Climbing the Machu Picchu Mountain in Peru

View of Machu Picchu from Mountain Machu Picchu (©photocoen)

As Peru was going to be the next country on my itinerary in South America, I read the Buckettripper account of my colleague Grace Lichtenstein about climbing the Huayna Picchu, one of the mountains at the famous Machu Picchu ruins, with specific … [Read more...]

Hiking the Quiet Backdoor Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru

Just follow the tracks.

From the bridge I could see them for the first time: the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. This was the site that had been on my one-day-must-see list since childhood and finally I was going there. I was so excited! High up on the mountain, some … [Read more...]

Meeting Uros People on Lake Titicaca in Peru

Uros women doing chores and chatting (©photocoen)

Living on an island of reeds, in a house of reeds, sleeping on a bed of reeds, cooking on fuel of reeds, and fishing from a boat of reeds? How intriguing is that? The Uros' way of life has fascinated me for years. According one of the stories, … [Read more...]

Ziplining near Machu Picchu in Peru

Superwoman on a Zipline (©photocoen)

I have a choice, I realized as I was swinging in midair. Either I freak out or let go and enjoy. While fear is an emotion, often used as an excuse – I can't help it, I'm just too afraid to do it – I took a rational decision not to be afraid and … [Read more...]

Studying the Characteristics of Tarabuco’s Weaving Techniques in Bolivia

Tarabuqueño working on a traditional weaving pattern (©photocoen)

Tarabuco is an ethnic group that lives southeast of Sucre, in central Bolivia, and represents one of the country's prominent traditional cultures. For the past twenty years or so, Tarabuco has become more known to foreign visitors and today travelers … [Read more...]

Applauding Dancers and Musicians during Bolivia’s Urkupiña Festival

Dancers during Urkupiña's Autochthonous  Parade (©photocoen)

According to the most popular story a young shepherd girl daily herded her sheep on a stony hill, where the Virgin Mary appeared to her several times. At one time she indicated the Virgin to her parents, shouting, "Orkopiña" – "There, on that … [Read more...]

Admiring Brazil’s Traditional Baianas de Acarajé in Salvador da Bahia

Group of traditionally dressed vendors of acarajé in Brazil (©photocoen)

Amidst a crowd of typical, T-shirts-and-jeans-wearing Brazilians, a black woman stood out. She wore an intricate, white, lace bodice covered with necklaces above a dark-blue, billowing skirt and a white piece of cloth artistically wrapped around her … [Read more...]

Being Enchanted by Brazil’s Best-Preserved Colonial Town of Ouro Prêto

No matter where you look in Ouro Prêto, you'll always see at least one church (©Coen Wubbels)

Around 1700 gold was discovered in the state of Minas Gerais. In 1711 Vila Rica de Ouro Prêto (Rich City of Black Gold) was founded, which soon became the capital of the state and epicenter of Brazil's biggest gold rush. Thousands of slaves dug out … [Read more...]

Cheering on Soccer Players in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium, Brazil

Cheering on a Soccer Game in Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro (©photocoen)

"You can't leave Rio de Janeiro without having seen the Maracanã Stadium!" "The what?” I couldn't even pronounce the word. "The Maracanã Stadium! You don't know what it is?" "Sorry, never heard of it." "No, that's impossible. Everybody knows … [Read more...]

Marveling from the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

View of Sugar Loaf from Cristo Redentor Statue (©Coen Wubbels)

Thus far thick traffic and having to watch my back had made me wary of the city but after a leisurely walk up the Sugar Loaf, I took in the view and suddenly understood the spell that visitors as well as Cariocas – Rio de Janeiro's residents – … [Read more...]