A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: VukomanovicIgor

Through the desert video

After some delay, I just uploaded a new video covering the highlights of the trip from Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Los Angeles. A must see for any Blade Runner fan!

Check it out:

https://youtu.be/lralkdFUbbs

Posted by VukomanovicIgor 15:51 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

The Road Trip video

Just uploaded a new video covering the highlights of the trip from Cape Disappointment, through the Redwood forest, all the way to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.

Check it out:

http://youtu.be/T39Gb3FAxfE

Posted by VukomanovicIgor 11:20 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Pinta, Niña, Santa María... into eternity


View West Coast Galore on VukomanovicIgor's travel map.

It's been a while since I got back home. And no matter how hard I tried, every time I sat down wanting to write the closing chapter of the travel blog, I just couldn't find the right inspiration to do it.

But, here are some videos and full-res photos of the first week or so of the journey:

Twin Peaks video and photos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXbKTmyGBmQ
https://www.flickr.com/photos/97295311@N06/sets/72157649518399606/

Seattle video and photos:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7EsvBwgTiWRbG9kMjlEb3VKOTg/view
https://www.flickr.com/photos/97295311@N06/sets/72157649571257631/

Enjoy the ride...

Posted by VukomanovicIgor 14:41 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Mysterious world

semi-overcast 28 °C

I always loved mysteries.

In fact, I can still remember the thrill of reading books on the subject of mysteries when I was a kid, and how they captured my imagination. In one of them, titled "Mysterious world" by Arthur Clarke, there was a chapter about Nazca lines, mysterious drawings made by Nazca indians in the desert in south Peru, sometime between 400-650 AD. Another book I was reading at that time, "Wonders of the world" had a chapter about Macchu Picchu, a mysterious residence of the Incas.
While preparing for this trip back in Zagreb, I tracked down those books, remember them? :)

large_90_14700E87F9C1507A3BDCC1D9FA126151.jpglarge_90_1471D75395431FA60E4C2F3E5347C50C.jpglarge_1472FB759D76728CF446127D2484152C.jpglarge_147486B5CA0BFBB3A508A25FB010C998.jpg

Ever since, I wanted to visit those places. And the wish just came true.

After landing in Lima and spending the night at the airport, I took a taxi to the bus station, which took about 45 minues. One thing I have to say about that experience is that I got sooo many flashbacks from the time I spent in Lahore, Pakistan back in 2007: it was practically the same thing. Oh my...it's hard to describe...the dirt, the chaos, the poverty, the anarchy. And the traffic, the madness of it all...it was all coming back to me, and instead of feeling happy for finally reaching Peru, I was stricken by the sights around me and was borderline depressed.
So I got on the bus to Ica, one of the towns in south Peru from which small airplanes fly over Nazca desert. Actually I stayed in Huacachina, a village built around a desert oasis very close to Ica. Huacachina is a popular tourist destination, well known for its nightlife, sandboarding and riding dune buggys. Full of hostels and backpackers, you cannot but meet people and hear some interesting stories. I joined a group of travelers there having a dinner, and the most memorable person was a girl from Norway whose travels "will take a total of a year and a half, with 6 months still left". Another one from United States was travelling for "only" 6 months in total. And they are all travelling by themselves.
The next morning I got to a small local airport and boarded a Cessna plane for a flyby of the Nazca lines (you cannot really see them from the ground). It felt great for finally making that old wish come true, but overall the flyby was very short (13 drawings in about 10 minutes, and it wasn't a pleasant experience at all, as I got air sick badly - so I'm definitely not boarding a small aircraft again, unless I absolutely have to!

Flying over Nazca

Flying over Nazca

Monkey at Nazca

Monkey at Nazca

Hummingbird at Nazca

Hummingbird at Nazca

In the afternoon I spent some time on the sand dunes, watching people sandboard (they actually use real snowboards for that) and ride dune buggys, again met some people (from England this time) and witnessed an amazing sunset. Very relaxing.

Huacachina oasis

Huacachina oasis

Desert dunes near Huacachina

Desert dunes near Huacachina

Sunset in Huacachina

Sunset in Huacachina

Unlike the next day, which was pretty stressful: I had to get all the way to Aguas Calientes, a small place at the bottom of Macchu Picchu. The idea was to sleep there, get out really early in the morning to catch a bus to Macchu Picchu as early as possible, to be able to get up there at sunrise, before it gets very crowded. But it's not that easy to get to Aguas Calientes from Ica: Peru is a big country and lots of mountains get in the way. I think the bus ride only to Cusco is 18 hours long, which was out of the question. To make the long story short, this was my day:
- taxi to bus station in Ica (6:30 in the morning)
- bus to Lima
- taxi to Lima airport
- fly to Cusco
- taxi to bus station
- bus to Ollantaytambo
- train to Aguas Calientes (arrived in 11 PM).

Pretty crazy day, but one interesting thing happened in Ollantaytambo: while waiting for the train I was looking for a place to get something to eat, when I met someone with the same predicament: Geno, a creative director in a fashion company from Hollywood. We settled for a pizza place nearby, exchanged the stories and overall had a really nice time there. Believe me, for someone with zero proficiency in Spanish, it's always great to meet someone who speaks English in Peru. Geno will travel to Easter Island after Peru, which was also one of my dream destinations (but there was no way to fit it in this trip).

Here's a selfie Geno took there :)

large_193B0CBDA5D6952F0BCF6D5E4BF7C703.jpg

So after a long, long day I crashed for the night in Aguas Calientes, just beneath Macchu Picchu ruins. Better to say half a night, as I got up at 4:30 to get ready for the 5:30 bus. Joined a group of 10 people there for a guided tour, and again, it was a mixture of different interesting people (one guy was from Seattle, one couple from London, a guy from France...).

And thus the day had finally come: a visit to the legendary mountain settlement of the Incas...and a beautiful day it was. And I think I will let pictures speak those thousands of words, as it is becoming quite late here...

Buenas noches!

Sunrise from Macchu Picchu

Sunrise from Macchu Picchu


I think this was the best photo I took

I think this was the best photo I took


Sunrays beaming over the mountains

Sunrays beaming over the mountains

Ice covered peaks in the distance

Ice covered peaks in the distance

Nice view from the window.

Nice view from the window.

Watchman's Hut

Watchman's Hut


A classic shot

A classic shot


large_1548AD1AF313FD8D2DF2B1E99819CF6E.jpglarge_1547290304227536EF8D36749FA2AE35.jpgTemple of three windows

Temple of three windows

Main temple

Main temple

large_154B08F0F0280D547713DED37C93B61C.jpgStones modeled to match the distant mountains

Stones modeled to match the distant mountains

Llamas!

Llamas!

large_15F9569BFDFAA3078B93884974E9454A.jpglarge_15FA9CAAA80143DD165A0C4307393908.jpglarge_15FC2DA5F7FB17C92101721F16041F81.jpglarge_15FDA59DB5F0A08AD85A47E96C83583C.jpgTogether with Urubamba river

Together with Urubamba river

large_1603B58D934D70034F66945E4F883D26.jpglarge_1601D598D4D502AD596C4430E786A23D.jpglarge_160108F6AD193AAF67E954331595D582.jpglarge_15FF1BF7D06CC95B5B2E64344677945E.jpg

Posted by VukomanovicIgor 21:26 Archived in Peru Tagged lima nazca huacachina ollantaytambo ica aguas_calientes macchu_picchu Comments (0)

I guess you're through, huh?

...finished.

sunny 40 °C

Finished, at least with the first part of the journey. I returned the rental car with 16835 miles on the counter, which read 13457 when I picked it up 3 weeks ago in Seattle. That totals to 3378 miles (5437 km) I drove during that period, and I'm pretty sure those guys in the rental company are scratching their heads right now... I just hope they don't put me on the black list, considering the way I abused their 'unlimited miles' clause. Oh well. I already mentioned how exhausting, yet rewarding, the drive has been - but in the end I'm really glad I won't see the driving wheel in front of me, at least not for a while now.
Actually that last ride from Las Vegas to Los Angeles was a very pleasant one, just gliding down the road directly into the sunset:

As the recent events have shifted my schedule, it turned out I have only 3 days left to spend in L.A. instead of the 4 or 5 originally planned. And to make matters even worse, the traffic in L.A. is just what I have been warned of: terrible. Any attempt to go from point A to point B, even when they are just a few miles apart, ends in a traffic jam. Add to that the fact the city was nothing short of a FURNACE the entire time I was there, burning with 35-40 degrees Celsius (and why, oh why, have they rented me a car that is painted BLACK, of all the possible colors?), and you get some real frustration going on all the time.

Friday was OK, I met with my friend Susan who handed me my missing ipad which she had received a few days earlier, gave me a nice short tour of some L.A. Twin Peaks sites (and oh by the way, if you haven't heard yet: Twin Peaks is coming back to TV with new episodes!), and after we parted I drove down to Malibu, also Santa Monica and finally took a nice night ride on Mulholland Drive before getting back to the hotel.

Sunset in Malibu

Sunset in Malibu

Yes. Route 66.

Yes. Route 66.

Santa Monica pier

Santa Monica pier

This.

This.

Overexposed shot of L.A. from Mulholland Dr.

Overexposed shot of L.A. from Mulholland Dr.

...

...

But it was Saturday which was especially frustrating, something you could call a 'major fail'. First I went to Pasadena to see NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), something I've dreamed of visiting ever since I was a kid. Back then I was enamoured by all those photographs of planets, star clusters, nebulaes etc. in encyclopedias, and they all had this small print beneath which read: "Courtesy of JPL". Later I found out what JPL means and now I know they are giving public tours of the site at Pasadena which is, according to google, 40 minutes away from where I was staying in L.A. Of course, 40 minutes estimate had easily doubled considering L.A. traffic, but that wasn't the worst part: it was the fact that JPL site is closed on weekends. Ouch! There it goes again, my lack of preparation causing some great experiences to be missed. But this was just the beginning of a frustration that day. After driving back to L.A. I decided to check out two sites in downtown which were used for filming some prominent scenes in Blade Runner, one of my all time favorite movies. The first one was Union Station, a train station transformed to a huge and peculiar police headquarters for the movie purposes. After spending some more time just trying to find a place to park the car (and finally settling for a paid slot), I got into the Station only to realize the part of it used in the movie was closed off for that day, due to a PRIVATE PARTY. Yes, that's right, somebody had decided to have a private party at a TRAIN STATION, and it just happened to be this train station on this very day I came to check it out (after flying half of the world, driving 5500km to LA and then crawling my way through the crowded downtown).

Where is my Alanis Morissette CD now?

Okay but that still isn't the end of this day! I was now in downtown and not far away from another historical artifact - the Bradbury building.
Now, this building has some interesting history behind it as well (including the funny but well known fact that the architect refused the job at first, but later accepted it after consulting an Ouija board and supposedly received a message from his dead brother urging him to accept this job which will make him famous), but for me the most interesting part was that the design was inspired by a SF book (from 1887, describing the utopian society in the future year of 2000), and that it was used by Ridley Scott so famously and memorably in the Blade Runner. And guess what: when I arrived it simply said "closed after 5 PM". Grrrr...:(
So the day was a disaster at this point, it was already evening, I haven't done anything, and it was due time to meet my friends Susan and David for a dinner. Thankfully, they took me to a really nice place with some great food and a great rural-rustic setting, we had a great time and that saved the day from becoming a complete failure.

Instead of exploring some other things the next day, I returned downtown and managed to get inside the Bradbury building and the Union Station, but I wasn't able to go through the nearby 2nd street tunnel (also a Blade Runner filming site) - they closed it off for some kind of a bicycle run...which kind of continuted my streak of bad luck, but I wasn't frustrated any more: already got used to it. Took a ride through Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills to experience all the glamour concentrated there, and then went on to see the famous Ennis house. Ennis house also has some really interesting history. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a well known architect (who designed more than a thousand structures and was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as "the greatest American architect of all time"). He believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.
This particular building he had designed based on ancient Mayan temples (prominent detail being the relief ornamentation on its textile blocks, inspired by Mayan buildings in Uxmal).
For me though, the most interesting thing about this building was that it was used by both Ridley Scott (in the Blade Runner) AND David Lynch (as a setting of a series within the Twin Peaks series), so it was a must see. Surely enough, other people were already there taking pictures of this strange building, and others were coming as I was leaving.
In the evening I tried my luck again with the 2nd street tunnel (successfully this time) and then hurried to meet Josh Eisenstadt, the man who knows everything David Lynch related, who I have met 10 years ago on the Twin Peaks festival (and witnessed his encyclopedical knowledge firsthand). Josh spent years and years in deep research of Lynch work. Josh is the man who says to David Lynch "you just blew my mind" (after FWWM deleted scenes premiere), and to whom Lynch responds with "coming from you, Josh, that means a lot!". And Josh is the man I spent the last few waking hours in Los Angeles chatting with, thus perfectly closing the Snoqualmie-L.A. circle.

Fairly exhausted but deeply satisfied, I embark on the long trip to Lima, Peru the next morning...

Josh and me

Josh and me

Entrance to Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Entrance to Jet Propulsion Laboratory

JPL

JPL

Bradbury building seen from the east side

Bradbury building seen from the east side

Inside Bradbury building

Inside Bradbury building

...

...

...

...

Union station

Union station

The famous Ennis house

The famous Ennis house

Ennis house entrance

Ennis house entrance

Beverly hills classic

Beverly hills classic

Hollywood hills homes

Hollywood hills homes

...

...


image

image


2nd street tunnel entrance

2nd street tunnel entrance

2nd street tunnel

2nd street tunnel

Posted by VukomanovicIgor 21:18 Archived in USA Tagged los_angeles Comments (0)

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