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Books & Films
Here we present the most exciting books and films. Save space in your travel bag. These books (and films) should be a part of you backpack.

In search for the mythical El Dorado - Aguirre, the Wrath of God!

El Dorado - an utopian dream or based on reality? The astonishing movie Aguirre, the Wrath of God from 1977, is based on historical circumstances. A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and descends to the Amazon river in search of gold, wealth and power. It doesn't take long time before they encounter big difficulties.

Photo. In the jungle of Amazon. What`s hiding behind the bush? The small image is the cover from the movie Aguirre, the Wrath of God. The background photo is from the Amazon jungle, taken by Stein Morten Lund. 
© Travel Exploration.

Don Aguirres, is a ruthless man who has his own ambitions and cares only about wealth and power. He takes over the lead of the expedition by force, and by viewing the movie, you will see if his quest leads to "the Golden City", or to total failure? So far the legendary El Dorado has not been found, and there is still a mystery where some of the groups in the expedition become off? It has neither been seen what was reported from the expedition either. So could it still be amazing wonders of treasures and unknown indigenous people hiding deep in the Amazon jungle?

El Dorado is a Spanish word which means "the gilded one". El Dorado is sometimes spelled Eldorado, which is associated with a mythical city of gold. It`s also called the "Lost City of Gold" and the "Golden City". People still dream about El Dorado today. Some never stops searching for this city.

El Dorado it's a legend that has its origin from the story of a South American tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust. The myth began in the 1530s in the Andes of present-day Colombia, where the conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada first found the Muisca (1537), a nation in the modern day Cundinamarca and Boyacá highlands of Colombia. The location of the mythical city has shifted continuously as new regions have been explored. 

During centuries there have been a great number of expeditions searching for the El Dorado many places around in South America. The most famous expedition was undertaken by Francisco de Orellana and Gonzalo Pizarro in 1541, who passed down the Rio Napo to the valley of the Amazon all the way to its delta. Gonzalo (1506-1548) was the brother of Francisco Pizarro.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God - A breathtaking journey into the heart of darkness
This movie Aguirre, the Wrath of God, covers many elements; adventure, exploration, travelling, dreaming and greed. Klaus Kinski plays Don Lope de Aguirre, a brutal conquistador who leads his soldiers into the Amazon jungle in an obsessive quest for gold. The conquistadors are too proud to take advantage of their Indian slaves` knowledge about the rainforest environment. Aguirre`s powersick vision is undoubtedly too big. The tragic consequences of his mutiny and pursuit of the unattainable, are unavoidable, and it all ends up into sickness, brutality, despair, insanity and killings.

Photo. The Amazon jungle on the Peruan side. Here you can start your adventure tour if you dare to venture deep into the bush.
© Travel Explorations.

It's both fascinating and shocking to view the Director Werner Herzog`s movie about the conquistadors, who make their great effort of travelling through steep mountains, deep valleys and dense jungle of Brazil. Its gives strong portraits of the selfishly driven men who loose totally control. How can supremacy be achieved without being thinking rational? The story is based on the journals from a priest, Brother Gaspar de Carvajal, who joined Pizzaro`s expeditions.

Lesson learned for travelling
In one way the expedition could be a inspiration source for other to explore more of the world, and make great discovieres. In another way the movie tells a story about how travelling not should be set out. The survival of Aguirre can be considered as a symbol for human greed, cruelty, and irrationality. With men like that in the world, it is likely to believe that such hopeless expeditions will be set out again. Despite small or none odds for succeeding, Aguirre convinces his men to continue the expedition by giving them high expectations of great wealth and power. He also uses force and threats so the men have no other choice than to follow him. Aguirre's stubbornness can be explained by that he is blinded by "gold fever" and power sickness more than eager to serving the king, or searching desparate for an ultimate travel adventure.

The desire for finding the fabled city of El Dorado is still strong by many people today. Perhaps there is not El Dorado at all. Anyway coming up expeditions in the future will explore unknown areas, and that will lead to new discoveries and more knowledge about the world. Today the Amazon River and basin covers some of 2,722,000 square miles, so there is likely to believe that there could be interesting things to find there, but it will not be easy to find something in the huge overgrown area. 

Stein Morten Lund, 23 March 2006

Additional information
Read more about Peru, expeditions, ancient wonders and mysteries on our global travel guide

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