How you can make a lasting impact to children in Peru

I want to share a project with you which is very close to my heart. Join me to make a lasting impact to children of poor families in the Peruvian Andes.

While travelling through Peru I realised how wealthy and privileged we are even if we think we are not. Most of the families and kids I have seen live in very simple conditions. Kids are helping their parents to earn a small amount of money to contribute to feed their family. Besides working, kids also have to go to school if the parents can afford it. This is, unfortunately, a normal life for the children in the small villages in Peru. Travelling made me realise that I want to make a lasting impact and support the children in Peru. I just had no idea how.

simple life
The simple life of Peruvian children in the Andes.

When I was taking photos in Lima, I met Javier Gamboa. He is an amazing photographer and we are in contact since. I always believe you meet people in your life for a reason.

A while ago I noticed a post from him on facebook about his project to support children of poor families in the Peruvian Andes. At this moment I knew I want to be part of his project and fulfil my mission close to my heart.

Javier’s project to support children of poor families in Peru

Javier’s project started 3 years ago when he realised that lots of the indigenous population lack school equipment, such as pens, pencil, notepads, books, you name it. Many children have nothing to write on; some siblings have to share one notepad between each other. In case the parents cannot afford to buy a sketchbook, they cannot send the children to school, especially if it is a girl. These are unfortunately normal circumstances in the smaller villages in Peru and hard to imagine for us.

This gave Javier the urge to help and his project was born. Javier started to collect books and school supplies from people he knew and was able to bring more than 50,000 books and school material to the people in the small villages of the Andes Mountains in Peru. The smile he brought to children’s eyes was an incredible rewarding gift.

The school year in Peru starts in March and the children need our help. Javier is going back to the small villages on the 25 March to bring more books and school supplies. Each child needs approximately 10 notepads, pencils, erasers, pens, sketchbooks, colour pencils, rulers, etc.  All the children of Ccolccabamba, a small town in the Andes, will need their school equipment and books. However, there are so many more children in nine other communities over 4,000 m high in the mountains who need our help. There are roughly 500 children affected. Watch more here. Check out Javier’s post and photos of the children here.

How can you make a lasting impact to children in Peru?

Are you like me who loves to make an impact and bring a big smile into children’s eyes? If you answered this question with yes, I ask you to help Javier and me to be able to complete the project to bring school supplies and books to the poor children in the Andes mountains.

A donation will be much appreciated. If you want to make an impact, please donate using the Paypal button below. Even a small $5 amount will make a huge difference for the kids.

When you transfer money to my PayPal account, don’t forget to email me your email address or home address. You will receive a handwritten personal letter from the child you have supported.

I guarantee you from the bottom of my heart that each cent you send to my PhotographybyalexK – PayPal account will be transferred to Javier’s project account and only used for the school supply, books and to cover the costs of transport. Thank you so much for your help. Watch another video here.


Javier’s background story and why he became involved in helping kids in Peru

Continue reading “How you can make a lasting impact to children in Peru”

Photos that make you want to visit Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica

If you appreciate pure nature, are interested in observing wildlife and love relaxing on beautiful beaches watching an incredible sunset, then Costa Rica should be on your travel bucket list.

Manuel Antonio National Park faces the Pacific Ocean in central Costa Rica. This part of Costa Rica encompasses rugged rainforests, white sandy beaches and coral reefs. Costa Rica is known for its vast diversity of tropical flowers and animals. The National Park is roughly 680 hectares huge and has a variety of different hiking trails, which lead you from the coast up into the mountains.

If you are keen on hiking through the rain forest, you want to make sure you can see all the wildlife and not missing out on anything. I, therefore, recommend booking a guided tour through the rain forest. The guides use a large telescope and know the forest and their inhabitants inside out. They spot tiny little animals you would have never guessed finding on your own.

Enjoy the journey through the rainforest in Manuel Antonio National Park:

You have the beach for yourself midin the National park of Manual Antonio. On the way to the beach you can observe the Costa Rican wildlife.
You have the beach for yourself mid in the National Park of Manual Antonio. On the way to the beach, you can observe the Costa Rican wildlife.

Costa Rica has some fascinating wildlife to see in the rainforests:

The Montezuma is a New World tropical icterid bird. It is a resident breeder in the Caribbean coastal lowlands from southeastern Mexico to central Panama.
The Montezuma is a New World tropical icterid bird. It is a resident breeder in the Caribbean coastal lowlands from southeastern Mexico to central Panama.

 

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The great Kiskadee is one of the tyrant flycatchers which can be between 21 to 27cm in length.

 

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Without the tour guide in the Manuel Antonio National Park, I would not have been able to spot this caterpillar.

 

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Who would have found this tiny grasshopper in the middle of the rainforest without the local guides and their telescopes?

 

Know when to bite your tongue.
You can see the white-faced capuchin monkeys when strolling through the rain forest. Unfortunately, this species is endangered. These two guys in that photo were fighting and chasing each other.

 

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The three-toed sloths are one of the Costa Rican locals. They are very slow in moving from one spot to another. Their faces seem to smile all day long. When you walk through the rain forest, take your time and see if you can spot them in the trees.

 

lizard
The Black Spiny-tailed Iguana is a lizard in Central America and Mexico. It is the largest species in the genus Ctenosaura and has been recorded as the fastest-running species of lizard.They have distinctive black, keeled scales on their long tails, which gives them their common name. The males are capable of growing up to 1.3 meters in length, and the females are slightly shorter, at 0.8–1 meter.

Besides the tropical animals you will notice the most beautiful colourful flowers in the rainforest:

It was raining in the rainforest near Cachi in Costa Rica. The flowers were covered with rain drops which made it so much more interesting to photograph.
It was raining in the rainforest near Cachi in Costa Rica. The flowers were covered with rain drops which made it so much more interesting to photograph.

 

walking through the rain forest in Costa Rica is paradise for flower lovers
Walking through the rain forest in Costa Rica is paradise for flower lovers.

 

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Lots of you will notice this beautiful orchid, however, to see it growing in the wild rainforest is fascinating.

Costa Rica has also plenty of options to go on boat trips for snorkelling in the coral reef. On the way you might be lucky to see dolphins and whales:

I was on a snorkelling trip in Costa Rica and was lucky to being able to see a dolphin jumping out and back into the ocean.
I was on a snorkelling trip in Costa Rica and was lucky to being able to see a dolphin jumping out and back into the ocean.

 

Being on a snorkelling trip and seeing some dolphins is what I have expected but then getting to see a humpback whale was not on my list and made the trip so much more exciting.
Being on a snorkelling trip and seeing some dolphins is what I have expected but then getting to see a humpback whale was not on my list and made the trip so much more exciting.

Now you have seen so much from this wonderful region of Costa Rica, the beautiful colourful flowers and cute, exotic wildlife. It is time to relax on the beach in Manuel Antonio National Park enjoying the sunset.

Watching the sunset in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica.
Relax and watch the sunset in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica.

Did the photos inspire you to travel to Costa Rica? Enjoy your trip.

Why you should visit Munich during Christmas

christmas market

Christmas is a wonderful time to visit Munich in Germany and here are the reasons why:

The christmas decoration is taste- and colourful. The city is covered in beautiful christmas lights.

Munich has numerous christmas markets where families and friends are having a good time together eating delicious food and drinking the famous German gluehwine. The origins of the Christmas market are reported to date back to the ‘Nicholaus Markets’ of the 14th century.

One of the most famous christmas market in Munich is the ‘Christkindlmarkt’ at Marienplatz in front of the new town hall right in the centre of this beautiful city. The christmas tree is the emblem of the city with its 2,500 lights.

the new town hall in Munich on a christmas night
the new town hall in Munich on a christmas night

Continue reading “Why you should visit Munich during Christmas”

The christmas season in Sydney – part 3

xmas tree

Did you know that the christmas tree in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney took 102 people in 44 hours to bring to life? The tree weighs 6.5 tonnes; 65,150 lights that sparkle bright and 82,000 crystals that shine day and night? The Swarovski Christmas Tree is 24 metres tall. The impressive 2 metre crystal studded star sits at the top of the tree for all to wish upon.

I decided to take a different crazy angle of the tree.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” 
― Bob Hope

xmas tree
crazy christmas world

 

The christmas season in Sydney – part 2

Christmas in Australia

You know christmas is on its way when Martin Place in Sydney is turning into this colourful beautiful scene.

The buildings showing some beautiful christmas light projections and people can play with the interactive christmas tree.

Christmas in Australia
christmas tree in Martin Place, Sydney

Each big city has its own version of a christmas tree. Sydney has an interactive christmas tree in Martin Place every year. It is not just a visual spectacle for people to see but you can actually jump on an interactive dance pad, text or tweet your message to a certain telephone number or #sydxmastree. Your message will then be displayed as text on the tree’s decoration.

Happy christmas to everyone

Martin Place at christmas
christmas tree in Sydney 2015

 

When Sydney turns into its silly season

xmas in Sydney

Christmas time here we come. Sydney turns into a colourful fun city which excites not just the kids but also lots of adults especially photographers like me. I felt like being 5 years old again, so excited.

Sydney has some great light shows during christmas time. This photo has been taken at Martin Place. If you are in Sydney or on your way, go and have a look, it is so much fun.

I will reveal some more photos over the following days.

Happy christmas time

xmas in Sydney
when Martin Place in Sydney turns into the crazy silly season

Why you should visit Ushuaia in Argentina

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world in Tierra del Fuego on the shores of the Beagle Channel. Ushuaia means ‘the bay facing westward’ in the language of the original Yamana inhabitants. The town is surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel. It is in Ushuaia where the Andes meet the southern ocean in a sharp ski.

happiness
Ushuaia the most southern city in the world.

Ushuaia was once a penal colony for political prisoners and criminals. Nowadays it is a busy adventure hub for tourists. Antarctica cruises start here in Ushuaia’s port.

Ushuaia
port in Ushuaia, Argentina

The Tierra del Fuego National park is 63,000 hectares huge but only a small part of it is open to the public.

How do you get there:

There are daily flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.

In case you are planning to see El Chalten, El Calafate and Torres del Paine National park in Patagonia first, you can take a bus from Punta Arenas. Punta Arenas is a small town of approximately 100,000 people, Chile’s southernmost city. The estimated travel time via bus is approximately 12 hours depending on the border. Once you get close to Ushuaia the scenery suddenly changes. It is worthwhile experiencing the bus ride if you have the time.

What to do in Ushuaia:

In winter the town is a major ski resort area for both alpine and cross-country skiers.

There are plenty of hiking options available in the Tierra del Fuego National park. Also sailing, kayaking and even scuba diving options are just minutes away.

Ushuaia is the base for cruises along the Beagle Channel to observe the marine wildlife. Expect to see lots of sea birds, sea lions and penguins. In case you cannot get enough from penguins, you can book a trip to the penguin colony and walk around the little cuties and get a bit closer to see the king penguin.

The Beagle channel:

The Beagle channel is named after Darwin’s expedition vessel and is a strait in Tierra del Fuego Archipelago on the extreme southern tip of South America partly in Chile and partly in Argentina.The channel’s eastern area forms part of the border between Chile and Argentina and the western area is entirely within Chile. The Beagle Channel is about 240 kilometres long and about 5 kilometres wide at its narrowest point.

Harbor cruises are usually four-hour morning or afternoon excursions to cormorant colonies

sea birds from the Beagle Channel
sea birds from the Beagle Channel

and to sea lions.

sea lions from the Beagle Channel resting on the rocks
sea lions from the Beagle Channel resting on the rocks
southern american sea lions from the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia.
southern american sea lions from the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia.

You will be cruising along small beautiful islands:

Beagle channel near Ushuaia
Beagle channel near Ushuaia

and pass the lighthouse ‘Les Eclaireurs’ called ‘end of the world’ on the north shore of the Beagle Channel:

View of the Lighthouse 'Les Eclaireurs' called 'End of the World' near Ushuaia on the north shore of the Channel
View of the Lighthouse ‘Les Eclaireurs’ called ‘End of the World’ near Ushuaia on the north shore of the Channel

After a few hours on the boat you will finally arrive at the penguin colony.

Magellan penguins from the Beagle Channel
Magellan penguins from the Beagle Channel

The Magellanic penguins were named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who observed the penguins in 1520.

a little penguin from Ushuaia, Argentina.
a little penguin from Ushuaia, Argentina.

If you prefer to take the bus to the penguin colony tour you will pass some interesting rough scenery on the way.

the trees are shaped from the strong winds in Ushuaia
the trees are shaped from the strong winds in Ushuaia

Reached at the colony you will be able to get closer to the penguins

King penguin with attitude
penguin with attitude

and also see the famous king penguin.

king penguin on the penguin colony, Beagle Channel
king penguin on the penguin colony, Beagle Channel

When you are visiting Patagonia, make sure you stop in Ushuaia and enjoy the wildlife and scenery.

Have you missed my previous posts about Patagonia? Just click on the following links:

Enjoy reading.

Happy travel.

 

 

One word photo challenge ‘night’ – what does night time mean to you?

Auckland

Night is the period between sunset and sunrise in which we are meant to sleep but nights mean so much more than that. The sky turns dark, cities come alive when the colourful light goes on. Night time is when we start partying and go out dancing or we chose to spend some time outside counting the stars and relax our mind from a busy day.

I love taking photos of cities at night. The colours of a city combined with a dark sky cannot get any better than this. The photo below has been taken in the Auckland harbour, New Zealand.

Auckland
Auckland harbour at night.

This post is in response to the one word photo challenge: ‘night’.

Trekking the W- circuit in Torres del Paine National Park

Arrived in Patagonia and now you are ready for some trekking? Do not miss the W-trek in Chile.

I did this W-trek with g-adventure; I really enjoyed that trip. Everything was organised, they look after you and the best part is that you meet some great like-minded people from around the world.

The first day of the W-trek was an 8-9 hours hike to the majestic granite towers of Paine. If you have missed my post about the challenges trekking to the Torres please read here.

On day 2 we left early our camping site and stopped for seeing a waterfall. It was so windy, I couldn’t believe it. You basically walked forward 10 steps and were blown back 8 steps. A group of trekkers passed us and one woman had broken her nose as she got hit by some rocks. That was a wake up call for all of us. Back in the car we waited for the ferry to cross the lake Pehoe. Well actually we were not sure if the ferry would even go but they are probably so used to the wind, so no problem at all. We crossed the beautiful turquoise lake and arrived at our next camping site.

Torres del Paine National park
Torres del Paine National park

After having our lunch we started our trekking through the beautiful french valley. I thought they are kidding us going trekking in that kind of windy conditions but the valley was actually protected. On the photo below you can see how the wind is blowing on the surface of the lake. The sky formation was very unique and beautiful.

A windy day in Torres del Paine, Patagonia
A windy day in Torres del Paine, Patagonia

The walk through the french valley was an 6-8 hours trek. Arrived at the viewing point you can see the glacier formed in a cirque hidden deep in the ribs of the Paine massif. Very impressive.

the glacier in shape of a cirque hidden deep in the ribs of hte Paine massif
the glacier in shape of a cirque hidden deep in the ribs of hte Paine massif

Back at the campsite we enjoyed our dinner, had some drinks and very bad but cheap wine called ‘Gato’. Well good enough for camping and at least you will always remember the fun you had being in a group drinking ‘Gato’. I cannot recommend that wine but we made the best out of the situation and laughed about it. The wind luckily started to ease down so we could catch up with some missing sleep from the previous windy night.

Getting up early in the morning and seeing this scenery cannot be described in words. I got excited, grabbed my camera and went for a walk around that lake and just enjoyed being in this beautiful place with striking scenery. The colours in Patagonia are just incredible. I have never seen that many rainbows in three days in my life.

rainbow in Torres del Paine NP
rainbow in Torres del Paine NP

It was a very peaceful morning. Another day of trekking was ahead of us and the weather looked promising.

Sky formation
colours in Torres del Paine

After having a big breakfast we started trekking day number 3. It is tiring though but a great experience at the same time.

The trek ended at the Grey glacier which is the main attraction in Patagonia. At one end there is this massive Patagonian ice field and at the other a 40 metre wall of ice of which pieces fall into the Grey lake and gives it its beautiful milky blue to green colour.

Did I say the weather was promising and sunny? Well that changes quickly, so enjoy each moment. The weather is very unpredictable. You can see the clouds hanging over the Grey lake and a light rainbow disappearing on the right hand side. It started raining and together with the blowing wind it was not very pleasant. Suddenly it was cold and we had to wrap us up in our second layer of clothes.

day 3 of the W-trek in Torres del Paine, Chile
day 3 of the W-trek in Torres del Paine, Chile

Arrived at the viewing point it felt like being in winter. It was raining but we still managed to see this massive glacier hiding behind the fog.

the Grey lake and glacier in Torres del Paine, Chile, Patagonia
the Grey lake and glacier in Torres del Paine, Chile, Patagonia

Patagonia is an amazing part of the world. The colours of the nature are breathtaking and it felt so peaceful being here. The weather can change quickly with having 4 seasons in one day, the wind can be very challenging but all this is the reason why the landscape is so beautiful and unique.

Follow my blog if you are interested in more travel stories from South- and Northamerica. My next travel post will be about the most southern city in the world ‘Ushuaia’ and the beagle channel.

Happy travel. Stay tuned.

 

 

10 things I have learned from travelling

Noosa beach

I love travelling, enjoy being outside in nature and experiencing different cultures.

Travelling is more than just sightseeing, it is experiencing life on a different level. To see other cultures and the way they live is an eye opener.

I was born and raised in Germany, travelled a bit through Europe, moved to Australia 8 years ago and fulfilled my dream to travel to Southamerica for 2 months last year. In all those years I have learned a lot about myself and life in general:

  • Respecting other people no matter where they come from, their cultural background, their job or how poor or rich they are. Everybody has a different story to tell, you never know what they have been through in their life and in the end it just doesn’t matter. Everybody deserves respect and a friendly smile.
happy family from Taquile Island, Peru
happy family from Taquile Island, Peru
  • Being grateful of what you have. Travelling to poorer countries in particular open your eyes. I have seen very poor people in Peru but they were so friendly and nice and they would give you anything when you treat them with respect. Some of the poor people don’t have hot showers or a big warm house. This makes you realise how rich you are even though you might just rent a small place but you are able to have a warm bath. People in the westernised world are complaining a lot about ‘nothing’. Travelling to those countries make you realise what a great life you have.
playing little girl on Taquile Island, Peru
playing little girl on Taquile Island, Peru
  • You cannot buy happiness. Happiness comes from the inside and not from material items you own. I met poor people who were happy with their life. It is about owning things you cannot buy with money, like health, love and friendships.
happy smile
the most beautiful smile in the world
  • I realised for myself and decided to stop shopping but to spend the money on travelling. This gives you insights, unforgettable experiences, great memories and opens your mind. It will change you for the better. You might not have enough money to travel – well, save and spend wisely and there is a budget for everyone. You don’t necessarily need to fly far away, the best travel can be in your area.
Devil's throat
the double rainbow over the devil’s throat
  • Don’t wait that something will happen, make things happen  and follow your dreams. Life is too short. Don’t let fear hold you back and miss out. What do you have to lose?
happiness
Are you curious what is out there? Go for it. Do more of what makes you happy.
  • Try new things and eat what the locals eat. You will be amazed what amazing cuisines are out there. I love cooking and in I try new recipes from different cultures. Festival of the taste butts.
Peruvian cuisine
Peruvian cuisine
  • Travel and pack light. Being on tour for 2 months made me learn how to pack light and simple. There are laundries everywhere and you don’t need your high heels when travelling through Southamerica. Organise your belongings and you will become a master and packing.
the cat is watching the tourists in La Boca
the cat is watching the tourists in La Boca
  • Dress simple and leave your jewellery at home. You don’t need to show off your luxury in poor countries. You will have a much more peaceful trip.
life in the streets of Cusco, Peru
life in the streets of Cusco, Peru
  • Beauty is everywhere, just open your eyes. Do not compare one place with another. Each is unique and has its own charm. Respect and enjoy the nature we live in.
A beautiful day in Fitz Roy National Park in Patagonia.
A beautiful day in Fitz Roy National Park in Patagonia.
  • Being organised when travelling is important but leave room for spontaneous things to have a bit of an adventure.
street dance
Difference is what makes life fabulous

Happy travel.