A Travellerspoint blog

Puerto Madryn (Chubut)...or the biggest friends ever.

sunny 20 °C

After another overnight bus we got to Puerto Madryn, which is a little town on the Atlantic coast of Argentina...about 18 hours from Buenos Aires. We were prepared for the coldest weather we ve had so far, but when we got off the bus we were welcomed with a bright sunrise and lovely weather. A quick walk and we could check into the hostel, to find out, that we had booked a perfect space for the next days with really helpful, friendly staff and a lovely common space. After the first few little arguments (Rob would say after I tried telling him what to do ;) ) we decided to have a snooze and make a fresh start in the afternoon. We decided to walk down to the beach and onto the pier thinking that we had found a nice place for a few chilled days when the place suddenly became better when Rob nearly pushed me over the pier fence for screaming "There...there, I ve seen one". Our first whale....not from very close, but it was there! That afternoon we saw lots more, jumping and water blow outs and even a seal that got lost swimming around the pier.
For our second day we had decided to book a whale watching tour in Puerto Pyramides...which is a sleepy tiny village on the Peninsula Valdes (the nature reserve that belongs to Puerto Madryn). With the obligatory being late and dirorganised, we managed to hop on the local bus (obviously paying the gringo price, but still less than getting a tour bus) and had an hours joy of a bumpy, stoney and dusty road. In Puerto Pyramides it wasn t really hard to find our way around as there s pretty much nothing there apart from tour offices, a beach and of course a cafe. we booked a tour for 12 and got really exited...Rob was probably more happy about the big yellow life vest that made him look like the killer from "I know what you ve done last summer" ;) When the tour started, the whales were there,,,no doubts, but after 30 minutes I could tell by Robs face, that he thought the same as I..."This isn t really close and have we blown up money?" The whales were amazing but too far away really. Our guide finally decided, that we had to go out further to get the real experience and so we got a nice little wave jumping tour after which half of the people were probably sick, however that didnt matter anymore because of happened next. Out of a sudden there they were...the biggest, calmest and probably friendliest animals on the world. Swimming around the boat, blowing out the water and playing with each other. Rob and I were more than lucky, when the one that started swimming under the boat decided to give us a little welcome blow half a meter in front of us. He (or she???) held the massive head out of the water and looked at us like he d come out for a little kiss. The boat stayed around there for a while, before we left with the probably biggest smile ever on our faces. Seeing this massive animal just below the boat, being even bigger than the boat was just unbelievable...crazy. What a day...worth every single Peso we had been thinking about before.
This being so amazed we decided to do anther tour, that we both were really keen on...seeing the elephant seals... (yes..the big roaring and fighting ones.) . We left early (well at 8) in the morning and were driven to a lighthouse on the cliffs about 90 km south of Puerto Madryn. We werent sure where we were being driven and if we would survive the nonexistent road we got there and Luiz, our brilliant tour guide show us how to climb like a mountain goat..down the cliff to the beach. He brought us up the the colony on the beach and it was amazing how close we got. Along the beach the elephant seals where rolling around, sneezing and welcoming us with a fat burp (even Rob was impressed ;) ). There were young ones aswell as bigger males and they started fighting and pushing each other around which was amazing to watch. The animals weren t disturbed my us at all and I got as close as a meter, looking into their huge black eyes. Luiz told us a lot about the seals, showed us pieces of their skin that we found on the beach and we even found an Orca tooth. (they come here for hunting the seal babies later n the season). After a pretty tough climb bak up we went home and even saw some Ostriches on the way. The day had a good start and the finish could not have been better than with some cheese, bread and a bottle of the wine that we had brought from Buenos Aires. Obviously it didn t become just one bottle....so some time later and a few cocktails in Puertos only bar more we found ourselfes with a hangover and a long lie in next morning. We still had half the day, packed the new lunch box (yes, we re really proud oweners of 2 massive boxes to pack everything thats for free) and took a taxi to a beach 20 km north of Madryn. We had been told, the whales come really close at high tide and we expected to have a nice view for a little time, but ended up staying there for 3 hours. The whales were swimming right in front of your...5 mters from the beach, you can see them rolling and sunbathing in the water and when you hear a mum telling of the calk with a deep roaring voice it s just amazing and so adorable. There were more than 20 animals really close and even more in the back and we had the best possible last day in Madryn. Happy and still really tired we caught our bus at 7 next morning (first time without trouble) and started the 24 hours travel with a good sleep.

Posted by PEANUTSONTHERUN 13:11 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires...simply amazing!!!

Sights, food, drink, friends and not to mention the football

all seasons in one day 18 °C

We were sad to be leaving the Iguazu falls but excited for what was to come in Buenos Aires the only thing which stood in our way was an eighteen hour bus ride which we can honestly say we were feeling a little apprehensive about. As it happens the hardest thing about the journey wasn't the time it would take for us to complete the journey it was actually getting on to the bus. Like all the other countires in the world you are required to have a ticket to travel on the busses and Argentina is no different. The piece of paper which we thought was the ticket was actually the terms and conditions. The person at the ticket office who informed us of this was probably the most unhelpful person we have come accross so far on our travels but she did say that we would have to print the ticket or we wouldn't be able to get onto the bus. We sprinted to every single hostel and internet cafe only to find that either the internet wasnt working or that there wasnt a printer. I managed to finally get to a computer with a printer only to find that the printer wouldnt print. We returned to the terminal with a photo of the ticket which we hoped would be enough to grant us access to the bus, this didnt work but the lady at the terminal suddenly decided that she could infact print off the tickets. We then had to find the bus which for some reason had decided to park one hunderd metres away from the bus terminal. After another mad dash we boarded the bus however i did catch a gilmpse of the bus driver who was shaking his head and tapping his watch, needless to say we didnt care!

We arrived in Buenos Aires feeling fresh and ready for what was ahead. We were to go straight to the apartment via the Metro (subway) which was relatively easy however carrying two big rucksacks each through the morning rush hour made the task a thousand times more difficult. The tactic we employed was to get Catha to use her rucksack as a battering ram and then I would follow on behind in the gap which she had created. This worked quite well and eventually we were given enough room to take one of our bags off which was a nice relief, i say relief but when it came to leaving the train Catha got off and someone was stood on one of my bag straps. Needless to say i panicked when the doors started to shut as i was on the train and Catha was on the platform. I somehow managed to free my bag and forced my way through the door. When i was living in London i had often seen people cause the tube to be delayed as they had got caught up in the doors of the tube and i had always smugly uttered under my breath 'bloody tourists'...now i guess that the shoe is on the other foot :D
We arrvied at the apartment to meet our host Jullian and found we had booked an amazing apartent with a great host. We were given the usual talk about the appartment and the area and we were left to fend for ourselves. Jullian had stocked the fridge for us so Catha decided to devour everything in sight! We unpacked our things and headed to the sea front for a walk. After the walk we headed to the shop to replace the groceries that Catha had eaten. In Argentina people eat at around ten in the evening which is quite difficult for me as im ususally heading to bed at this point but we decided to head out and try some of the famous Argentinian beef steaks. We had read a couple of reviews and narrowed the choice to two restaurants, both were quite near the apartment too. We headed to the first restaurant to find that it was really busy so we decided to head to the second restaurant. The second restaurant seemed nice but a little formal, we went inside and were seated. When we opened the menu we discovered that the restarunat wasnt as busy as the first as the price was ridiculously expensive. After looking at the fear in Cathas face which matched mine we tried to make a quick exit before the waiter realised that we had left, this didnt work and we were caught in the act!!! We headed back to the first place and were told we couldnt get a place so we went and had pizza instead!!!

We headed up to Recoleta on the Saturday which is one of the most unique graveyards in the world. When i read about Recoleta i was a little confused as to why you would go to a graveyard to do sight seeing however once i arrived i realised why the graveyard is such an attraction. Recoleta is where the great and good of Argentinia are buried and instead of a gravestone they have plots that Tutankhamum would be proud of. Instead of graves it looked closer to mini mansions. After some good detective work on my part (sheer luck) we found Evitas grave which had a formidable queue around it of people waiting to take pictures.
After the visiting Recoleta Catha went to get a facial and i went to find the National Museum. Both trips didnt go quite to plan as i couldnt find the museum and Catha couldnt travel as the metro wasnt fully operational. Obviously i told Catha that the museum had moved and not that i was in the complete wrong area and Catha told me that the rain had stopped the metro and not that she had got lost and went to the wrong line.
We regrouped back at the apartment and got ready to go to a wine tasting class which Catha had booked for my birthday. When we left the apartment to go to the wine tasting we were both looking very smart and excited about trying some good wines. We were running slighty late but we thought that we would be ok, the heavens had fully opened up at this point so we rapidly turned from looking smart to looking like we had been for a swim in our clothes. It turns out that Catha wasnt lying about the metro not working due to the rain so we couldnt get to the closest station, we were able to get within a mile of were the wine tasting was taking place which meant to doing a mad dash to avoid the rain. We arrived late and looking washed out but luckily the tasting hadnt fully started. We were quickly seated and introduced to the rest of the group. The wine tasting was amazing and the quality of wines on offer was extremely high and the food which was coupled with the wine was excellent too. As we started to dry we got to know the rest of our group which were a group of brilliant people (i have to write this as they may be reading this blog). At the end of the tasting Catha gave me an extra gift and bought me two bottles of the wine that we liked the best, well i say that she bought them for me but im pretty sure that she got them for herself ;) Once the tasting had finished we headed out with everyone and went to a bar around the corner. Obviously we had a few more bottles of wine!!! One of the people we met at the tasting, Tim was holding a promotional event at bar near to where we were and invited us to watch the football there so we arranged to meet everyone there the next day.

Sunday was an improtant day as it was the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. Argentina had been going crazy for the World Cup, when we were walking around the streets days before the final people were whistling and singing their World Cup anthem which is sounds a little bit like a cheesy song you would expect to hear at Butlins but is strangley catchey. Before watching the football we headed out to explore a bit of the city and we seen the mayors palace and walked along the boulevards which looked like they were taken straight from Paris, apparently the design was taken from Paris i was to later learn. The city is quite remakeable and seems to have hidden treasures everywhere you look. We went down to the largest market in Buenos Aires and looked at all of the trinkets on display. We then walked into a food market which was special and we bought a few things too. Catha also bought a dress which she looks beautiful in too (gag).
After the market we set off to watch the football. We arrived early and the bar was already packed but luckily we had some seats reserved for us...high five Tim!!! The Argentinians are passionate about football and we had heard that they wouldnt take kindly to hearing a German cheering. This meant that Catha couldnt cheer when Germany were attacking but as i was sat next to her i could feel her shaking when Germany were attacking. The crowd in the bar were absolutely crazy with alcohol and food were thrown everywhere however when Germany scored the whole bar went deadly silent. I could see that Catha was going crazy inside and i was impressed that she managed to keep herself from going crazy. The match finished soon after and the bar seemed to empty within seconds. I think that Catha fully relaxed then and i could see the look of joy on her face, unfortunatly i will never know that feeling :( When we arrived back at the appartment Catha went mental as she could celebrate the win properly.

We had a lazy start on Monday and headed off to La Boca where there the houses are painted in wonderful colours. We visited Boca Juniors football stadium and generally soaked up the atmostphere and culture. In the evening we decided to finally head out and find a steak. We were recommended a place by someone we had met in Iguazu and their recomendation turned out to be spot on as the food was amazing. We ordered a steak to share between the two of us and after the meal we were both full to bursting point. The meal was amazing but the only downside was that we had eaten too much and couldnt be bothered to walk back home. When we got back i think that we both had the meat sweats and im pretty sure that i fell into a food coma.

Catha had done some research on Buenos Aires and planned a guided tour of the city for me. Admittadly there was free city tours available but the tour the Catha arranged was much better. Basically the tour that she planned did the exact same route as the free tour and the information given was exactly the same too. I would give the tour that Catha did ten out of ten and ive promised to write her a good review on Tripadvisor ;) We had to print off the bus tickets to Puerto Madryn and sort some admin things out so the rest of the day was spent roaming around the city. We decided to head back to the restaurant we went to last night and had some more amazing food.

We left the appartment early on Wednesday as we wanted to arrive at the bus station with a bit of time to spare. We were given a bottle of wine by Jullian as a parting gift. It was an extremly nice gift but the only downside was that we both hadnt packed our bags properly so we didnt have any space. Obviouly i managed to force it into my bag so Catha could drink it later ;) The journey on the Metro to the bus station was quick and easy and we arrived well before our bus only to find that it was delayed by fifty minuites...probably due to some idiots who couldnt print a ticket properly :D

Posted by PEANUTSONTHERUN 12:46 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Busses Southamerica

What a god start to the first long distance travel on a bus...no tickets, not enough spanish skills but at least enough crackers and sweets to survive the next 18 hours ;).
after we found out, that we had to print our tickets by ourselfes everything was sorted and we jumped on the Vi Bariloche Coach a minute after it had already set off to the street corner. The seats are comfortble and you lie nearly flat, the entrtainment is faily ok and the food also (pretty much like a good airline....only ith the bonus that you get unlimited wine....YES!!!)
We got some sleep and had a faily good time o the bus...finally arrived in Bueno Aires in the morning and found a lovely little apartment which e had booked via airbnb. So far for thi quick update! Now we re busy..about to go out for STEAK!!

Posted by PEANUTSONTHERUN 13:33 Archived in Argentina Tagged buenos aires Comments (0)

Rio

Im being forced to write this

sunny 30 °C

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on the blog so here goes...

We arrived into Rio safe and sound after what can only be described as the longest journey ever!!! We arrived into Rio around 7 o´clock in the morning which was quite lucky as the airport was relatively quiet which made catching the bus to the city centre quite easy. The bus jouney was fairly quick as the bus drivers seem to know only one speed which is fast!!!

Upon arriving at the house where we were staying we were greeted by the host, Joao and his cat Freda. Catha immediatly tried to adopt the cat even though i told her that it wasnt allowed as she was basically cheating on her cat back in Germany. The house was nice and located near to the Sugar Loaf. We could also see Christ the Redeemer which was fairly cool too.

After a quick break we headed down to Copacabana beach which was pretty amazing and we had a dip in the water too. Even though it was winter in Brazil the weather was really good. After the beach we had a stroll along the promenade and had a quick bite to eat in a cafe. Whilst in the cafe we seen one of the most famous people in Britain, Adrian Chiles (slight over exageration) but i was too star struck to get a picture.

On the second day we went to the Maracana football stadium which was pretty good and then tried to head to one of the parks on the outskirts of Rio. We caught a bus from the stadium across town to where we thought the park entrance was but for some unknown reason i decided to get off the bus well before i should have done. Luckily we were fairly close which i believe means that i was right in getting off the bus when i did but Catha didnt see it that way!!! We didnt get to go to the park as we couldnt find out where it was...and before anyone comments saying ´how could you miss a big green thing thats three miles wide´it turns out that we were in the wrong place!!! As we couldnt find the park we headed to the Sugar Loaf. The Sugar Loaf was really good although the queue to get the cable car was pretty long and took around two to three hours. Once we got to the front of the queue none other than Ronaldo (fat one) sneaked infront of us and took the cable car which we should have caught. This sent Catha crazy and she complained that Ronaldo should have either joined the back of the queue or had more people in his cable car. Once we got to the top of the Sugar Loaf we couldnt see Rio anyway as the clouds were covering the city!!!

The third day we headed to Christ the Redeemer and it was extremely impressive. It was really quiet too which allowed for some good photos and we were able to spend alot of time sitting aound and enjoying the view. After we visited the statue we headed down to Copacabana beach to the FIFA fan zone. We watched the Germany - France match and the atmosphere was crazy. After the match we left the fan zone as Brazil were facing Colombia soon after. We watched the Brazil match sat on the beach drinking a few cocktails which we bought from the street traders. Once Brazil had won the whole place went crazy and the four kilometre strech of beach had turned into one giant party...needless to say we had a few more cocktails!!!!!

Were heading to Iguacu next and although we are sad to be leaving Rio we are excited for our next adventures....

Posted by PEANUTSONTHERUN 09:15 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

Iguazu Falls...AMAZING

the best shower in the world ;)

So after a couple of days in bustling Rio de Janeiro we were happy to leave to the Iguazu Falls located at the triangle of Paraguay, Brazil an Argentina. Another early start as TAM had changed our afternoon flight to 9am....but hey who cares if we loose a day on copacabana beach....note to self: learning how to complain in Spanish or Portuguese! ;)
The flight to Foz do Iguazu on the Brazilian side was nice nice and easy....not to forget long :) cause the distances here are just triple and more of what they are back home. The first little adventure started when we managed to get on the local bus (we re slowly starting to find out how to use them ;)) which you can imagine like being on the tube for rush hour, with a backpack on your back whilst you re trying to hold your other bag tight and not to fall over when the road raging bus driver randomly stops every ten seconds. After an hour which felt like 2 we made it to our hostel, which was nice and clean, had a chilled day and spoilt ourselfes with dinner at one of the churrascerias (local BBQ). Meat, meat and meat again....and a really happy old guy, trying to cut us a little more meat off the BBQ sticks. ;)
Next day it was raining really heavy all day and we only visited the Park das Aves (Birdpark) so Rob could chase the Tucans there ;). It was a lovely little Park and really worth going there even though we were soaking wet when getting back to the hostel.
After a good sleep and a good breakfast we finally got to see the Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side...another local bus trip again and after getting rid of our backpacks later (we had to store them for the border crossing to Argentina straight afte the Falls) we had 2 tickets and and made our way up to the start of the trails in the Park. I was just so happy when I ve seen all the little Racoons running aroundand coming so close...which rapidly turned out not to be that funnny anymore when you ve got them all over you and they steal your pack lunch...little beasts. (Other tourists and your own boyfriend having a laugh and taking pics of this doesn t really help ). The walk up to the Falls was lovely and you get amazing views of the Falls and we were even lucky an saw rainbows coming up a lot of times. The closer you get the better it gets and soon we could hear the roaring sound of the water. We decided not to waste any money on the raincoats you could buy at every corner and walked straight up to the little bridge that leads rigt in front of the main falls area. We were wet from head to toes but with a big smile on our faces and standing in the middle of a rainbow :D. The Falls are definately woth going and we are amazed about them! After we got changed and another racoon attack we had a little lunch break and caught a bus to get over to Puerto Iguazu, which is the Argentinian side of the falls. It s a lovely little town with nice people, lots of little restaurants and shops and....yes...the first really hot shower!!! :D (which means you can t see your own toesies cause of all the staeam in the tiny room but who cares.)
From here we visited the Argentinian side...which we weren t too happy about. Unfortunately half of the ways were closed so we felt a little disappointed and ripped off about the entrance fees. Still we are happy that we re here. Everyone loves trying their German skills over here...it s so funny and even some Brazilians congratulated us to last nights match!!!!! SCHHHHHHHHHHLLLLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!! We watched the match in a bar with lots of others and I still can t believe it....!!! Now we re crossing our fingers for Argentina tonight! :D Off out to one off the bars soon and hopefully it ll be nother great football night. Come on Argentina!

Posted by PEANUTSONTHERUN 19:09 Comments (1)

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