South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires February 21st 2011

We have arrived! Our hotel in Buenos Aires is in the neighborhood of the city called Palermo Viejo, which is actually made up of two smaller sections called Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood. Our hotel, the Hotel Home, is in the latter section. It's kind of got a Bucktown meets River West feel - it's trendy, but still very urban (graffiti included), and has many small bars, cafes, and boutiques. It is quiet here during the day. The hotel is cute, contemporary / minimalist, and environmentally conscious. We like it enough to call it 'Home' for the next few days. We had a really rough start this morning, tears included. Before heading out for a day of sightseeing, I wanted to back our pictures from Uruguay up on the iPad. I asked for Eric's help and ... read more

South America » Uruguay » West » Carmelo February 20th 2011

Last day in Uruguay. It was nice to sleep in today. We had planned to go kayaking, but cancelled in favor of sleep and shade, both of which are needed. We ate breakfast and headed to the pool. We are both pretty burnt from yesterday- the sun here is HOT - so we sat under umbrellas. I finally finished my book and Eric worked on the Big Short. The pool got hot so we went to the gym and packed up. Basically a day of GTL for those of you who are enamored with Jersey Shore. We grabbed a quick lunch and headed back to Colonia to catch the Buquebus Boat. I'm still not sure why its not called BuqueBoat instead of BuqueBus, but whatever. For such a pretty place, it is unfortunate that the water ... read more

South America » Uruguay » West » Carmelo February 19th 2011

We woke up Saturday morning relatively well rested. Our room rate includes breakfast, so we head towards the restaurant for what we expect would be your standard continental breakfast. Nope. It was a massive spread of local meats, cheeses, Narbona yogurts, breads and pastries, cereal, fresh fruit, bacon, eggs, etc. Yum. We enjoyed it thoroughly and then caught a ride to La Tierra de Caballos for some horseback riding. Eric and I were the only two on the trail ride, which was led by an authentic-looking gaucho who tried earnestly to communicate with us. My horse had a mind of its own, generally ignoring my directions to stay in line and out of the thorny trees and bushes. Eric's horse had a, como se dice?, gas problem. We both laughed at that one... Thankfully my horse ... read more

South America » Uruguay » West » Carmelo February 18th 2011

Today was a really long day. We got in to Santiago at about 2 am and tried to sleep a few hours in the airport before our 7 am flight to Buenos Aires. When we got there, we hopped in a cab with a very friendly can driver named Omar. He and Eric quickly got into a broken English/Spanish exchange about Argentinians in American sports. Omar drove us through what seemed to be the Bs As ghetto to the BuqueBus terminal where we would catch a ferry to Colonia, Uruguay. The ferry is huge, like a small cruise ship. It takes about an hour to get to Colonia, where we met our driver, Juan, who drove us to our hotel in Carmelo, a town of roughly 17,000 in the Uruguayan countryside. We splurged and stayed at ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 17th 2011

Today is our travel day. We said goodbye to our new friends last night (they are hiking and kayaking Tierra del Fuego for the next week) and to Daniel this morning. We have a long drive back to Punta Arenas, a late flight and overnight in the Santiago airport, and then an early morning flight to Buenos Aires... We end up biding our time in Punta Arenas - Eric at the casino and me at the spa. :) Hasta manana.... read more

South America February 16th 2011

On Wednesday, we got to sleep in a little bit. Breakfast was as usual at EcoCamp - pancakes that are more like crepes with jelly and butter , some cereal that reminds me of cocoa puffs, granola, eggs, etc. Really good! We needed a solid breakfast today for the long trek to see the famous torres del paine. Daniel warned about the terrain - 1.5 hours uphill on the start + 2 hours of hills in the forest + another 45 minutes or so of really steep terrain. Luckily, the first third of the trail was so compacted it was almost like pavement; this made it much easier on tired legs. The trail was dry and dusty. As we were passed by gauchos on horseback, Jessica and I wished aloud for our own caballos (horses)... We ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 15th 2011

On Tuesday we were up early for our hike from Lake Pehoe to Lake Grey.  The hike was a measly 11 km so we were looking forward to it after our insane hike the day before.  It took us about 4 hours to complete the hike, which was mostly through a valley and some forest.  It was relatively flat compared to the French Valley, but harder than we and our sore feet, ankles, knees, and hips had anticipated. We had lunch at Lake Grey and waited for a boat to arrive to take us to see Grey Glacier and then to bring us back to the landing.  There was a natural landing for the boat's dingy, so we hopped in and boarded the bigger boat.  Seeing pieces of glacial ice floating in the water got us ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 14th 2011

We were up early this morning to begin our first trek, during which we will complete most of the W Circuit. We took the coach to a port on Lake Pehoe (pay-ho-ay) and took an hour long ferry across.  The lake is a beautiful milky blue glacier lake.  Its like nothing I have ever seen before and, I'm sure, quite cold.  We were served hot chocolate and cookies, an unexpected but welcome treat. We dropped our dry bags (with toiletries and clothes for the next day) off at the Refugio (hostel) on the other side of the lake and started hiking the Valle Frances (French Valley); it is our guide's favorite trek - it was HARD.    We hiked 19 kilometers - much of which was steep - in the Patagonian mountainside.  It was amazing.  Because of ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 13th 2011

This morning we woke up well rested, despite sleeping in a hot room with a leaky ceiling.  I cannot be underestimate how happy we were, however, to have had a comfy bed and a hot shower after travelling on a plane (actually five planes) for more than a day. We woke up this morning excited to begin our adventure, which started with a search for water.  Being nervous to get sick before the trek, bottled water was key.  Much to our dismay, the entire tiny town of Punta Arenas apparently sleeps in on Sundays (or observes Sunday as a Holy day) - none of the stores were open!  We took a walk down by the water and headed back to the hotel for an unimpressive breakfast of plums, warm yogurt, watered down juice, etc.  Eric managed ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 12th 2011

Wow, we're finally here - 6,643 miles later! We had a luggage scare in Santiago and a broken seat on our long flight but other than that the trip was smooth. We arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile around 7:30 pm and checked into the Hotel Plaza, which is right on the main square in town and about 3 blocks to the ocean. Using the little Spanish we know, we actually found a great local restaurant called Puerto Viejo. We shared empanaditos, Eric had bife a la parilla (think Las Tablas or Tango Sur ), and I had a really cheesy but good lasagna bolognese. We tried some local drinks - a Patagonia beer called Austral and a pisco sour (kind of like a vodka sour, but (as we later found out) with egg whites in it) ... read more

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