A Travellerspoint blog

Puerto Madryn

Whale watching from Peninsula Vares

sunny 26 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

25th October
After catching up with my blog and a bit of forward planning, I catch an executive bus for 19 hours direction Puerto Madryn. I do not skimp on bus travel as it really is not worth it and I need to manage my back. So very confortable bus although revolting food. Note to self for future, prepare sandwiches :) Landscape is totally flat with shrubs barely a metre high all the way, not really a lot to look at for 19 hrs!

26th October
After a reasonable night sleep, I arrive at Puerto Madryn and check into my hostel, super hostel run by french people so lots of french people stay there and the breakfast is excellent, the guy makes his own bread and cakes every morning!
In the evening I take a walk along the promenade, there is a group of people with lots of dogs to be adopted. I watch the sunset which is beautiful beyond the buildings.
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27th October
Up at 5.45am, to take the local bus at 6.30 for the 1hr drive to the Peninsula Vares. Getting off the bus, I start chatting to a young couple (french/spanish) and we go and check out the boat tours. As it is a little windy we are advised to wait till 12 when it will be calmer. So we take a walk along the beach and see the morning boats out. With the binoculars we can see the whales jumping and showing their tail. We are quite far but the people on the boat are really close and are getting a real performance. When it is our turn, the whales are much calmer. We follow a mother and baby but she just shows herselp a little but we hardly see her tail. It is really difficult to photograph as the boat is moving a lot, the whales doesn't stay up very long and she is almost the same colour as the water. So all in all, great to have been able to see some whales but a little frustrating to have listened to the tour lady and not gone on the first tour, especially having been up so early! Never mind you can't win them all!

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I took a picture of a postcard to show you what it is meant to look like with a good camera and on a good day :)

28th October
AM catching up with blog and I take another very long bus (22 hrs) to El Calafate in the South Patagania to see some glaciers. :)

Posted by Lifeis4living 14:28 Archived in Argentina Tagged english Comments (0)

La ville de Buenos Aires

Le Paris de l'Amerique du Sud

sunny 38 °C
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J'aterris à Buenos Aires sans problème et après 50 mins d'attente pour prendre mon sac (ça devait être l'heure de la sieste) je monte dans un taxi. L'auberge où j'ai réservé m'a dit que cela devrait coûter de 50 à 80 pesos (5kms seulement). Quand je lui demande combien car je vois qu'il n'a pas de compteur, il me dit 180 pesos. Alors je lui dis de s'arrêter et je prends ma valise et refais les 50m jusqu'à l'aéroport où je me retrouve près du bus. Il y a une hôtesse de l'air qui parle anglais et elle me dit de prendre le 2ème bus et après mon auberge est à 4 rues. Ça me va
A car le bus ne coûte que 20 pesos. Malheureusement ils ne prennent pas d'espèce mais seulement une carte pré-payée. Comme je n'en ai pas elle me dit de donner 20 pesos à un passager et il pourra me faire passer. C'est bon. Mon bus arrive et il n'a personne dedans et personne d'autre ne monte! L'intendant explique mon problème au conducteur qui me dit de monter. J'ai donc mon bus privé pour tout le trajet gratuitement car il ne veut même pas le pourboire que j'essaye de lui donner! Les 4 rues sont plutôt 14 mais c.est la vie.

21 Octobre
Après le petit déjeuner, une jeune allemande, Olga, me propose une promenade dans la ville. Nous prenons le métro (bondé à toutes les heures) et visitons le quartier de San Telmo. Plein d'antiquités françaises, cafés, j'ai même trouvé une crêperie bretonne malheureusement c'était juste après mangé. Ensuite je change mes dollars (que j'avais amené) au noir car le taux est beaucoup plus intéressant. J'ai fait ça a l'arrière d'un kiosque à journaux sans problème.

Le lendemain et jeudi nous joinions les tours gratuits de marche dans 2 coins de la ville avec un guide. Toute trace de la colonisation a été détruite et remplacé par des imitations d'architecture européenne et particulièrement parisienne mais en plus grand et plus haut. Dans le centre de Paris apparemment il n'y a pas de maison plus haute que 4 étages. A BA ils on bâtis le même style mais à 8 ou 10 étages.

Je visite aussi le cimetière où est enterrée Évita Peron (c.est le 2ème mausolée au monde après le Père Lachaise), la cathédrale est construite sur le modèle du Panthéon. C'est vraiment très bizarre.

Je voulais voir et apprendre à danser le tango puisque c'est la capitale du tango mais je ne voulais pas voir un truc pour touristes et ne voulais pas non plus aller la nuit dans le quartier connu pour cela car c'est plus dangereux la nuit. Mais j'ai du pot car à deux portes de mon auberge il y a des cours de danses tous les soirs. C'est exactement la même chose que je fais en Angleterre mais c'est du tango et de la salsa plutôt que du rock alors j'y vais de soirs durant et c'était tres chouette. Je danse le tango et le salsa avec les gens du coin.

samedi midi, je quitte Buenos Aires et prend un bus (luxe) pour 19 heures qui m'amènera à Puerto Madryn où je vais aller voir des balai es de près.

Voyez les photos sur le blog anglais et dans la gallérie.

Posted by Lifeis4living 22:22 Archived in Argentina Tagged french Comments (0)

Buenos Aires

Interesting city with a mishmash of architecture

sunny 35 °C
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21st October
Uneventful flight (as you want them to be) from Iguacu to BA. I was told by my hostel in BA that the domestic airport is only 5kms from hostel and the taxi should be between AR$50 and AR$80, so I collect my luggage (50 minutes wait by the carousel - must be siesta time!) and jump into a taxi who starts driving off before I asked for a price (I notice no meter), he says AR$180 which is obviously his gringo price so I ask him to stop. As my luggage is on the front seat next to him, I am careful to leave the back door open until I have collected my bag at the front before letting him go.
I walk back a few yards towards the airport and arrive by the buses. There is an air hostess who speaks English and I show her where I have to go and she chats to the bus attendant and says if I take the following bus to Pacifico, my hostel is just 4 blocks from there and the bus is AR$20. Sounds perfect to me. The only problem is that you cannot pay cash on the bus, only with a prepaid card. I obviously don't have one as I have just landed so she and the attendant suggest that I give AR$20 to another passenger who can scan me in. All fine apart from one thing. When the bus arrives I am the only one on it! The bus attendant explains my situation to the driver (a lovely Peruvian man) and he said come along for free! So I end up with my own private bus ride to the stop. I try to give him a tip but he refuses. What a lovely man!

It is midday and very hot, and my 4 blocks turned out to be more like 12! As I get off the bus and walk across the street, I notice a young guy who was sitting by the traffic light. As soon as I cross he gets up and cross too. I immediately senses that he is actually following me so I slow right down and he walks into a shop. I carry on and he's right back out again behind me. As there is no more shops but a big wall, I slow right down again and pretend to talk to a lady next to me so he has no choice but to pass me. I let him walk far and cross the road. He doesn't bother me again.

22nd October
After breakfast, I go out for a walk with Olga, a young german girl from the hostel. We take the metro and visit the San Telmo area. Lovely place during the day with lots of antique/vintage shops, restaurants, etc. Lots of french cafés, we could be in any European city. I find a creperie with Breton people running it! Unfortunately we had just eaten :( We also get lost around La Boca area which is a little run down, you know you're lost when there are no tourists arounds :) Eventually take a bus (buses in BA are very complicated to understand, fortunately the people are very nice and always willing to help) and get to Florida street which is where everyone change their money at the 'blue dollar rate' as the ATM gives you terrible exchange rate. Olga had a contact there so we go to him. It's basically a newsagent stand with a tiny area at the back. So I change some dollards which I brought with me and get my pesos at 1-14 as opposed to the official 1-8.

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23rd October
Up late and Olga and I decide to take the free pm walking tour of the city. Our guide is very good and knowledgeable. BA has nothing left from the colonial time, everything has been wiped out and the city has been rebuilt with a clear European feel. They call it the Paris of South America. It is a real mishmash of architechtural styles. Our guide tells us that they have taken a lot of ideas from Paris but change it. For example in Paris centre no buildings are more than 4 storeys high so here they copy the style but make it taller. There is art deco, modern, renaissance all in the same street corner.
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We visit the Cafe Tortoni, the oldest cafe in South America which dates back to 1958. There is a huge representation of Evita Peron on a building showing her talking to the people. Married to General Peron, she was first lady for a while and worked for many causes for women and children. She was very much loved by the people of BA and when she found out she was diognised with a terminal illness, she made a speach from the balcony of the Pink House (president house) telling the people that she would not be able to carry on working for her causes, etc. she was very moved by the reaction of the crowd who loved her so much and turned to her husband and starting crying. This is where the song 'Don't cry for me Argentina' comes from.
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I wanted to see a Tango show but not one put on for tourist and just a block away from our hostel, every night there is dancing by the locals. Exactly like I do ceroc at home, you can join the classes, so we go along and learn a bit of tango.

24th October
This time we do the morning walking tour which takes us to a different area with the same guide. There are beautiful parks with huge gum trees, we see the opera house, a statue of San Martin, considered to be the father of independance for South America, a clock tower donated by the British and finish at the Recoleta cemetary which is the 2nd largest mausoleum in the world after Pierre Lachaise in Paris. Impressive, this is where all the rich and important people are burried and this is also where Evita is burried.
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BA is an expensive city and I soon realise that I have not brought enough dollars for my whole trip to Argentina. I am told by some guys in the hostel that there is a site called Azimo which let's you send money from your account and converts it into pesos at a good rate and you just have to pick it up at a specific point in the city. So I decide to do this and after a very lengthy exercise not helpled by show wifi I managed to registered and do all that is need. Now I just need to collect the money, so after the end of our tour, Olga goes off to do some shopping and I get on the bus to the address where I need to collect. Very dodgy area of BA! I am lucky on the bus, I find a lady married to a french guy who explains where to get off the bus. I evenutally find this place, a kind of mini post office kiosk inside a gallery in a really dodgy area. I am collecting probably more than most of these people make in a month! I can't wait to get out of there, with my money split between my bag and money belt, I try to appear and walk more confidently than I really feel. Eventually I find the right bus and make it back to the more affluent area of Palmero where I am staying. Feww!

Olga has left this evening so I decide to go back to the dance classes round the corner on my own, tonight they do tango and cuban salsa classes, great fun! :)
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Posted by Lifeis4living 21:22 Archived in Argentina Tagged english Comments (0)

Les chutes d'Iguacu - Côté argentin

On se mouille dans le bateau

sunny 29 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

LEncore une belle journée alors on va faire le côté argentin des chutes.

C'est très differents car on est beaucoup plus près des chuttes. Erica et moi faisons le tour en bateau qui nous emmène complètement sous les chuttes donc nous sommes complètement mouillés. Heureusement j'ai mis mon bikini et laïciser mes habits au sec.

On essaie de manger en essayant d'eviter les caïman qui veulent chercher notre nourriture et ensuite nous faisons les 3 kms de marche à travers la jungle pour arriver à une chutte où nous pouvons nous baigner. C'est très agréable et rafraîchissant. Nous ne voyons que des papillons, singes, fourmis géantes et un espèce de gros rat mais sans queue.

Regardez les photos dans le blog anglais et dans la gallerie.

Posted by Lifeis4living 00:10 Archived in Argentina Tagged french Comments (0)

Iguacu Falls - Argentinian side

Boat trip under falls

sunny 28 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

20th October
I believe the Argentinian weather forecast as much as I believe the Brazilian bus timetable. We were told today would be 80% chance of rain all day - turned out not a drop and lovely sunshine!

So we're off to see more waterfalls. This time we are much closer to the falls, we follow a couple of trails and Erica and I take the boat trip which takes us underneath the falls where we obviously get completely soaked. I did now about this though so stripped to bikini and leave clothes and bag with Chris onshore. Great fun under the falls.
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We grab a quick lunch trying to avoid all the caimans who want to share it with us and in the afternoon, we walk the 3km trail to a smaller water fall where you can swim. It is very hot, the signs say to look out for dangerous animals but all we see are lots of butterflies, some monkeys, very large ants and some kind of rodent. When we get to the fall, we jump in. So refreshing and lovely, I could have stayed an hour in the water!
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Back at hostel, we play cards after dinner with other backpackers, there's a young French guy who works at the hostel to get free food and lodging. As a challenge, he cut his credit card and travels by hitch hiking and working his way. He plans to hitch hike to Buenos Aires and then get job on a boat that will take him back to Europe. Not sure if that's brave or mad!

I think I've seen enough waterfalls for a bit (a little bit like the Asian temples after a while :) Time to pack my bag, tomorrow I fly to Buenos Aires.

Posted by Lifeis4living 23:00 Archived in Argentina Tagged english Comments (1)

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