20 – 5 Days Remaining…
(5??? 5!!! 5 days remaining?????? Noooooooooooo)
Where to start?
I’ve been in South America for nearly nine months and eight of those have involved slow travel, my favourite kind of travel. I find a place, explore, eat, drink, stay in that place a little longer, explore some more, relax, wander, stay in that place a few more days and THEN after that maybe just maybe move on to the next place. There’s always been a lot of time to do everything. It’s great because it means you don’t get worn out by the endless bus journeys. However during this last month I’ve had to speed things up as the dreaded end date approaches. It has been absolutely fantastic, a jam packed, fun filled month but it’s put me behind in my blog and my head is spinning a little.
SO here is a little recap of what I’ve been doing as this trip draws to a close (I’ll probably sob a little as I type, haha, 5 days left, boohoo). I’m not going to write too much detail about each recent location because of their enormous magnitude of brilliance. Each location quite rightly deserves an individual blog (which I’ll do once I’m back in the homeland). This is just a little teaser with a few photos so you definitely know what you’ll be missing out on if you don’t visit the glorious land of Argentina…
Patagonia – The Lake District
Snow capped mountains and lakes galore…
Bariloche is the most famous town in Argentina’s Lake District. It smells of chocolate (because it is the home of Argentina’s chocolate production) and is full of people wandering around window shopping when they aren’t skiing on the nearby slopes. I would have preferred to stay at the smaller more northern town of San Martin first BUT the journey there wasn’t very straight forward, no direct buses so I ended up in Bariloche. Ooh the perils of not having my own transport. I WILL return one day with a car and really see everything Argentina has to offer. Anyway the Lake District was just incredible, when the sun shone….when the sun hid behind the clouds it was absolutely freezing and the snow capped mountains disappeared. Bariloche first, a few hikes around the lakes, taking in some of the best views in the world (according to National Geographic). Then on to the ash covered town of Villa La Angostura. This was also stunning but unfortunately very grey because of the nearby Chilean volcano (Puyehue) which has been erupting since JUNE. After that I went the furthest south I would go on this trip, El Bolson. More endless snow capped mountains and lots of walking (and running) done there. Patagonia, pretty perfect I think.
Patagonia, The Lake District, just outside Bariloche – This picture was taken on the short circuit walk. This was voted one of the world’s best views by National Geographic and deservedly so I reckon.
Patagonia, The Lake District, Villa La Angostura. The grey colour in the lake is actually thousands of tiny volcanic rocks and ash from the Chilean Volcano which has been erupting since June.
Patagonia, El Bolson. Snow capped mountains surround the small town of El Bolson. Lots of great hikes to do here.
Patagonia – Puerto Madryn
Sea life spotting is easy here…
Whales and penguins everywhere you looked, seriously! Well, from the shore right across from the hostel where I stayed you could see quite a few Southern Right whales swimming around the bay. This was mind blowing. I’ve never seen whales in the wild and I didn’t really believe you would be able to see whales this close and so easily but you really can in Puerto Madryn and Puerto Pirimides. More blogs about this memorable experience later, when I don’t have tired Iguazu eyes. Then onto the penguins, another experience where I couldn’t stop saying “Wow that’s so cool”, “Oh my god, that’s so cool”, “Ooooh really cool”. Hmm I need to find some new descriptive words. Anyway Punto Tombo is the biggest penguin colony outside Antarctica and they are literally EVERYWHERE…even next to the car park, not even close to the sea. They are very cute but also a little aggressive as Tom found out.
Patagonia – Puerto Pirimides – Taken by wildyellowbelly Photography. This photo was taken from a whale watching boat trip just off the coast of Puerto Pirimides. A fantastic trip on pretty rough water, try and go on a calm day!
Patagonia, Puerto Madryn. On the Atlantic coast whale watching. The whales were too small for the camera to pick up but I was really pointing at three whales, astonishing!
Patagonia, Punto Tombo – PENGUINOS aka penguins in English. Oh so very cute and they were everywhere you looked.
Patagonia, Punto Tombo. He was not happy with my impression.
A few days is not long enough…
Buenos Aires needs a ten page blog to itself, actually forget that it needs a book. OOOH could this be one of my all time favourite cities?? I think so. Tango, steak, wine, cafes, cakes, plazas, parks, shops, antiques, colourful buildings, football, balconies, galleries, music, PEOPLE! I could seriously live in that city, a week of exploring was not enough. I’ll be back.
Buenos Aires, San Telmo. I stayed in a great area called San Telmo, full of antique shops, art, plaza tango performers and cafes…perfect!
Buenos Aires, San Telmo. A HUGE and delicious piece of steak in Desnivel restaurant, tasty!
Buenos Aires, San Telmo. In another parrilla restaurant (steak house). This was on the same day as the previous steak picture, it resulted in me entering a meat coma.
Buenos Aires, Palermo. Window shopping only in the super funky Palermo neighbourhood.
Puerto Iguazu – Iguazu Falls
Mind blowing, breath-taking, unbelievable (you get the gist)…
Boom! This is where I am right now in Puerto Iguazu. The town is not up to much, if the falls weren’t right next to it, I don’t think this place would exist. Puerto Iguazu feels like another country. It’s as though I took a 19 hour night bus to South East Asia, not north-east Argentina. It’s really tropical and incredibly humid. Last night and most of today there was a huge tropical thunderstorm. It really reminded me of Taiwan, walking around boiling hot, scooters flying passed, slipping in my flip flops as the rain lashes down and soaks me through. I was seriously worried the weather would ruin my much anticipated trip to Iguazu Falls, a dreary grey sky next to grey/brown water does not make for a good picture. Luckily the weather cleared at about 4pm and I took the last train to the Devil’s Throat part of Iguazu falls. What a sight, it gave me goosebumps, I’ve never seen anything quite so powerful. The falls almost didn’t seem real, the amount of water raging over the edge felt magical. You get absolutely soaked too which is a lot of fun. I can’t wait to explore the falls for a second day tomorrow.
Iguazu Falls, the Devil’s Throat. The falls appearing out of the mist. AMAZING! (And remember this is only one section of Iguazu out of many, there are sooooo many waterfalls).
Iguazu Falls, taken from the upper circuit. WOWOWOWOWOW!
Iguazu Falls. Raincoat on this time, standing over the falls, spot the rainbow!
Iguazu Falls. Two VERY happy travellers. Picture taken today (25/10/2011) this is what we look like right now, finally up to date!
Tomorrow is my last full day in Argentina. I just can’t believe it. I’m really surprised at how sad I feel leaving this country. Obviously it doesn’t help that the whole South American trip finishes this weekend but still Argentina for me has been the best. A piece of my heart will stay here and one day I’ll return to remind myself why I made such a fuss about this country.
Read my last blog about starting running in Patagonia…of all places.
If you enjoy reading travelling stories and you have an interest in teaching & Poland, I’ve got the blog for you! Follow Leanne Priestley (my boyfriend’s sister) & Kevin Arnold as they teach in Krakow, Poland for the next year.
Have a look at the blog Going Cooking Crazy. This blog is all about cooking whilst travelling South America. Tales and pictures from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina appear in this blog.
Don’t forget to keep checking Tom’s tumblr. It’s a great scrapbook of photos from each week of this South American trip.