Page 4 of finndus Travel Blog Posts

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota March 22nd 2009

Leaving Pucon was another episode of Cecilia holding the bus up while I was busy getting up late. As the buses in Chile run like clockwork (amazingly comfortable - Europe could learn a lot) it has been a small feature of the journey so far!! Heading north back to Santiago we took in two stops to Chillan and Talca. Chillan was an interesting market town containing a school filled with mosaics and a pleasant church (South American churches seem to be somewhat graphic when it comes to Christ). A visit to the market ended up with us being treated to drinks by an 80-year old lady at her daughters food stall - phone numbers were exchanged, probably with only an 'Hola!' in mind! Stopping at Talca we resided in a fantastic hostel out in the countryside ... read more

South America » Chile » Los Lagos March 9th 2009

Leaving Argentina for yet another crossing of the border back to Chile - next stop puerto Varas. Over the Andes ridge, the Chilean side now boasts the same lush forests and systems of lakes (still being the Lake District!). The weather takes a slight change to be very unpredictable again, rain being a big feature! But from this point north, Chile possesses what must be the finest and most expansive collection of snow-capped volcanoes. Sitting on the edge of Lago Llanquihue, Puerto Varas has the perfect view of the snow-capped Volcan Osorno on the opposite end of the lake. The town is another one of South America's adventure centres as well as being like a lot of the settlements in this region of Chile - very German! There was an influx of German immigrants around 150 ... read more

South America » Argentina » Chubut March 1st 2009

After being marooned in El Chalten for slightly longer than we intended the first 'we'll have to skip it' decision, leading to skipping Cuerva De Las Manos (13,000 year old painted caves) and throwing caution to the wind with the time old effort of 'I like bus journy's' - hence embarking on a 35 hour rollercoaster journey up Argentina's legendary Ruta 40! This particular section of Ruta 40 from El Chalten to Bariloche (Ruta 40 runs the full length of Argentina) is particularly famous due to the desolate landscape and was a journey that Che Guevara made and where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid - amongst others. This section of the road cannot be classed as a road, being mainly unpaved (gravel) with nothing for kilometres except the view of rolling hills filled with ... read more

El Chalten is Argentina's newest town - est 1985! Built exclusively as a gateway for Argentina's hiking center, the Fitz Roy Massif. Situated in Nacional Park Los Glaciers. Trekking here was an easy change to trails of Chile's Torres Del Paine. The trails were well marked and maintained. All streams and rivers had sterdy bridge cover and there were even steps formed into some of the mud slopes. Our first trek was to hike to Laguna Los Tres - base camp Fitz Roy. With the weather being perfect it was the ideal time to see the range in all its glory. Only one hour into the trek came the first lookout. We were greeted with a dramatic consortium of rugged spires sitting calmly in the morning sun, with a back drop of blue skies and a ... read more

Our next Austral stop is the small town of El Calafate. Perched on the bank of Argentina's largest lake - Lago Argentino, it is the gateway town to the Los Glaciares National Park and also doesn't provide a bad sunset either! The main draw for visiting this area is the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier. Not being tired of glaciers, we yet again dug deep and forked out more pesos. Our visit enabled us to get up close and personal with this crawling giant. While most glaciers on the planet are receding, Perito Moreno is amongst the very few that is actually classed as stable. In fact it is so 'stable' that its advancing at a rate of 2 metres a day. At 60m high, 5km wide and 30km long the glacier carves through the rock face, ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 15th 2009

From Puerto Natales we made our preparations to enter Chile's principal national park - Torres Del Paine, with the intentions of trekking the 'W' which should take us five days to complete. After taking note of various recommendations, we decided to enter the park via the river system. Setting off early the next morning we board a tourist boat on the Rio Serrano and sail through the nearby narrow fjords spotting sea lion colonies, bird life and the stunning scenery that we have become accustomed to in Patagonia. As the boat sailed into the Parque Nacional Bernado O'Higgins it made stops at the steep glaciers of Seranno and Balmaceda. After the morning cruise we were ready to make our passage into the park. The final 90 minutes or so would be spent in a Zodiac. As ... read more

South America » Argentina » Tierra del Fuego February 9th 2009

As the ship cruised through Drakes Passage we were quite subdued; as we pined for more Antarctic time even the passage seemed rather deflated. We wished our fellow passengers, with whom we had shared dinners and exchanged stories of the day, farewell before being greeted by Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southernly city in the world. The city is perched behind a cluster of Beagle Channel islands, cocooned within a stunning backdrop of dramatic mountains. With our base set for the next few days we set off to explore the city and its surroundings. After being waited on hand and foot for the last two weeks, it was time to fend for ourselves again. Another episode of Team Gringo was well overdue so, of course, within a couple of hours we'd already booked ourselves onto the wrong ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica February 8th 2009

After the magnificent sunrise of the previous morning I decided I'd give it another try. It was a bit misty and cloudy so no chance of any repeat! The ship moored at its last destination in Antarctica - Half Moon Island. As the mist turned to thick fog we boarded the Zodiac. As it left the ship we could see absolutely nothing, just the immediate water around the dinghy. The ride in could only be navigated by compass. As we neared the island, the silhouette of land crept out of the fog along with the resident colony of chinstrap penguins. After a beach landing we walked around a small part of the island watching the penguins. In the distance on the other side of the island you could see two Antarctic Fur Seals playing 'King of ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » Neumayer Station February 7th 2009

The day of reckoning! Would we make it onto land? Or would we be denied again?! So an early start was on the cards to see if we could capture an Antarctic sunrise and to check the weather out! We stepped out onto deck around 0445 to be greeted with a perfect start. The ship was sailing through a channel, coasting on iceberg filled still waters, the backdrop of ice covered mountains either side of the channel was accompanied by the morning sun reaching over the mountain peaks filtering a soft red glow over the sky, clouds, ice and water. As the waters were so calm it provided a good opportunity to view the abundance of wildlife active. Albatrosses, Terns and other bird life flew through the channel, searching for food and some deciding to follow ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » Hope Station February 6th 2009

I woke up early, probably with the excitement of what should be an extraordinary day. Hope Bay, a picturesque bay in Antarctic Sound (sea), which has been dubbed 'Iceberg Alley'. It is home to an Argentine science centre, which boasts a school, mayor and post office! There is also a huge Adelie penguin rookery close by. As I stirred I felt the ship rocking gently, then I could hear the waves hitting the side of the hull. The weather seemed to be quite bad, which would be bad because the seas could be too rough for the Zodiacs to make the crossing to land. Sure enough I re-awoke to the captain's voice over the PA informing us that the winds were at gale force 8, some 35 knots, hence, there would be no landings. Quite simply ... read more

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