We are management consultants from San Francisco. We travel a whole lot for work, but that is nowhere near as much fun as traveling together to countries we have always wanted to visit.
We embarked on a 3 month trip around the Asia Pacific in 2012, and used this blog to post pictures and (some) comments for friends and family that want to follow our travels, including our 2-3 week trip around India in an auto-rickshaw!
Nearly a year from our 3 month trip, we have again hit the road for a "de-toxing" trip into the mountains and valleys of Patagonia in Argentina and Chile...
March 2nd 2013
Following our break in El Calafate we headed west to Chile and the famous Torres del Paine national park. We got picked up by our bus at 5am. The trip across the border was loaded with vast arid landscapes speckled with occasional sitings of rhea (large ostrich like birds) and guancos (wild llamas). After ~6 hrs of driving with occasional bathroom breaks and view stops (one of which we saw the "devil horns", a pair of brown/grey peaks with black tips), we finally reached our destination...the Torres del Paine National Park. Due to many years of consulting, we have become lodging snobs and choose to stay at the Las Torres hotel (instead of camping!). The hotel is perfectly situated for the 9km Torres del Paine hike and makes for a great starting point. The next day ... read more
February 27th 2013
After the intense hiking we did in El Chalten, and before we got into more of the same in Chile, we took a few days to recuperate in the town of El Calafate and per Craig Lan's suggestion to allow Chris time to shave. The town was small but huge compared to El Chalten (Population 600). It is the "jumping off" point for the Argentinian side of Patagonia so there was no shortage of tourists, souvenior shops and credit card machines. Overall it was a great town with good food and good views of the water. However, with all the tourists the town restaurants have colluded to charge a "utensil" fee per person at 1-3 USD per person. During our stay in El Calafate we took a boat trip out to the Perito Moreno glacier (~ ... read more
February 24th 2013
After Ushuaia, we heading to Argentina's unofficial "Capital of Treking", El Chalten. El Chalten is the newest city in the whole country and with ~600 people, its easy to believe. The town is situated right at the base of the Andes and at the Northern tip of the Glacier National Park. This makes it perfect for hiking, glacier walks, and rock climbing. Our focus was on the hiking and we spent our time here doing several of the more intense hikes. The first was to see Laguna Torres, a lake situated by a glacier and a massive stone peak - Cerro Torres. The hike was long (24 km round trip) and with gradual inclines. We went through a variety of landscapes, from arrid valleys, forests to river beds. The second hike was to see the famous ... read more
February 20th 2013
After soaking in the sun up North in Iguazu, we headed down to what was once known as the "end of the world", the city of Ushuaia. Ushuaia is located in Tierra del Fuego, the most southern inhabitable island in the world. Upon landing in Ushuaia we busted out our jackets as the temp was ~40-50 degrees F. Ushuaia is typically used as a launching pad for Antartic cruises so the city itself felt like a nice small ski town with the main focus on tourism. Right outside the city is the Tierra del Fuego national park which stretches along the length of the island. We spent the first full day here hiking around the park (including taking a relaxing rafting trip around the bay) and the second full day taking a cruise around the Beagle ... read more
February 17th 2013
We left Buenos Aires and flew directly to Iguazu Falls. Initally we planned on seeing both the Argentinian and Brazilian side of the falls, however, the Brazilian embassy in SF was nice enough to put Chris on a 30 day waitlist for a visa appointment (despite their being only 1 person in line when he visited). Despite the lack of a 360 degree view of the falls, the Argentinian side was still spectacular. We stayed right in the park (thank you SPG points!!) which meant we pretty much rolled out of bed and into the falls. We spent 2 days exploring both the lower and upper falls and then the 3rd day taking a jet boat trip pretty much right up to the falls themselves, getting thoroughly drenched in the process. On a previous trip, we ... read more
February 15th 2013
We started our Argentina/Chile adventure in Buenos Aires on Feb 15th. After experiencing Chicago's beautiful snowy 25 degree weather, we were a tad shocked to be hit with the 90+ degree tempurature in BA. We spent our 2 days here walking around the city, enjoying the antique shops in the neighborhood of San Telmo, time worn mausoleums at the Recoleta cemetery (where all the rich BA folks throughout history spend eternity), and the wonderful Italian food (as vegetarians we needed to find a substitute for the mounds of steak the city offers). Overall BA was a typical "big city" and although fun for a day or two, we were excited to move on to other things... read more
May 8th 2012
Our last destination on this long trip was New Zealand’s North Island. We flew into Auckland from Queenstown and drove down to Rotorua. Although there was significantly more traffic and the scenery was not as picturesque as the South Island, it was still fun to see the vast pastor lands and many, many sheep (and even a few cows). Once we reached Rotorua we were greeted with the wonderful smell of sulphur from the geothermic hot springs and mud pools. We walked around the beautiful Waimangu volcanic valley, the landscape created by the geo-thermal system was such that we would not have been too surprised if a brontosaurus popped its head above the dense foliage. We also stopped by the Wai-O-Tapu thermal area to see the bubbling mud pools. The next day we drove to Waitomo ... read more
May 5th 2012
We spent most of Friday May 4 on our drive from Queenstown to Fox Glacier. The ~360 km drive was stunning and passed through many national parks and mountain passes and we took our time as we stopped at multiple locations to enjoy the views, and of course, get pictures. We reached Fox Glacier just before sunset and caught some great views of the last light along the monutains by Lake Matheson, which we later found out was created by Fox Glacier when it extended all the way to the valley nearly 10,000 years ago. We woke up early (today) for our glacier walk, both excited and a little nervous. The walk was amazing, starting with a short hike up to the face of the glacier, and then onto the glacier itself. New Zealand is one ... read more
May 3rd 2012
We reached Queenstown, our first destination in New Zealand, on the afternoon of May 2. After the last few days of touristy hustle and bustle in the relatively bigger cities of Australia, it was a welcome change to walk around this quaint little valley town surrounded by mountains and lakes. We walked around the city center, grabbing veggie burgers for lunch, souvenir window shopping and taking in the beautiful lake front. The next day we took an early morning coach-ferry-coach tour out to Milford Sounds - an amazingly beautiful area on the lower western coast of the island. The drive out to the sounds was phenomenal. Some online guides rank the drive as one of the 10 most beautiful drives in the world, and we could definitely see why. We passed vast mountain ranges (one was ... read more
May 1st 2012
Our first day in Sydney was spent meandering around the city. Highlights from the day were walking through the botanical gardens and seeing the birds (parrots, cockatoo, cockateils were all in abundance) and other wildlife (i.e., bats). We then went to Sydney's two most famous landmarks, the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. We spent our second day outside the city hiking the Blue Mountain National Park. The mountains are named after the blue hue from the vast forrests of eucalyptus trees in the valley. The hike was amazing but brutal, needless to say we were happy to be done (we thusly celebrated with ice cream and potato chips for lunch). Also within the valley are the 3 sister peaks. The story goes that three aboriginal sisters were doing things they weren't suppose to (these things ... read more