Top 10 Incan things that aren’t Machu Picchu

YVD blog 23&24 image-32-December 31, 2015Cusco was the Incans’ capital city and the valleys leading to and from it, especially the Sacred Valley, following the Urubamba river towards Machu Picchu, are full of Incan delights. We spent more than three weeks in the area (see this accompanying blog to read about what else we got up to), giving us plenty of time to sample many of them. Machu Picchu gets all the attention, but there is so much more to it than that! In this blog, we pull out our 10 favourite Incan things from our time in the area, plus a little bit about Machu Picchu at the end.
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Rock climbing in Argentina: A land of plenty


Argentina is a huge country and a great destination for rock climbers. Whether you only go to one of the well-developed crags, each of which could easily occupy much more than a week of your time to explore fully, or just sample these crags in passing and discover a few hidden esoteric ones as part of a grand tour, Argentina has a wealth of options.
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Magical Lake Titicaca

On the Isla del Sol

Titicaca (or Titiqaqa in Quechua) is the largest lake in South America and, sitting at 3,812m,  the highest navigable lake in the world. Coming here was one of the most anticipated parts of the trip for me, perhaps largely for what it represented. It straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru, at the top of the Altiplano, and sits at the heart of the historical cultures of the high Andes.

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The secret wines of Bolivia

La Paz Wine Bar

Wine tasting at Hallwright’s

Bolivian wines? Really? This is probably what most people think when I mention the subject. In fact, it did take us a while to work our way through some distinctly ordinary wines, but, finally, Bolivia revealed her secrets with bodegas whose wines were excellent and compared well to the better Argentinian and Chilean examples we had tried.
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Bolivian Highlife: In and out of La Paz

YVD blog 21 image-90-December 02, 2015It was perhaps appropriate that our arrival in La Paz,  a city of dramatic geography, caught us out with its crazy topology. We arrived on November 21 2015 from the south, having driven for a few days up across the flat “altiplano” (high plain) that sits at around 3,800m, pausing on route to look for the recently disappeared Lake Poopo. We based ourselves on the outskirts of the city, coming and going from trips out to see the beautiful volcano Sajama on one side of the altiplano to the west and, to the east, the steep, lush Yungas mountains.

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Remote Bolivia: Plains to mountains

YVD blog 20 image-28-October 30, 2015

The Mission church of San Ignacio

We’re not usually that interested in religious history, but the Jesuits’ social experiment in the heart of this fascinating continent is rather absorbing. We took a back road route across the border from Caceres in Brazil to pick up the “Missions Circuit” in the lowland plains of eastern Bolivia, then had an adventurous journey back up into the mountain valleys to spend more time in and around the lovely city of Sucre, visiting a traditional market, chasing dinosaur footprints and letting llamas distract us from rock climbing on the altiplano.

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Some thoughts on the wines of Argentina and Chile

Comparing some Torrontes

Comparing some Torrontes

A wonderful thing about spending much of 2015 travelling around both Argentina and Chile was that we had an opportunity to do quite a lot of wine tasting in two of the world’s great wine regions. This was a task we took seriously to heart and luckily there was some trekking in Patagonia to try and offset the expanding waistlines…

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