Cycling and walking Latin America
If bicycle touring turns you on, climbing the mountains gets you high or you have the Latin American soul, then this website might be for you. Time permitting I build it of the memories and pictures gathered during several long travels to Latin America and out of pure fascination with this unique continent. Since I always travel by bike or crawl up the mountains with an ice-ax in hand, I can promise you a view from a bit different angle – from the perspective of an unhurried traveler, for whom the road matters more than the destination, to the extent that the voyage itself becomes the destination. Welcome to the world of patiperro!
For a long time I’ve been digging in my photo archive, tracing some old pictures that had been taken in the same spot and time, and partly overlapped. Then, playing with photo-stitching software I’ve tried to blend them into bigger compositions. Now you can check some of the results in a new photo gallery. Only four biggest panoramas displayed there were planned as such while releasing the shutter “in location”. The others are just pure chances, lucky coincidences and quite often lots of painstaking computer work. One third of the photos come from my last travel to Patagonia and Peru. An example underneath – a view upon Patagonian Southern Ice Field from the Marconi Pass - is a merger of three pictures. Click on the image to open a full size panorama.
Panama hats – a beautiful example of extraordinary abilities of human hands, capable of converting “nothing” into “something”, in this case turning ordinary straw into a masterpiece. The famous hats are made in Ecuador. They earned the misnomer due to popularity with 19th-century gold-rush prospectors and emigrants who passed in thousands through Panama and purchased their hats there. There are two main centers of hat production in Ecuador – Cuenca in the Andes and the coastal town of Montecristi. In Cuenca hats are made each day in thousands. In Montecristi, by contrast, there is only a handful of weavers and dealers, but this is where the finest Panama hats come from. Some of them have up to 3000 “weaves” per square inch, feel like linen, weight less than a shadow and cost more than a small car. It’s not only about weaver’s skills. It’s also about preparing and bleaching the straw, then finishing and blocking the hat – it all requires several highly skilled hands, and sometimes over four months of painstaking labor to create a single hat. No wonder that quite a few dealers are tempted to take a short-cut – there are more factory-made Cuenca hats or even Chinese mediocre counterfeits sold every year, falsely labeled “Montecristi superfino” than genuine hats from Montecristi. If you are interested in a history of Panama hats, want to see how the finest hats are made, or you have 25 000 USD to spare and want to buy one, the best place to check is Brent Black fascinating website - an example of profitable business born out of pure passion.
They are a fabulous example of the extreme engineering of nature. From the point of view of evolution, such fragile, energy-squandering creatures shouldn’t exist at all. Hummingbirds had captivated me long before my first travel across the Atlantic and long before I chose biology as a subject of my studies. For ten years I’ve been trying to catch one with my camera, all in vain, and the former fascination gradually turned into some sort of obsession. Hours spent waiting in a heat, stealing through the bushes in a company of swarms of blood-thirsty insects – the field photography in its most masochistic and frustrating breed. Eventually, my stubborn attempts brought the results which - needless to say - I’m very proud of, and which can be seen in this photo gallery.