Mexico mi amor…

It has been over a year since my last blogpost. It’s not that I haven’t travelled in the meantime, but none of my travels came anywhere close to my RTW trip in 2015 and I just couldn’t seem to motivate myself to write. So why now? Because I  came to Mexico City to meet my friend Laura – 17 month after we met for the first time in Chile during our long term travels. To my advantage she’s settled down in Mexico City a year ago and thus I enjoy having a most enthusiastic tourguide.

Mexico City is said to be the most underrated City and indeed it has a lot more to offer than I’d have expected. Although like any other vast City it has a traffic and pollution  (and crime) problem, D.F. (as it is referred to by locals, meaning distrito federal) has its charme. Every neighbourhood has its own vibe, e.g. the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood of Coyoacán,  where the Casa Azul – the Museo Frida Kahlo – is situated  (highly recommend, but book online to skip the line After that check out the Bazar Artesanal at the Jadin Centenario, have coffee and snacks at Alverre Cafe Bistro (corner of Cuahtémoc and Gomez Farias) and a sundowner beer at Mezcalero (Caballocalco btw. Francisco Ortega and Higuera).

While in Mexico City a visit of the ancient Mesoamerican City of Teotihuacan is a must. It is located 40 kilometres northeast of Mexico City, 1h by bus from the Terminal del Norte. The site boasts of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Its vastness and beauty is best captured from the top of the pyramid of the sun.

As Laura and I are both foodies I’ve been lucky enough to eat myself through some local mexican delicacies. While some are not new to me, such as Guacamole (though it tastes a lot better here, especially with a cactus formed taco…)img_20161030_084607, or Empanadas and Tortillas (though a lot more fun with all the different sauces), others were new, fascinating and delicios, such as:

Chilaquiles” for desayuno, a rich dish made from fried and marinated corn tortilla triangles with meat, e.g pulled chicken, and covered with red or green salsa or mole sauce. It is commonly garnished with crema, shredded cheese and raw onion rings. Accompanied by a pot of café de olla – coffee simmered with cinnamon, sugar, and other spice – you’ll be really stuffed but happy…

One of the many street food options is “Elote“, roasted corn on the cob spread with loads of mayonnaise, rolled in grated cheese with a little  (or a lot) of cayenne on top… not a very light option, but very delicious.

As for soup there’s “Pozole“, a traditional soup or made from hominy, with meat and seasoned and garnished with shredded cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa and limes and topped with fried tortilla triangles.

My favourite though was “Chile en Nogada“, a seasonal dish translating to “chilies in walnut sauce”. This dish is traditionally served in the month of September – its red, white and green colors mimic the Mexican flag, these colours being present everywhere during independence month! Itis made of a large green poblada chili (not spicy) filled with picadillo (a mixture of shredded meat, aromatics, fruits and spices) topped with a walnut-based cream sauce and pomegranate seeds… yummy!


P.S. The title of this blogpost is also the title of a hideous song written for the Football World Cup in Mexico in 1986 and sung by the German National Team. It is still quite known in Germany. Hilarious.

Mancora, 5 May 2015: Indulging into Local Food


El Chalten, 11 March 2015: Mt. Fitzroy


Ushuaia, 9 March 2015: Sweet Pingüinos at El Almacen Ramos Generales


Nelson, 24 January 2015: Delicious Macarons, “Sweet As” Café


Coroico – relaxing in the Yungas

A surprisingly comfortable night bus brought us to La Paz and we escaped the city straight away by taking a Minibus down to Coroico. Within 1.5 hours you drop 3500m down (Coroico is on  1700m), and from temperatures close to zero (on the pass) to more pleasant 28° C. Can you imagine the dramatic change of scenery from snowcapped mountains to jungle green!?!20150416_09383120150416_09562520150416_102257 I’m glad I did not take a bycicle down the famous death road,  though. It was scary enough to watch the cyclists from the car. But local transport isn’t necessarily a safer option. On our way back up, three days later, we saw a Minibus that went over the edge. Luckily it got stuck in some bushes on the steep slope. The locals in our car said it happens frequently because the drivers fall asleep…

We came to the so called Yungas with the intention to digest the overflow of impressions gathered on the past the days on our tour to Uyuni, but where overwhelmed with yet more impressions. Hotel Esmeralda was just the right spot for that task: a room with a view,  a pool and sunshine.20150415_09161120150416_07124020150415_10004820150415_095955




On day two, though, we got restless and went for a ride with a local collectivo to a beautiful waterfall from where we walked back to town.


Backpacker-schlepp… 20150416_074158deserved streetfood for breakfast: mini Empanadas20150416_08183320150416_08182320150416_081847

Chilean Food and Drinks

I really enjoyed travelling through Chile – also because of the Chilean food and drinks.

Here are some of my favourite dishes:

1) Ceviche (raw fish, occasianally mixed with other seafood): definitely one of my favourites, although some people (including Chileans) say that Peruvian Ceviche is better – I have yet to try and compare that.20150303_192655


2) Ice Cream: it really surprised me to find such amazing ice cream in Chile. My favourite stores are Mikafé in Hanga Roa, Easter Island, and Emporio la Rosa in Santiago. Favourite flavours: chocolate with toffee, dulce de leche, frambuesa menta, lúcuma and mango.20150228_16561820150331_192314 Oh and not to forget that fantastic avocado (yes, avocado) ice cream at Vinilo in Valparaiso.20150402_212954




3) Empanadas: particularly those filled with fresh tuna and seafood (Easter Island).

4) Lomo a lo pobre: loin cut of beef on a mountain of french fries and fried onions topped with a fried egg.20150331_145542


5) Alfajores: two round cookies with a sweet filling, usually dulce de leche, covered in glaced sugar, chocolate or coco.DSC_1781DSC_1837



6) Completo Italiano: a hot dog with tomatoes, mashed avocado and  mayonnaise.20150408_114033


7) Lomito Completo: Sandwich/ Burger with sliced cooked sirloin steak, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, tomato and loads of sauerkraut. Try this at Fuente Alemana in Santiago! 20150401_14392120150401_143752

8) Machas con Parmesano: DSC_167120150401_200821

Favourite Drinks:

1)  Jugos Naturales: freshly made fruit juices, e.g. pineapple!

2) Beer and Wine (try the Carmenere as you will hardly find it anywhere else in the world)!

3) Pisco Sour: Pisco is a clear brandy that is destilled from white muscat grapes. A Pisco Sour is a Cocktail with Pisco, sugar, lime, one eggwhite and crushed ice.  20150401_195845



4) Terremoto (earthquake): young white wine, Pisco, sugar, pineapple ice cream…

Kuchen and other signs of German Immigrants in (southern) Chile

The lake region in southern Chile is full of signs of German immigrants, which can be a bit scary (at least for a german), as it seems out of place. It just seems weird that there are such strong influences that are still visible. Unlike in Namibia, I rarely heard anyone speak german, though, which came as a relief (that would have been even more awkward). However, a surprising number of Chileans speak quite a bit of german – even if their ancestors were not german speaking – and there seems to be a positive attitude towards germany and the germans in general (something you wouldn’t necessarily encounter in many countries in the world, be it for historical or cultural reasons).

There is one german word that even made it into chilean spanish: “Kuchen” (cake). Chileans LOVE Kuchen and they eat it at any time of the day, even for breakfast (something I have only experienced in parts of southern germany – it is definitely not that common in my home country).20150325_123324

However, if you ask german travellers what they miss most while travelling you will never get Kuchen as an answer. It is always, yes, always, BREAD! Unfortunately the early immigrants either didn’t know how to bake good bread (unlikely, as they knew how to make good Kuchen) or no-one wanted to eat it and it vanished eventually (unthinkable!) or the bread that we are used to nowadays was only introduced in Germany after the emigration wave. If anyone knows, your input is much appreciated! (I only found one bakery, in Pucon, that had amazing german bread and I bought a loaf and inhaled it’s wonderful smell before indulging in the taste – the bakery is called “Rostock”, most certainly after the german city with that same name, and it’s on O’Higgins). 20150326_114723

Here is something esle that I much appreciated: beer brewed after the german Reinheitsgebot, meaning it only contains hops, malt, yeast and water. One brewery even uses a german subslogan: “Das gute Bier” (the good beer). 20150325_232608

In the region around Puerto Varas and especially in the german colonial town Frutillar all Klischees were confirmed: houses, names, Kuchen, sausage dogs – and fjnally I even found some “Gartenzwerge” (garden gnomes)!

Purto Varas with view of Osorno Volcano and Llanquihue Lake
Purto Varas with view of Osorno Volcano and Llanquihue Lake
Church in Frutillar
Church in Frutillar


Easter Island – continued

Hanga Roa, the only village of the island, is a small village with one and two storey houses (building higher than that is not allowed anyway) with beautiful gardens rich of 20150228_10363420150227_19180820150227_191819fruit trees and flowers. 20150227_191325At first sight it 20150228_104415reminded me of eastern africa for its red earth and that earthy smell.20150228_103816 Hanga Roa has basically one main street lined with cafés, restaurants and a handful of supermarkets. Not one of them belonging to a chain, the supermarkets tiny and cramped and mostly not showing to the prices for any of the goods. For a foreigner it’s thus impossible to say what things actually cost and  if he’s getting the same price as the locals or if something is being added… Many of the restaurants,  however have biligual menus and a great variety, especially when it comes to seafood. The other day I saw how a huge swordfish was cleaned at the small pier. 20150303_12063920150303_121914A couple of minutes later a guy in a very old car, probably the owner of one of the restaurants, came to a halt with squealing tyres, got out a scale from the trunk, weighed the three huge pieces of fish and stored them in the trunk of his car right next to the spare tyre. 20150303_122959By this time I wondered if it had been a good idea to eat ceviche…

On the streets you always have to watch out for the chicken (that start being noisy around five and don’t stop until late), the dogs (that like to follow people all around town and to howl at the moon at night) and the horses (that are branded, but run around freely on the island. The other day one of them caused a traffic jam on the main street as it was proudly walking down on the middle of the street, making it impossible for the cars to overtake.

On my last morning I went to see a spectacular sunrise at the other end of the island (thanks to the fact that three awesome people came in and we shared a car): 20150304_080214I was sad to be leaving, even though leaving from Rapa Nui international (!) airport is an experience in itself as you practically walk through “security” and wait outside with a view of the airfield before you cross it to get onto the plane.20150304_125937

Now I’ll only have to visit Hawaii to complete the polynesian triangle (the triangle is formed by New Zealand, Easter Island and Hawaii with the other polynesian islands, e.g. French Polynesia, in the middle between these three)!

“Mana” and the wonders of Easter Island

You can feel the “MANA” just about everywhere on this beautiful island, situated in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean (it is in fact the worlds most remote inhabited island). Mana is what they call the spirits that can evolve from anything, a person, object or nature. The Island’s nature is, despite its small size of only 163 square km, very diverse. The breathtaking view from the edges of  the extinct volcanoes onto the freshwater crater lakes certainly makes you feel the mana of those places!

Rano Raraki
Rano Raraki
Orongo crater lake

And then there is the “Moai”, massive statues carved at the Rana Raraku Volcano, which were then schlepped and put up in various places on the island. Many of them still lay face down, but a lot have been reerected in the past 60 years and they, too, exude a lot of mana, which is why you’re not allowed to come close to them. 20150225_152745

Now, I can alraedy hear some of you, screaming “now she’s trying to lecture and bore us with Rapa Nui culture and history”! You might just want to stop reading here. I’m far from lecturing anyone with the little I learned, but it’s just too impressive to not mention it.

In short: Some 100 Polynesians arrived with their canoes ages ago and the 12 or so sons of the arriving polynesian chief formed different clans that all lived happily for some hundreds of years in which they created a strong culture based on polynesian beliefs. What is special, though, is that they carved and put up hundreds of Moais, most of them looking inland towards their villages to protect them with mana. These Moais represent respected elders and were created to resemble them. As time went by the Moais created appeared less human and more god-like and they got bigger and bigger. Somewhere along that line the birdman competition evolved, meaning that every chief sent off one warrior to a motu (small island 1km from the western cliffs) in order to bring back the first sooty tern egg laid by the migrating birds. The winner’s chief was declared Birdman (thus having loadsof mana) and his clan took command of the whole island for one year. This cult was probably a result of the failing ecosystem, as the growing population outpaced natures capacity to renew itself.  This also resulted in fights among the tribes, who toppled many of the almost 300 Moai statues. All other statues fell as a result of tsunamis and other natural disasters. The missionaries ended the Birdman cult in the 1860s. Slavery, diseases and other catastrophes led to a decimation of the population to only around 100. Although Easter Island officially belongs to Chile, the Rapa Nui culture is still strongly influenced by its polynesian ancestors, especially the language, music and dances.

I had plenty of time to explore the island’s volcanoes, quarries, Moais, caves, beaches and the (only) village by foot, bike (really needed to be active again after that lazy week in French Polynesia and luckily the climate is much more pleasant with a high of only 27°C) and with a small group tour (photos to follow). It is amazingly “empty” and you can walk for at least two hours without meeting anyone! They only have 90.000 visitors a year, but tourism is increasing, so you’d better visit this amazing island sooner than later…


When it comes to food, there is a great Chilean influence: tasty tuna empanadas, Ceviche (raw fish)20150303_192655,  all kinds of seafood, most definitely accompanied by Pisco Sour – love it! 20150227_195054 What’s best though, and this came as a surprise, is Mikafe’s ice cream parlour at the small pier! The ice cream is by far the creamiest and tastiest I have had in ages 20150228_165618 and they have a great variety, e.g. “Piña” made from the small and sweet local pineapple. To die for!

We’re gonna indulge in seafood and icecream again tonight before we’ll watch the sunset!