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  • At nearly 7000m Cerro Aconcagua is the highest peak in S America. We managed to walk part way towards the first base camp and were very lucky to have such great weather to see the peak so clearly. In our lovely little group was Karl & Michelle from Dublin and our guide Martín. We had a "condor moment" too - so far, at all the most spectacular views, we have seen a condor gliding overhead at the perfect moment - today too. The amazing Andes are still putting on a glorious show for us!Read more

  • Bike test day. Started out on a 20 km guided mountain bike tour on some very bumpy gravel and sandy paths ending at a Swiss style village. Met a lovely San Franciscan, Lauren, who the joined us on the slightly gruelling Chico circuit. About 45 km in all but very undulating. Spectacular lakes and more to come tomorrow.

    Spent the night in a very basic hostel but we had the place to ourselves. Tomorrow we start our bike tour with a boat across the lake to Bosque de Arrayanes.Read more

  • Another busy day!

    We rushed out of the apartment at 9.30 (having slept in) to have another private tango lesson. It was very good again. We are discovering tango is like an onion, there are more and more layers!

    Afterwards we had lunch, went for a long walk and then went to a group lesson in the afternoon (2 hours) which was being given by one of our teachers (which meant it was partly in English!).

    In walking around the city we have realised they have kept many of the trees which really improves the look and feel of BA.

    Our teacher, Damian, had given us the name of his tailor that he gets his tango pants from so we caught a taxi there after the class. I bought a couple of pre-made tango pants ($75 & $90). The tailor got my size right by just looking at me for about 2 seconds and the quality of the work was also obvious. So I decided to have a suit made also. After it was all measured up and the price agreed, I told him who had sent me. This resulted in a gift of another pair of tango pants, 2 polo shirts and 2 tango tops for AM! I assume Damian has a lot of clothes made by him.

    We have discovered that taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap - most trips take about 20 minutes and cost about AUD$8-$9. They are easy to use if you have the address written down. We have used both radio cars and ordinary metered taxis without any problem. The city is fairly easy to navigate and we haven't felt like we were being taken the long way.

    The other discovery of note is 'dulce con leche' which is like dark condensed milk. It is everywhere here, including being featured with deserts (see picture below!)

    Dogs are a feature here with most streets having many apartment buildings. As such, 7 am and 7pm are prime times for peeing and pooing! As a result, one is careful when walking on the pavements🙀

    Another feature has been the friendliness of the locals. Twice today, strangers stepped in to assist with our communications with people who had little English. I did manage to give a little back today when a woman with a white cane stopped me in the street and made it clear she wanted to know the name of the next cross street which I was able to tell her 😊.
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  • This afternoon we disembarked iceberg ship at a very remote ranch settled by Herbert & Jessie from Lamington, Hampshire in the 1920s, they picked a lovely spot! Had a hairy 4x4 drive to get the best view of the Upsala glacier and the bluest blue lake left behind by the retreating glacier. And almost got blown away by the famous Patagonian winds. Met our first gaucho at the estancia (ranch).

  • Thursday started out fine - as in no more rain and thunderstorms. We were on the road before 9 for a long drive to what we thought was going to be three days all inclusive in a lodge in the Iberá wetlands. We picked up a policeman hitchhiker at one of the checkpoints and had an interesting chat with him about usual Argentine topics - football and politics - but also guns, drug smuggling, crime and Scotland (he wants to visit).

    Unfortunately due to a big communication error between us & the travel agency, we drove to the wrong lodge. And not just a little bit wrong, 170km on unpaved mud roads wrong. We got lost on the way (before realising we were in the wrong place), eventually found the 'lodge' in the middle of nowhere - only to find it padlocked shut. It had closed 2 weeks before we were told by a local farmer. We only realised the mistake by hunting through the paperwork and finding the hotel voucher. On the way back to the main road our 4x4 got stuck in the mud. Completely.

    We tried various methods to extricate it for about an hour. Eventually we gave up and walked back to ask the same local woman at her farm for help. She roped in her daughter, Rosa and walked back with us barefoot through the mud, cow and sheep poo.

    Bless their kind hearts, these two phenomenal women & a couple of farm guys, helped us push and shovel the car out. At one point the wheels span, completely covering them in mud & cow poo, to our mortification. Clare got off with only a light splattering. We were justifiably in awe of those fabulous women who had the brains & did most of the work to get us out. Muchas gracias to them. Lisa dug out several hundred pesos of gratitude to give them and they were so muddy that the señora gestured to tuck it into her bra!

    The sun was beginning to set and we only had a 1/4 tank of diesel by this point so we had to drive to the nearest town (70km) back along the mud road. All made more tricky by having filthy windows as we had run out of water in our windscreen reservoir.

    Five police checkpoints later we found petrol & a pretty dingy hotel to stay the night. When we went to find somewhere to eat TripAdvisor failed us so we had to keep walking around. Then when we got back to the hotel the room key snapped in the door - just to top off the day.

    This morning we were on the road before 8 and drove the 2 & a half hours down the correct mud road to the right lodge. All is well in the world now, but we were both pretty alarmed at points yesterday when we realised we were stuck in the wrong place in remote Argentinean farm country, running out of petrol as we'd had to drive so much further than expected when we got lost. But thanks to kind folk we are fine. And thanks to Clare's mum, having given us many packets of wet wipes which we have been carrying around for 2 months, we survived a cow poo mud splashing. The car however is now more brown than silver.

    The lodge is lovely. It is situated on the edge of the wetlands. There are lots of birds. We are also the only guests! We saw deer, herons, road runners & capybara on the way, which look like massive, Labrador-sized guinea pigs, or small hippos, very calmly trundling across the road. There were also several herds of cows being herded along by gauchos on horseback. All very atmospheric.

    Now we are going to lie by our exclusive pool after our first three course meal of the trip and our first proper lunch in four days.
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  • Moved out of town for a couple of nights to stay in a tiny hostel which feels more like a treehouse. Accepted invitation to join host and friends for a BBQ which didn't start until 10:30pm (typical Argentine organisation) but enjoyed yet more great meat and beer!

    Today been walking all day in preparation for Macchu Picchu - everyone keeps on warning us how difficult they found it so we thought we would get training! Stopped at a great beach for lunch and now back with tired legs - who knows what the Argentines are going to throw at us tonight?!Read more

  • After 20 hours of a bus travel, starting at 4:30am and arriving to final destination at 1:30am we can say we've seen the vast topography of this not-so-small island named 'Firelands' or 'tierra del fuego' in Spanish. As we started our journey (fighting not to fall asleep), we crossed the last row of the Andes and its majestic tips and lakes, and then suddenly after couple of hours the showcase of the sudden change of landscape, completely flat and desert, from deep blue and savage green to yellowish hues of desertic isolation. While crossing the strait, we got the chance to see few penguins and their kind of black and white dolphins following us while we arrived to the main land of South America.
    Final destination: el Calafate, a small town best known to the world because of its big glacier, the most famous in south america: Perito Moreno glacier. In the area we also got to visit another small town 'el Chalten', both touristic destinations during austral summer.

    And we both had a similar feeling experiencing the impact of this wild nature. Our impression is the magnificent force of nature, and thoughts on how amazing is to be able to get to see how after 5000millions years, the forces of nature still shaping our landscape and how still humans are surrender to its wildness.
    We are totally happy with this highlight of the trip, totally worth to visit if you ever get the chance :-)
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  • I demonstrated my Spanish skills on our first night in BA!

    After traveling for 27 hours we went into the first restaurant/bar near our apartment. There was mear sizzling on a grill and people eating on a table near us. The menu was in Spanish and no one spoke English. No wifi. There was a list of individual items of meat on the menu and then what looked like a share plate. Using my powers of deduction, i thought 'what a good idea, what could go wrong' and ordered 2 serves.

    Turns out it was a selection of lamb stewing chops (which were excellent), a chorizo sausage (which was very good) and various 'sweetmeats' and a black pudding (which were terrible!

    Still, the local beer is good!
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  • Having been to the dentist 4 times in the past 3 weeks in London... Lisa's teeth sprung a brand new problem the day before we left. It has been getting worse and progressed to pain on swallowing & reduced hearing. Luckily we had a recommendation for a dentist & an hour later (whole consultation in Spanish) we had a diagnosis of an infected wisdom tooth. We dismissed the two surgical options (the dentist agreed operating now was a big risk) and instead left with antibiotics & mouth washes. Clare now has to 'irrigate' the area with a chlorhexedine syringe every day. Yey! That'll be fun camping. Clare had to go to the pharmacy all by herself & buy the prescription in (pigeon) spanish! Not quite the adventure we had in mind.Read more

  • First real chance to explore the city. Went on the subway - which costs 23p per trip! Visited the cathedral but refused Clare's offer to take my photo with a lifesize Jesus on a donkey - people were queueing for the pleasure. Walked around the trendy skyscraper docks area. Had a very lovely lunch in Boca with (Lisa's) dad and Lynne then walked around the Costanera Sur ecological reserve. Saw a wild guinea pig, some lovely birds and a red haired tree. One whole area was roped off because of snakes but people were still picnicking there.Read more