You cannot compare the North of Argentina to the South. They are vastly different beasts.
The people, the landscape and above all the cost of things, are a world apart.
We also were not travelling the same as we had been. For this leg of the journey we were lucky enough to have Nay’s Parents(Grandma and Poppa) with us for 2 out of the 3 weeks we were south. Prior to them saying they were coming, the idea had been to not head too far South. This was not because we didn’t like the cold, we are Northern after all, but because the distances were so huge and the costs vastly above our budget.
With Betty’s far from ‘clean’ record on bus journeys so far, the thought of hundreds of Km’s through the Patagonian steppe with the whiff of a manky bus toilet, didn’t sound like living the dream. Nay’s parents also didn’t come across the world to ride a bus.
Flying seemed to be the only sensible option. The budget was about to be blown out of the water anyway. This was Patagonia and the chances of us coming back to this part of the world were slim.
Anyway hurried research was done and places were added back onto the list, creating a sort of ‘best of’ itinerary. We had talked about slowing it down a couple of notches, however Patagonia was not the time or place. With just over a fortnight to see this vast area, we booked the flights and cracked on.
As Grandma and Poppa headed for a brief and completely unexpected trip to Brazil!, we took our first flight South, to the Argentinian lake district. We had a week or so before meeting back up with them in Bariloche, so we had time to go down to El Bolson only a couple of hours away on the bus.
El Bolson and in particular, La Casona De Odile hostel were places that we could have spent a while. The hostel was one of the nicest we have stayed in. Great people, nice atmosphere and a beautiful big garden complete with swings. The weather was also still on our side, which meant that the garden saw a lot of team Jacques.
Sunshine, swings and a thermos for the Maté. This was how we liked it.
After another brief stay in Bariloche, we picked up Grandma and Poppa and continued south, delving properly into Patagonia.
A babysitter is a luxury, one which we have only had once since we’ve been on the road when uncle Dan Dan was around. This time we had back to back days in El Chalten courtesy of grandma. It turned out to be a great time as El Chalten was the epicentre of Argentinian trekking and we were going to make the most of them, all 25 miles of them.
I don’t know whether it was the unusual strength of the coffee or too much Peppa pig, but they were not just jumping in muddy puddles, but falling in them! Betty still recaps now and again, her version of events, including the ‘man’ that helped them back up again……. ‘Man pick us up!’
Next stop on our grand tour was El Calafate, the nearest town to the most photographed Glacier in South America, Perito Moreno. We were once again relieved of parenting duty for the day and duly went and walked ontop of the glacier for the afternoon.
It was worth every Peso……..And there was a lot of them.
Ushuaia…………Let’s move on.
Nice hotel though.
Grandma’s ‘favorite place’ Trelew, was the jumping off point for the Punta Tombo penguin colony. Lots of penguins going about their business, mainly chilling in their nests or waddling to and from the beach. Again it was worth the long drive, just watch those trouser legs…..…He’s behind you!!!
Continuing the wildlife theme, our taxi driver/tour guide whizzed us up to Peninsula Valdes. This, depending on the time of year is home to the Southern right whale, our and most other peoples sole reason for coming.
Puerto Pirámides is a relaxed little town. It’s the only town on the Peninsula and lives off the whale watching tourists. It was also to be our last stop on our whirlwind Patagonia tour and gave us one of our favourite meals in the south, at Guanaco brew pub. Great recommendation Natalia.
But we’d come for whales and whales was what we were going to see (well hopefully!?).
The conditions on the day were great. Blue skies and no wind. We ended up seeing two pairs of whales, in the same area, both mother’s with their calves. We have had a great few weeks in the south. Not all the places were great though and at times the price of things made Costa Rica look like a bargain and that’s no mean feat let us tell you.
A couple of hours of calm on the water though, watching the whales was a fitting end to the trip.
Poppa, we hope your foot, belly, other foot and your back get better soon……….Oh and we hope you get your phone fixed!
- Mummy – What have you been dreaming about?
- Betty – Cake.
- Mummy – What flavour ice cream would you like?
- Betty – Roast beef.
- Betty – I’m six months!!
- Mummy – No your not your two years old !!
- Betty – I’m two ears and i’ve got crazy hair!!
- Generally saying ‘NO daddy’!
- Jauja ice cream (El Bolson branch) – Best helado in Argentina. Period.
- Blue dollar rate – It’s ridiculous, however without it, it would have given us nightmares.
- The weather – What is going on in the world???
- The Berliner brew pub, Bariloche – Great beer in a town with a lot of beer.
- La Casona De Odile – I know we’ve mentioned it, but it’s great.
- Aerolineas Argentina – We were skeptical. Now we’re not.
- Pablo from Chalten suites – Great customer service in a land where it sometimes doesn’t exist.
- Villa La Angostura – A nice alternative to Bariloche.
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