FFE – Road Tapes vol.2



Portugal – fogo!

An’ I’m back in Portugal. It was not that strange to be back, actually I was expecting that to be a bit more difficult. This because I’m used to listen people all the time complaining how difficult it is to be back to the so called normal life. After all this time on the road, well, It was two years and some months more without coming back, I don’t feel that strange. I got used to travel through different countries and cultures, and being  back home it feels like rediscovering things I got used to know. Well, i guess something changed inside me, for better I hope. But I don’t want to romanticize that too much.

Nevertheless, perhaps I learned to focus on what is really important and let go things that make us suffer or take us nowhere. I dare to say, that now I know better what I want, I know better what is needed in the right moment. So, maybe I really needed this travel all around the world, the contact with people from all those different places and moods in order to understand that we have just one life and we should enjoy it. Focus on what is important!


fire! near Guarda – one of the first things i saw when i arrived to Portugal


Spain – bunkers

One day to rest and visit some places in Barcelona. That was the 5th time I was there and every time I try to visit different spots. Next day I was hitchhiking all the way back to Portugal. In one day I arrive almost to Bilbao, where I slept inside the restaurant of a gasoline station. Next day I was more lucky and I found a truck driver that drove me directly to Portugal.



Colombia – Chimba

The last country I visited in south America, where I decided to put an end to this travel. I entered in Colombia already knowing how dangerous it could be. The first town was Ipiales, and I discovered what was a bocadillo. When I asked for something to eat (a bocadillo or somethin), the woman from the shop pointed to some small stuff, rolled in a banana leaf. For curiosity I bought and I realized that the Spanish bocadillo, a sandwich, is not the Colombian bocadillo, a goyaba sweet. The first city I spent the night was Pasto, a cold place, but beautiful. I went to Cocha lagoon, where I visited a nice town looking like a small Venice. Next day I went to Mocoa, in Putumayo, trough the “trampolin de la muerte” road, basically one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Supposedly this region is controlled by the guerrilla, and I didn’t know that entirely when I was in Villagarzon, during the night, trying to get a ride to Mocoa. Well, I was hitchhiking all the time in Colombia, but I don’t advise people without experience to do it, ’cause it can be very dangerous. Anyway I arrived safe and sound to Mocoa. Next day I entered for free in the waterfall ‘fin del mundo’. After I went to Pitalito and San Agustin in Huila, where I camped in some private property, after asking the owner, just to sleep safe. Next day I visited the pre-colombian statues in San Agustin. Then I hitchhiked to Popayan trough another crazy road, throughout Isno and a really nice mountain. Popayan is a very interesting colonial town, during the Spanish occupation it was the capital of south Colombia. Then I went to Cali to attend the Petronio Alvarez festival, a pacific music festival. In Cali I stayed in this crazy awesome house, full of paintings everywhere and lots of other travelers. But I was a bit sick that days, so I didn’t enjoy that much the festival. Almost one week after I went to Armenia to see some of the famous coffee plantations, and at this point I was addicted to ‘granizado de cafe’, ice coffee. Then I hitchhiked with B. to Salento and then to Bogota.


(El Trampolin de la muerte)

On the way to Bogota, we almost got robbed in Ibague, lets say that we had a crazy adventure, where some rascals followed us with knifes and we had to run away, somehow managing to jump through the window of a truck, that was passing by, and helped us to escape without any wounds or anything stolen. The most funny part of the situation, was when B. saw one of the guys running after us with a knife and started to shout “una cuchara, una cuchara”, that mean, spoon.

We arrived safe in Bogota, very late at night. In this city I spent almost 2 weeks waiting to renew my passport. I met some Portuguese guy that was trying to legalize his daughter and it was good to speak some Portuguese. When the new passport was ready I went to travel again, first to Medellin, where I almost get robbed. Arriving in the city during the night, following my intuition, I managed to escape again. Then I went to the Atlantic coast, first to Apartado, where I decided to finish this travel, due to some serious familiar problems in the other side of the Atlantic. It was the beginning of the end.

I bought the ticket for 2 weeks later, so I had time to explore a bit more. I went to Turbo, Monteria, Sincelejo, Tolu, Coveñas and to Cartagena. I spent some days in Cartagena. I was really lucky to be near the city center, I decided to explore the city at the end of the afternoon, since that days was too hot to go outside. It’s an impressive colonial city, Cartagena. Very touristic place, but still enjoyable.

A quick passage trough Barranquilla and I went from Santa Marta to Taganga. I got into the farm where Simon Bolivar died, sneaking in. I went to some nice beach with some other travelers. After, on my way to Bucaramanga, I camped near a police station. Next day I went to Barichara, the most beautiful town I visited in Colombia and I went back again to Bogotá. Soon I head back to Europe.


(Bogotá, view from calle 26)

Ecuador – inti


The border with Ecuador is a no border. Anyone can cross as many times as they want, nobody will stop you. I entered in Ecuador without even noticed. I needed to take some rides inside Huaquillas, the town in Ecuador, and asked several people to find where to stamp the exit of Peru and the entrance in Ecuador. Well, the border between Bolivia and Peru was something the same, but this one was bigger. You can see some police on the streets, but unlikely they will stop you. Anyway, I had no need to be illegal, so after crossing the bridge I asked around again where to find the custom officers, something like 5 km away from Huaquillas, they said. Two rides after I did it. Then I went to Machala, the bananas city. After 2 days in Machala I went to Cuenca, where I almost got shot just because I wanted to watch the final between Portugal and France.

That’s what I wrote in facebook: “Yesterday I arrived in Cuenca, and I wanted to see Portugal vs France, so I went in a restaurant and asked for a coffee. But instead of coffee they brought me food and things I didn’t ask. So I said them I would pay just for the coffee, because I didn’t ask for other stuff. They insisted, I should eat and pay everything. And I repeated ‘Only the coffee’; ‘And what I do with the food, it’s already cooked’, they said. ‘It’s not my problem’. Angry, the guy turned off the television and I left the place. A shity coffee for 1.5 dollars, what a scandal. The guys started to follow me, continually asking me to pay for the coffee and the food I haven’t eaten. They insisted and insisted, threatening me. At some point one of them started to kick in my backpack, and someone saved my ass when started to film everything. In the meanwhile I entered in another bar, I still wanted to see the fucking game, but they followed me again… with the same sick conversation about pay and pay… I had no choice, I got out of the bar, tried to cross the street quickly, but as you may know, it’s hard to run with a backpack. They started to follow me with a car, still insisting to pay, I entered in another bar, and went out trough another door, and then I did the mistake of going into a street without anybody, so it was a perfect spot for them to catch me. It turned that the owner of the bar pointed me a gun, I put my harms in the air, and slowly started to move to the middle of the street, trying to make me more visible. The guy approach me, and I don’t know what I did, somehow I passed trough him, he tried to trap me hitting me slowly in the leg, but I managed to run inside the same bar I was before, sitting near a family, scared as fuck… In this bar I could see the rest of the game and the goal of Portugal. I think the fuckers got scared that I or someone in the bar would call the cops and they run away. What a beautiful mentality, people that just think about money money money. Where are we going in this world with this money sickness? Anyway, Portugal won the game.”

But I don’t think Cuenca is a dangerous place, I was just bad luck. Actually I enjoyed the city. Next day I went to some hot-springs, to some nice markets, and tried some delicious food. The city center is also very beautiful.

After I went to Loja. I didn’t choose the best road at the beginning, but hitchhiking in Ecuador was amazing and easy. I really loved this part of the country, the sierra, very beautiful landscapes and the weather was just perfect, not cold not hot. Perfect. Some days in this nice town and I went o Guayaquil, the biggest city in Ecuador and a very hot place, very dangerous too, some people said to me. I had a nice time there. I went back to the Sierra, going to Ambato, then to Baños, visited an awesome waterfall, El rincon del Diablo, and went to Amazonian part. First I crossed Puyo, then Tena, and I was invited to some people’s house in Archidona.


(Iguana looking to Simon Bolivar statue in Guayaquil)

Then I went to Quito, where I spent some time. In the between I went to Quilotoa lake, hitchhiking with other 5 people, 6 in total, a new record for me.



After I went to Ibarra, and met such a nice people there that I stayed for some time. I went to some traditional party, inti raymi, that was one of the best moments in this travel… After some days with P. and Taila, the most sweet pit bull terrier I ever saw, eating ice cream and the best arepas in the north hemisphere, I decided it was time to hit Colombia.


Peru – Gringoes


(Lake Titicaca view from Pomata)

I entered in Peru near to lake Titicaca, at Desaguadero. The views over the lake were astonishing all the way to Puno, the biggest city in this region. The differences with Bolivia where not that much in this area. It was a bit more difficult to hitchhike due to a lack of private cars, almost all the vehicles where buses, small buses… So I walked a lot that day and took several small rides until I entered in a car to Puno. It was very cold and my host from couch-surfing canceled at last minute, but he told me he could pay me the night in cheap hostel. I agreed, since he accepted to host me. In the next day I managed to find someone else to host me in their house, through couch-surfing website, again. So I went to visit Sillustani, the amazing pre-Incan tombs.


(me next to a tomb in Sillustani)

It was difficult to hitchhike across Peru, but doable, with a bit of patience. I was a bit sick this days, with a cold and a huge stomach pain. Next day I went to Arequipa. A long day by hitchhiking. Took a ride with a truck almost all the way. We crossed amazing landscapes. All this route from Puno to Arequipa is just awesome. I arrived to Arequipa during the night, and I was staying with J. that was living in Covilhã, a Portuguese midtown, for some time, so she spoke Portuguese. Arequipa is an interesting colonial city, but it was so full of tourists and touristic places that I didn’t enjoy that much.


(Misti mountain, Arequipa)

A two days ride in a truck took me first to some place where I camped next to the road, then to Nazca, where I saw the Nazca lines, well just a bit of it. Then to Ica where I had a bad experience on couchsurfing: let’s just say this guy locked me inside his house: from 5pm to 1am I was not able to leave the house… Next day I headed to Lima, where I spent some days recovering for the lack of sleep. I haven’t much things to say about Lima. A big crowded city. Some days after I went to Barranca, then to Chimbote, where I ate an amazing ceviche, and had one amazing breakfast, drinking some quinoa juice that I will never forget.


(see side view from Chimbote)

Then I went to Trujillo, another interesting colonial town. A bit dangerous apparently. Then I went to Piura, a place where apparently everything grows. And then to Tumbes, crossed Mancora fast, and ate another delicious ceviche on the way. Next day I entered in Ecuador. In general I didn’t like that much Peru, apart from the food and occasionally good people, because almost everybody wanted something from me. Some people even called me gringo. Peru is not easy for a foreigner to integrate. And I somehow understand a bit this attitude because of the amount of tourism in the region, but this is also good for them. Anyway, this was a reason why I haven’t spent that much time in Peru, where there’s thousands of nice places to visit, but, as a traveler, I prefer to be in places where people are not trying to take something from me, where I feel as being part of them, after all we are all people, we are all the same.

Bolivia – Pachamama

I arrive to Pisiga, the town in the border very late at night. In the emigration they stamped one time for 30 days, I asked more, they stamp another 30 days, and I asked more, and they gave me another 30 days, which is the maximum I can take, 90 days. I like to have freedom, after if I want to stay more I don’t need to go trough bureaucracies… So I entered at night in Pisiga. The truck driver who took me to the border advised me to find a place to sleep in some sisters house, that usually helps Colombian immigrants, trying to enter in Chile. I knocked the door and a old sister from Zaragoza allowed me to stay that night. She asked me a lot of stuff about my life and I told her everything. Some Colombians nearby listened everything very carefully, but I didn’t care. Then they offered me something to eat and the Colombians prepared for me a nice coffee. I chat with them for a bit but all their conversations were about money. I got a bit worried, and didn’t trust them completely, so when I went to sleep I slept with all my values around me. In the morning I woke up very early and I left the place without saying goodbye, everybody was sleeping. I went to change some money, and buy something for breakfast in a small improvised market near the road. I started to walk. Not that much cars going anywhere. And my plan was to take some pictures along the way, the sun was good and I had enough coca leafs. I read somewhere that Bolivia was very difficult to hitchhike, and the strategy is just simply keep walking… So after some time this guy stop and took me all the way to Oruro. We stopped in the middle of the way to help some elder couple to fix the battery of their car… I didn’t know, but I was near Tata Sabaya, a place where some people told me there’s still human sacrifices, mostly they sacrifice the first born son to the volcano to ask Pachamama for prosperity. I was not sure about that, then I met a guy who worked there for a while, and a teacher that got in touch with pregnant women, that mysteriously had lost their babies…


(Woman’s protesting in Oruro)

Anyway, I was in Oruro when first I was introduced to the craziness of Bolivia. P. introduced me to this nice movie called ‘Cementerio de Elefantes‘. Basically is an awesome movie where they explore this crazy stuff in Bolivia…



After some days trying to survive to the altitude and the cold I moved towards Potosi and then Sucre. This 2 cities are really impressive places to visit, specially from the top, not only the colonial part of it. This 2 are connected: lets say, they took the silver from Potosi, but it was very cold, and the rich people from Spain built another city nearby in a warmer place, that was Sucre, a city where also Simon Bolivar proclaimed the independence… That’s why technically Sucre is the capital, but everything is in La Paz and the biggest City is Santa Cruz de La Sierra.



After I went to the province of Santa Cruz to Samaipata, to visit el Fuerte, some nice place on the top of the hill that was occupied by the Incas and others before them. On the way to Samaipata I spent two days in a truck trough the most craziest roads, up and down the mountain… Very painful.


(El Fuerte, Samaipata)

Then I went to Cochabamba, with some lucky, after some short rides I got in this nice family car and they took me straight to Cochabamba, where I went to eat some nice food and wait for my couchsurfer, that took me to a nice house. Cochabamba is the city where apparently cocaine is produced. Its a big and foggy city. Long time ago it was the main producer of food to Potosi and Sucre, anyway this is a nice colonial city. I never forget the breakfast I had in the market, some caldo, a soup called zanga, that I ordered without knowing, it was just guts… Next day I met Al, a Bolivian traveler that I met before while traveling in Pakistan and it was awesome to see him again.

Then I went to La Paz, first to El Alto, where I sleep in some small room with more than 15 people. Some drunk Argentinians arrived very late and put their foots next to my face, I told them to open the bathroom door and sleep with their legs inside… After this crazy night I went trough different parts of the city. I met again Al and after some days there I decided to move to Peru. La Paz is an impressive big city, specially beautiful if you see it from the top.


(La Paz, view from El Alto)

Chile – Chuqui


I had the most pleasant time in Chile. I met some good friends in Valparaiso where we spent one week just eating good food, drinking good wine, listening good music and talking. All of this in an awesome place, with a view over the bay of Valparaiso. I couldn’t complain, my friends treated me like a king. So I got to Valparaiso straight by bus from Mendoza. Crossing the Cordillera was an very nice experience, but not that much inside a bus. I promised myself to not take another bus in South America, but to this one I had no option. I can see much more from a truck or from a car or just walking than when I’m going in a bus. I really don’t like buses: everybody is afraid to talk, we can’t see properly the landscape…


(Valparaiso at night)

Anyway, after some recovering time in Valparaiso, P. asked me to help him to make a documentary in the north of Chile, so I had some time to explore some places in between. P. went by airplane and I was hitchhiking, first to Coquimbo, La Serena, then to Antofagasta. On the way to Antofagasta I had a surreal history: I got a really nice ride with this police guy to Antofagasta which was around 1000 km. On the way we saw other hitchhikers, but he just stopped for this 2 guys, a Argentinian and a guy from Venezuela, and we went safe and sound to Antofagasta, where I was photographed for some exhibition about travelers… Next day I was hitchhiking to Calama, at the exit of Antofagasta I got a ride in a small truck and a few km after I found the same two guys from Argentina and Venezuela. I was smoking a joint, passed from the guys with whom I have been riding, and as we pulled over for this 2 guy directly I passed them the joint and a big smiling welcome. Then we got easily another ride. They went almost all the way to the border with Peru and I stayed at the intersection to Calama. There I visited Chuquicamata, “the largest open pit copper mine in the world” (Wikipedia words), and I was really impressed with the size of that destruction…



Then I went o Tocopilla to see the town where Alejandro Jodorowsky was born. I’m not a big fan of his Psycho magic religion, but I’m a huge fan of his movies and comics. Then I was hitchhiking with another 2 Chileans to Iquique. On the way we took a dying dog out of the road. I was thinking about Maat, a dog I had some years ago…


In Iquique I met P. and we went for some Cueca party… Then we went to Pozo Almonte and to Humberstone, where we spent one week to make the doc. We where hitchhiking with the camera to the places, and that was really cool. One day we needed to film some oasis, that was property of the army, on the way to get the authorization we got a ride with a grandson of Pinochet, a army guy. When we arrive to talk with the superiors they lie to us. Bad experience with this dudes… Then we went to Pisagua to visit some people I met in Iquique and it was crazy awesome that day there… We had a crazy adventure in this little paradise near the pacific. A small fishing village where Pinochet sent to kill some communists and anarchists… And P. was researching for his next doc.


(View from the hills near Pisagua)

To leave that place we waited like 3 hours for a car to take us out of there… It was time to say goodbye to P. and to Chile. Then I went even in that day to Bolivia. On the way I stopped in Chusmiza to immerse myself in some hot-springs, that I managed to enter for free, and there I tried to teach some Aymara kids to swim. Then it was time for Bolivia. Once more, I arrived to the border very late at night. It was cold and I didn’t had any place to sleep.