The 275 waterfalls that make up Iguazu Falls lie on the Argentinean-Brazilian border and I already saw them in Brazil. Yet, I wanted to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site from the Argentinean side as well.
A rough road leads up into the mountains. Apart from a couple of houses the countryside is devoid of habitation. A low, wooden barrier marks the limits of a private property. Behind it, I see rows of small aviaries, a cluster of trees and a house.
The place appears deserted.
Herons skim the water, their white bodies reflecting in the inky-black water smooth as glass. Green kingfishers nosedive from branches and resurface with a thrashing fish. Roseate spoonbills scratch around in shallow waters, and jacanas do what Jesus Birds do:
They walk on the water.
There wasn’t just one stone – there were two.
Which one did the tiger jump on when crossing this gorge?
Purple-crowned Fairies, Green-crowned Wood Nymphs and Violet-Tailed Sylphs were fluttering all around me.
Had I just landed in an elf forest?
I follow a winding trail along the slopes, which demands a bit of clambering over slippery rocks. I pick another handful of those juicy blackberries along the path, which constitute my breakfast. At a stream, I strip and lower myself into one of the shallow pools sheltered by rocks.
I sigh deeply, and relax.
Wherever we look we see white. It looks like a world of fresh snow that has not yet been disturbed by footsteps. The silence is intense. When we step out of the Land Cruiser there is nothing except the crunching of salt crystals beneath our shoes.
We are at Salar de Uyuni!
Do you go on a cruise, or do you stay in a hotel and find your own way around? Do you need a bag of money, or is the Galápagos a destination for low-budget travelers as well?
Let’s take a look what the islands have to offer, and to whom.
“Let’s wait for that group of pelicans to pass,” Alexandra says while the first drops of rain rinse our bodies, salty and sticky from swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Nobody is moving away from beach lined with coconut trees to find shelter at the restaurant.
The moment is too precious.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
Los Llanos are vast plains of grasslands and savanna and had traversed them in Colombia.
Now we would explore them in Venezuela.
I feel as if I’m swimming in my grandmother’s tropical fish aquarium; the fish have the same bright colors, the same vertical shapes. All around me are yellow-purple-striped king angelfish, ivory-colored barber fish, and black stripe and deep-blue surgeonfish.
“Happiness is like a butterfly. If you chase it and chase it directly, it will elude you, but if you sit quietly and busy yourself with other things, it will come and light upon your shoulder.”
~Old Chinese Proverb
What’s so special about a butterfly, you may ask.
Well, I got a visit from one who cleaned my keyboard.
“You know what would be a great idea?” Coen asked as we moved up the last steps of the stairs that brought us to a 30-meter-high watchtower.
“What?” David, our guide, asked.
“To serve champagne upstairs. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic surprise?”
David didn’t respond and we continued our way up.
What is the link between slow travel and waterfalls, you may ask?
Let’s take a look.
“An image of the earth, its landscapes, directly affects people. The beauty of the earth creates enormous emotion, and through that emotion, you can transmit knowledge and raise consciousness.”