sick again (I hate the stupid air conditioning in the bus - it always makes me sick! I'm sitting in the bus with a sweater and a jacket and outsite its about 35 degrees! this can't be right!) but I still have some days to get all my stuff done.

What do I learn from my little trip to Chile:

1) My backpack is great! Test approved!
2) I can't help myself but somehow I found people in Chile a little more friendly than in Argentina.
3) Travelling is not only relaxing but can also be pretty exhaustible.
4) One night only at one place its too stressfull. I rather stay at least 2 nights!
5) I love travelling and meeting new people!
6) I can't wait to leave!!!

That's from now so far! The whole album of my trip see here.