In 2015-16 we took 6 months off from normal life and travelled three quarters of the Pacific rim, from Alaska to Australia. Now we continue our adventures against the back drop of day jobs, still trying to see as much of this world as possible.
I often forget to blog when we are away, so I take notes, and hope one day to get round to filling you in on our adventures.
R: The next morning it was time so say our goodbyes and head off. I was booked on a flight from El Calafate airport in the early afternoon which required an early start. The tour company had told me that the could take me to the airport but it wouldn't be till later in the day, so I had booked my own minibus transfer. I was considering the public bus but my prior experience with Argentinian public transport told me that I didn't want to leave this to chance. I was sat in the kitchen with some of the other people from the tour, when suddenly the driver showed up early! Without saying full goodbyes to all, I was whisked away. The minibus went round and around the town picking up people before making the 3 ... read more
R: It feels a bit odd to be writing this during the coronavirus lockdown, but it makes me glad that I've been able to do this trip, and to think about all the things I may be able to do after it all ends. Anyway. This was the big one - the last full day of the organised part of the trip. This was the longest walk of the trip - 20km in total over steep ground in places - some of us had been looking forward to it, some had been dreading it. We had been told the night before to go and find sustenance for the day which I should really have done the day before, but I was on a long walk, so I didn't get time! I headed to a small supermarket ... read more
R: Next morning it was up early again - quite a long drive this morning. First, I took a trip up to the town viewpoint to take in the town from an abandoned old fort that sits above a kids play park. I was accompanied by fellow Brit Michelle who wanted to see the city too. It was a short steep climb and the views over to the lake and the mountains beyond were good. It was my sister's 18th birthday today, so I sat outside briefly and recorded her a birthday message before hopping on the bus. We were heading to El Chaltén which is the heart of the national park area. We stopped first at a very crowded "ranch" which seemed to do a brisk trade in terrible coffee, fridge magnets and hiking maps. ... read more
R: Today was the day we were off to Perito Moreno glacier. It is in the Los Glaciares National Park which is about an hour drive from El Calafate, which we did on the bus. Breakfast at the new hostel was a bit underwhelming, but we survived! Scambled eggs, Dulce du Leche pancakes and strong coffee - not much not to like really! We went the long way to the national park which is easily accessed by road from Calafate, but the route took us via Lago Argentino (the largest lake in Argentina) and various viewpoints to see hares, herds of vicuna and birds along the way. We stopped at an Estancia (ranch) along the way which was appreciating the tourist custom. Earning a living from cattle is hard in this area now so they have ... read more
R: So up until now you will have noticed most of my photos have been rather grey looking. The weather in Chilean Patagonia had had moments of brilliance (such as walking down from the Mirador las Torres - which was fantastic), but the weather generally comes in off the pacific and hits the mountain ranges and is generally much better in Argentina. This is where we were going next. First we had to pack up camp - Chef had made eggs and bacon again - there was so much of this that I was starting to feel that no matter how much exercise I did, it wouldn't burn all this off. It also went perfectly with the hot sauce! The tents came down and we packed up - thankfully it wasn't raining this morning. As we ... read more
R: Today was a day of multiple walks. The weather was only slightly better than yesterday and was still cold and windy. We were heading to Lago Grey today, so after much the same breakfast as yesterday, we boarded the bus and were on our way. It was about 40 minutes to get to Grey ranger station where there is also a visitor centre. The group had been split today as many people who were not used to hiking had decided to go for the easy walk option around the lake. Me? Well, no. I went in the advanced party of 4 who went to tackle the Ferrier lookout. We were promised amazing views over numerous lakes, and a very steep climb! We set off from the visitors centre with our guide Mauricio, Sergio (the Swiss ... read more
R: Today was our first big walk. With alarms set to 6am, we were up and moving. Chef had prepared us a huge breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon with toast, accompanied by yoghurts and much strong coffee in a large kettle which was resting in the camp fire. For the next few days we would be provided with lunch options before we set off for hikes and a table had been set up in one of the lean-to shelters on the campsite with bread rolls, sliced meat, cheese, salad and huge bowls of smashed avocados and mayonnaise - a make your own sandwich buffet. Plus trail mix, chocolate and fruit. The amount of avocados in the bowl in the UK would have cost about £30 - but in South America, it was probably a much ... read more
The next morning we were up early and out. It was raining quite a bit now so heading into the national park seemed a bit flat. But people were still enthusiastic so that was good. We travelled on a bright yellow, private overland vehicle. My sub-section of the group ended up at the "party" end of the bus which had train style tables and access to the music and USB ports. The bus came equipped with UNO and various other card games so we whiled away a few hours playing games, and getting to know each other. The bus was really comfy for long journeys however it did have little in the way of heating so the windows misted up with the rain beating against them so it was hard to see out. We stopped at ... read more
R: So this blog is going to be a bit of a slow burner. I also forgot to mention - I found a Hindu temple in Punta Arenas - who knew? The next day started with a 6am start. Kevin from Canada, who I had sat with last night was conspicuously absent - he had swapped his steak for a crab lasagne last night with someone else who had ordered wrongly - turns out it was poison! So not a good start for the group as we were down one already. We were supposed to be heading out to an island where there was a penguin colony to see. However, the weather was against us (apparently). Although it seemed quite calm in Punta Arenas, apparently there was plenty of wind over at the island and the ... read more
R: So it has taken me a while to get round to the blog for this with Christmas in the way, but I took a lot of notes when I was away on this trip so I hope I can re-create the experience for you. The next 10 days was going to be a whirlwind trip to Patagonia - somewhere we failed to get to on our world trip. This time I was travelling solo (being in term time so Cate couldn't join, plus it involved a lot of hiking, which Cate is not a fan of). So on Friday 1st November, I headed to Heathrow after work, rucksack packed, seemingly with too much stuff for my 10 day trip. I would be camping on this trip so there was more to think about than on ... read more