A Travellerspoint blog

Crusing Tierra del Fuego - Cape Horn & Patagonia

Days 74 to 77

all seasons in one day 5 °C

Day 74, 13th April

We’re very lucky to have experienced a lot of different levels of travel. After roughing it for a few days, we’re now on a very plush boat gently floating through amazingly beautiful landscapes. It also means that we’re meeting all kinds of people – some really friendly and others….

You know you’re lucky when the boat crew is amazed at the weather. We had a perfect blue sky and sunny day today. Everyone was in a great mood. We experienced our first ‘disembarkation’ this morning. C now wants a zodiac. We were taken to Ainsworth bay and taken on a tour into the forest. When we got back to the landing point they had drinks ready. C discovered a new favorite drink - hot chocolate with a shot of Johnny Walker red label – it goes down a treat!

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Once back on board we had lunch and answered the trivia questions. We were treated to a view of a nice glacier from the top deck then got ready for our afternoon excursion to the Brookes glacier. There are three different kinds of glaciers in the one area. It was pretty scary going back in the zodiac as we had to break through the ice.

Later that night I was roped in to be a model in the fashion show and we then did dismally at bingo.

Day 75, 14th April 2011

After another hot breaky we chilled out in one of the lounges and I tried to finish my book and C caught up on the blog.

In the afternoon we did another excursion to a glacier, again with lots of ice to break through. Once on shore we saw the calving of ice from the glacier – lots of people tried to make it happen by screaming out but not much happened.

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Unfortunately an Australian lady slipped and apparently had broken her ankle - they have quite a few different docs on board (a gyno, a pediatrician, a neuro and C), but no narcotics so she was in quite a lot of pain.

We sailed through glacier ally where each glacier is named after a country. They served food and drinks that matched the country – champagne for the French glacier, wine for the Italian etc. It was cool and we saw a beautiful sunset on the topdeck.

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After the cape horn briefing we went off to bed – as we’d been warned that it would be pretty rough during the night.

Day 76, 15th April 2011

We were woken up with things falling off the bedside tables and the constant rocking. They were a bit behind schedule as they had dropped of the Australian lady and her husband at Puerto Williams. Hopefully she’ll get her leg set and they won’t have to cut their trip short .

We made it to cape horn island at about 9:00 and waited anxiously for the captain to determine whether we would be able to go onto land. Luckily the wind wasn’t too bad so we were loaded into the zodiacs and made our way up all the stairs go look at the look outs. It was very windy – similar to Torres del Paine.

There is a cool monument that forms a picture of a seagull – we waited to get our picture in front of it then went to see the chapel, lighthouse and shop. We made friends with the dog that lives there- a gorgeous Alsatian puppy called Antares.

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We were already on our way back to the zodiac when the captain rang the horn for us to return. It got a bit wet on the way back and it was pretty bumpy.

We had a szzz in the afternoon and re-packed again. At about 6:00 we did our last disembarkation to a bay which translates to beautiful bay. The boat company has turned an old fisherman’s building into a museum about the area and the indigenous people.

Dinner was the usual overindulgence and afterward we joined the farewell drinks. The ‘jack’(the boat’s flag) was raffled for US$400 and we didn’t win the trivia (all that cheating gone to waist).

Day 77, 15th April

The boat actually spent last night just outside of Ushuaia, then went to land early this morning. We finished packing, had a quick breaky and then set off in the direction of a Laundromat.

It’s funny when you’re traveling that the smallest tasks that you do at home become a massive two person mission. After finding that the Laundromat didn’t open till 9:00 we went to find wifi – but the coffee shop that said it had wifi actually didn’t so we found an internet café. I went back to put the laundry in but was told that she couldn’t do it until Monday, so I trudged off up the hill to find another one – which was no longer there. Worried that C would be wondering where I was I went back to find him so we both then went back up the hill, found a dry cleaner that couldn’t do it but after another six block (very cranky on my part) walk we found a nice lady that would have it done by 4pm that day. (lesson of this storey is - enjoy your easy access washing machines!!!)

We wandered around a bit, bought a weird spoon and found another café that did have good free wifi. We spent most of the next 4 hours doing admin- trying to book a hotel in La Paz and upload photos. C had noticed that we could be given a free gift form a jewelry shop, H Stern, so we found the shop ( and were given a small penguin charm each) and I was very tempted by the beautiful pieces they had – I resisted.

After picking up our washing and hastily re-packing in the boat company’s reception we got a taxi out to the airoporto. We got busted for having too heavy hand luggage so we re-shuffled and put C’s underneath. We were stung for airport tax. Luckily the flight was on time and we made it back to BA by 11:30pm, and had another hair raising taxi ride to the hostel (we’d refused to get into two previous taxis that looked ok as they were not ‘radio’taxis – but ours was a bomb) – the taxi cost the same as what a transfer would have anyway!. Luckily again though they were awake and expecting us – but we had great fun dragging our bags up the four levels of very thin and steep marble stairs, in the rain, across a courtyard and into our very basic room.

We’re both still rocking from the boat!

Posted by ourlife 07:42 Archived in Chile Tagged boat cruise glacier Comments (0)

The W Trek - Torres del Paine

Days 67 to 73

all seasons in one day 8 °C

Day 67, 6th April 2011

Today was an earlier wake-up as we did not want to miss this bus! The taxi was waiting and 25 pesos/ 3mins later we were at the bus terminal. It was very cold. We handed over the bags to the driver and away we went.

The seats weren’t as big as the El Chalten bus and when I was wearing the down jacket, W felt like she was being “squished”. After some fluffing about were started to enjoy the scenery. The starkness of the landscape was stunning.

After about 3hrs we came to little coal town that also serves as the boarder control. On the way through we saw that there was a protest going on with some people holding signs and burning some tyres holding up traffic at the main intersection into town. The police were looking on, but were quite happy to stay inside their warm cars.

A little bit out of town we hopped off to get our passports stamped as we were exited Argentina. Down the road we stopped again to gain entry into Chile. This was an entirely different process. Strangely enough we saw a chair lift right near the border gates and wandered if this was new novel way to cross the border, we subsequently found out it was ski chairlift that had not been used in 3years.

On the way we saw signs indicating the biological controls ie no apples or cheese. W and I rummaged through the food bag and started scoffing all the food we thought we could lose. Eating that much cheese in one hit does not feel good. I also now know my limits for eating apples quickly, one.

The entry into Chile was a bit more intense than we’ve experienced so far. We had to unload all our bags and get them ready to be scanned. We lined for customs and were given forms to fill out declaring our health status and entry. We were also worried we were going to get hit with a “reciprocity fee”, again (but avoided it). We were also given pamphlets on recommendations for staying healthy (ie avoid drugs, safe sex etc) and information on something called, “The red tide”. Apparently in some parts of the Chilean coast line, an algae develop which is carried by some seafood and which if you eat it you can get paralyzing diahorea or even die! So much for the oyster ideas.

We also met some other people from California who were going to trek the “W” in Torres del Paine like us. They told us about their adventures doing trails near where we are planning to in Peru. I think they are more intrepid then us as they were camping every where and did not use guides, definitely the hard core hikers! Although they were impressed when we told them about mount Kilimanjaro and the adventures in Africa.

We checked in with border control and then had the bags scanned, as we’d suspected we lost all our fresh fruit including apples, lemons and our garlic! Who the heck ever heard of garlic being a threat except to fresh breath, that and the fact that anything could have blown across the border.

The bus continued into Puerto Natales and we pulled up in front of the bus terminal. Unlike previous places, Puerto Natales does not actually have a bus terminal, but a collection of offices for the bus companies near each other.

We picked up the bags and fended off the vendors for cheap hostels and went to find map and figure out where we had to go to find our accommodation. The hotel was apparently within walking distance so we headed off. The town was strangely quiet with almost no one on the streets, however there were plenty of stray friendly dogs. Very spooky

We found the hotel. It had really interesting décor. The outside looked like frontier style structure with exposed wooden beams, but inside it was mixture of antiques with retro style furnishings. The fire place was the big hit after walking on the cold streets. I (C) went for a walk to explore but couldn’t drag W from the fire place and a good book.

It is a very small world, we met in the hotel a couple from Tasmania knew some previous colleagues of mine from Adelaide dental school. We caught up on some of the local news from home and got some recommendations for places to eat in town.

The big recommendation was restaurant called “afrigonia”. It was started by Zambian man who followed his Chilean/ Patagonian wife to Chile, hence the name Africa + Patagonia. The food was very nice and the wine as per usual was fantastic. We have not encountered a bad wine here yet, although the “pisco sour” drink has some question marks over it.

After the restaurant, we headed off with the Tasmanian couple to a wine bar that had been recommended by the waiter. The music was going, including simply red and some other bands. We turned the volume down and just enjoyed the view. The night finished with bang when w went to turn up the heater and blew the circuit breakers for the hotel. Despite our efforts to find the right fuse box, no luck in resetting, so everyone went to bed and rugged up.

Day 68, 7th April

Half way through today!

We were woken up abruptly when the power was reset and the lights came on. After some procrastination we got up and had the breakfast, they love the sweet things here – lots of cakes and pastries are set out on the breakfast, although the scrambled eggs are really good to.

The head quarters for our trekking company, Antares, was across the road from the hotel, so we went over and introduced ourselves. They were surprised to see us so early, so we arranged to pre-trek talk time and decided to explore the town.

We went into to have look and found that the town was definitely more alive. We booked the bus tickets to Punta Arenas - double checking the times and the terminal marked on the map. On the way back through town as we explored a few touristy shops a puppy dog followed us around. Every time we walked into a store, he stayed in the doorway and would trundle beside us (W – it didn’t help that C kept patting him). W’s heart was in her mouth when we crossed the roads and saw the dog almost get run over a couple of times.

It was interesting to note that on some of the big park squares there ropes strung up on paths. We found out they were for people who struggled to walk due to the high winds that frequently blew through town, not very encouraging for the trek ahead.

We finished our town tour at a popular hot chocolate shop. They know how to do hot chocolate here! Back at the hotel, W got stuck back into a book she has picked up, and again it was going to be impossible to move her from the prime position in front of the fire place, so I headed back into town to do some last minute shopping for the trip and do some last minute looking before the briefing.

Early in the evening we headed back over to the Antares building for the pre-trek briefing.

We went out for dinner with the Tasmanian couple and an American girl to a Chilean BBQ place. (W – Again, C loves the variety of methods he is learning about BBQing – Dad may be helping him build a new BBQ when we get home). These guys know how to cook! They basically get a star picket and strap a lamb to it, then slow roast it for 5 hours over hot coals. Beautifully soft meat!

Day 69, 8th April

We packed up our bags again, sorting out what we should take with us – what we could carry or not. We’ve got it down to a fine art now, but we’re a little surprised at the amount of extra stuff that we must have taken up Kili.

After about a two hour drive (thoughts running through our heads, why are we doing this, it’s really dumb to be going out into the cold, we’re really not that into hiking…) we made it to Torres Del Paine, then another half hour we stopped at the ‘refugio’ Los Torres. It was more like a 5 star hotel!

The place stood up to it’s reputation – the wind was howling outside the van (apparently 100km +) – we watched with trepidation as our guide, Alehandro, struggled to walk from the van into the refugio. Unfortunately, as soon as C stepped out of the van his sunglasses were blown out of his hands across a field, never to be seen again (after much searching).

We sorted out our day packs and headed off into the bush. We walked along sandy ridge toward a closed refugio, chileano. The winds along the way were phenomenal – some people we passed were patching up one guy who had been blown onto some rocks. It was pretty scary. Alehandro told us that if the wind continued we wouldn’t be able to keep going as it was too dangerous, but we after we had stopped for lunch at Chileano the wind died down and went on within a section of forest.

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About an hour later as we were approaching the break in the trees some people came racing past, telling us that a guide had fallen further up and was unconscious. Alehandro and C quickly sprang into action and we went on. Some parts were so windy all you could do was hunker down and hold onto a rock while the gust went past. Alehandro and C practically held me in place at some points.

We came across the injured guy – it didn’t look good, but he was conscious and they were trying to walk him down the mountain. C did a few checks on the guy’s faculties and determined that he was ok, but there was no way to tell whether he had any broken bones or other internal injuries. Others that had come past us came back with an ancient back board and the put the guy onto that and started the long hard task of carrying a 130kg person down a rocky, windy mountain.

We ducked up to the top of the mountain and got to the lookout and saw one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen – similar to Ngorongoro – just sheer natural beauty. We could see the three granite towers, with a few glaciers coming down and then there were waterfalls pouring into a mountain lake.

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We headed back down the mountain and caught up to the rescue team. A few other kiwis had stopped to help. It was an arduous task- three guys down each side of the stretcher and one at each end, but the path was nowhere near wide enough and rocky, uneven and full of streams and water crossing – not to mention the wind. After about an hour and a half once we were off the mountain and into the forest they tried to call in a helicopter – but were told that the wind was too strong – and something about being concerned about the guy’s intracranial pressure - not that we could check that.

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I decided that it would be safer for me not to be there when it was dark so I headed back, leaving C with the rescue party (not a moment I liked). It took them another 4 hours to get to Chilean where a pile of locals met them and took over. He and Alehandro then hot tailed it back to the refugio – getting there at about 8pm. Apparently they got the guy into an ambulance by 10pm – a very long afternoon.

Day 70, 9th April 2011

We had another clear, but windy, day with a 11km walk along Lago Nordenskjold (a huge lake that doesn’t have any life in it because there is too much sediment).

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The scenery is amazing – the very blue lake set against the red/green covered mountains.

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There are lots of waterfalls and streams where we filled our water bottles and Alehandro worked out how we’d make the crossing. After crossing a few big rivers and my boots didn’t manage to hold out all the water but at least it wasn’t too cold so my feet weren’t too bad.

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The Los Cuernos refugio is much more basic with dorm rooms with triple decker bunks. We had to keep the window open just to let some air in to stop the smell of our sweaty clothes.

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Day 71, 10th April 2011
Unfortunately today was pretty wet and miserable so we set off in full wet weather gear. The gortex is good, but you sweat so much underneath it, sometimes it is debatable whether it’s worth wearing it. It is still beautiful to see the scenery as we trek though.

We got to the Italiano campsite and went a bit further up the French Valley to see the French glacier. The camp is closed but we managed to squash into a small shed to eat our lunch. Lots of the campers were annoyed that the weather was bad. It seems that a lot of people don’t put much thought into what they’re doing and how changeable the weather is. One Aussie couple only had one more night, and were trying to decide whether to stay there or go toward Los Torres.

We determined that, because of the cloud, there was not point going further up the valley so we headed toward Paine Grande. It was another picturesque walk, but we were pretty soggy when we got there. It is a new refugio and is pretty big- but there is no heating in the rooms so we were pretty cold.

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Day 72, 11 April

We had been told that if it was really windy we wouldn’t be able to get up to the Grey Glacier because the boat ca not run if the winds are more than 90km/hr. But with a clearish sky we headed off, seeing largo Pehoe (pronounced paiway) and coming up to lago Grey. It was very beautiful.

We made it to the grey refugio by lunch time and settled in near the fire- I enjoyed rolling a hot rock up and down my back.
The boat turned up at 2:45 and we set off for a spectacular viewing of the Grey Glacier – they even served us a whisky! It was pretty cold so C and I went downstairs and ejoyed our last viewing of the scenery.

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After getting back to Puerto Natales and sorting out a bit of a travel stuff up (I’d managed to book our flight out of Ushaia on the wrong day) we went out for a meal with Alehandro at the local micro brewery. C spoke to some others that we’d met along the way and listened to their adventures.

Day 73, 12 April 2011

We got up early and re-packed again, while talking to Anastasia on skype. Again we ended up practically running to the bus stop – with all our stuff, so we were very warm by the time we got there. The bus was pretty full. C got a bit scared when we drove through an area that was snowing pretty heavily, but it stopped as we got to Punta Arenas.

We found an internet café, and printed off the boat documents then checked-in. I wrote some more postcards while C finalised a few emails.

We boarded the boat and were very surprised when they said that everything on board was included!

Posted by ourlife 06:14 Archived in Chile Tagged waterfalls rain trekking wind Comments (0)

El Calafate, El Chalten, Puerto Morino Glacier and Icebergs

Brass monkeys would not have chance!

overcast 5 °C

Day 61, 31 March 2011

Welcome to El Calafate, land of freezing temperatures and the bluest lakes!

We managed to get on the plane without any excess baggage but dodgy seats right down the back. As we got off the plane the cold air hit us like a semi trailer. We quickly got our jackets on and found a transfer to the hotel.

Somehow I’d told them the wrong day for our booking (the night before) so they were surprised to see us. But luckily there was a spare room for one night. We arranged bus tickets to El Chalten and settled into our warm little cabin. We hiked into town and went to a ‘supermarkardo’ to buy some provisions.

Two kitties liked using our window sill as a heater. I tried to let one in but it preferred to stay outside.

Day 62, 1 April 20011

We slept in, then had breaky, cleaned up and headed into town. We located the bus station and left our bag there and found an awesome hot chocolate place. We bumped into two Aussies from Perth, on their honeymoon as well, that are spending three months in South America. They were going to get on a 26hr bus ride that night – that would be painful.

We made it onto the bus and settled in for the ride up to El Chalten. As we’d heard, the bus was quite comfy, with reclining seats and lots of leg room (C better then the seats in the aircraft!). The view along the way was astonishing. First we went around lake Argentina, then closer to El Chalten you drive along Lake Veidma. We saw our first glacier from a distance across the lake. Apparently it is the biggest in this area of Argentina.

We had a quick stop at the national park headquarters then we jumped off the bus and went in search of our hostel. Both of us now wear long john bottoms as standard and C is using Bill’s (C- dad’s) down jacket and I have three layers + my ice breaker – we’re just warm enough….

El Chalten is a nice little town that is nestled in the flat part between a few huge mountains. The top of Mt Fitz Roy is visible at times between the clouds. You can tell that it would be popular in summer. We settled into our room at the ‘In-land-sis’ hotel and found another good hot chocolate place (C this was not hot chocolate, the guy poured hot chocolate and then proceeded to dump another ½ kilo of chocolate chunks in both drinks!).

We had a quiet dinner and early to bed.

Day 63, 2 April 20011
A bus picked us up at 8:30- it was raining, very windy and still dark. I had to keep convincing C that it would be worth it. We were driven about 12km out of the town and dropped off at a hostel called El Pillar. It was freezing, but after about 10mins we warmed up and had to start venting our jackets. About an hour and a half in we were awarded with a spectacular view of Piedras Blancas. It is called an upside down glacier - I think because it comes from the top of the mountain. As we got further in we got a bit closer we saw how big it was.
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We trudged along for a good 2 hours before we found the campsite – I endured a loo that resembled some that we’d seen on Mt Meru, and we sat in the rain and had cold pasta - it was actually delightful (C- W claimed I must love her as no one else would sit in the rain and eat cold pasta with her!).

We decided not to go further into the mountains as we’d been told that the visibility would be pretty bad so it wasn’t worth it. So we headed back toward El Chalten – via lake Capri. It was very pretty. The sun had come out and we were treated to a perfect rainbow.

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After another two hours we made it back and walked through town, trying out the local beer on the way.

After a afternoon snooze we ventured out, and had a few wines and some tapas at a wine bar (it was heaven – wine, cheese and ham) then we went to a restaurant called ‘Como Vaca’ – ‘eat cow’ where we were literally served half cooked meat on round chopping boards – it was a bit fatty but it was still yummy. We returned to the wine bar and had a few good drinks with some American guys. (C a few drinks? They served me a traditional spirit aperitif called franet that would knock down an elephant).

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Day 64, 3 April 20011

We were up in the dark, had breaky and got down to the bus station just in time. We’d thought that the bus left at 8 - but it was 7:30, just made it! We stopped over at river crossing for 15mins, apparently it is where 'butch cassidy & the sundance kid stayed when they were making their escape to Chile.

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When we got back to El Calafate we tried to find a glacier tour for that afternoon, but was told that the mini trekking only goes in the morning so we bought some provisions and trudged our way back to the hotel. We’re now chilling out in our warm cabin – resting!

That lasted a few hours – until C got cabin fever. It’s hard to relax when you need to. He cooked dinner and we got ready for the morning.

Day 65, 4 April 20011

ooops….. we were supposed to be up and going by 7:00am. I noticed the time at 7:14, giving us 10 mins to get packed and to reception. They’d told us late last night that we were moving rooms and to just pack our bags and leave them….. not a small task. We got called at 7:20 telling us the transfer was there – made it by 7:30…. A bit flustered.

Onto a bigger buss and off to Puerto Moreno glacier. We were dropped at a small port and onto a boat for 15 mins. We survived standing on the top of the boat – it was pretty cold, but spectacular.

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We were then taken on an hour and a half trek up into the glacier – it was pretty cool. They put crampons onto our boots so it was much easier to climb up the ice. It is amazing how blue the ice is in parts. We heard a few ‘gun blasts’ from the glacier calving, and after a while they treated us to whisky (C- chips you would have been proud) and chocolate – it was what we needed!

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We took the boat back and were taken to the platforms - it is a maze of balconies about 300m from the front of the glacier. Rather than try to cover it all C and I opted to stay under cover and just wait for another big chunk of ice to drop off – we saw a few waves from bits around thee corners we couldn’t see, but no other bit bits.

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I think we slept from when the bus left, until they yelled out our hotel name (C—a very rude wake up call). We chilled for the rest of the afternoon – in our new smaller cabin.

C 66, 5 April 20011

We tried to sleep in, but I was up by 7:30 (still in the dark) – maybe that is a sleep in. We did a lot of web surfing to find our next steps in Bolivia and booked a few busses and flights. It is harder than you think to book things from here. We could wait until we get there but we’re a bit short on time so we’d like to know we’ll get the most out of what we have.

Anyway, we packed our big packs – as we think we will for the W trek – and headed into town. It is about a 20 min walk so it showed us what worked and what didn’t. we wanted to find rain covers, but out of the 20 out door shops in El Calafate, only two had covers that were medium. After much consternation, I got a cover and C got a 10 pack of ‘grande’ garbage bags….. we’ll see what works better.

We got a few supplies and headed off on the trek home.

I cooked dinner (god we’re eating a lot of carbs) and we’re now watching some dodgy old movie (C- go van damn, beat up those bad guys!).

Off to Chile tomorrow!

Posted by ourlife 12:30 Archived in Argentina Tagged trek cold Comments (0)

how does Iguazu compare to Vic falls

two of the world's biggest waterfalls within one week...

semi-overcast

Day 59, 29 March 2011

Yet another nice early start at 5.15am. (Anne knocked on the door 20 secs after the alarm).

We grabbed our small back packs and headed off to Jorge of Newbury domestic Airport.

The plane seats! You sit in the plane seats and they are made off pure soft leather, it feels like business class! The plane flight was a bit bumpy, W may have grabbed my hand once or twice. Albeit the plane was hitting some turbulence

We caught a taxi straight to the falls and started to explore the falls. The infrastructure to explore the falls is quite a step up from Victoria Falls (having been there a week earlier we kept comparing). It is definitely very family friendly with ramps and toilet stops everywhere. There is even a miniature train that takes you up to the top of the falls.

We caught the train and traveled up to the head of the falls – called the devil’s cauldron. Supposedly, these falls are the widest in the world (versus the highest at Victoria falls). At heads you walk for about 1km along ramp suspended above the waters until you get to main falls (W – it was pretty hairy in some parts). You can see the main drop. If you look over you can also see the Brazilian side. We got bit wet but nothing serious.

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On the way there are some stop over points, W became enamored with the butterflies, they just fly around and land on you if you stay still long enough. She also had some attention by a Brazilian tour guide – she guessed he was Brazilian because he told her she was cute within 1 min of meeting him. He then tried to convince her that not all Brazilians are flirts!

Anne, Wendy and I progressed through the circuits until we got to the lower falls. The Poncho W souvenired from a wallabies game became Anne’s best friend, we got drenched.
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To finish of the day, we headed off to the Sheraton for some farewell drinks. It makes life very hard drinking cold beers on the balcony of the Sheraton hotel overlooking the falls.

Into the taxi and we dropped Anne off at the airport and we were very sad to see her go. It really makes us miss home, but on we go!

W and I continued into to the hostel, Che Lagarto, sorted our gear out, got some supplies and got ready for bed.

Days 60, 30 March 2011

No sleep at the hostel. Potentially the loudest and most party driven hostel we had ever stayed in. If you are planning on sleeping, do not stay here. Although we received an email from Anne that informed us she did not fair any better.

Anne told us that her flight was delayed for 2 ½ hours and flew into a different airport, so her transfer was wrong. Eventually she got home at 11.30 and was struggling to stay awake. I bet Anne will sleep on the plane flight back to Australia! We’re missing you already Anne!

W and I got our bearings and headed into the town of Iguazu and looked around, that took 3mins. Then we headed out to the ‘points’. It is where the three rivers that dived Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay all meet.

We caught a taxi and picked up our bags and back to falls. We met local taxi driver who was very patient with us and started to explain the local culture to us, in Spanish only! Between the two us (mainly Wendy) we managed to have a conversation and find out about the falls, why the boat wasn’t operating, the favorite spot to commit suicide and why his son was calling him ( mainly to ask for money we figured out). All very interesting.

We decided to take a walking track out to some waterfalls down stream. The track was muddy from the rain the night before. It was about 3km and took about 45mins, however, we were dripping with sweat from the humidity and the temperature was rising steadily.

When we arrived, we saw some people swimming. I quickly changed and went for a swim and climbed into the waterfalls. Quite a temperature drop. A quick lunch and back up the track.

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We finished back up at Sheraton. There was some medical convention going on, we couldn’t figure out from various sources if it was anesthetics or plastic surgery. I saw the biggest poster ever promoting a brand of silicone breast implants, and the partners/ wives would have made Barbie proud.

Same taxi driver, asking if we had seen pumas, jaguars or deadly tarantulas! Back to airport and we left early! Back to hotel. We were told we received an upgrade (Anne, do you know anything about this?) and dumped our bags.

We headed out to local pizzeria. When we sat down we met a nice American gentleman who explained to us the history behind the restaurant, apparently it was quite famous and had long history. The pizza had the most cheese on it I have ever seen.

Back to the room and repack the bags, apparently the flights in Argentina are 15kg limit, so day packs are bursting at the seams!

We fell asleep pretty quickly

Posted by ourlife 19:58 Archived in Argentina Tagged waterfall Comments (0)

New beginnings, new continents

Hello, South America, Hello Beunos Aires, Hello Aunty Anne

Day 57, 26 March 2011

What a long way we’ve come.

After an hour long wait in the plane in Sau Paulo (Brazil) and another two hour flight we made it to Buenos Aries. I think our bags were about the last off, then we jumped the customs queue and found the transfer driver. It took 25 mins to get out of the airport before zooming into town to the hotel.

Meeting Anne was great. It’s so nice to have someone familiar to see, who also knows what is going on and what to do (C- and Anne brought the essentials, tim tams, newspapers and news from home). We cleaned up a bit then headed out into the sunshine. It was a beautiful day, nice and warm. Anne told us that she’d been told that the way of life here is self enjoyment rather than responsibility. Judging from today, we can understand why. We had a lovely lunch outside in the sunshine – our first taste of Argentinean steak, and caught up on all home related matters (C- the meat , the lack of responsibility, I’m moving to BA!).

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After lunch we wandered through the ‘Recolletta Cemetery’ which is a maze of mausoleums. Apparently the wealthy Buenos Arians pay fifty USdollars a month to maintain their family plot. Some are immaculate shrines, but others have fallen into disrepair. We found Eva Peron’s family site, (C- they still leave flowers, notes and many make the pilgrimage just to see it).

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We then wandered through Recolleta, stopping at a few leather shops (BA is known for having great leather goods) and marveling at the architecture. I can understand why people fall in love with this city.

After a few coffee and wine stops we made our way to Florida Avenue which is the really touristy part of town. It was buzzing. We avoided the tango show touts, and inspected a few more leather places before going into a big shopping centre. It is much the same as home, with lots of clothes shops, but that much more opulent.

By about eight thirty, C and I were dragging our feet a bit, but we found a lovely restaurant and had more good meals (C- the meat is incredible). It was great to hear news of home, and we enjoyed sharing some of our adventures with Anne.

I think we fell into bed around ten.

Day 58, 27 March 2011

We slept in! The bed is amazing (C, anything after the tents is amazing, but the bed is very comfy). Things don’t open around here until 10 am so we enjoyed a lazy start to the day with breaky at 8:30.

After breaky we headed off toward San Telermo to find the markets. It was a long walk – but a nice flat one, along the longer boulevards, past some of the monuments. Along the way we ran into a protest againinst some action in Libia, I'm not sure if it is a protest or a party.

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The markets were huge! Similar to the Notting Hill markets – it was kilometers of stalls, with all different kinds of knick knacks. We indulged in a few things for ourselves and also got some presents. But mainly we enjoyed not having to be anywhere – just meandering along looking at things.

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By about three o’clock our legs were a bit tired so we jumped a cab back to the hotel to re-charge. We had a hot chocolate and coffee, then spent a few hours doing admin jobs. It’s hard to balance the time we have to look at stuff with a bit of down time, but we also need to plan the next part of our trip.

We were to be picked up for a tango show, but a mix up with dates meant that we went back to the same place as the night before and had lovely meals.

The way of life here means that you don’t actually go out for dinner until 8-9 pm. So at 9pm on a Sunday night we went to a restaurant which was quite busy and getting busier. It is amazing. Apparently people eat late, go to coffee then go dancing – and then don’t get too work until 10am – love it!

Day 58, 28 March 2011

Today the morning was spent catching up on emails. It seems that we’re going to have trouble getting past Ushuaia after the boat trip we’ve recently booked. We’ll have to come back to Buenos Aries before going on to Santiago or Bolivia (there are no direct flights) which will cost about $500 each. It’s a bugger that we hadn’t planned this part, but when we left we were concerned that we’d planned too much. The joys of traveling...

We headed out about 11am and hiked miles to get to the evita museum- unfortunately to find that it is closed on Mondays….

We found a nice little café to have lunch then walked through the back streets to Recolletta where we found the shop in which Anne was eyeing off a leather jacket. After much consternation, a cup of coffee and a good sales job the purchase was made (I only whish I was the same size so I could borrow it!). We then made our way back to the hotel, checked emails and freshened up.

I’d been told about an all you can eat restaurant called, Siga La Varka – ie ‘follow the cow’. C checked it out online and determined that it was something that we had to experience for ourselves. So we bundled into a cab and said in terrible Spanish – siga la varka, the cab driver thought it was hilarious but totally didn’t know what we were saying or where it was so C had to show him.

It was in an area along the water that looked pretty ritzy, but this place was very reasonably priced- for as much as you can eat meat, salad and 1ltr of wine, soft drink, or beer could be… after eating just enough (maybe too much) (C- So much meat, so little stomach space!) we got a souvenir and headed back.

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After sorting out our stuff to give to Anne we packed our bags and fell into bed.

Posted by ourlife 14:48 Comments (0)

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