Saturday, May 21, 2011

Argentina and the space between

Its been quite some time since a proper update. We wish we had better computer access throughout our time but these belated updates will have to suffice for now.

Since the beautiful highlands of Ecuador where we updated you last, we have expereinced a world of wonder.
In our time in Ecuador we trekked around crater rims, hiked from one remote village to the next, and descended breifly into the amazonian jungle near Puyo. We also traveled north to Quito and enjoyed all the capital had to offer including a visit to the middle of the earth (Latitude 0 on the exact equator).
We went from the jungle up through the mountains during a volcanic eruption and thankfully passed through the mountains and down to Guayaquil. Then we took a 24 hour bus from Guayaquil to Lima to rest a couple days with Cristian and Lauren.
We had time to bus around Lima and enjoy the different parts that make the coastal capital meaningful.

On April 29 we took a flight with great anticipation to Cusco, the Inka capital of yesteryear. We filled ten days of time there with adventure, new relationships, learning, and pure enjoyment as we were filled with wonder by the ancient craftsmanship.
The greatest treasure expereinced during our time was a 4 day Inca Jungle tour to Machu Picchu. We biked, hiked, ate, slept, and laughed with a group of wonderful people from all over the world, including Sweden, Germany, Israel, France, Argentina, America, and Spain.
The trek into Machu Picchu was amazing and the actual site is simply breath taking.
Unfortunately we will have to add pictures of Peru and Ecuador at a later date.

After flying back to Lima we had the incredible honor of spending some quality time with our sponsor child from Peru. We spent a beautiful day at the zoo together in Lima with her and her mother. It was one of those rich and indescribable experiences that deepen a persons heart where what you receive is so much more than anything you could give. It was a beautiful time that overshadows even the wonders of the world.

During our stay in Lima we were also able to reconnect with friends made in Cusco and even celebrate Lauren´s birthday with the best Sushi Rose and I have ever had!

On May 12th we left to Buenos Aires. Its been amazing to see the depth of hospitality in this city. We stayed the first 3 nights in Palermo with Emilio, a local whose kindness keeps you smiling long after spending time with him. During our stay we enjoyed the world class steak, wine, and gelato.
We spent some more time with a local, Celina, who graciously hosted us in Micro Centro and opened our eyes to all the treats that make Argentina great.

From B.A. we bussed to Mendoza 19 hours to find ourselves in the wine capital of the country. We enjoyed the relaxed feel of Mendoza and the incredible steak. One day we made up our own wine tour by taking a local bus an hour out of town and rented bicycles to pedal from winery to winery. On our tour we visited 3 wineries, 2 chocolate and liquor factories, and a beer garden!

Yesterday at 11:30 am we got on a bus to take us to the north near Bolivia. We got dropped off at 2 am in a place called Tucuman...and we waited in the dark for another bus that came 3 hours late to bring us even further north to Salta by 11am today. Traveling is rough sometimes, like today when you travel 24 hours on 2 -4 hours of sleep.
Salta is really different, people refer to it like Bolivia. We´ve enjoyed it so far.

Tomorrow we hope to head to a national park and where we can camp, hike, and enjoy the stunning beauty in this area.

We have made arrangements to bus 24 hours east to Iguazu Falls on the 24th of May to take in another wonder of the world! So Kate, if we can´t wish you a happy birthday it won´t be because we forgot, love ya sis.

We will do our best to update again soon.

Love and miss you all a lot!

Friday, April 15, 2011

From Mancora, Peru, to Cuenca, Ecuador--what a ride!

Well, it´s been roughly one week and several hundred miles since our last update, so I suppose it´s time to catch up! Kurtis and I have begun to lose our sense of time and, to be honest, I´m really not even sure what day it´s quite a strange, freeing feeling, and quite nice actually. But regardless of our inability to keep tack of the days, they are going by SO fast. We are about 1/3 of the way through the trip already! I can´t believe it. The last week has been truly incredible. We left Chiclyao on a bus (which I´m pretty sure was made for small children) for the beautiful beaches of Mancora--a destination which, thankfully, turned out to be well worth the long, bumpy ride. This small vacation spot was just what the doctor ordered: relatively quiet, warm water, lots of sun, and perfect waves for a begginner surfer such as myself. We loved every minute of it! So much in fact, we stayed there for 5 nights and 6 days--the longest we´ve stayed in one spot so far. Coincidently, our last day there, we met some friendly travelers from Germany at our hostel who were not only headed in the same direction, but the same exact city! What a fun bunch, those Germans. We have been thankful for their company and companionship, especially on the 9 hour bus ride accross the border, up steep, twisty, SANDY roads that no bus should ever attempt to drive up--all the way to the spectaclar mountain city (8,500 ft above sea level, that´s almost as high as Mt. Baker, folks!) of Cuenca, Ecuador. I´m pretty sure we were all thanking God for sparing our lives as we pulled up to the bus terminal. So here we all are in this beautiful old (yet surprisingly modern) city in the clouds! We are staying at a quaint hostel in the historic part of down right near the river with cobble stone streets, incredible architecture, and lovely, LOVELY people. Cuenca is, hands down, our favorite South American city yet. We have some beautiful photos to share, but unfortunately, this old computer is not equipped to read our memory card. Hopefully we can post a few pics sometime soon so you can see for yourself just how beautiful this place truly is. As much as we´d love to spend more time here, we´ve got to be moving on. We only have TWO weeks in Ecuador....and there is much to do and see. Today we will get on another bus (pray for us) and continue heading north to the town of Latucunga for some incredible hiking around a volcanic rim. This town will be even further up in elevation, inhabited mostly by indigenous cultures...and we were JUST getting good at our spanish! Ah well, good thing we´re both fluent in hand gestures at this point, and thrilled for the opportunity to encounter these beautiful, ancient, mountain cultures. Well, that´s all for now folks. Stay tuned in, hopefully we´ll have some photos to share soon! Much love, Rose and Kurt

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The time so far

We have been gone 10 days but it seems like 10 weeks. Its amazing to experience the transformative power of travel. I am continually impressed at my vulnerability and fragility in this great and beautiful world.

In our short stay here I already got sick, became intimately aware of on coming traffic, learned to let go when it comes to taxi driving tactics (honking gains the right-of-way), learned the depths of my spanish language deficit, and have become incredibly thankful for the woman I married.

Currently we are in Chiclayo, a town on the northern coast of Peru. Its hot and dry here as most of this coast is. We are taking a bus tonight to Mancora, a beach resort town. There is supposed to be good surfing and nice beaches.

The noise... its election time for the presidential canindate in Peru and the energy is electric - all hours of the day! So there are 10 canidates running and Rosie and I could tell you about each one and what they promise to do. The election is Sunday and the demonstrations are growing louder and more intense it seems. Rose and I just simply want peace and quiet for a bit, and we are hoping Mancora will deliver.

Our plans are very loose (like, we don't have any) so they have been changing often due to whether, feeling, or opportunity. It looks like we are heading to Ecuador sooner than we thought. Possibly Quito first for language school then maybe the jungle or mountian trekking - we'll let you know : )

The picture above is taken in front of part of the Huaca de la Luna, crafted over 1800 years ago!
We are learning so much about Peru, the people, the beliefs, the poverty, the wealth, the vastness, and the paradoxes.

This picture is a community that Food for the Hungery is involved with. Lauren gave us the opportunity to follow her into work one day to visit the Santa Barbara community 35 km north Lima. We had the honor of celebrating with this beautiful group of people.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trujillo and huanchaco

We have enjoyed the city of Trujillo and it's neighboring ocean town of huanchco (onechako). The colonial remains of Trujillo make for some stunning architecture and a present poverty that is truly evident.

While in Trujillo we met a missionary, Pamela who helped us connect with local friends, Ricardo and Esther. We were able to eat some traditional food and even attend pamela's birthday party- which may have been the biggest party in Trujillo - seriously unreal! Its been such a blessing to be welcomed by Pamela, Ricardo, and Esther - we are so thankful for the unique experience they have given us!

Huanchaco is a smaller town with surfing and traditional fishing boats made from reeds. We camped near the beach and had hot showers made with oven baked stones in the water. It was a really relaxing place...the first night. The second night we came back from Trujillo late and fell asleep content in our cozy tent until 3 am when the loudest party I´ve ever experienced erupted next door for the remainder of the morning - truly impressive to hear the kind of fiesta the peruvians can sustain at such an unlikely hour.
I, of course, became ill like always it seems. Over the last 4 days I progressively got worse until Cipro did it's blessed job of cleaning out my gut.
I'm beginning to feel better and Rosie is taking care of everything - she's amazing!

Yesterday we went to explore some ruins called huaca de la Luna. Very cool from the Moche people. Its an inverted pyramid structure with some crazy art, several chambers, and surprisingly perserved artifacts. Its over 1800 years old! and it was discovered in 1990 accidently. Very exciting stuff as far as archeology goes.

Today we took a bus 3 hours north to a town called chiclayo.
It's smaller and interesting.

We'll post pictures soon!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lima to Trujillo here we go!

Well here we are in Lima. Big city. Wow.
We've been here two days and have been totally blessed by cristian and lauren.
Today we got to go to work with Lauren out north to Santa Barbara with "food for the hungery". It was amazing to see the work FH does. Certainly a cause worth supporting!

We now are heading north to Trujillo to meet others and go to Spanish school and also surf a bit. The bus is 8 hours so we'll see how it goes.

Chau chau for now!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The beginings

This is the start of another adventure.
Rose is Graduating from WWU in one week and we have tickets to South America.

The plan:
  • Fly to Lima, Peru
  • Wander around the area then head to Cuzco
  • Trek around the Sacred Valley
  • Head towards Lake Titicaca
  • Bus along the Peruvian coast
  • Visit Ecuador
  • Fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Travel up to Iguazu Falls
  • Visit Uruguay
  • Spend some time in Mendoza, Argentina
We are so excited to wander around and encounter the unknown.