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Argentina

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Continuing on with our theme of random and illogical backtracking we took one final overnight bus (oh, we’re going to miss them like a Scottish sniper) from Puerto Madryn to Buenos Aires where once again we didn’t bother to stay the night, just sticking around long enough for some port empanadas roughly the same temperature as the back of my knees before catching the ferry over to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. While waiting we experienced, yet again, the curious phenomenon whereby hundreds of people transform from comfortably seated and perfectly content to a long impatient, annoyed and fidgety lineup. All because a handful of morons inevitably decided they had best stand up and rush to the gate 45 minutes before boarding….in case of some unannounced boarding emergency I suppose. At least we were provided with some entertainment in the form of the nervous, twitchy guy in front of Laynni who…

Currently we sit in the wonderful little port town of Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, north across the river from Buenos Aires. We are enjoying all the quaint little cobbletoned streets, the colourful old buildings and, of course, the sublime sunsets over the water. Which we have plenty of time to enjoy since most of the restaurants don’t even open until after our normal bedtime. Since our last entry we have traveled all the way from Puerto Iguazu (further north on the Brazilian border) way down south to Patagonia in the (very nearly) bottom of Argentina, west across into Chile, then back north and east halfway up the coast to Puerto Madryn, then all the way north to Buenos Aires, and then finally here. We flew down, but then took bus after bus, after bus, plus several days of trekking in Torres del Paine National Park, moving on basically every…

If El Chaltén is the hiking capital of Argentina, then Bariloche would have to be the vice-capital. The Biden to their Barack, if you will. Or the Andy to their Conan.  But that is, of course, just when it comes to hiking, and really only by reputation since for our money, what remains of it after nearly a month in Argentina, the backcountry scenery around Bariloche was even more spectacular than that around El Chaltén. The key difference was that around Bariloche you could hike from hut to hut, while in El Chaltén if you wanted to get further afield you needed to camp. But since we aren’t carrying a tent, stove, mats or any other essential camping gear aside from sleeping bags and our trademark hopeful grins, we only got truly back country in Bariloche’s Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi and over the course of our 5 days and 3…

Argentina, the second time around! Okay, now that I’ve gone to great, long-winded lengths to describe Antarctica in such painstaking and inconceivable detail, well, I think I’m kind of going to speed through Argentina – Ushuaia, El Chalten, etc. – glossing over a lot of it and just focusing on the important things, such as meat (i.e. steak) and feet (i.e. hiking). Buenos Aires Even before we headed deep south to that white continent way down there, we spent a night in Buenos Aires, one of my personal favourite cities, although we didn’t have much time to enjoy it properly thanks to the way the whole flight/flight/ship schedule worked out. Just enough time to wander around San Telmo for a while pointing at things and going “Oh, I remember that”, or “I think we ate there once”, or “Look, that dog with the droopy testicle still lives under this bridge”.…

Ah, finally we arrived in Buenos Aires to stay for longer than a couple hours loitering in a ferry terminal or outside the domestic airport among the hot dog vendors, or in the enormous bus station where we had it on good authority that nearly 50% of all passengers did not have anything stolen. But that wasn’t the only good thing we had heard, and in fact the praise was so consistent for this massive, sprawling city – unusual, as cities tend to be universally slagged by backpackers – that we decided to plan ahead and rent an apartment for two weeks at the end of our trip. Partially so we could spend a leisurely amount of time soaking in its reputed ambience, European sophistication and laid-back South American charm, with perhaps just a pinch of meat-induced heart disease for edginess, and partially because living in hotels means having your…

After enduring a technically successful, yet fairly torturous, journey that started in Puerto Natales in southern Chile and ended halfway up the Atlantic Coast of Argentina that included three separate buses and a total travel time of about 28 hours we found ourselves in the fairly large, modern city of Puerto Madryn. It is one of several in this general area that has a strong Welsh history. Am I the only one who finds it strange that the tiny country of Wales, famous mainly for a piece of coal that looks like Kate Moss, has factored more prominently on this trip than “and then we realized we didn’t have any toilet paper”-stories? My apologies. Puerto Madryn’s claim to tourist fame, other than watching Welsh rugby and leaning into the wind, is undoubtedly the large number of surprisingly accessible ocean mammals that congregate along the shores of nearby Peninsula Valdes. Depending…

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