Our alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30AM. We were huddled together trying to stay warm against the freezing temperatures of the night in a rented tent that wasn’t quite meant for people of Dan’s height. The temptation to turn off the alarm and roll over instead of heading out into the frigid pitch of pre-dawn was difficult to resist. Under these circumstances, there’s always a danger that each waits for the other to make the first move.
It was the final morning of our trek in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. The previous five days, we’d survived wind storms that forced us to cling to mountainside shrubs. I’d suffered a mysterious spider bite that made my eye look like I just emerged from a heavyweight boxing match.
We were worn. No pain, no gain, they say. Fortunately, we’d been rewarded with mind-opening landscapes and trekking camaraderie that more than made up for it all.
And this morning’s trek would cap off six days’ effort with a sunrise view of the namesake towers, the Torres del Paine. Continue Reading »
Whether you’ve been to Machu Picchu or not, chances are that the most common images you’ve seen of it carry a familiar quality about them. Sometimes it takes looking at something iconic from a different perspective, however, to broaden your understanding and appreciation of what it might have taken to create all that’s behind the icon. And so it is with Machu Picchu in Peru.
Machu Picchu is impressive from just about every view, but the perspective in the panorama below provides a visual on what “perched high on a mountain ridge” really means. Continue Reading »
4:00 A.M., alarm blaring, almost violent at an ungodly hour. I cursed it and was tempted to roll over. But I knew if I had, I’d regret it. I had a volcanic lake to visit.
After a bumpy chicken bus ride, we finally arrived at the lake’s edge. The sun was just coming up and we were among the very few people there.
Open up the panorama to see Quilotoa Lake for yourself. Continue Reading »
Deep blue sky, pure white salt. The salt flats (Salinas Grandes) in northwestern Argentina.
And those pentagonal designs you see on the ground? All natural. Mother nature’s design eye. Open the panorama below to see this surreal landscape for yourself. Continue Reading »
Have you ever been hiking and witnessed colors so surreal that you find it difficult to believe they’re natural?
The turquoise hue of Lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile certainly falls into this category. Open up the panorama below to see for yourself. Continue Reading »
Guinea pig (cuy) is apparently a critical component of Andean cuisine. At the pre-Incan ruins of Kuelap, we were told that guinea pigs have been domesticated and bred as a source of protein for thousands of years.
And although the selection of meats throughout Peru and Ecuador has (thankfully) expanded substantially, guinea pig remains a prized meal. Continue Reading »
Quito, Ecuador — at 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) in elevation, it’s just a bit closer to the sky than most capital cities. Walk around Quito’s old town and you’ll feel it — not only because of the slight shortness of breath you might experience, but also because of the inimitable cloud-popping blue sky overhead. It’s so surreal that you sometimes feel you can reach up and touch it — if only you could stretch just a little bit more.
Throw in a few parks, dramatic staircases, and a few of Quito’s impressive colonial churches like San Francisco Church below, and you’ve got yourself a visual that you just might never forget.
And no, that sky is not photoshopped. Continue Reading »
Have you ever wondered what you would find on a visit to Argentina? We thought you might, so we share a slideshow of favorite photos we took while crossing the country four months overland — from Iguazu Falls in the north to Ushuaia on the very southern tip, and back north again to the windswept Calchaquíe Valleys.
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Maybe you’d like to visit wine country in Argentina. You’ve heard about Mendoza, but you wonder: How to I go about wine tasting and touring wineries there? The options are many, but if you’d like to have a meaningful, enlightening wine tasting experience and an awesome time, here are a few tips on how to do so without blowing a ton of cash.
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Have you ever glommed on to a piece of information and carried it with you, even if you can’t remember its origins or vouch for its accuracy? That was me with the city of Valparaiso and hot dogs (or completos, as they are called in Chile).
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