Alex and Tom

Joined May 2017
  • Day62

    28/06/17-01/07/17 Mendoza

    July 1, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    28/06/17-01/07/17 Mendoza

    We arrived in Mendoza, where we were renting an air bnb close the the city centre. The apartment had a fully equipped kitchen which meant we could cook our own food.

    However on the first night we headed out for dinner. We had planned on grabbing something at the airport, but after our airport dash didn't have time. We obviously went for steak at a traditional Argentinian restaurant... it was delicious.

    The following day we headed out to sample what Mendoza is famous for. Wine. We caught a bus to the suburbs, where there are many vineyards. On the bus we met a group of Brits with the same idea as us and together the six of us hired bikes and cycled from vineyard to vineyard sampling the local wines.

    The setting was beautiful, with the Andes as a backdrop to the vineyards and the wine was delicious. Mendoza is most famous for its Malbec, which was very good!

    Mendoza also has lots of mountains and rivers, and our second day we went white water rafting. Our instructor had a really good sense of humour and was really professional. The day was good fun, and even more importantly I did not permanently scar anyone in the process this time, luckily for Tom.

    On our last day in Mendoza we spent the day walking around the 420 hectare park. The park features man made lakes, BMX track and even a football stadium. It was a lovely way to spend our day.

    That evening we traveled back to Buenos Aires. We were both sad to move on from Mendoza, and would have liked to spend more time there, but are quickly running out of time on this trip and still have a lot to fit in!

    We travelled back to Buenos Aires by bus. This was the most luxurious bus we have had (and they have all been pretty good!). Our seats reclined into full beds and we had our own tv screens. We got served steak for dinner with Malbec, which got topped up. The whole bus played bingo, with the conductor reading out the numbers over the tannoy. The prize was a bottle of wine, and Tom won! Which added a bit of excitement to our journey. We both slept very well on this journey, and were woken up at 7am as we pulled into Buenos Aires.
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  • Day58

    26-27/06/17 & 02/07/17 Buenos Aires

    June 27, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    26-27/06/17 & 02/07/17 Buenos Aires

    We arrived in Buenos Aires in the afternoon after an overnight bus ride from Puerto Madryn. The journey was made longer by the heavy traffic in the city. Not surprising I guess for a capital.

    After a stop for lunch, we spent the afternoon having a nap and catching up on some z's after neither of us slept very well on the bus.

    That evening we thought we would sample some of what Argentina is famous for, and enrolled in a tango lesson! We weren't very good, but it was a laugh, and nice to pretend we were competing in strictly come dancing.

    That evening we went to a really nice tapas restaurant, which served amazing wine and great food.

    The following day we did a walking tour of the city. It was interesting to find out some more about Argentina's history, and see some landmarks in the city. One thing that became very apparent to us both was how much Evita is idolised by Argentinians. We got to see some of the places she worked, lived and gave famous speeches etc. There are lots of monuments to her all over the city and her face is painted on some of the towers in the city. We learnt that when she died there was a fourteen day long funeral and the whole of Argentina ran out of flowers! Although the Argentinians respect the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, they don't think it is an accurate portrayal of her, and they entirely despise the movie version with Madonna in it! Neither of us could get "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" out of our heads throughout most of our time in BA!

    That afternoon we caught a plane to Mendoza. This was a very stressful experience, even for me who is a professional when it comes to catching flights late.

    Due to protests in town, a lot of the roads were closed. The journey that should have taken 20-30 mins, took 80. Our taxi man was a sweet old man who could barely see over the steering wheel. He could not speak English. He was an angel and drove like a mad man to get us there. He definitely went through some red lights to get us there. We were already making alternate arrangements as we were so convinced we weren't going to get there.

    Once we arrived 30 mins before take off, we ran through the airport with our huge rucksacks (which felt like we were in boot camp), managed to check in and had to run through security, pushing in front of the huge queue. We ran to our gate, red and sweaty and out of breath to a crowd of people sat down, relaxed and staring at us as if we were crazy. Our flight was delayed by 30 mins.

    The lady at the gate was the same lady who checked us in, and congratulated us on how fast we got there.

    We spent three nights in Mendoza (see next post) before returning to Buenos Aires for a day.

    On our return we started by visiting La Boca, a riverside community famous for its brightly coloured buildings and artwork. It was very pretty and colourful.

    For lunch, we went to a traditional restaurant where we both enjoyed a massive steak. Before we arrived in Argentina we associated it with good steak and good wine. On leaving, our presumptions have not changed. If there is one things Argentinians to very well it steak! We have had a lot of steaks here... easily the best I have ever had in my life! In fact, Tom has enjoyed them so much he has had steak every day of being in Argentina!

    That afternoon we visited some of the "must see" things in Buenos Aires, which included a book shop in a converted theatre which was beautiful and the Ricoletta cemetery. The graves are bought by families and so multiple members are in each mausoleum, which are all decorated very elaborately. Many of the people buried there are famous or politicians. We visited Evita's grave there, which was covered in flowers.

    That night we went to see Fuerza Bruta. This was a show at the cultural centre and was highly recommended to us. It was a cirque de solei style show, with lots of trapeze work, props and lighting. It was very creative and like nothing either of us had seen before!
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  • Day57

    23/06/17-27/06/17 Patagonia (Argentina)

    June 26, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ -4 °C

    23/06/17-27/06/17 Patagonia (Argentina)

    We finally reached Argentina, thanks to the lift from our car rental friend (although, he told us that if he'd remembered that Chile were playing Germany at the football that day he would have charged us extra!). It was beginning to feel like we would never make it!

    Our first stop in Argentina was a small town in Patagonia called El Calafate. It is a very touristy town, with lots of wooden buildings, trees and wide roads. It reminded us both of a resort like centre parks.

    From El Calafate we visited the Perito Moreno glacier. This is one of the world's only stable glaciers, and hasn't changed in size during the last century. It was very impressive. At its tallest, it measures 70m high and a beautiful shade of blue. We walked around it, and also took a boat trip to see it a bit closer. It was freezing. Stood next to it, you could see and hear bits of ice breaking off into the water. The sound was incredible, and so loud. That evening we went to an ice bar, which was quite good fun, although equally as cold as at the glacier.

    The following day we took a bus north to Puerto Madryn. Surprise surprise our first bus was cancelled, but after a few phone calls the company put us onto a different bus that left two hours later. We were worried that we may miss our connection bus, but luckily got it just in time.

    Our second bus was very slow with lots of stops due to the snow (we were surprised it wasn't cancelled). We eventually got into Puerto Madryn 4 hours later than planned, making our total time on a bus 26 hours.

    Our main reason for coming to Puerto Madryn was to see the Southern Right Whales. After our mission to get there we really hoped we would see them. We hired a car and drove to a port in the national park where we got a boat.

    As we were walking to the boat we spotted our first two whales from the coast, and knew that it was already worth it. Once on the boat we saw loads, including calves. They would swim right up to our boat and go underneath. It was amazing. Definitely worth the hassle!

    We are now heading further north, which we are both excited about, mainly as temperatures are above 15 degrees, which in comparison to the last 2 weeks is tropical! Although we are both sad to be leaving Patagonia.
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