Monday, October 29, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane....

Well, it's finally over, time to pack the bag for the last time and get on a plane.

I'll do a last blog post when I get home, but thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read about my holiday. I hope it's been entertaining enough!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Porto Seguro and Arraial d´Ajuda

After a day exploring Salvador´s old city and lunching on an excellent Mocequa (a sort of fish stew).

I caught the overnight bus to Porto Seguro. There are some quite nice beaches here and some good views from this town´s historic center.

Good nightlife as well, one of the streets translates as "Alcohol Passage" where you can pick up fruit smoothies with a bit of a kick...

However the plan called for me to only be here for one night and then catch the ferry over to Arraial d´Ajuda. This used to be a playground for the rich and famous - now it´s my playground, not quite rich, and probably more infamous.

I decided to go a bit more upmarket for my last few days and checked into a very hotel with apartments spread over about a square kilometre of grounds and a nice pool.

Here´s the village green.

And this is my morning swim view:

My biggest issue now is: beach or pool. Ah, problems problems...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On the beach - Maceio

It´s a hard life...

Left Maceio last night and I'm now in Salvador - you'll all be happy to hear that it's raining... But it looks like it might clear up soon. I'll be here for a couple of days and then head down the coast a bit more.

Have to be in Rio airport on the 28th for the flight home!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Crossed the border into Brazil a few days ago and flew up to Rio, current plan is to head up to the north of the country and then work my way back here for the flight home in 12 days time. Should get some quality beach time on the trip.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


From a very cold place I flew up to the north of Argentina right on the edge of the Brazilian border to visit the town of Iguazu and the waterfalls that are close by.

I'd booked a boat ride around the falls so after a short bus ride and walk through the park we were picked up by the tour company and taken to the boats.

Once on the boat and fitted out with life jackets we were driven around - and under! - the falls until we were completely soaked.

To dry t out I spent the rest of the day walking around the park snapping photos from all the viewpoints.

Taking the odd photo of the wildlife

and finally getting a shot of Toucan!

More photos can be found here.

I'm now over the border in Brazil and have just discovered how hard it is to book flights online here if you don't have an identity card. What a strange place.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Los Glaciares National Park

The past couple of days I've been in El Calafate visiting Los Glaciares National Park.

A friend of mine had recommended taking two days here, spending the first day on a boat trip around the lake and taking the second day to visit Perito Moreno glacier. The reason being that if you did Perito Moreno first, the rest of the glaciers would be a disappointment.

So the first day we were picked up at the crazy time of 7:15 (after a night in the town in what the hostel staff described as the only party of the year) and taken to the boats.

They looked pretty sturdy, which was quite nice to see as we hit quite a few rather large lumps of ice on the way to see the glaciers.

We visited 3 glaciers on the trip, I won't post all the photos I took here, you can see them all on flickr, but it was quite spectacular.

Some of the glaciers are quite dangerous and we were only allowed to get within 800 meters of them as the entire front can collapse. This one is about 80 meters high and about 4 kilometers wide.

The distance makes it quite hard to appreciate the scale of the thing. We did get very close to some of the other glaciers and even managed to catch some of them calving (quite hard to capture on film, you're always just too late with the camera).

Stopped for lunch at a nice glacial lake and then returned home.

The following day we did something that I think will be one of my highlights of Patagonia. I was initially a bit reluctant to sign up for this tour, I'm starting to get a bit bored of the whole going on excursions thing, but it was more than worth it.

We were picked up a slightly more reasonable time of 8:30 and taken to the base of Perito Moreno glacier.

You can see some people walking on the glacier in this photo which gives you an idea of the size of the thing.

A quick walk through the forest took us to the start of the ice and it was time to strap on the crampons for our turn.

Walking on the ice was absolutely fantastic and the ice is truly beautiful.

After an hour or so walking on the ice we were treated to some whisky with glacial ice cubes!

We took lunch taking care to stay away from the edge of the lake:

and were then taken to the viewing platforms to watch the glacier calving. The noise here is amazing, sounds like thunder with an almost constant sound of cracking and creaking.

You can see more photos of the glacier here.

All in all, an amazing couple of days. Today I'm catching a plane to Iguazu to see what is billed as the second not to miss thing in Argentina, a massive waterfall.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Walking in a winter wonderland...

Today we decided to do a short walk to see Glacier Luis Martial. The day was looking a bit gloomy so we didn't hold out much hope for views.

Started off the walk on what seemed to me to be a cross between a ski slope and a path.

This soon turned into a proper mountain and the weather started to clear up quite nicely. Bit windy though...

Finally reached the base of the glacier. Of course, you can't see it, it's covered in snow, but it's behind that rock formation...

The view back into town is pretty amazing.

However the weather quickly started to close in and it started to snow quite heavily.

So it was a quick run/slide back down the snow to the refugio for some hot soup and mulled wine.

Felt slightly lazy getting the chairlift the rest if the way down...

Off to El Calefate tomorrow for more glacier excitement.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Laguna Esmeralda

A few of us went on a short walk today to visit Laguna Esmeralda, we knew that the lake would be covered in ice and snow so there would not be that much to see of it, what we didn't know was that the path to the lake was pretty much knee deep in mud all the way...

Here's a picture of one of the bogs we had to cross:

But it was all worth it in the end, a nice pleasant place to have lunch and skip stones.

Back down at the bottom of the walk we had time for some interesting coffee and to play with the huskies that are bred there:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Ushuaia - Parque National Tierra Del Fuego

Went for a walk in the local national park, beautiful day. Stopped off at the guard post near the Chilean border and they made us a cup of coffee! Excellent bunch of people.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I am now just about as far south as you can go without getting very cold - the town of Ushuaia.

The trip over her from Chile was quite interesting, we drove along the coast of the Straits of Magellan.

We even got to go for a quick boat trip!

Ushuaia is a surprisingly nice town. We'd got used to these isolated towns in Patagonia being a bit run down and not that nice, but this is very nice place.

There is even a ski-resort down here!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Trekking in Torres Del Paine

We went on a three day trek of the "W" circuit of Torres Del Paine national park.

Started off the morning of the first day a bit earlier than we should have as my alarm clock was still set of Argentinian time which is an hour ahead of Chile... Luckily the hostel owners found it quite amusing and didn't mind too much making us breakfast extra early. There then followed a 3 hour bus ride and then a minibus to our refugio at the start of the trek. Around 11 we set off walking towards the Torres.

It was a tough walk up there with maybe an hour of scrambling up some moraine, but the view was definitely worth it.

It was then a long walk back in the crazy wind to the refugio for a well deserved night's rest to get ready for the next day of walking.

This next day took us past a beautiful lake with a most amazing aquamarine colour.

We stopped at refugio Los Cuernos and sheltered from the wind for the night. After a slightly worrying start the day cleared up nicely and we walked up the center of the W to take a peek at glacier frances.

Quite a few avalanches on the way made this walk quite exciting...

And there was a great view back to the lake.

We then walked onto the next refugio, Pehoe. We got here just in time before the weather closed in and it started to rain.

Fortunately the next day came and the weather held for us so we got to walk for an hour or so up to a mirador to see Glacier Grey.

You can see a few icebergs on the way:

And then you get a pretty good view of the actual glacier:

After a few photos and some chocolate biscuits it was time to head back to the refugio and catch a boat out of the park and a bus back home.

Just in time too, the weather really closed in and it was nice to get back to a nice warm hostel and some decent food...

More photos here.

Tomorrow I'll be catching a bus to Ushuaia, the world's most southernmost city.