Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The final entry: Argentina, Uruguay and Hawaii.

We're getting on a flight home early tomorrow so we're cramming the last few entries together rather than keep writing from home.
Argentina felt like a second home to us. The culture of wine, asado (bbq), socialising and outdoor living really drew us in. Add in some of the most amazing scenery and vibrant cities and we're already longing to go back.
The pics are just a small group to give an impression, it would take for ever to tell the whole story.

Flamingos on a lake somewhere south on the route 40. Excuse the lens spots,  it was snowing.

The Cerro Torre, amazing sight at the end of an equally amazing hike out of El Chalten.

I got a little too close to the lake and paid the price with one very wet boot. Idiot.

Cordero Patagonico, mmmm... our favorite argentine tradition.  Light a fire and roast a whole lamb all day. The taste is unbelievable. 

This is the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the last stable glaciers on the planet. The face is 50m high above the lake and another 120m below, the open section is 2km wide. It's massive and originates way up in the Southern Patagonian ice field. 

Hiking on the Glacier was a surreal experience. The whole world is blue and the serenity is constantly shattered by the sound of huge chunks of the glacier cracking into the lake.

Back on the road, heading north for the first time all year.

Whales playing near Puerto Madryn. They really are that close to the shore.

Magellan penguins saying hi to Laura on Peninsula Valdez.

And into the lakes district. El Bolson was a beautiful little town. This pic sortof captures the feel. What you cant see are the glacial mountains behind, or the incredible food on offer in the market. 

A popular day trip is the 7 lakes route. We spent 4 days doing it, surely you can see why.


We loved Mendoza. This Belgian couple were camping next to us. We hired some bikes and spent a day wine tasting. It was splendid.


Buenos Aires. It looks rough in this pic and apparently its easy to get robbed. We found the city charming,  full of good people,  food and arty, quirky things to do and see. We managed to go out for two great evenings with our friends Matias and Victoria (see Mexico entry). I never knew how good a home-made pastrami sandwich can be.

Market day is a lot of fun.

Token Uruguay pic. We spent a couple of days in Montevideo and then a few more up the coast. We largely forgot to take photos...

Two toucans. Wildlife rehab centre in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. 

Last stop in Argentina,  the Iguazu falls.

So much water, soo many falls, photos cannot capture this place. 

We then motored through Paraguay for two days before flying out to Oahu, HI.

We camped our way around Oahu and had an awesome time. I'm now convinced that in most climates camping is the best way to travel. We woke up right on the most amazing beaches every morning and were able to see and experience the less developed parts of the island. 

This was sunrise at our first campsite in Waimanalo. 

Cool rock formation on a hike we did nearby.

This guy came to visit our next campsite in the North-shore. Also, this spot turned out to be a great secret surf spot. Yep they still exist in Hawaii. 

We hiked up to this crazy mountain ridge. We stopped at the first peak but saw people climbing the one on the right of the shot. The landscape is wild, just jutting vertically out of the sea.

Laura on top of the Mountain. 

Cool shapes.

And I surfed Pipeline! 

That's it, now we're coming home.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Apologies for our tardiness with this entry. We crossed between Argentina and Chile a few times and ended up just having too much fun in Argentina to think about blogs etc.
Anyways, Chile was definitely the most expensive, equally most spectacular and certainly the longest/skinniest country we've visited. We entered in style, bringing with us the first snow to the Atacama desert in 50 years. After getting ourselves and the van back in order we struck south down the Pan American again.
We had to be really choosy with the photos,  there's so many that didn't make it in. Maybe back home over a few drinks if you want to see the lot...

Sully hiding from the snow in San Pedro. After descending out of Bolivia we gave ourselves and the car a little break from the outdoors. 

The Atacama. The desert is huge and rich in copper and minerals. The 120kmh speed limits and great roads are a blessing in the barren landscape.

We've jumped about 2000km here to Valparaiso, a vibrant city with a slightly Melbourne feel. It's incredibly colourful and packed with street art and populated seemingly solely by young hipsters and aging artists.

Looking across the port you can see how colourful the city is.

A little further south in Pucon. This is Volcan Villarica. It's active and you can snowboard on it, cool huh!

Laura snowboarding. We had a ripper first day but the weather soured after that. Laura still picked up a heap though... can't wait for next season.

This is Cucao near the national park on the island of Chiloe. The island is really rural and rugged. The people are largely indigenous and live quite traditionally. The climate can be brutal, we experienced our first proper rainstorm for the trip in Ancud further north. Really remote feeling area to travel, especially on the Pacific side. We also met a couple of aussies here who travelled with us for the next week or so. Now they own sully (the van) funnily enough.

Sunrise from our campsite.

This is just built on a local farmer's property. You have to visit him to ask for the key and then hike for miles through gorgeous (tthoughmuddy) fields full of cattle to arrive. The views were amazing the whole way.

Dawn over Volcan Chaiten. This is the ferry port from Chiloe but the town is only just beginning to be inhabited again after an eruption in 2008 (maybe 2009, can't remember). Here we started our adventure down the carretera austral.

Driving to "the Fu", as us and the other Aussies dubbed it. None of us could pronounce the ridiculous name or remember it. For us this is where the real Patagonia seemed to start.

Hanging glaciers, waterfalls,  coloured lakes, crystal clear rivers, yep you're in Patagonia. This is in the Queulat national park. 

Trying to get out of Coyhaique. After 3 attempts and a week stuck there we finally managed to get to Cerro Castillo. Later we bought snow chains... which we never needed again.

Puerto tranquilo on the shore of lago General Carrera. We spent several days staying around the lake, it was a really beautiful time; so remote and tranquil, just surrounded by views like this.

La Capilla, centrepoint of the marble caves on the lake. The rock and caves are smooth marble and swirl with colour. The crystal clear water really adds to the impact as well. The local boat driver had no qualms driving right into the caves.

Last stop on the lake (and for this section of Chile) at Terra Luna lodge. Really nice spot to camp, maybe even our favorite in Chile.

After a couple of weeks in Argentina we returned to Chile to do the w trek and see the Torres del Paine national park. The customs official took the feather off our aerial which had come all the way from California! I think he was having a bad day. This is the towers at the top of the first leg of the w.

We camped up at the towers camp for the first night. It was super cold and only a handful of hikers camped here as snow was still on much of the site. We had incredible weather for the hike and the trails were really quiet. It was a great time to go as all the rivers are full and the peaks are still snow capped on all the ranges.

The view from the top. This is the Mirador above the Valle de los Frances.

On the trail. The entire hike is really beautiful, not just the miradors and famous sights.

A shy Puma. He was really close at first but went to hide behind the tree while we fumbled with the camera.

Back in Puerto Natales. This was a significant point as it was the end of our southward journey. After crossing back to Argentina we turned north for the first time this year.

Now here we are in Buenos Aires with so many stories from our time in Argentina. We'll have to get cracking on the next post to get it done before we leave the continent.