A Country of Adventure

South America is an irresistible destination for many travelers. With amazing natural beauty to explore from stunning mountains, pristine beaches and wild rain forests. Then there are amazing precolonial ruins to rival any found around the world from cultures still strong today. Spanish and Portuguese colonial buildings and churches dominate major cities with more gold in them then any other churches in the world where African, Latin and indigenous cultures have fused. Modern art have exploded in many cities next to thumping dance clubs filled with beautiful people. Add in thundering waterfalls surrounded by vast jungles, massive street parties around Carnival time, and lost then found Inca cities. South America can take a lifetime to truly explore and experience.

Adventurous Geography

The geography of South America is extremely diverse stretching north of the equator to almost touching northern Antarctica. Along the Pacific coast there is the stunningly high mountain range of the Andes, which is also the longest mountain range in the world. This mountain range runs for over 7,000 kilometres and its highest mountain is Aconcaguareaching a stunning 6,962 metres above sea level and one of the most famous mountains on the continent. There are also hundreds of volcanoes in the Andes, many of them being extremely active. Large parts of the Andes are also giving place to relatively flatter areas called Altiplano. Here you’ll find salt lakes, adapted wildlife and even some settlements.

The north central area of South America is largely filled with the amazing Amazon Rainforest, which is the largest rainforest in the world and is home to amazing biodiversity. The most southern part of the continent is generally called Patagonia, comprising the southern section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific Ocean and from the east of the cordillera to the valleys it follows south through Colorado River towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, it includes Tierra del Fuego. Argentine Patagonia is for the most part a region of steppelike plains. South America is also home to the Angels Falls in Venezuela, which are the highest waterfalls in the world, the Amazon River, which is the largest river by volume of water and the Atacama Desert, which is the second driest place on earth (after the Dry Valleys on Antarctica) and the highest navigable lake in the world Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Anyone looking for high mountains, amazing beaches or steaming jungles can find their perfect place in South America.

Subregions

Atlantic Coast Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay
Andean Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru
Northern Colombia, French Guiana (Overseas Department of France), Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela
Islands

Back in the New York Groove

New York State is a state in the northeast of the USA and was one of the original 13 Colonies. When most people talk about New York State they just say Upstate New York. Although people forget that Upstate New York is home to amazing national and state parks that are quite stunning. There is also good skiing and some neat towns upstate that get overshadowed by the Big Apple on the coast. The largest city is New York City.Vivamus Sagittis Lacus

New York covers 141,300 km2 and ranks as the 27th largest state by size. The Great Appalachian Valley dominates eastern New York, while Lake Champlain is the chief northern feature of the valley, which also includes the Hudson River flowing southward to the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged Adirondack Mountains, with vast tracts of wilderness, lie west of the valley. Most of the southern part of the state is on the Allegheny Plateau, which rises from the southeast to the Catskill Mountains. The highest elevation in New York is Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks. New York’s borders touch two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario); the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada; Lake Champlain; three New England states (Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut); the Atlantic Ocean, and two Mid-Atlantic States, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, Rhode Island shares a water border with New York.

black-and-white-city-skyline-buildings

In contrast with New York City’s urban atmosphere, the vast majority of the state is dominated by farms, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes. New York’s Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the United States.

The Hudson River begins at Lake Tear of the Clouds and flows south through the eastern part of the state without draining Lakes George or Champlain. Upstate and downstate are often used informally to distinguish New York City or its greater metropolitan area from the rest of New York State. The placement of a boundary between the two is a matter of great contention. Unofficial and loosely defined regions of Upstate New York include the Southern Tier, which often includes the counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and the North Country, which can mean anything from the strip along the Canadian border to everything north of the Mohawk River.

Running of the Bulls

The San Fermin Festival in Pamplona starts every year at 12.00 on the 6th of July, and last until midnight on the 14th. The biggest day of the festival is on the 7th of July, when the statue of San Fermin is carried through the streets of the city. The most famous event during the week in the Running of the Bulls, the Running takes place on the 7th of July, and from than every morning at 8:00am during the week. Six bulls and six steers are released from their corrals, and are guided to the Bullfighting ring over a 825 metres long course through the narrow streets, in a mere 3 minutes. Hundreds of people run in front, and along side of the bulls.

 

The event is not without danger:

  • Over the years 15 people have been killed and each year around 200 to 300 are injured.
  • As a visitor it is possible to take part in the running.
  • You need to be on the course at 7.30am, be over 18 years old, and you can’t be under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is also not allowed to run in the wrong direction. Needless to say, taking part is at your own risk.

The Story of Costa del Sol

Bright and early morning as we began our drive through the mountains to the Costa del Sol. The drive through the mountains was a bit scary. Lots of steep cliffs beside the never ending winding roads. Our first stop was Ronda. Ronda has the oldest bullfighting ring in all of Spain called The Real Maesrtanza. It was built around 1785. Some of the most famous matadors in all of Spain fought in this bullring. We did a quick tour of the bullfighting museum.

“I learned that the matadors that wave the capes are not the ones that kill the bull. The main matador is on a horse and uses 4 spears to kill the bull.”

The other matadors waving the capes are used to tire out the bull. Seems a little unfair to the bull to me. There are very strict rules on how the bull is supposed to be killed. The spears must be placed in the spine of the bull. No concern about cruelty to animals here. The killed bull is then sent to the local butcher and the meat is sold to restaurants and the bull heads are stuffed and in all the tapas bars in Spain. At least I think that is the case as I have been seeing bull heads everywhere.

Life on the Road

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“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”