There are lots of beautiful things to see and visit while in Copenhagen, but if you have merely a day there are a few things I personally think you should not miss.
In chronological order I suggest that you start at The City Hall Square, in front of Palace Hotel.
If you have a lot of time you could pass by Rosenborg Castle, where the Crown Jewels are protected by the Royal Guard. Otherwise just walk down through the main street (strøget) until you get to Kongens Nytorv. Here you will see the beautiful Royal Theater, world famous for its Royal Ballet.
Go to Nyhavn which is the colourful canal district right by Kongens Nytorv. Here I suggest you take a boat tour. If you go to the boats on the right side of the canal a boat tour only cost you 30 kr (5 $) for one hour. It is really worth your while.
Afterwards take a stroll along the waterfront to Amalienborg Palace – winter residence of the Royal Family. Here we have the opportunity of seeing the changing of the Danish Royal Guard. This should be followed by a visit to the Gefion Fountain and The Little Mermaid, inspired by H. C. Andersen’s fairytale. At the moment she is, however, on vacation and not there.
Go back along the water front and head over to Christiansborg Palace, home to the Danish Parliament and the Old Stock Exchange. After that I suggest that you go to Christiania – the freetown. It’s a lovely artist village established in the 1970s where you will be able to see an alternative way of living and eat some lovely (vegetarian) food.
Tivoli Gardens is a lovely place to end the day and spend the evening.
Uyuni is a freezing cold desert city. The city, which has an altitude of 3675m, is described the following way by the Lonely Planet: “This climatically challenged otherworldly and isolated community today seems to exist only for the tourist hoards who venture out to the extraordinary salares.”
Most tourist come here to book a tour to the Salar de Uyuni and are usually “forced” to spend the night before heading off. It is also the cheapest place to book a tour due to the fierce competition.
I arrived with a big group of people on the bus and we were able to book a Salar de Uyuni trip (3 days, 2 nights) for 550 Bolivians per person.
We all stayed at Hostal Tati- Laura. The rooms were okay, but freezing cold. And the female owner promised us that we would have 24 hours hot water when in fact she locked the shower cabin at all hours except 7-9 in the morning. This meant that when we returned VERY dirty from our Salar de Uyuni trip (not having washed for 3 days) we had to argue with her to get access to a shower.
The days in Uyuni were so cold that the water in the yard of the guest house (used for washing yourself and your dirty clothes) froze completely.
However, if you do stay in Uyuni, go to the local market on Thursday and Sunday. It is a really great place to stock up with wool socks, hats, legwarmers, and gloves before setting out on the Salar de Uyuni trip. And try the potato balls food they sell in the street…very delicious.
Our first glimpses of the Gran Sabana in Venezuela were through the night bus window, shortly after a dawn army checkpoint woke us near Santa Elena de Uairén on the Brazilian border – the only town in the Gran Sabana. We woke up and gazed in awe at the rolling countryside, topped with the famous & striking ‘Tepuis’ (table mountains).
Some of you may have heard of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, The Lost World (also made into a film) which described an expedition to a mysterious table top mountain in South America where dinosaurs & ape men still roamed. It is thought that The Lost World was based on the most famous of all Tepuis, Roraima – pictured above towards the right of the photo at the back.
As the tops of the Tepuis are more than two billion years old, and have been isolated from the surrounding savannah for much of this time, various flora and fauna have evolved independently upon their summits. There are more than 2000 plant species and various animals & insects unique to these specific mountains.
It is possible to organise a fairly strenuous 5-6 day trek to the top of Roraima, which is best arranged in Santa Elena de Uairén, although we have heard varying reports as to how worthwhile these are. It is not unheard of to climb the mountain, get rained on, and not see very much at all (thanks to the near permanent cloud cover). It’s also fairly common to get savaged by aggressive but almost invisible Puri Puri flies. You pay about $450 for this experience.
Suffice it to say that we decided to cruise around the Gran Sabana on a one day tour only. We went with a very knowledgeable and friendly local guide called Santiago, whom we organised through Roberto’s Mystic Tours (Roberto also specializes in local UFO sightings). We’d highly recommend Santiago, but the tour is in Spanish only. Oh, and we also go savaged by aggressive but almost invisible Puri Puri flies despite using ridiculous quantities of repellent.
Los Llanos in Venezuela is an immense plain savanna of 300,000 sq km south of the Venezuelan Andes. It’s one of the most ecologically diverse regions on earth and a popular area to go on wildlife safaris. You can listen to our podcast from Los Llanos by clicking on the play button at the top of this post.
Los Llanos, a region famous for its abundant Anacondas – one of the reasons for its many appearances on the Discovery Channel & other nature documentaries – is one of the best areas in the world to get up close to Cayman, Anacondas, Capybara, Pink River Dolphins , Piranha fish & many hundreds of species of birds.
We picked a 3 night, 4 day tour from Merida (details below), and had an amazing time. The first day of the tour was spent driving through the Venezuelan Andes with several stop offs in small mountain towns, hot springs & national parks. With heights of up to 5000 metres, the Venezuelan Andes are proper mountains, and we experienced some truly breathtaking views of the mountains and glaciers.
The first night was spent scoffing our faces in Arassari Trek’s purpose-built camp, from where we did the tubing the next morning. It was all very tranquil and relaxing until I came close to knocking myself out playing ‘silly buggers’ whilst going down a set of rapids head first.
On the second day we made our way to San Vicente, a small riverside town in Los Llanos. We packed up the boat, and headed up river and into the Los Llanos waterways. The second night was spent in hammocks at a camp beside the river, and it was from here that we headed out by night and found Cayman and Anacondas. We were also lucky enough to have several carnivorous Piranhas jumping into the boat with us, which in the dark was somewhat disconcerting.
On the third day, the morning was spent cruising the Los Llanos waterways, spotting pink river dolphin and more Anacondas, and in the afternoon we went on a ‘safari’ through the partially flooded fields, spotting the vast array of birdlife, and Cayman (small alligators).
On the fourth and last day we got up ridiculously early in an attempt to spot giant ant-eaters. Although we unfortunately didn’t manage to find any, we did spot some Capybara, which resemble giant Guinea Pigs. We rounded off our time in Los Llanos with a spot of Piranha fishing, before the tour began the long trip back to Merida at lunch time, and I jumped off in the middle of nowhere (Mantecal) to head further into the middle of nowhere (San Fernando de Apure – Puerto Ayacucho).
We picked the highly recommended Arassari Trek for our tour. Arassari Trek has camps in areas away from the majority of other tour companies in Merida. Our English-speaking tour guide was Alan Highton, a vastly experienced wildlife guide and photographer, and one of the pioneers of wildlife tours of Los Llanos. We would recommend him unreservedly for his knowledge and passion on the area, plus his fearless handling of Piranha, Cayman and Anacondas!
Our 3 night, 4 day tour cost $160 – which included all meals, accommodation, and transport for the duration of the tour.