Flat Stanley has travelled with me in South America for eight months now…..
We said goodbye to Miss Jane, Mrs M and Miss Place at the end of year 2, last July, spent our summer hopping around in Brazil , journeyed the length of the Amazon to Columbia, Peru and the Napo River to Ecuador!
We took a bus way up into the Andes Mountains to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where we learned Spanish and then flew out to the Galápagos Islands.
After that we flew back to Peru and to Lima, the capital and back up into the Andes to Cusco the capital of the ancient Inca Empire and we visited Machu Picchu. Flat Stanley had a brilliant time exploring Machu Picchu. My Dad got a guide who told us all about all the buildings and temples that are there but Flat Stanley and I had the most fun afterwards just exploring on our own!
We visited a lot of other amazing Inca sites and then came back to Cusco….
When we finally left Cusco we travelled to Lake Titicaca where we went to different islands – first we stayed on an island called Amantani with a family – then we went to the Uros islands which float and are made of reeds – the islands, the houses, even their boats!
Lake Titicaca is on the border with Bolivia so then we crossed into Bolivia and were in a town called Copacabana! My brother and I went on the lake in giant inflatable hamster wheels but Flat Stanley didn’t think he would like it so stayed on dry land!
After that we went to La Paz. It’s the capital of Bolivia (although we found out that Bolivia has two capitals – the other one is Sucre! ) La Paz is the highest capital in the world. It was amazing – it is built in the high plains called the Altiplano on top of the Andes and is at 4000m above sea level. That’s more than three times as high as Ben Nevis which is the highest point in the UK.
We met another travelling family from England there and they had read about Flat Stanley too and were really pleased to meet him! We explored La Paz with our friends, we met hundreds of hugging zebras who told us it was free hug day! And we even went to a witches market where they sold weird stuff like condor claws and dead baby alpacas!
After we left La Paz we got a bus and then a train to the south of Bolivia, travelling through amazing scenery. We saw mountains and lakes full of flamingoes and arrived in a town called Uyuni near to the biggest Salt flats in the world! Uyuni is a small dusty town in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by salt flats, desert and more snow capped mountains. We met up with our friends again and we went to a train cemetery where you could just climb around on these old trains abandoned in the middle of the desert! Our friend Max fell through a hole in a train and scraped his chest and split his knee. And afterwards he couldn’t walk that well but he could hobble. There was just time for Flat Stanley and me to have a quick swing and then we had to leave.
We stayed in a salt hotel – the whole hotel was made of salt! and then we visited the salt flats with our friends again. Because it’s the rainy season, there is water on top of the Salt that makes amazing reflections and you feel like you are in the sky!
We made crazy pictures with our friends the Bremners (you have to look at the videos Andrea made of us coming out of a Pringles tin and hiding under a hat!!) and we made Flat Stanley grow even bigger than me (but he was still Flat!) – he said he felt like he fitted right in being flat on the Flats:)
It’s so high in the Andes mountains, which carry on all the way down the left side of South America. The mountain peaks are covered with snow and some are over 6000m! Mount Everest in the Himalayas is meant to be the highest mountain in the world, but the highest mountains in the Andes are further from the centre of the earth because there is a bulge around the equator! My Grandma found it really hard to be up so high and she got altitude sickness so she didn’t go to the south of Bolivia with us, she got a bus to Arica on the coast in northern Chile. I didn’t feel too good sometimes but Flat Stanley was perfectly fine!
Finally we took a bus across the Andes again and arrived in a town called Calama in Chile and then on to a town called San Pedro which is in the middle of the Atacama desert and where we met my Grandma again. It’s still higher up than anywhere in the UK but at 2400m above sea level – it’s much easier to breathe. We had a whole new adventure in San Pedro in the desert but that’s another story, coming soon! The Andes stretch right down the left side of South America between Chile and Argentina so we still have more exploring to do.
There are lots more stories to tell from the last month or so but right now, we’re getting excited about visiting the Falkland islands in a couple of weeks. The Falkland islands are part of Britain so we are looking forward to spending a week eating Marmite, spending pounds, driving on the left hand side and guess what? The capital town where we will be staying is called Stanley, so you can guess who is excited about that?!