A Travellerspoint blog

El Calafate

semi-overcast 24 °C

About 7 hours later than planned, we finally arrived in El Calafate. The plane was initally delayed by a couple of hours (this is why we never ever get to an airport early!), and then took off, only for it to circle and return back to the airport! Our lack of Spanish meant we didnt have a clue what was going on (I think I heard something about the left Philangie was missing :) ). This happened again a second time, even after they'd flown in an inspector from Buenos Aires to OK the plane! No-one else seemed particularly surprised..."Typical South America" seemed to be everyone's reaction. I hope Faraday doesn't insure any South American airlines! They eventually changed the plane, and it proved third time lucky as we finally left.

Woke up early the next morning to do a tour of Perito Moreno, one of the few glaciers which is still advancing. We spent the morning walking around the glacier, watching several avalanches. The noise level was awesome..it was similar to loud thunder as huge chunks of ice crashed into the lake below. Unfortunately it was a pretty cloudy day...on a hot sunny day, ice continually breaks off, creating a continuous crescendo of noise! Still it was amazing to see...it certainly put the amount of snow and ice we get in the UK into perspective! The iceberg stretched further than we could see, and only represented less than 2% of the ice field! After Antartica and Greenland, it's the world biggest fresh water source.
In the afternoon we got a chance to trek on the glacier itself. We were on the ice for a couple of hours, navigating huge crevices. We wore crampons on the ice, which I found really clumsy...I think they weren't tied on properly, or at least that's my excuse for why I nearly fell a few times! The walk was amazing, with streams of water trickling down the iceberg - this water was completely pure, and very refreshing to drink. The trek ended with a quick drink of Whiskey on ice (quite literally!)...7 year old Bells with 100 year old ice! Not had any whiskey since leaving London - definitely an awesome way to finish the day! Needless to say, I had more than my fair share!

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First glimpse of Perito Moreno

First glimpse of Perito Moreno


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The glacier...well about 0.01% o it!

The glacier...well about 0.01% of it!


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Finally...Roops is as tall as Rav!

Finally...Roops is as tall as Rav!


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Roops doing her daily exercise!

Roops doing her daily exercise!


Spiderman....and KenyaGirl!

Spiderman....and KenyaGirl!


Whiskey on the rocks!

Whiskey on the rocks!

Posted by ravroops 05:51 Archived in Argentina Tagged calafate Comments (0)

Bariloche

sunny 28 °C

Although we'd booked our accommodation for Bariloche whilst in Pucon, we had been unable to find anywhere for both nights - meaning we'd have to swap hostels the next morning..such a pain! The first hostel was meant to have beautiful views of the lake, but as we arrived late at night, the views would have to wait til morning. Walked into town to grab some dinner - so many stray dogs everywhere! This seems to be a feature of South America - most of the smaller dogs seems to be kept as pets, whilst the larger dogs roam the streets. Rav has been moaning about not having got a rabies jab before leaving England, just in case they decided to attack him! Got back and checked emails...got an email from La Bicleta letting us know that Rav left his credit card back in Pucon!! Oh well...at least he lasted one week before losing something! Luckily I'd got credit cards in both our names - I knew something like this would happen!

Woke up the next morning, and looked out the window - the hostel was atop a hill looking over a gigantic lake, with the mountains in the background. It would have made a really good postcard picture, though our camera skills probably aren't good enough to really capture the beauty of the view. After checking into the other hostel, we jumped on a bus round Circuito Chico, a loop taking you through the hills and lakes (you could also do it as a 60km bike ride, but given our exploits in Pucon, we decided to take the lazy option!). First stop was Colonial Suiza, a real hippy town which reminded us of Nimbin in Oz. People selling (and smoking!) bongs, drinking "herbal tea" out of these funky pots and being very chilled out. We continued our way round, with Rav hanging out of the bus trying to take loads of pictures. Again I don't think the photos really do justice to how picturesque this place is. After walking around a bit, we headed back into town to explore the chocolate shops. Bariloche is known as the Chocolate capital of Argentina, but this is crazy! Every other shop here sells every variety of chocolate imaginable, with chocolate cakes, brownies, cheesecakes, etc as well! And the shops in between...they either sell outdoor gear, or ice cream! Plus everytime you walk into a chocolate shop, there's someone standing there offering free samples. I could put on some serious weight if I stay here too long!

We had originally planned to take the 3 day bus journey down Route 40 to El Calafate, our next stop, but then realised that for a bit more money, we could fly there in less than two hours! So off to the airport we go!

A map of the Circuito Chico bike ride...that we got a bus round!

A map of the Circuito Chico bike ride...that we got a bus round!


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A very big tree and a very small Roops

A very big tree and a very small Roops


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An advert for Colgate <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

An advert for Colgate :)


Stunning views from along the route

Stunning views from along the route


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Finally got someone to take a picture of us!

Finally got someone to take a picture of us!


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Chocolate heaven in Bariloche

Chocolate heaven in Bariloche


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Our first "home"-cooked meal..no longer posh backpackers! Spot the bottle of tabasco!

Our first "home"-cooked meal..no longer posh backpackers! Spot the bottle of tabasco!


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Posted by ravroops 20:34 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Pucon

sunny 25 °C

We arrived in Pucon, and being the adventurous backpackers that we are (or just plain unorganised!) we had no accommodation booked. Having read the Lonely Planet guidebook, we'd shortlisted a few hostels, with the intention of rocking up, checking out the rooms, and then using our negotiating skills to get ourselves a good bargain. What we hadn't factored in was this was summertime, and half of South America descends into the region to enjoy their holidays. Eventually we found a quaint hostel called La Bicicleta (there was even a bike on the roof!) with super friendly owners. We wondered around town, admiring the Volcan Villarico in the distance. We hired some bikes to do the 40km ride to Olga Caburga, a series of waterfalls. We made it about half way before turning back - some serious hills, draining gravel tracks, hot temperatures (about 35 degrees!) and getting attacked by bugs the size of your hand absolutely destroyed us (we tried again a couple of days later - it was absolutely chucking it down, but we made it! At one point Rav got chased by some stray dogs...so funny!). Unfortunately bad weather spoilt the latter part of our stay in Pucon, with the cloud and rain preventing us from climbing to the summit of the Volcano. Typical sod's law...the day we left Pucon was the same as when we arrived - beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies. Chile part I complete, we headed through the Andes across the border into Argentina...

A sunny day in Pucon - great views of the Volcan Villarica...and some random Indians too!

A sunny day in Pucon - great views of the Volcan Villarica...and some random Indians too!


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Early on in attempt no. 1 to reach the waterfall...

Early on in attempt no. 1 to reach the waterfall...


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Halfway through attempt no.2...so far so good!

Halfway through attempt no.2...so far so good!


A sign to keep us going? Or a tribute to Bob Marley?

A sign to keep us going? Or a tribute to Bob Marley?


We made it!

We made it!


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The bicycle from La Bicicleta

The bicycle from La Bicicleta

Posted by ravroops 20:32 Archived in Chile Tagged pucón Comments (0)

Santiago

29/01/2011 - 31/01/2011

sunny 31 °C

After a fairly uncomfortable plane journey, and delays in Sao Paulo, we finally made it into Chile. Chileans are super friendly...we met a few on the plane, and they were telling us where to eat, how to get to our hotel, what we should do..Rav was half-expecting an invite round to dinner next!

Santiago is quite urbanised...they've got a better tube system than us (who doesn't!), buses arrive on time...though there are a few drunk crazy people on the streets! Not much to see in Santiago itself...in fact we covered the entire city in a day!
With nothing left to do the next day, we got a bus out to Valparaiso for the day - a little hilly bohemian town on the coast, full of tiny winding streets famous for funky graffiti (Roops wanted to find them all!) and cool funiculars taking you up the hills. We managed to get lost trying to find our way back to the bus station, and our legs were aching as we finally made it back to the bus. A quick Subway sandwich later (it's either that or pasta for Roops!) we boarded our overnight bus down to Pucon, a town in the Chilean lake district. We'd been told how comfortable the buses were meant to be, with seats that fully recline and meals on board, but the bus surpassed all expectations! Great leg room (even for me!), movie on board (though it was Adam Sandler) and breakfast in the morning...I think we'll be in for a serious shock once we get to the rickety buses in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador...oh well might as well enjoy it while we can!

Never too late to start your research!

Never too late to start your research!

A tube station in Santiago - a bit more colourful than London Bridge!

A tube station in Santiago - a bit more colourful than London Bridge!


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Not tall enough to reach the head!

Not tall enough to reach the head!


Our little bit of sightseeing in Santiago

Our little bit of sightseeing in Santiago


Some govt building - I liked the bell they had in their garden

Some govt building - I liked the bell they had in their garden

Long arm-ing it...no Chileans in sight to help us out!

Long arm-ing it...no Chileans in sight to help us out!


Chile's version of the Christ the Redeemer statue

Chile's version of the Christ the Redeemer statue


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A view over the harbour from atop a hill in 'Valpo'

A view over the harbour from atop a hill in 'Valpo'


And some more views!

And some more views!


Rav the poser

Rav the poser


More funky graffiti in Valpo..

More funky graffiti in Valpo..


Everything around here is so colourful...even the steps! The colours are from leftover paints from the painting of local fishermen's boats

Everything around here is so colourful...even the steps! The colours are from leftover paints from the painting of local fishermen's boats


And even more graffiti (P.S. the woman in the bottom right hand corner is real - not drawn on!)

And even more graffiti (P.S. the woman in the bottom right hand corner is real - not drawn on!)

Posted by ravroops 19:44 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Counting down the hours

-50 °C

In typical fashion, we've left everything to the last minute. Just bought some travel insurance, still need to learn some Spanish (or at least buy a Spanish dictionary!) and buy some padlocks, but at least have managed to set up this blog!

Unfortunately 3 months will fly by and we'll be back before you know it, but keep in touch via this blogsite/facebook/email/skype/pingchat/carrier pigeon/etc ... we will miss you...honest!

Muchos love!
Rav n Roops

Posted by ravroops 07:50 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged countdown Comments (0)

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