First of all my apologies for writing the rest of the Argentina trip so late, I know Ive been back for over a week now and still need to cover Day 13 and more.. The pictures are online now though, via the photos link on the right.

The day 13 was actually very short, so this short story is covering Day 13. (no Im not trying to cheat my way out of this!) The trip from Ushuaia (Terra del Fuego) to Trelew is delayed, so we had to wait in the airport for a while to be able to board, although we were sitting in a nice bar place, together with a mega pancho (that means big hot dog (and yes I can use it in a sentence… Im not sure what Ill get though!)

The flight was short (about 2-3 hours) of which we slept most of the time. We were looking outside the window and see all kinds of Pennisulas, that was quite an impressive view. We didnt manage to get a decent photo from it though, our humble apologies!

Trelew is a city that is about 50KM from Puerto Mandryn, so we take one of the transport busses to our destination… which takes again an hour or so. By the time we arrive it is pitch dark and around 23:50 already, so we decide to have a beer in the bar of the hotel and pre-book our excursion. Sadly there arent any Whale watching excursions on the next day, so we decide to go to the march of the pengiuns…

We walk a little around town to find that it resembles Rotterdam a little bit (very Port-like City.. I wonder whether that is the reason why they call it Puerto Mandryn…. dUh)

Another nice chilly day in the end of the world. Today is check out day, so that is the first thing we do. We have a late flight to Port Mandryn/Trelew, so we have a small excursion first. This time it is a 4×4 tour through the rough land of Ushuaia/Terra del Fuego (Land of Fire).

The 4×4 tour was super, riding over very rough terrain, we were stuck a few times so needed to get out. We saw a lot of birds and some beaver lodges. After that we had a nice walk on the river side and after that a nice bbq lunch with steak and sausages. We met some nice Americans and actually had a political conversation (and we weren´t even invaded after that!), just kidding, really nice guys.

We had some additional wine which made the ride back more interesting -evil grin-. But I fell a sleep so didn´t really see that much on the way back! At the airport we waited for a few hours and then we were off to Trelew.

I really liked Terra del Fuego, nice city (quite big, with harbour and border guard/army base) and the food and company was overall quite enjoyable!

The airports are not really big in Argentina, but they are quite nice. I think most of them were built around 2000 and have more or less the same items for sale (tourism heh). They are a lot cleaner and nicer than I expected them to be. The airplanes are new and nice as well, I am pleasantly surprised with Airlineas Argentinas, although sometimes we do show up for a flight that doesn´t exist and we need to wait some additional hours.

We wake up early, like most days, this time for an excursion around Beagle River. This is one of the rivers that connects the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the major connection points for the Ushuaia habour. The weather in the early morning is terrific (Jacques woke up early to make nice sun-rise pictures that turned out great… whilst looking on the small screen of the camera)

We take a taxi to the habour, which takes approx 15 minutes and talk there to the excursion agency to get our vouchers and register ourselves (border control and stuff, since it is so close to Chile). The weather still seems to be ok at this point, once in the boat, it is quite rocky, not completely to my liking…

The wind is chilling and very strong, so standing outside is not considered a good idea in my book. We see something that looks like a pinguin although it can fly so technically it is not a penguin. There is a nice light-house along the way and we see some other sea creatures.

By the time we arrive to the old native indian island, it is absolutely freezing and the wind is really strong, so we run outside and we are told that the old native indians were always completely naked and covered themselves in fat of seals and sealions to keep themselves warm. The indians lived there from 7000 years ago till 1934 when the nice colonists either killed them or gave them clothes (whilst covered in fat, they could reasonably float in the water, with clothes they sank)

We have a small hike around the island, as we really are in a hurry to get off, since it is really really cold (as I probably mentioned a few times already), on the boat we get a nice local liquor that keeps us nice and warm inside until we arrive back in the port.

In the port it is lunch time, so we decide to go have tapas in one of the local pubs where we meet a nice Norwegian guy and have a nice long chat about what is happening and wrong in this world… always good to have a deep conversation at the end of the world!

After this we decide to go drinking at the most South Irish pub in the world, where we are served some really good beer and some more and some more… When looking outside on this day, we have seen beautiful sun, rain, hail, snow, wind and all possible elements within only a few hours. 

At around 11pm, all lights go out in complete Ushuaia (apparently happens sometimes when the weather is bad) and we had to wait two-three hours before it was back online again. But we still got beer so we didn´t care that much! 

On the way back we forget our bag, go back for it and nicely drunk we go to sleep!

We wake up for an excursion to go on a nice bus ride for a short ride. To the national park of Ushuaia, where we take the “train ride at the end of the world”. It is a nice small train where we can enjoy the nature and some chats about how the rail road was made, by the prisoners to transport wood and materials back to the prison to be used to build up Ushuaia.

We sit in a nice train wagon with about 50% Argentinians and the rest foreigners. Ofcourse the loud Americans are present as well. They do not seem to get the hint from the locals when they do a “sssst” all together. The American was only listening in on the English translation and was very present with the Spanish explanations.

The train ride is around the National park and is very beautiful, the lakes and the hikes are terrific, you see Eagles and Condors flying over you and see some deers, lamas and other animals (lots of Rabbits, introduced for the wrong reasons, I think it was because they wanted to get rid of Beavers, but Im not sure how or why).

After the national park, we go in the bus again to watch some glaciers and get a nice lunch. On the way back I fall asleep so I dont know alot about the scenery… sorry.. mountain air is not good for me, causes me to sleep!

When we return in the centre/harbour, we take a taxi to the ski lifts and have a nice time in the mountains walking along the glaciers, having a good view over the City and the Beagle River. We have nice gluh-wine and some snacks before returning to the City center. There is still a lot of snow and ice at the glacier, so we have nice winter pictures from there!

There seems to be an important soccer match on, so we decide to do what the locals do and drink and eat pizza whilst watching the soccer match, very nice experience. All Argentinians, male, female, kids are completely obsessed by this. You could hear a needle drop until you hear: ¨GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL¨, this is actually repeated for at least 2 minutes after the goal is scored.

After the match, the restaurant/cafe is completely empty, we finish the pizza and move towards the hotel to catch some ZzZ´s and mentally prepare ourselves for the next excursion.

On the ninth day, we travel from El Calafate to Ushuaia also known as the most Southern City in the world, also known as ¨The End of the World¨.

After a nice short flight of about 1.5 hours, we land in a chilly but not cold city. The airport is very small and people are queueing to get their bags.

We collect the bags and had towards the sign that says ¨Crawford¨, which is good enough for me. We end up in a cab, that drives on roads that look familiar to be from Sakhalin. The mountains are towering above me and it looks very beautiful around. Soon we reach the town/city of Ushuaia, which I find is surprisingly big (approx 20.000 people or so). We pass a large harbour and large city with lots of lights. We end up on a nice hill with a good view of the surrounding mountains (that end up being mountains from Chile).

We go to the center for some food and find a nice restaurant called Tante Sara, this without translating, it is really called like that. So we think it is a good start for food eventhough for Argentian standards we are eating early (that being 7pm). So we order a Tante Sara Steak special, and it is absolutely perfect… well grilled steak, topped with cheese, beacon and eggs.

We take the local beer (Beagel, as in the dog) to wash it down with pleasure. After that we go for some more drinks but go to sleep as all the mountain air aka oxygen is making us very sleepy.

We already booked some excursions for the next few days to keep us occupied 🙂

Today we wake up early in the morning to be picked up (around 7am,which is early considering we didn´t go to bed until very late..)
We are going on a boat ride through Lago Argentino to see various glaciers and watch some of the Cordillera de Los Andes (sounds fancy huh), the boat ride is fantastic, beautiful view and we make a lot of pictures! We see glaciers on the side, mountain ranges, floating ice everywhere, some eagles flying in the air!
We even get out of the boat to walk near the glaciers where some are broken off and are floating around in a small lake. There we also walk through the national park that is protected, very nice woods, some rabbits and other rodents are roaming the area there, nothing dangerous except for tourists!
We have lunch with a view on floating ice passing us by sitting near to the park ranger (in case one of the rabbits turns on us)
After a few hours of sitting in a boat and enjoying the mountains and glaciers, it is time to go back!
We go to the same Italian restaurant where I got the major ´desert´ and have another nice dinner, the waiter that did the victory dance behind my back, showed up and we had another nice chat (I didn´t order any desert in mortal fear). After a walk back to the hotel (about 3km or so from the Center) we arrive back and decide to have a nice wine at the hotel bar.
The bar woman is the wife of the cook and daughter to a ´wine journalist´ so she recommended a lot of wines and places where to go in Buenos Aires and explained us how to travel through Argentina (so I got some bargaining tips). She and her husband travelled a lot and wanted to go to Europe next year so we have her some tips as well. Had wonderful wines to try and after the busy day it is again time for … zZz

After hiking in Bariloche, my knee still hurts, but it is time for another nice tour in Argentina!

We start in the morning to drive to a mountain range where some of the tourists go in a 4×4 to go on tour, two girls from Leeds go on horseback and Jacques and myself end up hiking up the same mountain to end up at the same place to have lunch.

The hiking was terrific, eventhough I was limping most of the time, we end up in nice woods with some creeks and another part was covered still in snow and we walk back through the valley to a nice little buidling that is the end destination. The distance was not very far, only 5km or something, but is was difficult to hike up and down the mountain most of the time.

Our hiking guide was the owner himself and he had great stories about the area, how his company started and the nature around the mountain. The rest of the staff was super as well, including the dog that was always happy to see anyone and herd the horses (I think he was the core of the whole company, without pay ofcourse)

We end up on the same table as the two English girls from Leeds. They were the most challenging people so far, their vocabulairy was … most probably not installed until the next version. They finished their English Uni and to be honest, their accent was not that bad, but the most common words coming out of their mouth was ¨Uh¨ and ¨Yeah¨, and ofcourse with a lot of giggling.

The lunch was absolutely great, we had all the grilled steak and chicken we wanted… and that ended up being quite a lot… so that did cover the dinner part for us as well.. and as I had quiet a big dinner the night before I was stuffed in no time!

After the bus returned back and we were still in stuffed phase, we ended up relaxing near the hotel! The hotel staff is very nice and easy to talk to, all of them come from Buenos Aires and are there only for the holiday period to work and the rest of the year (4 months) they are having a holiday.. sounds nice…

Early in the morning we leave for the airport from the hotel from Hell (still with the same noise… but it can be solved by drinking a lot of Wine, so I found out). The flight should have been at 09:00, so we are there early to have a nice breakfast. Once we check in we find out, that our plane to Buenos Aires is delayed… by 3 hours… giving us 10 minutes in Buenos Aires to change flights, enough to make most people nervous, however we are on holiday so we don´t care that much.

So we get vouchers for … another breakfast… dOw… I´ll return being a real fat b******

Once we land in Buenos Aires we run towards the next gate to find out … that the plane is delayed … as well …

So after yet another long flight we are at our destination… El Calafate.

El Calafate is a ´small´ tourist town in the middle of the Argentinian Andes, the temperature is about 5-7 degrees with a chilly wind, but the view is great with all the glaciers!

We are being picked up by the taxi for the hotel and in 5 minutes we are cruising at 140km/h over a land road towards our cabins (Solaris Du Sur), which is a very nice set of cabins indeed, highly recommended! The staff is excellent and they booked our exercusions before we had time to unpack.

We walk to the center of town (but we are picked up by the taxi driver from the hotel and get a free ride!) there I need to get some lipbalm as my lips are dry as hell.. So we go to one of the farmacies to get some lipbalm, I have no knowledge about such products so I end up with a brand that also has sun protection… nice I think… so I put it on.

We decide to go to the supermarket to get some water, beer and chips, the regular items for hotel survival. I start to notice that everybody is looking weird at me (and there I thought it was my charm). It ends up that the lipbalm is very … very … very blightly pink (and I mean the colour that would make Hello Kitty feel jealous)… and Jacques only tells me half way through the store… I´ll never forgive him for this!

After shopping we go to a small Italian restaurant called the Kitchen, and have the best pasta I have ever had in my life… very nice! The wine was also super! So as a desert I want to try something not sweet… so I see something like ¨Pancake with vegatables, meat and cheese¨, so I thought that could be nice… Jacques orders the Pancakes with caramel cream (which is a speciality in Argentina, similar to the condensed milk type from Russia)

The waiter talks to Jacques about my desert and asks whether I really wanted it or whether I was still hungry. Jacques looks confused and says that I´m still hungry. Well… I end up with a desert that is completely lost in translation…

It was about the size of a two person lasagna, filled with vegetables, meat and cheese and a small pancake on top and below… I look completely stunned by the dish and the waiter moves behind me and makes a victory dance for Jacques, who is on the floor laughing out loud…

It was delicious but I think I don´t need anymore food for at least two days ….

After walking soo much the day before, it is time for a resting day. So we do what the Romans do and have a few beers before lunch and go to the lake shore and eat some chocolate and fall asleep on the shore. Waking up is very nice with such great view and nice sun. Eventhough it must have been 5-10 degrees, the sun made it up for it.

We went to a nice Chocolate store/factory called Mamoeska (with matroska´s as a logo) and they have very nice chocolate and plenty of it! All kinds and sizes, ranging from mobile phones to little animals. After that we went for a nice coffee and ice cream to another place!

After all that sleeping, we do some more sleeping before heading out and having fun in the town!

Day 4, wake up from a noisy night that involved a lot of alien fighting and helicopters landing…
Anyways, complained a few times and they found out that the waterpipes have an airbubble in it… exactly.. that is what I would have said!

After the long experiences with Bus 50, we decide to take the bus 20 to the main port for the lake excursions, and see there. We arrive after 1.5 hours at the destination and it looks very nice! The weather is clear and we are considering the lake tour. We decide on the other hand to walk back and see the lakes from a hikers perspective.

I am not a person that is build for walking 26km, so it was a little bit rough for me (that is Mike language for … it was f***ing difficult)

Argentina is the most dog friendly country I know. It is definitely part of the temporary dog adaption program aka temp dog guide. The first dog along the way we called Benji (from the 80s TV show), Benji was a nice little doggy that walked side by side with us for about two km. Dogs use people to cross terratories that are guarded by
other dogs. After a while we come across a female runner and Benji likes women more (clearly) so we let him go.

About 3 kms further we come across a Golden Retriever, which we called Benji 2 (sorry, creativity was not one of our priorities). He was a nice active dog, tried to lick us a few times. After a few kms we come across some kids playing with their dog. It was clearly love on first sight and the two dogs run into the field/barn/another field and then back to us. The kids tried to get their dog back, but I think the dog was blinded by love, so the kids gave up after 1 or 2 kms.

So now we have two dogs, both are very sweet, but once they find a nice quiet spot they decide to run off… and we were thinking about giving them a room. I see now that Im writing two paragraphs on dogs… my apologies!
The scenery is absolutely stunning, it is about 10 degrees Celsius, nice low sun, a very large lake with both white and grey mountains with the sun bouncing off the water. Ill try to upload pictures in the next few days, otherwise it will be later… trust me it is VERY nice.

After about 20km I start to get really tired so we have a few ice-creams and make up for it. We encounter another dog, but it was a little bit scary… Remember the movie “The Thing” with I believe Kurt Russell, well this was kind of that German Sheperd, only had three legs, and just recovered from an operation so his side was shaved.

What scared Jacques the most is that the dog on three legs could keep up with him… Im sure hell get over it! After the hotel we go to the Jacuzzi to relax the muscles before going to have dinner. We had steak/salmon, but the restaurant was soo bad that Ill not go into it too much. In case anybody is going to Argentina and Bariloche never NEVER under any situation go to “Family Weiss” restaurant.

We buy a lot of chocolate (as Bariloche is known as “Little Switserland”) to make us feel better about the bad restaurant and head to bed…