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Published: September 22nd 2012
It's already time for Tiffany and Leslie first week of school holidays in Argentina...and as the country is so impressive...we are starting slowly to push our discoveries a little further than Buenos Aires.
As you are aware, I spent my last two weeks working in Africa. Leslie and Tiffany have been under the great care of Ines while I was away, and she is also joining us for our discoveries of Argentina now that I'm back "home".
I have also to thank Mercredes and Sergi from Koh Lipe who introduced me few months ago to Puerto Madryn and Peninsula Valdes. Thanks guys, missing you!
Due to the amount of pictures...and experiences we have lived over the last few days, I've decided to do two blogs, one of Puerto Madryn, and yes...one more impressive of the Peninsula Valdes.
I did "a long trip" to reach Puerto Madryn...Lubumbashi-Joburg (2 hours flights)...3 hours in JNB...Joburg-Sao Paolo (10 hours), having to wait 7 hours in the middle of the night to transfer to my Buenos Aires flight (3 more hours)...got home...and out straight on as I had few things to deal with in
town...by 7pm...we were four of us sitting in our bus....ready for a nice 18 hours ride...with a single 5 minutes stop to strech ourselves on the long ride.
This time, we went "cama" again...kind of a good old style business class plane seat. Food was pretty nice, wine was more than decent. The ride was mainly a night one...and when the sun rose around 7am...till we arrive at 1pm, the road was basically the same semi-desert landscape...seriously boring! The funny part, if we can call this fun...the bus run out of gas 3km before reaching the bus station of Puerto Madryn! Yes, go figure out...what ever, we jumped in a taxi to reach our hostel.
You read me well....hostel! Hotel numbers are pretty limited here, and way from being cheap. So if it's to pay a premium for a lower experience....rather have some fun old-fashioned way. So yes, we stay in a dorm...4 of us...good news is, we had our own dorm! And I promise way more luxury next week-end! Our Hostel was Hi Patagonia. This place is highly praised by the Lonely Planet, and the owner, Gaston, deserves five stars for his welcome.
This is actually more like a nice huge villa....full of youngsters...hey, we have fun!
Puerto Madryn is in the middle of nowhere...to put it simply. I would not even have wanted to drive here...no way! But it is the gate to Peninsula Valdes, another of these great UNESCO World Heritage place! Once settled, our first goal was to find a nice lunch...and nice lunch we found at la Catina El Nautico...wow....that seafood...paella, squids, scallops, fishes, you name them, they are here...fresh, impressive...I truly wish we would have those up in Buenos Aires...and those gnochis...we ate here three times in 5 days...seafood galore!
I also rented a car for 3 days...well...Avis it may be...wreck of rentals they provide...and it's not even cheap! The first day went fine...and that's what we needed as we spent the full day on Peninsula Valdes. On our second day, the attempt was to reach Punta Ninfas to see few more elephant seals. Once you leave the city, and the main "road"...roads here are gravels....bad gravel roads....very bad...I don't think of another place I saw where cars go through such a seriously bad beating!
First everything went fine.
The gravel roads around here are pretty boring, at least till your reach the sea...the landscape is pretty bared....with few bushes...and many sheeps...nothing beside these...We even got stop by the police...why...we were the only car coming in the other direction, time for a little check, which was nothing else than an excuse to kill the daily boring routine and have a little chat...nice guys...
Our aim was to reach Punta Ninfas that morning....but Punta Ninfas, we never reached...15km before destination, the car decided to stop...once, than twice...than I decided to turn around...not a soul around, no mobile coverage...and two kids in the back...this was no Iceland under the snow...but I was not on my own, and we had only few liters of water (and no wine)!
So we never saw that colony of ten elephant seals....but that's ok, we saw others. We managed to return the car safely...got it changed...to find out on returning the second car that a wire had "jumped" out of the battery...I'm no mechanics...don't ask me...I can only tell you, these "roads" are bad.
So over the few days we spent here we had amazing food. I
truly mean amazing seafood...a very nice parilla experience, a fun asado thanks to Gaston at Hi Patagonia. The icecream parlor was average....but I have to agree, we have grown fuzzy lately!
Once we got our next car from Avis...a wreck too...we went back on the road. Punta Loma is 17km out of town...a pretty nice ride...on a bad gravel road...with a reward at the end...another colony of sea lions...and beautiful sea around.
The same morning, I play golf with Leslie in the amazing international, worldwide acclaimed standard golf course of Puerto Madryn. Ok, I' pushing it a little. It was sunny...but cold, and seriously windy above the city of Puerto Madryn. The golf course is 9 holes, all par three. We never managed to pay our green fee, the office was closed. The staff came to great us asking us not to play in the bunkers, as they just racked them...for tomorrow tournament (not an international one)! I asked about the green fees...they old us not to worry. Greens had no flags...tees...well...we found some...it was very basic, it was free....it was fun. Tif was too cold, so Ines entertained her in the car...we were
in fast...out fast...
Puerto Madryn will be remembered for...the food....the friendly people...the whales...the crappy rental cars...sorry, the wrecks...the feeling of being truly in the middle of nowhere...really...
And next entry...coming with the penguins, the whales, the sea elephants, the sea lions, the lamas...the sheeps....and the smiles...a lot of smiles...even with a 10 degrees water...and a beautiful sun....and a wreck of a car!
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