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On 26 March 2020 from | comments closed

Lonely Planet Collection Update

On 6 December 2015 from Reuver, Netherlands | comments closed

After 6 years, it is time to update my Lonely Planet Collection. I am only listing the physical books below, as I also started to get a little collection of Lonely Planet e-books in PDF format. Especially for last-minute trips (when there is not enough time to order the physical book), trips to only a small part of a country (where a chapter in PDF format is much more cost effective than ordering the whole book) or minimum luggage trips (e.g. hiking in Nepal where the book adds weight and I can read the e-book on mobile/tablet/e-reader anyways). In case you need to borrow one, you know where to find me.

Guide Year Edition
Austria 2008 5
Croatia 2007 4
Cyprus 2015 6
Czech & Slovak Republics 2007 5
Germany 2004 4
Greece 2002 5
Hungary 2009 6
Iceland 2010 7
Ireland 2012 10
Italy 2004 6
Netherlands 2004 2
Norway 1999 1
Paris 2001 3
Poland 2005 5
Portugal 2005 5
Russia, Ukraine & Belarus 2000 2
Southeastern Europe 2013 1
Spain 2007 6
Sweden 2015 6
Switzerland 2009 6
Turkey 2001 7
Ukraine 2005 1
Middle East
Israel & the Palestinian Territories 2007 5
Jordan 2009 7
Botswana & Namibia 2010 2
Egypt 2006 8
Across ASIA on the cheap 1973 1
Hong Kong & Macau 2004 11
India 2013 15
Japan 2013 13
Nepal 2003 6
Philippines 2012 11
South-East Asia on a Shoestring 2008 14
Sri Lanka 2012 12
Thailand 2003 10
Pacific & Australia
Australia 2002 11
New Zealand 2002 11
North America
Canada 1999 7
New York City 2008 6
Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah) 2002 3
South America
Bolivia 2010 7
Brazil 2010 8
Peru 2010 7
South America on a Shoestring 2007 10
Antarctica 2005 3
Signspotting 2005
Travel Photography 2000 1
The Travel Book 2004

Guides in italics are not actually owned by me, just collected 😉

Manu: into the Jungle

On 18 November 2010 from Lima, Peru | comments closed

There are many places from where to explore the jungle in South America, but most require an expensive flight to get there and away. Manu National Park is one of the exceptions, as it can be reached by car from Cusco. I booked a 5-day/4-night trip with Atalaya Peru, leaving Friday 12 November. Until Paucartambo it was normal sealed road, but quickly thereafter it turned into a one-lane gravel road that was winding its way through the mountains. We made stops along the way to see waterfalls, cock-of-the-rock birds and monkeys. Arriving at the Atalaya Lodge I noticed the lodge was on the other side of the river, and no bridge was present. A simple zip-line trolley was used to get people and cargo to the lodge, where resident red howler monkeys and macaws were awaiting. In the evening the guide Alici took us on a nocturnal tour of the rainforest.

Saturday started with a bath underneath a small waterfall, followed by a visit to a small farm with Scarlet and Bolivian Macaws. In the afternoon we took a longboat to the Amaru Mayu Lodge, located on a cliff next to the Upper Mother of God river. From there we made a jungle walk, spotting dusky titi monkeys and eating pineapple fresh from the tree.

On Sunday we got up early to spot parrot claylicks from a longboat. During the following jungle tour we saw heliconia, cotton trees, the tree of life, cecropia tree, walking palm tree, ceiba pentandra and erotic palm tree. I also got the chance to play Tarzan swinging through the jungle on strangler fig vines. On the fauna side there were army ants, centipedes, hoatzins, blue-grey tanager, social flycatcher, horned screamers, black-capped donacobius, capybaras and red-capped cardinal.

On Monday we made a visit to the village of Pilcopata, before returning back to the Atalaya Lodge with its resident red howler monkeys. In the afternoon Maria, Alici and I went for a jungle walk to the big waterfall, and in the evening we spotted a large toad nearby the lodge. Tuesday was already time for the long drive back to Cusco.

I Survived the Inca Trail

On 11 November 2010 from Cusco, Peru | comments closed

That is what the t-shirt and 2 certificates say, so it must be true. Not that there was any doubt about this, although I have to admit that the days when I was the first one to reach the top of the pass are over.

The Inca Trail is the one activity in Peru that needs to be pre-booked well in advance, as the government (rightly so) only allows 500 people a day. I booked my trek with Peru Treks for their excellent price/quality ratio. They are able to offer good rates because the group size is relatively large with 16 people in a group. For me that was not an issue, and it actually made it more social, especially during dinner where everyone was sitting together in a large tent. It was all very well organised. I was woken up with tea/coffee/hot chocolate at my tent in the morning, there were 3-course lunch and dinners, a large cake at the last dinner, and the tent was already built up when we arrived at the campsite. My sort of camping. I also had a private tent, since there were only 2 people in each tent for 4 people, but there were 3 Swedish guys that wanted to stay together. Aside from the Swedish and 2 Irish guys, the rest were all couples though.

Although it is not the toughest trek in the area, the Inca Trail is not a walk in the park. The second day has a 1100m increase in altitude to 4200m, called Dead Woman’s Pass. On the last steep uphill bits I had to stop every 50m or so to have my heart beat normally again. I really noticed that I got 5 years older since my last real high-altitude hiking trip to Nepal in 2005. Need to do more exercise when back in Europe. I do feel it is getting better though, but I guess that I am also getting used to the altitude. The one thing that makes the Inca Trail stand out from the other treks in the area are the remains of the Inca Empire, like the Llactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna Ruins.

The last day of the Inca Trail starts early in the morning, with all the groups leaving at the same time to Intipunku, the Sun Gate. Unfortunately, when we arrived to Intipunku all there was to see were white clouds, no view at all of Machu Picchu. So we continued down to Machu Picchu for our guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before the tour started, I was able to get a space to climb Huayna Picchu (spaces to climb sell out quickly in the morning), making it possible to see everything in one (long) day. During the morning tour we learned a lot about the site and its amazing stonework. By 11:00 the clouds had dissipated, so there was a clear view of the site when I climbed Huayna Picchu. After 4 days of trekking and the additional climb I was quite exhausted, so the hot springs in Aguas Calientes were very welcome at the end of the day. The next morning I took the train back to Cusco.