Category Archives: Culture

Travelling Peru – Colca Valley and the Condor

We stayed two nights in the Colca Valley. The Kilawasi Lodge is located in Yanque a little village within the Colca Valley. Like the other villages and cities, Yanque has a central square with a colonial church. But more than this, the Kilawasi Lodge is a perfect spot for exploring the surroundings either by hiking or with local tours to the colca canyon.

colonial church in Yanque - Perucolca valley - PeruDue to the altitude and all the new impressions each day, both of us were quite tired.So, I very much enjoyed the calmness and relaxing atmosphere in the valley.

After our drive from Arequipa to the Colca Valley we checked into our hotel and dropped into bed very early. The next morning we had to get up at around half past five so we were ready for our bus to the edge of the canyon where we watched the condor fly.

peruvian condorperuvian condorperuvian condorI loved those birds. They look so majestic with their wings wide spread gliding through the air. Although it is a very touristic spot and can get crowded easily, it didn’t take away the fascination of watching those beautiful animals.

We were lucky with our guide who suggested to get off the bus before the main viewing spots. Instead of driving there we walked along the edge of the canyon to the viewing platforms. In doing so, we could spot not only the condor but typical flowers and other birds of the Andes.

In the afternoon our hotel offered a guided hike to an old inca ruin nearby. Although I was quite tired and suffered from a headache, I went along.

colca valleyI just couldn’t get enough of the views. Imagine people working on those terraces years and years back in time. It left me with deep respect for all those civilisations who were able to live high up in the mountains.

The hike took around three hours and led us to an very old, probably incan or pre-incan ruin called Uyu Uyu. On the hike, I definitely felt the altitude having to stop much more often to catch may breath.

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incan ruin - colca valleyThis old ruin was my first encounter with the inca culture on our trip and I was already deeply fascinated. It’s simply unbelievable for me to see such buildings while knowing how long back in time they existed.

 

Travelling Peru – From Arequipa to the Colca Canyon

From Lima we took the plane to Arequipa which is normally a one hour trip. Well… in our case it took us five hours because the flight was delayed for four very long hours. I did get to know the airport in Lima very well.

So unfortunately we arrived very late in Arequipa and missed our city tour which was planned for the afternoon. Our mood wasn’t that good as you can imagine arriving so  late in a city we didn’t know. However our hotel and later our dinner compensated a bit of our disappointement. We stayed at La Hosteria which was a very nice hotel, with which I fell in love at first sight.

Having stored away our luggage we headed into town for dinner. Do go  to Zig Zag at least once. It might not be the cheapest option but is a real treat. The city really impressed me and I am definitely going back there exploring more than just the inner town by night.

From Arequipa we headed off the next morning to the Colca Valley. We took a small bus tour with a lovely guide who made the six hours drive pass very quickly. On top of his explanations the breathtaking landscape made this day to one of my favourites.viqunas on the high plateau of the andes

viqunas on the andean plateauhigh plateau of the andesWe spotted viqunas, wild lamas, and alpacas grazing on the andean plateau. Later on this trip we passed the highest point of our journey at 4830m above sea level. I have to admit, that I was a bit worried before our journey about how well I would handle the altidute. Listening to our guides, drinking loads of water, breathing deeply and just relaxing, I felt  well all the time. The first four days on high levels I had constant headaches though which then suddenly disappeared.

Another thing which fights altitude sickness, is drinking a lot of coca tea or even better a tea made out of three different andean herbes.

andean teahighest pointWhen we passed the highest point we went down into the Colca Valley where we had a great Peruvian lunch.

chivay - Colca valleyNext to Chivay a town at the beginning of the valley, we had lunch in a very touristic hotel. However, this meal was really nice because our guide taught us to make our own peruvian starter out of very solid potatoe mash and some tuna, vegetables and mayonnaise.

Apparently the local women made this dish during the war to keep up the strenght of their men.

food-colcaAfter lunch we drove further into the valley and ended our trip at some natural, hot springs. Here we finally could relax and just enjoy being on a completely new continent and in an amazing country.

Colca Valley

Weißenhofsiedlung – exploring Stuttgart Nord

It has been a while since I have shared my last post with you. I just came back from a trip to Peru which I will share with you soon. But before, I will introduce you to a little museum in Stuttgart which covers a very important step in modern architecture. Within the restored house of Le Corbusier,  the Weißenhofmuseum tells the story of the house and the surrounding residential buildings The Weißenhofsiedlung.

Weißenhofmuseumweißenhof-3The whole area symbolises an important architectural movement called “Neues Bauen”. Seventeen different architects created different houses for an exhibtion in Stuttgart in 1927. The origin of the residential area , its history and its significance is described in the left half of the building.

The other half, however, was restored following the original plans of Le Corbusier and shows his simple but functional way of furnishing. So, for example, the beds could be stored away during night by pushing them back into the cupboards, making room for chairs and tables.  Both parts are connected by the roof terrace from which you can enjoy a great view over Stuttgart.

After visiting the museum the residential area around offers a lot more unique buildings. A short round walk leads you to all the preserved houses and gives more information on the different architects.

weißenhofsiedlungweißenhofsiedlungAll houses are by themselves very impressive because of their unregular shapes and architectural concepts. It is a really nice walk and being in the area, you should end your visit with a delicious piece of cake at Café Scholz or with a picnic in the near park Killesberg.

 

Great Architecture and a nice view – Library Stuttgart

The weather is dreadful, don’t you think. I mean it’s the end of april and we got snow on the weekend! The only good thing about the cold and rain is that I finally put my long pushed plans into action regarding sightseeing in Stuttgart. One of the things I wanted to do for quite a while was a visit of the city library in Stuttgart. I heard about their architectural audio guide tour which I finally did last week.

library

When the new library was finished in 2011 people in Stuttgart were and still are quite sceptical about the unusual form of their new central library. The very clean and strict architecture didn’t meet the general taste. I have to admit that I was irritated by the building in the beginning as well but the longer I live in Stuttgart and pass the library during day and especially night the more I love its special look.

The library was built by Eun Yong Yi. His philosphy is to try to bring modern architecture back to its roots by for example bringing his buildings back to its basic forms. His ideas and the meaning of the different areas within the library are well explained in the audio guided tour.

audio guide

The tour is completely free of charge and if you are not only interested in the architecture of the building there is also another tour about how the library is structured and where to find the books you are looking for.

The architectural tour takes aproximately 45 minutes and guides you through the whole building. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I just share with you some pictures and you can go and get the information by yourself doing the tour.

heart of the libraryinsideheartThe tour not only leads you through the library but also on top of the building onto the roof terasse where you have a great view over Stuttgart. Head down to the library before 6pm because the terasse is closed after.

view over stuttgart I highly recommend giving the tour a chance. The guide is very well made. There is a mixture of explanations and comments by the architecture himself which gives you a good understanding of his intentions by building the library the way it is.

On top of that you get a free view over the city and can pop into the café on the top floor for some coffee and cake.

Let me know how you liked it if you go.