ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “beach

MORNING ON TAQUILE, Titicaca, Peru

We got up at around 7 in the morning.  The air was cold and refreshing.  We walked down to the courtyard to brush our teeth and then into the dining room for breakfast.  After breakfast, our host suggested us to take a morning walk to the “beach”.  He gave us simple instructions and we ventured off onto the rural paths of Taquile again.  We walked to a part of the island where we had not been to before, following a winding path with a low stone wall along both sides of the path that stretched all the way to as far as we could see.  The beach was at the far end of the island. We could get a glimpse of it from the village centre. Without signage for direction and a clear path leading to the beach, we could only trust our gut to find a way to descend to the beach at the foot of the hill.

The lake water was freezing cold. Two cows were wandering on the sandy beach while we chilled out in the cool breeze.  We stayed on the beach for about 20 minutes until we decided to walk back to the village to check out the handcraft centre.  We climbed back up the hill to the main path.  The handcraft centre had a huge collection of exquisite textiles and wearable pieces handmade by the villagers, such as knitted belts and hats.  The colourful pieces are often decorated with traditional patterns unique to Taquile.  In 2005, the textile arts of Taquile was declared Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO.  Taquile is often considered a successful example of community-based tourism.  Many islanders participate on making handcrafts for sell at the handcraft centre, or take turns to become hosts for visiting tourists.

After we visited the handcraft centre, we walked by a teenage girl sitting by the road, quietly knitting wool bracelets.  She lined up her colourful bracelets nicely on a piece of fabric for display.  The colourful bracelets had several different patterns knitted on both sides, and they all looked lovely to us.  While we were appreciating the works, a local islander waved at us from afar and he looked anxious.  He tried to tell us something important but we had trouble understanding.  After moments of confusion, we finally understood that he had been looking for us for quite sometime.  A friend of our host, he wanted to let us know that the boat leaving for Puno had changed its departure time earlier than scheduled.  Our host, on the other hand, had gone to the pier to urge the boat captain to wait for us.  By the time we were informed, we had less than half an hour to rush to the pier.  We followed the messenger’s lead to the exit archway of Taquile, where a long flight of stone steps led to the community pier by the lake.  We hurried down the stone steps in a single breath and finally jumped onto community boat leaving for Puno.  The community boat was much slower than the tourist boats, and the ride took over two hours.

After docking at Puno,  we went into a local restaurant at town centre for a big glass of warm chicha morada.  Chicha is a Peruvian drink made of purple maize with a variety of spices or fruits.  Fermented or non-fermented, chicha drinks have been popular with people on the Andes for centuries.  A glass of purple chicha morada (with spices of some sort) became the perfect conclusion for our visit to Lake Titicaca.  The next morning, we would head northwest to the historical heartland of the Inca Empire, Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

7The boy of the host family was shy but curious. He invited us to play football with him at the forecourt of his house.

6Our host’s home had a big foreground surrounded by adobe houses on three sides and a wall at the front. The forecourt is a perfect place for the kids of the family to play football.

1The rural scenery of Taquile in early morning.

2A woman with her sheep for a morning walk.

3The beach that our host recommended was down the hill from the main path.

4The beach is right at the foot of the terraced farmlands.

5We finally reached the beach. We were greeted by a cow and its calf there. The water was too cold for a comfortable swim but the sun was warm and the sand was fine.

10PE05-29At the Handcraft Centre, we found many finely made textile items and knitwears.  Examples of Taquile’s famous knitting could easily be seen everything on the island, including the traditional headwears of the villagers.

8We passed by a number new buildings under construction when we rushed to the pier.  Many buildings were left unfinished until villagers saved up enough money to complete the second level.

9After passing this arch, we would bid farewell to Taquile island.

10Following the messenger, we hurried down the stone steps to catch the community boat.  The stepped path was long with uneven stone risers.

11We finally made it to the pier and were amazed by the speed at which we descended the uneven steps.

12There were a few boats at the dock. The community boat left from a different pier than where we arrived a day ago.

13At last, the farming terraces of Taquile Island was behind us.

14As the boat moved out to the lake, Taquile Island appeared smaller and smaller until it disappeared completely.

15Our boat passed by some fish nets in the lake.

16During the boat ride, we passed by a number villages along the coast of the mainland.

17Close up of a coastal village by the Lake Titicaca.

18We were sitting out on the boat deck.  After the gate marked by the light towers, we knew Puno would soon be in sight.

19We arrived at Puno at late afternoon. We strolled around the market near the town centre and went into a small local restaurant for a warm chicha moranda.

* * *

Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru

Advertisements

SHEK O (石澳) – Walking on the Dragon’s Back (龍脊), Hong Kong

For a city known for long working hours and bustling nightlife, hiking in one of its 24 country parks has quietly emerged as a popular alternative to shopping, karaoke, or watching a movie as a local weekend activity.

On a fine day in early April, I set out on a half day journey to hike in the southern part of Hong Kong Island.  Compared to the northern shoreline of Hong Kong Island where the downtown is located, the south is dotted with sandy beaches and hill forests.  I had a few hours’ time before sunset to do the hike, and I picked the Dragon’s Back hike in Shek O Country Park.  Recognized by some magazines as one of the best urban hikes in Asia, the Dragon’s Back Hike has become really popular among locals and tourists.  Just like many other hikes in Hong Kong, the trailhead of Dragon’s Back Hike can be easily accessed by public transportation.  In this case, the trailhead at To Tei Wan can be reached by frequent public buses from Shau Kei Wan MTR Station.

It took me less than three hours to hike from To Tei Wan to Big Wave Bay, and then another half an hour to walk from Big Wave Bay to Shek O Village.  After reaching the highest point of Dragon’s Back at 284m, the magnificent panoramic view of Shek O and the South China Sea was rewarding.  The descend journey to Bay Wave Bay was largely done in shaded paths.  By the time I reached the renounced surfing beach, the sun was about to set.  I stayed at Big Wave Bay and continued on to finish my journey at Shek O, a mere 20-minute walk from Big Wave Bay.  At Shek O, I climbed onto a rock hill adjacent to the beach to take in the scenery and watched the people enjoying themselves on the beach under the setting sun.

Image龍脊 – Dragon’s Back is a scenic trail along the ridges of folding mountainsImageNo wonder why the undulating hike along the Dragon’s Back ridge has been recognized by guidebooks and magazines as one of the best urban hikes in Asia.  The view toward Shek O Village and Beach, and the rocky islands of Tai Tau Chau and Ng Fan Chau is the biggest reward for climbing up to the Dragon’s Back.ImageImageImage
Paragliding in mid-air or surfing along the Big Wave Bay (Tai Long Wan) – people choose different ways to enjoy themselves outside the city centre.ImageAerial view to the Big Wave Bay (Tai Long Wan), a popular surfing spot in HK.ImageImageImageImageImage


DAY 57 (2 OF 2) – CHANQUIN AND PLAYA CUCAO, CHILOE, CHILE

From the park entrance, we walked on the main road to the village of Chanquin, passed by peaceful farmhouses and small ranches.  At the end of Chanquin where the boat-shaped bridge headed north towards Cole Cole, we made a turn to walk along a river heading towards the ocean.  The wind was strong with occasional cold rain. There was no one on the trail except us. We crossed a number of grassy areas and sand dunes. At last, we reached the point where the river met the ocean. It was at Playa Cucao, a sandy beach with rumbling waves, where we finally felt the full force of the Pacific. The beach was full of clusters of seashells. We stayed at the beach for a while and slowly found our way back to another trail heading away from the beach towards the main road. When we reached the park entrance, we dropped by a local coffee shop and deservedly had a hot drink before hopping onto the return bus for Castro.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

* * *

Read more on Chiloe and Puerto Varas  in 2013 South America
Day 55.1 – Water Finally, Chiloe
Day 55.2 – Chacao Channel, Chiloe
Day 55.3 – Tide, Castro, Chiloe
Day 55.4 – Iglesia San Francisco, Castro, Chiloe
Day 56.1 – Palfitos, Castro, Chiloe
Day 56.2 – Wooden Tequilas Houses, Chiloe
Day 56.3 – Achao, Isla Quinchao
Day 57.1 – Parque Nacional Chiloe
Day 57.2 – Chanquin and Playa Cucao, Chiloe
Day 58.1 – Isla Aucar, Colo, Tenaun San Juan, Chiloe
Day 58.2 – Boat Building, San Juan, Chiloe
Day 58.3 – Seafood, Chiloe
Day 59.1 – Palafito 1326, Castro, Chiloe
Day 59.2 – Chacao Channel Again, Chiloe
Day 59.3 – City, Lago Llanquihue & Volcan Osorno, Puerto Varas
Day 60 – Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales, Petrohue
Day 61.1 – Latitude 51-41’28”, Puerto Natales
Day 61.2 – Afrigonia, Puerto Natales

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 23 (1 OF 3) – SEA, PARATY, BRAZIL

On our way to Sao Paulo from Rio de Janeiro, we stopped by the seaside town of Paraty. Famous for its colonial buildings, pirates, beaches, and rainforests, Paraty was a significant colonial town in the 18th century as an export port for gold from the mines of Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro. A Gold Trail was established from the towns of Minas Gerais to Paraty to transport gold, supplies and slaves. In late 18th century, as the gold mines began to dry up, many cities in Minas Gerais such as Ouro Preto underwent a gradual decline, so as Paraty. Today Paraty contains one of the best-preserved colonial town centre in Brazil.
We came to Paraty for its beaches, colonial buildings, and its layback atmosphere. It was cool and cloudy when we arrived in Paraty. At the dock, several people were fishing while the boat owners were cleaning their colourful tourist boats. We took a stroll along Rio Pereque Acu to Praia do Pontal, a beach stretching out into Bahia de Paraty north of the historic town centre. The beach was quiet with only a few beachgoers chilling out at the seating area where barracas (stalls) were serving snacks, drinks and seafood.
Back in the old town, we walked passed a local restaurant near Igreja Santa Rita which had their catches-of-the-day displayed in front of the store. We decided to give it a try and had our first seafood meal in Paraty.
ImageImageImageImageImage

* * *

Previous Destination: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, reading from post Day 20.1

Read other posts on Paraty, Brazil
Day 23.1 – Sea, Paraty
Day 23.2 – Town, Paraty
Day 23.3 – Night, Paraty
Day 24.1 – Rain, Paraty
Day 24.2 – Thai, Paraty
Day 24.3 – Reflection, Paraty

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 21 (5 OF 5) – BOTAFOGO AND LEBLON, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

After Santa Teresa, we took the metro to Botafogo.  We walked out to Praia do Botagofo (Botafogo Beach), which offered a good view of Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf Mountain), especially during sunset when the golden sunlight shone on the iconic mountain.
We then took a bus to Leblon.  In contrast to the bohemian and sometimes seedy Lapa and Santa Teresa, Leblon (and the adjacent Ipanema), as the most affluent neighbourhood in Rio, seemed to us like belong to an entirely different city, despite the existence of favelas on nearby hills.  At dusk, we stopped by the peaceful Praia de Leblon (Leblon Beach), which shares the same Atlantic waterfront with Praia de Ipanema (Ipanema Beach).

DSC_8059
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC_8078Praia do Botafogo (above 3 images)

DSC_8124
DSC_8121Praia de Leblon (above 2 images)

***

Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 21 (1 OF 5) – IPANEMA BEACH, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

We started the day with a morning stroll along the Ipanema beach. This sunny Monday was much quieter than the bustling Sunday.  Only a few joggers and surfers could be seen against the iconic mountainous backdrop, a truly postcard moment of Rio de Janeiro.
ImageImageImage

***

Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought


DAY 20 (2 OF 3) – URCA, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

We took a bus to Urca, the small residential neighbourhood in the shadow of Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf Mountain).  Comparing to the tour groups and long queue at the cable car station for Pao de Acucar, the streets and beaches at Urca were extremely peaceful.  The beaches were not the cleanest, but we could get a good view of Baia de Guanabara, Cristo Redentor and Pao de Acucar in a distance. There was a short period of sun break while we were at Urca.  We were hoping that the sun would stay when we reached the peak of Pao de Acucar in the afternoon.  We stopped by Garota Urca, a local restaurant for sandwiches before we joined the Sunday tourist crowd for the famous Pao de Acucar.
ImageImageImageImageImage

***

Read other posts on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 20.1 – Ipanema
Day 20.2 – Urca
Day 20.3 – Pao de Acucar
Day 21.1 – Ipanema Beach
Day 21.2 – Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura (Portuguese Reading Room)
Day 21.3 – Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil
Day 21.4 – Lapa and Santa Teresa
Day 21.5 – Botafogo and Leblon
Day 22.1 – Museu de Arte do Rio
Day 22.2 – Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)

* * *

South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought