Sunday, March 20, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
If you like waterfalls this is the place. Located on the boarder of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the Igauzu Falls is one of the largest water fall system in the world. We didn’t really plan to go here at first but we had to pass it anyway on our way to Sao Paulo so we decided to give it a shot. The place is really touristic with heaps of souvenir shop and nicely paved walking tracks which gave the impression of an amusement park rather than a national park. It even has a train, shuttling tourists to the more remotely located viewing points. If you are able to overlook all this, some spectacular views of the falls can be seen without much effort. It was a great day but now we heading off to Brazil and Sao Paulo to do some Crossfit at Crossfit Brasil. Can’t wait for that!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The last month has been really tough for our stomachs; however, we’ve managed to travel to Asuncion Paraguay with a short one week stopover in Uruguay. The capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is all about the beaches and getting a nice sun tan, but as you might know by now, we don’t do sun tanning and fancy cocktails so we kept our visit short and went with bus to Paraguay.
The first thing that struck us when we came to Paraguay, besides the intense heat, was the lack of tourists. According to Lonely Planet, Paraguay is one of the least visited countries in South America and tourists only come here to get cheap flights to other destinations. One reason could be that The Lonely Planet has almost completely ignored Paraguay in their book, which is probably enough to keep visitors away, leaving the whole country for ourselves to discover.
In the evening a few days ago we were standing in the harbor ready to take the cargo (read drug) ship to Conception, a sleepy city 450 kilometers north east of Asuncion. Prior to departure we asked the captain if we could take the boat back when it returned for Asuncion but he said that it was not possible with the explanation that it would be so fully loaded so they couldn’t take on any more weight. Another explanation was that they are smuggling cocaine from Bolivia and therefore don’t want any passenger snooping around – don’t know which one’s correct.
At eight a clock we sat sail. After one hour or so a strange vessel without lanterns approached us and docked to our starboard side and they started to transfer diesel onto the boat. For half an hour a handful of sailors were standing around the big tank - every one of them was smoking! Luckily we survived and could continue our journey into the night.
The whole second day passed with beautiful sceneries and fascinating locals along the riverside. The day ended with a nice sunset and starlit sky. We were expected to be in Concepción in the afternoon the following day so went to bed late, looking forward to a nice sleep-in.
Six o’ clock in the morning they woke us up and told us we had arrived. We packed our stuff and headed into town. After a steady breakfast we called Peter: a German guy who lives on a farm some 15km north of the city offering food and lodging for backpacker at reasonable prices. When we finally came to the farm we immediately swapped into bathing trunks and chucked the boat onto the truck. Loaded with beer, floating devices and a revolver we went to the river. We spent the rest of the afternoon laying in our tubes drinking beer. Floating 7km/h downstream amongst stingrays, crocodiles and piranhas, we spotted monkeys, anacondas and other interesting wildlife.
The second day Peter’s eleven years old son Nester and we went with the machete towards the local horseman. After half an hour of struggling to catch and saddle the wild horses, we got a one minute lesson in how to ride and then they let us off alone. In the beginning everything went fine, but after half an hour Dennis’ horse started to act strangely and took off in raging speed, fully determined not to stop at any command. I had no other choice than trying to hold on as long as I could. This didn’t work very well, the “saddle” got loose and I fell head first towards the ground. With a minor concussion we manage bring both our self and the horses safely back home. Thrilled and exhausted after our first horseback riding experience we took the rest of the day off.
The next two days we spend more calmly with some easy workouts and cool beverages. To get back to Asunción safely we took the bus!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Normally we don’t do zoos but when we heard that the most dangerous zoo in the world was not far from Buenos Aires, we couldn’t resist. The zoo wasn’t very spectacular at first sight and if it wasn’t for that you could interact with the animals directly, it would probably be the worst zoo in the world. When we were visiting the lion cage we did all possible mistakes you can do; touching the head, playing to roughly with them - one even made an attack and started to bite Chris’s leg, but it all ended well and they finished the match by shaking pawns (which also, by the way, is strictly forbidden) .
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Starting at 300 m above sea level, the first 5 km section almost immediately climbed to 800 meter before flattening out. At this point I seriously doubted that it was doable to finish the track before the sun would set. It was 17:30 when I started running and considering that most hikers do the track in 8 hours my initial estimation was to run at half the time and be back before nightfall. I ran the track the Wildman style, with mountaineering boots and a daypack containing my Crossfit rings, a camera and a bottle of water. Yeah, I seriously planed to do a 10 min Cindy WOD halfway into the track but well there couldn’t. My main reason was that I couldn’t find a tree to hang up the rings because I was above the tree line. The reality was somewhat different - I was ready to die when I arrived and there was no way I could do a Crossfit WOD. It took me 1 hour and 40 min to run the first 12.5 km of the track and now the conditions were to change. I had to run downhill, which is a mixed blessing - you run faster but it’s more tiresome for the legs and the risk of injuries are increased. I was hoping that the downhill phase would be easier but I turned out to be only 10 min faster – I was really tired! Altogether it took me a little over 3 hours to finish the 25km run. I probably would have done better with proper shoes but the important thing is that I did it. After all, my goal is to continuously improve myself no matter what !
When I came to the hostel I found a hole on the back of my t-shirt and I had two large bruises on my back, probably caused by the friction from the backpack. Two days later I still haven’t recovered from the mountain run, my legs are sore and the hips are weakened; additionally I spent most of the day yesterday resting with a pretty bad tension headache. Was it worth it? Of Course it was I learned a lot!