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Author Archive | Gilles Barbier

Sunday Market In Tarabuco

A Photo Essay

Traditional "Indigenous" Sunday Market in Tarabuco, Bolivia, South America

Traditional “Indigenous” Sunday Market

Tarabuco is a village about 65 kilometers from Sucre, known for its highly developed weaving techniques and quality textiles and especially for its very genuine “Indigenous” Sunday market. We decided to book a tour, which actually was only a bus provided to take the “Gringos” the 1.5 hour from Sucre to Tarabuco and back for 25 Bolivianos or 3.2 USD. Continue Reading →

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Biking Down “Death Road”

“La Carratera De La Muerte” – The World Most Dangerous Road

La Carratera de la Muerte or Death Road, going down from 4.650 meter to 1.250 Meter in only 64 Kilometer, between La Paz & Coroico, Bolivia

La Carratera de la Muerte or Death Road, going down from 4.650 meter to 1.250 Meter in only 64 Kilometer, between La Paz & Coroico, Bolivia

Most people may have heard of this road which starts in La Paz descending 3.450 meters down into the Yungas, within only 64km. Only until you see it for yourself, does the name “Death Road” sound extreme. It is an unpaved gravel road that was wedged out of the mountain in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners of war. Continue Reading →

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Colombia – A Selection Of 50 Pictures

 

Again we enjoyed being emerged in complete tranquility and were quite surprised to reach Guane only after a leisurely 2 hour walk. Guane is an extremely quiet hamlet gathered around a plaza dominated by a small church made of the same okra colored blocks of stones like the churches in Barichara

Trekking the “Camino Real” from Barichara to Guane A quiet hamlet gathered around a plaza dominated by a small church

During our Round The World, we traveled to Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile & Uruguay but bypassed Colombia, since we were not sure about safety traveling overland. We deeply regretted it, when we listened to the first enthusiastic reports from travelers arriving from there. So we used the next possible opportunity to make up for that mistake and traveled Colombia intensively for 45 days in July and August 2009. Our main destinations were: Pereira & Salento – Popayan, Tierradentro & San Agustin – Neiva & the Desierto de Tatacoa – Bogota – Villa de Leyva, San Gil, Barichara & Bucaramanga – Medellin – La Guajira – Santa Marta, Taganga & the Parque Nacional Tayrona – Cartagena. Unfortunately we had no time to go to the Pacific Coast and missed out on scuba diving with baby whales. The Amazon we never intended to go to, since we spent quite some time in Bolivia in the Amazon basin. Continue Reading →

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Unexpected Highlight In The Barrio Santo Domingo

A Photo Essay

A group of twelve young dancers of the Academy of Ballet performed a medley of different dances (Salsa, Merengue, Tango, Vallenato, Brazilian Samba and even an Arabic dance), Medellin, Colombia

A group of twelve young dancers of the Academy of Ballet performed a medley of different dances (Salsa, Merengue, Tango, Vallenato, Brazilian Samba and even an Arabic dance), Medellin, Colombia

The event during the Feria de la Flores we liked best back in 2009, we literally stumbled upon! Not really surprising considering the complete lack of information for tourists, foreigners and Colombians alike. Trying to get a last good view of Medellin at sunset, we took the cable car up to Santo Domingo and bumped into a great party in the middle of this poor barrio. Continue Reading →

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Inle Lake – Fishermen In The Mist

A Photo Essay

Fishermen on Inle Lake, Myanmar - Them rowing their boats with one leg contributed to making the lake a legend. This technique allows them to throw / pull their nets with both hands.

Fishermen on Inle Lake, Myanmar – Them rowing their boats with one leg contributed to making the lake a legend. This technique allows them to throw / pull their nets with both hands.

It was brighter than what we had expected, the sun was about to rise, when we boarded the boat at 06:30 am. Despite four layers of clothes and blankets, the clammy air was penetrating our body, when the boat raced through the channels leading towards Inle Lake. Mist was climbing from the water. We could hardly see a thing, hoping the boat driver would…

Continue Reading →

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Vietnam – A Selection Of 42 Pictures

Opera House at Night, Ho Chi Minh City

Opera House at Night, Ho Chi Minh City

We visited Vietnam twice: in 2003, we spent 4 weeks there, discovering the main highlights of a country that was already popular but not overrun: Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, the Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay and last but not least SaPa.

In 2015, Gilles spent 5 weeks there alone, and tried to visit, along with the main “highlights”, some lesser known parts of the country: Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Tam Coc, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Sapa & Bac Ha. Continue Reading →

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Grand Escapades’ Travel Guide To Vietnam

An Amazing Experience… If You Go Off The Beaten Track!

Full Moon Festival, Old Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

Full Moon Festival, Old Town of Hoi An

Itinerary And Time Of The Visit

We visited Vietnam twice: in 2003, we spent 4 weeks there, discovering the main highlights of a country that was already popular but not overrun: Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, the Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay and last but not least SaPa.

In 2015, Gilles spent 5 weeks there alone, and tried to visit, along with the main “highlights”, some lesser known parts of the country: Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Tam Coc, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Sapa & Bac Ha.

Continue Reading →

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Grand Escapades’ Budget Guide To Vietnam

Easy To Travel On A Budget

Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh

Type Of Travel

We are basically Flashpackers and this is how we traveled both times we visited Vietnam, in 2003 & 2015. We prefer to stay in hostels or local guesthouses, but always stay in private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Longer distance we covered by plane, like Ho Chi Minh City to Danang. Good food is important to us, this can be a food stall, small local restaurants and maybe a cocktail sipped on the roof terrace of an international hotel. Continue Reading →

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Jodhpur, The Blue City – Just Get Lost!

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajsthan, India

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajsthan

Do not even try to read a map when strolling the Old City of Jodhpur, simply useless in this maze of narrow streets lined with shops, street vendors and houses that were once blue. Add honking auto-rickshaws, motorbikes, bikes, pedestrians, men pushing heavy carts, cows, dogs and you realize – Jodhpur is a city to stroll aimlessly. Continue Reading →

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9 Hidden Highlights In Yangon

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

Shwedagon Paya, Yangon, Myanmar

As many Asian capital cities, Yangon at first sight is a nondescript, hot & chaotic city, not an inviting place to stay. Distances are significant, motorbikes and tuk tuk are banned, so your only options are walking in the heat or paying for expensive taxi rides.

Nevertheless, Yangon to us seemed a fascinating crossroad between Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. And if you scratch below the surface and take the time to dive into this surprising city, it has a lot to offer. Three days in Yangon are just right, especially since you will want to find some retreat during the hot hours of the day. Continue Reading →

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