Captures the lifeless assault on motivation that is altitude hiking perfectly.
I think I'm going to have to do the same route. I came back from Kilimanjaro in the summer and read about this Andean mountain, but it sounded a bit scary. However, I climbed Kili with no problem at all – and I know that I could have gone higher.
You compare mountain climbing to yachting as a way to offload surplus wealth. Allowing for inflation and the cost of competitive modern boats, I'd say yachting is now more like standing under a cold shower tearing up Google shares.
Having visited Uruguay as part of an 18-month trip around South America, I cannot agree that it's worth a visit in its own right. Neighbouring countries have all the same idiosyncrasies with far more interesting landscapes. Uruguay is largely flat pastureland. The food is unremarkable, the wine not a patch on Argentina or Chile. Montevideo is run down and has little, or none, of Buenos Aires's verve and glamour. Even Colonia, that pretty little colonial town, is beaten hands down by Bolivia's Sucre, Ecuador's Cuenca or Colombia's Popayan and Cartagena. The country's slightly oddball nature is not enough of a reason to fly across the Atlantic to get there, unless of course you travel purely to accumulate bragging rights.
I often visit the country because my daughter lives there. I feel that you have painted a true picture of a really interesting nation.
Traveller's guide to Brazil
Brazil is full of hidden gems. I spent six weeks travelling off the beaten track around the north-east and discovered lots of interesting places including the hiking trails of Chapada Diamantina and incredible deserted beaches. What a shame you failed to include the island of Boipeba, though: it has some of the best beaches and is far less touristy than Morro de Sao Paulo.
Manu from heaven
We loved the Amazon in Ecuador – a spectacular, magical place. Over four days, we saw many species of monkeys, giant otters and a tapir – the highlight for me!