Marcos Gazzana

EFL teacher, podcaster, blog writer, photography lover and Internet enthusiast

Category: Nature

Inca Trail in 1994

Back in 1994, a friend and I went on a trip around South America. In those days we had no Internet to search for information about the places that we were planning to visit, and no hotel reservations whatsoever. We basically gathered some information from a couple of travel magazines and used a map to decide on our itinerary. Then we bought a bus ticket to Campo Grande (MS – Brazil) and set off on our merry way. The trip from my hometown Porto Alegre (RS – Brazil) to Campo Grande took 25 hours, but that was just the beginning.

After 10 days and about 100 hours inside buses and trains, we got to Cuzco (Peru). In Cuzco, we dropped our stuff at the hostel and went off to visit the tourist attractions. We split up and after a couple of hours I went down a street market near the Plaza de Armas. At first the market was quite touristy, but after I went down a few more blocks, it started getting a bit rough. I remember that I started feeling concerned about my camera and wallet. What was a touristic place with natives trying to sell handcrafts and typical Peruvian souvenirs, suddenly became a fruit market, and then it got worse. I remember seeing some unwelcoming looks coming my way. But then I saw this church at the top of a hill, it didn’t seem to be that far, so I thought I would go up to check out the view and then get the hell out of that place, back to the safe more touristy area.

Unfortunately it was too late! While I was walking up the hill I felt I was being followed and when I decided to look back, one of the guys jumped onto my neck and got me in an armlock. I elbowed him to free myself from the armlock and then I noticed there were two guys. They came onto me and we started fighting. In fact I was doing it more by instinct as I am not the kind of guy who would react in a situation like this. If I had had more time to think I would probably have handed my belongings to them and let them walk away. But that wasn’t the case. So after a few exchanges I found myself surrounded by some 7 or 8 guys. Then the next thing I remember is that I got punched in the stomach and fell, semi-awake. An old lady came close to me saying: “there they go, there they go!”, but there was nothing I could do.

After I got mugged in Cuzco, we had no more than USD 100 left, so we decided that a good way to save money while waiting for my new credit card would be to join some guys we had just met and do the Inca Trail with them. Then we rented a tent for less than a dollar a day, bought some food and supplies and left for the famous km 88 where the trail starts. Thankfully, our trail companions had all the necessary gadgets and camping gear.

And this is why I did the Inca Trail. No doubt it was one of the greatest adventures of my late teens. One of those that happens by chance, but that will never be forgotten..

Km 88

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Crossing a wooden bridge near Phuyupatamarca

We met some Peruvian army soldiers on the trail

Phuyupatamarca – mystical moment on the way to Machu Picchu

These pictures are some of my favorite ones from those days..

Machu Picchu

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Conquering Machu Picchu

 

  • If you want you to check out more photos of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, click on the link below.

Landscape photography

 

Sunset in Farol de Santa Marta

Here are some amazing shots I took back in November 2014 in a beach called Farol de Santa Marta. It was pretty much by chance as I was heading back home with some groceries before dinner and I caught this stunning view. Luclily, I had my camera with me so I stopped to enjoy it and take a few shots. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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Sunset in Farol de Santa Marta

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Sunset in Farol de Santa Marta

Downburst in Porto Alegre

On Jan 29th (2016), Friday, Porto Alegre was hit by a devastating rainstorm that knocked down more than 4,000 trees in parks and streets causing damage to hundreds of street lamp posts and several buildings around the city. Around 100 people had minor injuries and looked for emergencies due to debris falling from buildings and small cuts caused by broken glass. Not only the fallen trees and branches, but also hundreds of damaged traffic lights brought chaos to the city’s traffic on the following days. More than 300,000 people had to face long power outages. Telephone and water distribution services were also affected.

Interestingly, no weather forecast service had predicted such powerful storm and three days later we are still wondering what exactly happened. Today (Feb 2nd), I was watching the news and the first technical explanation describing the phenomenon finally came out. It was a downburst. Not knowing anything about this kind of phenomenon, I decided to find a definition to share with you..

Definition from Wikipedia:

“A downburst is created by a column of sinking air that after hitting ground level, spreads out in all directions and is capable of producing damaging straight-line winds of over 240 km/h (150 mph), often producing damage similar to, but distinguishable from, that caused by tornadoes. This is because the physical properties of a downburst are completely different from those of a tornado. Downburst damage will radiate from a central point as the descending column spreads out when having an impact on the surface, whereas tornado damage tends towards convergent damage consistent with rotating winds.”

Last October, we had another heavy rainstorm that flooded some areas in the metropolitan area. I hope this kind of phenomenon does not become a routine here in the south of Brazil. A question remains, how much of this nature’s fury is due to human activity?

Parque Estadual de Vila Velha

An interesting place to visit near Curitiba (about 90 km) is Parque Estadual de Vila Velha. This is a State Park which offers some infrastructure to the visitor. There are two main guided tours in the park. One to see the rock formations and the other to see two caves more than 50 mts deep (called Furnas) and a beautiful lagoon (Lagoa Dourada). If you are in Curitiba, it’s definitely worth a visit!

The Goblet is the most famous rock formation in the park

The Goblet is the most famous rock formation in the park

Furnas formation

Furnas formation – click on image to enlarge!

 

Serra do Rio do Rastro

Certainly one of the most incredible roads I’ve driven on. With remarkable landscapes and deep crags, this mountain range is located in the southeast of Santa Catarina (second southern most state in Brazil) between Lauro Müller and Bom Jardim da Serra. Its highest point is at 1460 meters above sea level.

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On a clear-sky day it is possible to see the Atlantic ocean, which is about 100 kms away. Though, it doesn’t seem to be visible in the picture.

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On our way up to the top!

There are many viewpoints on the way where you can stop to take photos and enjoy the view.

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Road view

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Serra do Rio do Rastro

 

Fortaleza Canyon

Fortaleza Canyon is certainly one of the most stunning landscape views you can find in the south of Brazil. The canyon is located in the Parque Nacional da Serra Geral, 23 km from Cambará do Sul. It stands at 1240 mts above sea level and on a clear sky day, it is possible to see the Atlantic ocean. There are a few trails and viewpoints for the visitors. A must-see for those who love nature!DSCN4731

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