Adventure on the Amazon River

Just traveling to and from our lodge in the Amazon was as much of an adventure as the time we spent doing the various tours everyday. After landing at the airport in Coca, we went to the dock where we boarded a motorized canoe. Considering the heat and humidity of the jungle, having the breeze blow through the canoe was definitely a relief. We saw a variety of birds, but that was just a tease for what we would see later during our time deeper in the jungle. We passed oil refineries as well as barges carrying trucks up the river and our anticipation grew the further we traveled. After two and half hours, our canoe pulled up onto the shore and we were told to remove our shoes as the water was too shallow for the canoe to take us to the smaller, paddle canoes that would take us the final three hours to our lodge. Once we reached the paddle canoes, it was time to make our way through the narrow stream towards the lake with the lodge.

We Boarded the Motorized Canoe
Birds following Our Canoe
Barge with Trucks
Crossing the Beach
Shallow Water to Cross

It did not rain while we were in the jungle, which was good for us, but made the travel in the stream more and more difficult as we left for our daily excursions. On the final day at the lodge, we boarded the canoe at 5:00 am and started making our way to meet the motorized canoe. About thirty minutes into the three hour journey, it started to rain. We put on ponchos that were provided by the guides and then the skies truly let loose and we were being pounded by a torrential downpour. Nothing could keep us dry, but fortunately our bags were wrapped in thick plastic in order to keep all of cameras and electronic equipment dry. It was a good thing too, since we had over two inches of water in the bottom of the canoe before we got out of the canoe. By the time we reached the location of the motorized canoe, it had rained so hard that the river had risen more than three feet. The beach that we had crossed on foot just the day before was now covered in water that was deep enough for our canoes to take us all of the way to the motorized canoe.

Paddle Canoes
Using Poles to Navigate
Rowing in the Jungle
Wrapping our Belongings
Our Motorized Canoe

We transferred ourselves and our belongings onto the motorized canoe and began our two and a half hour ride back to Coca. The water was choppy and water sprayed over the sides of the boat even with the side-curtains down. We were no longer thankful for the wind that whipped through the boat as the heat of the jungle had been replaced with cold, rain-soaked air that chilled us to the bone. We arrived back in Coca, completely soaked, before getting on the plane that would take us back to Quito. We were definitely glad to get back to our hotel and change into dry clothes. The canoe rides to and from the lodge may not have been the highlight of our time in the Amazon, but it was definitely part of the overall adventure.

Walking in the Steps of the Incan Empire

During our trip to Bolivia, we truly enjoyed visiting Incan ruins such as Incallajta and Tiwanaku. We learn so much about the ancient civilizations of Rome and Egypt, but very little is taught in schools about the Inca and the empire that they created in South America. Its size and political systems rivaled any other empire of the early 16th century. While we were in the ruins of Incallajta, we walked the same paths that the guards walked around the ancient city as they protected it from rival tribes that lived in the forests. Since there were no other tourists at the site and it was just us and our guide walking the trails, it was especially awe-inspiring. We climbed to about 11,000 feet (about 3,350 meters) where we had a spectacular view of the entire complex. Join us on the trails of the ancient Inca and walk with us as we traverse the outer wall of the ancient city of Incallajta.

Walking an Incan Trail
Looking Down on the Ruins
Walking along the Ancient Walls
Ancient Trails Converted to Roads
The Path of the Incan Guards
View from the Observatory

The First Glimpse of Someplace New

When traveling to someplace new, the first glimpse of that location is often out of the window of a plane. There is nothing like the excitement that you feel when you hear the plane going into the final approach of your destination. As the ground gets closer and the various sights come closer into view, it becomes a reality that you are about to see a new place that you haven’t visited before. Often the landscape looks the same as other places you may have gone to before, but there is always something different about this new city or country as it comes into view. For this week’s Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge, we are sharing some photos from recent flights and our first views of cities.

Landing in Frankfurt, Germany
Flying over La Paz, Bolivia
Flying over the Mountains of Northern Italy
Getting Ready to Land in Vienna, Austria
Our First Glimpse of Greece
Flying into Cochabamba, Bolivia