A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: PetCon

Our journey ends at the end of the world!

Trekking through Torres del Paine and Penguins in Ushuaia...next stop: HOME!

storm 23 °F

¡Hola!

It is hard for us to believe, but this is to be our last post from the southern hemisphere. We end our journey in Ushuaia, Argentina - claim to fame being that it is 'the southernmost city in the world'. Truth be told, that little title does quite a bit to lure folks like us down so that we can perform the obligatory "check" off our list of spots we've hit in South America. However, besides the title, Ushuaia is not a trip highlight (except, of course, for the penguins (see below)). Still, we are finding the fierce winds and rain, sleet, and snow to be excellent motivators to stay inside our cozy hostel and organize photos, update the blog, and search craigslist and westside rentals for a place to live when we get home!

When we parted ways with my parents and brother 10 days ago we headed to Puerto Natales to catch our next bus to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. We did the W trek of Torres del Paine from Monday to Thursday. Monday we trekked up to the Torres (the Towers) which are the main draw of the park and we almost didn't make it! We had been hiking for about 2 hours uphill when we hit the "pasa de vientos" (windy pass) and let's just say that a more appropriate name would be "pasa de LOCO F#$&!%@ VIENTO" (I'll let you translate). Seriously, the winds were so strong that our legs were being knocked from under us...frightening given that we were hiking alongside the edge of a cliff. A group of three reached the pass just ahead of us and the girl began hyperventilating and they had to turn back. We spent 20 minutes psyching ourselves up for it and once we reached the other side the winds only were fierce for about another minute and then relatively calm again. We are so glad God gave us the courage to keep going because we were extremely fortunate to arrive at the Torres (another 2.5 hours later) and see them on a clear blue sky afternoon (a rarity in the unpredictable austral climate).
Our triumphant arrival at the Torres

Our triumphant arrival at the Torres

This picture fails to convey the full force of these winds, but they were ridiculous

This picture fails to convey the full force of these winds, but they were ridiculous

One more of the magnificent Torres del Paine

One more of the magnificent Torres del Paine


Arriving back at base camp at night on Day 1

Arriving back at base camp at night on Day 1

We camped that night back at the base camp and again, we were very lucky, that the night winds were much calmer and we were not stuck in rain or snow. We spent the next 2.5 days hiking the national park huffing and puffing and braving the winds, but being in constant awe of the gorgeous surroundings.
Tim and Glacier in the background

Tim and Glacier in the background

Kate staying dry on the hike

Kate staying dry on the hike

View of Los Cuernos ("The Horns"<img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' /> on Day 2

View of Los Cuernos ("The Horns";) on Day 2

Tang break!  Kate hadn't truly been exposed to the wonders of Tang prior to this trek...the stuff is money!

Tang break! Kate hadn't truly been exposed to the wonders of Tang prior to this trek...the stuff is money!

Lunch view....cheese and salami sandwiches taste better outdoors

Lunch view....cheese and salami sandwiches taste better outdoors

There was always an surreal green lake over every ridge...Kate was really hoping to see a Loch Ness-type monster swimming around

There was always an surreal green lake over every ridge...Kate was really hoping to see a Loch Ness-type monster swimming around

A Fox!

A Fox!

Happy Bridge Crossing

Happy Bridge Crossing

Drinking glacial water

Drinking glacial water

Crossing glacial water

Crossing glacial water

At the Cuernos Refugio where we again bumped into our friend, Katie, who we met a month earlier on our Mendoza wine tour...very small world!

At the Cuernos Refugio where we again bumped into our friend, Katie, who we met a month earlier on our Mendoza wine tour...very small world!

View from the Mountain Lodge Refugio

View from the Mountain Lodge Refugio

View of the Torres and the Cuernos!!!

View of the Torres and the Cuernos!!!

The gorgeous lakes

The gorgeous lakes

Backpack pyramid...the boat ride from Torres across lake stunk just a tad of backpacker BO

Backpack pyramid...the boat ride from Torres across lake stunk just a tad of backpacker BO

We finished the W pleased with our efforts, but sadly I took a bit of a cold-cough-sore throat with me as a souvenir (which I have since generously passed along to Tim). We spent one more night in Puerto Natales before catching our early morning bus ride to Ushuaia (where we are now). A 13 hour bus ride passed surprisingly well, we played our "Spot the Guanaco" game (a cousin of the llama). Tim won (129 to 97).
Ferry crossing the Straits of Magellan

Ferry crossing the Straits of Magellan

Goofing off at the Strait of Magellan

Goofing off at the Strait of Magellan

Stormy seas

Stormy seas

Driving into Ushuaia

Driving into Ushuaia

Ushuaia is definitely a tourist town with, we're sure, a very pretty national park nearby and plenty of outdoor activities....but, we're tired, cold, and ready to just chill out. We did make it to see the Penguins yesterday and they were awesome. Cute little guys who were not the least bit perturbed by our presence on their island. Thousands of Magellanic Penguins live on this island about 6 months a year, the rest of the year (i.e., winter) they spend swimming around the arctic...crazy little dudes. Gentoo Penguins also live on the island (the one with the orange beak pictured below with Tim), but there are only 30 pairs of them on the island.
Arriving on Penguin Island greeted by lots of Magellanic Penguins

Arriving on Penguin Island greeted by lots of Magellanic Penguins

Hey, whatcha doin?

Hey, whatcha doin?

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

Buddies

Buddies

Tim making eye contact with a Gentoo Penguin

Tim making eye contact with a Gentoo Penguin

Turns out penguins are not only on Penguin Island

Turns out penguins are not only on Penguin Island

Kate making friends...

Kate making friends...

The 'General Store' - yummy coffee and tea and pastries

The 'General Store' - yummy coffee and tea and pastries

More penguins...the town is a little obsessed

More penguins...the town is a little obsessed

How do Argentinians find this to be a helpful street sign?

How do Argentinians find this to be a helpful street sign?

We're inside today drinking Hot Toddies and mentally preparing for our reverse culture shock (haha, not really, we have managed to see college football, watch E! television (Kate, not Tim), and see "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" more times than we would like to admit). We have even met more people from LA than we might otherwise have done in our day to day lives in Santa Monica. That being said, we are very ready and very excited to be home! We cannot wait to see our family and friends in Newport (16th - 20th, 29th - 15th), Ohio (21st - 29th), and LA (15th...) in the next couple weeks!!!!
Our adorable hostel sign blowing in the wind (and a view of the reason we are indoors)

Our adorable hostel sign blowing in the wind (and a view of the reason we are indoors)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!!!!!

Todo nuestro amor,
Tim & Kate

Posted by PetCon 13:26 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

Big Ice al Sur del Mundo

Perito Moreno, Patagonia, Argentina

semi-overcast 38 °F

Hello All!

Since our last post, we have managed to work off our massive Thanksgiving dinner (and our subsequent daily diet of empanadas in Buenos Aires) by heading way south to Patagonia and trekking across Perito Moreno Glacier, as well as many kilometers across the beautiful expanse of Parque Nacional los Glaciares in Argentina. Accompanied by Kate´s family (except for the Ervin crew - Jack said he had prior commitments with a pack of stuffed monkeys), we discovered the true beauty and wrath of this extreme southern region of the world. Split up into two groups, Kate, Matt, and I started our adventure at the crack of dawn (ok, 7am - and crack of dawn this far south would be approximately 4:45am) by busing our way to the park, where we boated across Lake Argentino. Our first steps in cramp-ons were wobbly, but the three of us quickly figured out how the sharp, dagger-like shoe fittings worked. Matt inquired if there were any cramp-ons that were compatible with flip-flops. Unfortunately, he had to stick with boots. The entire experience was out of this world. It literally felt as though we were walking on some "Ice Planet", as Kate put it, full of deep crevasses, stunning blue ponds and streams, and some of the most intense gusts of merciless winds a Californian has ever experienced. An unforgettable experience, and even more unforgettable for me will be the sensation of walking on pillow-soft ground when our group finally returned to "Earth´s" surface.

After our extreme adventure, the next day the whole family piled into a rental car and took off in seek of more inspiring vistas by way of the Parque Nacional los Glaciares. We settled on a great path on the south side of the park and set off on our adventure, with Lori leading the charge... in all directions. With each step (and mis-step) we encountered more wildlife, vistas, and animal droppings. The last leg of our trek brought us through a beautiful pasture that sloped into a near-frozen Lago Roca, with the mountains of the park framing the lake in the distance.

We celebrated our rugged outdooredness with a little bit of fine dining. All you can eat buffet at Rick´s Restaurant. Unfortunately Rick´s was neither all you can eat nor was what we could eat much to write home about... Luckily we made right on Ricks´ wrong the next night by eating at Casimero Bigua, which was excellent.

It was sad to depart from the family after only ten days, but Kate and I woke up early the next morning, said our goodbyes and got dropped off by John at the Station to make our bus to Puerto Natales, Chile. We are now wrapping up a prep-day here in Puerto Natales before we catch yet another early bus tomorrow heading for Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. Kate and I have a 5 day trek ahead of us before we make our final stop in Ushuaia, AR, and then make our way back home.

Until the next post,
Tim & Kate

DSC06570.jpg
DSC06584.jpg
DSC06607.jpg
DSC06654.jpg
DSC06682.jpg
DSC06684.jpg
DSC06720.jpg
DSC06732.jpg
DSC06737.jpg
DSC06738.jpg
DSC06743.jpg
DSC06759.jpg
DSC06763.jpg
DSC06764.jpg
DSC06776.jpg
DSC06789.jpg
DSC06792.jpg
DSC06798.jpg
DSC06809.jpg
DSC06815.jpg
DSC06831.jpg
DSC06837.jpg
DSC06845.jpg
DSC06848.jpg
DSC06849.jpg
DSC06854.jpg
DSC06880.jpg
DSC06901.jpg

Posted by PetCon 12:02 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

Argentina, Uruguay, and Argentina again!

3 weeks of pics...including fun with Petry Family!

semi-overcast 78 °F

Hola!

We wanted to send a picture update since Brazil. We crossed to the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls on November 9th (we think) and enjoyed a day at the falls before bussing it (20 hours) to Cordoba.

Close up of Devil's Throat from Argentine side

Close up of Devil's Throat from Argentine side

We were able to stay with our new friend, Nikki, who we met in Buzios, Brazil. She's from Orange County and has been working in Cordoba for the past year and a half for an architecture/design firm. We enjoyed Cordoba - reminded us a lot of Sevilla and Spain...general "university" feel.
Kate and the Santa Catalina Cathedral in Cordoba

Kate and the Santa Catalina Cathedral in Cordoba

Kate and Pig in the Market in Cordoba - they had everything

Kate and Pig in the Market in Cordoba - they had everything


Tim and our friend Nikki and the jacaranda trees

Tim and our friend Nikki and the jacaranda trees


Cordoba Fine Arts Museum - very fine indeed

Cordoba Fine Arts Museum - very fine indeed

Next, we headed to Mendoza by another overnight bus (a mere 10 hours) for a few days of relazing and wine tasting. We went on an amazing Wine Tour through the Lujan de Cuyo region and truly immersed ourselves in our wine education.
Tim in the Alta Vista Winery on our Mendoza Wine Tour

Tim in the Alta Vista Winery on our Mendoza Wine Tour

Our VIP tasting room at the Alta Vista Winery!

Our VIP tasting room at the Alta Vista Winery!

a pour of "unfinsished" wine straight from the tank

a pour of "unfinsished" wine straight from the tank

Outside the fancy malipel restaurant where we had a 5 course meal....note the teeth turning that lovely red <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Outside the fancy malipel restaurant where we had a 5 course meal....note the teeth turning that lovely red :)

a "constructed v. deconstructed" empanada appetizer...it was very tasty!

a "constructed v. deconstructed" empanada appetizer...it was very tasty!


Playing pool in old school pool hall in Mendoza

Playing pool in old school pool hall in Mendoza

Next, we headed to Buenos Aires for 5 days to explore the amazing city. It definitely has a very European feel with French colonial buildings and 18th century palaces converted into offices and apartment buildings. It's a fantastic city and one that we could easily visit again...mostly for the food!
LUNCH!!! Awesome at a hole in the wall parrilla.  Choripan is the greatest!

LUNCH!!! Awesome at a hole in the wall parrilla. Choripan is the greatest!

Kate in Plaza LaValle across from Supreme Court building

Kate in Plaza LaValle across from Supreme Court building

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo marching as they do every Thursday in remembrance of those who disappeared (were killed) by the military government between '76 and ´82

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo marching as they do every Thursday in remembrance of those who disappeared (were killed) by the military government between '76 and ´82


Tango in La Boca

Tango in La Boca

Torre de Las Ingleses in Plaza San Martin

Torre de Las Ingleses in Plaza San Martin

View of Plaza San Martin from our hotel

View of Plaza San Martin from our hotel

Kate celebrating passing the bar!

Kate celebrating passing the bar!

Tim celebrating Kate passing the bar!!!!!

Tim celebrating Kate passing the bar!!!!!

My brother, Matt, arrived the night of the 21st and the next morning we took the ferry (very nice one) to Uruguay! We spent a day in the cute cobblestoned town of Colonia del Sacramento.
Matt and Tim having a "mate" preparation and drinking tutorial by a nice shopkeeper...Matt has really taken to mate...I think it tastes like bitter grass

Matt and Tim having a "mate" preparation and drinking tutorial by a nice shopkeeper...Matt has really taken to mate...I think it tastes like bitter grass


the "gentilhombres" indeed

the "gentilhombres" indeed


What kind of Dinosaur is this, Alex???

What kind of Dinosaur is this, Alex???

Then we drove through Montevideo (not so nice) on our way to Punta del Este - "the playground of the rich an beautiful South American elite." We are sure it gets crazy there in December, January, and February, but for now the hundreds of high-end high-rise condos were completely vacant. We did enjoy the sun and surf (Matt braved the cold waters) and the amazing sunsets (best we have seen!)! Matt and Tim also got to try their hand at the parilla bbq. Tim managed to set up a nice log configuration for maximizing charcoal production.
Why does everyone always spell our name wrong?!?!?

Why does everyone always spell our name wrong?!?!?


Matt getting the Parrilla coals/logs burning

Matt getting the Parrilla coals/logs burning


Tim hard at work

Tim hard at work


Family dinner followed by cards

Family dinner followed by cards


Brother and sister and the Jose de Ignacio lighthouse

Brother and sister and the Jose de Ignacio lighthouse


Man, mate, and open road

Man, mate, and open road


Our delicious dinner at Lo de Charlie

Our delicious dinner at Lo de Charlie


La Barra-Punta Sunset...the best in South America!

La Barra-Punta Sunset...the best in South America!


Dorks crossing

Dorks crossing


Cool hand sculpture

Cool hand sculpture


Action shot!  Kate attempting to scale the thumb...

Action shot! Kate attempting to scale the thumb...


Mate Amigo..truly Matt's friend.  Along with his Mate Listo Thermos

Mate Amigo..truly Matt's friend. Along with his Mate Listo Thermos

Finally, we returned to Buenos Aires to join my parents who arrived on Thanksgiving! Since their arrival we have had great steak dinners, an amazing set meal in a private home (casa feliz), wandered the city, shopped, enjoyed a Polo match, and caught up on family time. Tonight we are headed to dinner at the home of Patricia and Eduardo - a couple from Buenos Aires my parents met on the plane from Miami. My mom has a way of just meeting someone and getting invited over for dinner. Should be a nice evening!
Thanksgiving dinner. Steak at Don Julio's

Thanksgiving dinner. Steak at Don Julio's


Mom fell asleep at Thanksgiving dinner...granted it had been 30 hours of travel for them!

Mom fell asleep at Thanksgiving dinner...granted it had been 30 hours of travel for them!


Matt sharing his mate in Plaza San Martin

Matt sharing his mate in Plaza San Martin


Dinner at Casa Felix - excellent and innovative meal

Dinner at Casa Felix - excellent and innovative meal


Polo!  It was really fun to watch and the horses were beautiful

Polo! It was really fun to watch and the horses were beautiful


Touring the Recoleta Cemetary...Evita and many other prominent figures are buried here in very ornate mausoleum things.

Touring the Recoleta Cemetary...Evita and many other prominent figures are buried here in very ornate mausoleum things.

It's been great having them here and we all head to El Calafate in Patagonia tomorrow...so expect more pictures in a few days!

Love to all!
Kate and Tim

Posted by PetCon 12:13 Archived in Argentina Comments (3)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Love to family and friends from Uruguay and Argentina

sunny 75 °F

Hola!!!

We just want to wish everyone a happy thanksgiving and hope you have a great day with family!

Exciting news! My brother, Matt, met us a few days ago in Buenos Aires and we all headed to Uruguay to spend a couple days exploring Colonia del Sacramento, a quick lunch in Montevideo and our destination of Punta del Este-La Barra. Pretty beaches but quit til Jan.

Tomorrow we return to BA to meet my parents who are trekking from Newport for a proper Argentinian Thanksgiving dinner...Steak!!!! We are very excited to see them after 2.5 months! We are very THANKful to celebrate with family and miss everyone at home!

We will send pics of Argentina-cordoba, mendoza, BA as soon as we have proper computer access...using my brother's iPhone. :)

Love and thanks,
Tim, Kate and brother Matt

Posted by PetCon 13:59 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

Brazil - Beaches and Beaches...oh and a Waterfall

Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, Florianopolis and Foz de Iguaçu

sunny 81 °F

Hola!

We know it hasn't been too long since our last update, but we wanted to send along our thoughts on Brazil and pictures while we had the chance (we have several 20 hour bus rides ahead). Anyway, to sum up Brazil - GORGEOUS. Everything. The people. The beaches. The food (yummy feijoda and churrasco). The drinks. We loved it all.

Our first day in Rio we sadly fell asleep. Seriously, we arrived at 5:30am after a red-eye flight from Lima (post-Inca Trail) and ended up sleeping most of the day. We got our act together the next day and walked around Copacabana and Ipanema and a Lake near Ipanema.

Marriott was very sweet to us and surprised us with a honeymoon cake

Marriott was very sweet to us and surprised us with a honeymoon cake

Breakfast at Marriott on Copacabana

Breakfast at Marriott on Copacabana

view from our room

view from our room

Lake behind Ipanema

Lake behind Ipanema

Ipanema

Ipanema

Pretty sure the JW Marriott hasn't seen many backpackers

Pretty sure the JW Marriott hasn't seen many backpackers

We then spent 3 days/2 nights in Buzios (“the Hamptons of Rio”) and loved it. We, along with about 8 other people from our hostel, rented a boat to take us around from beach to beach with beers and caipirinhas and sandwiches. It was definitely one of the most fun days of our trip!
Our boat friends were awesome. Three guys from London, one guy from Spain, one girl from Canada, one girl from Ireland, and two girls from...LA (both grew up in Orange County)! One of the LA girls lives in Cordoba, Argentina now - we are going to see her Friday.
front of hostal

front of hostal

fishing boats

fishing boats

Pretty

Pretty

Nature

Nature

Harbor

Harbor

Boat Crew

Boat Crew

We like boats

We like boats

Happy

Happy

Snorkels...always good to wear them above water

Snorkels...always good to wear them above water

the group!

the group!

the guys!

the guys!

water

water


On a boat!

On a boat!

Floating

Floating

Sunset in Buzios

Sunset in Buzios

Breakfast view from hostal

Breakfast view from hostal

Buzios fishing boats

Buzios fishing boats

Once back in Rio, we headed out to a local street party in Lapa with friends from the Buzios Hostal (featured above). Out on the street (in true Mardi Gras fashion) we drank caipirinhas and beer (and ate one of the best hotdogs ever) while rubbing elbows with local "Cariocas" (people from Rio) until 5am. Without much sleep, we finally completed tours of the must see attractions in Rio (Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, etc) and then, sadly, made our way to the airport. Rio is an amazing city, one that both Tim and I seriously underesimated. If anyone is on the fence about visiting this incredible place (or Brazil in general) we highly recommend you do so!
Encountering Christ the Redeemer

Encountering Christ the Redeemer

Rio beneath the clouds

Rio beneath the clouds

What should have been our view (Tim took this of a postcard)

What should have been our view (Tim took this of a postcard)

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

Tim reflecting on our "view" of Rio

Tim reflecting on our "view" of Rio

Chelsea, Nikki, Kate and Tim out in Rio

Chelsea, Nikki, Kate and Tim out in Rio

We spent a few quiet days on the beach in Florianopolis. We worked on our tans and read our books and had one of the most heavenly meals "sequencia de camarao" - sequence of shrimp - which is exactly what it sounds like...several platefulls of shrimp prepared in different ways served one after the other and then delicious fish, rice, salad, and french fries as a final course (though we already felt full afer the shrimp). As a side note, if you were wondering if Gisele Bundchen is a freak of nature...she´s not. She looks like every other girl on the beaches of Florianopolis. Tim was doing his best not to stare...admittedly I was staring, too.
View of Ihla Santa Catarina (Florianopolis) from plane

View of Ihla Santa Catarina (Florianopolis) from plane

Arrival

Arrival

Happy OSU fan

Happy OSU fan

We reached a private beach on this hike...turned out it was really private...no luck for us.

We reached a private beach on this hike...turned out it was really private...no luck for us.

Hiking

Hiking

Our victory hike over Praia Mole

Our victory hike over Praia Mole

Slug on the move...again Tim committed to his animal photography

Slug on the move...again Tim committed to his animal photography

Giant Slug!!!! Look at that thing!

Giant Slug!!!! Look at that thing!

So...ya...natural? By the way, mother of two.

So...ya...natural? By the way, mother of two.

Yellow tassles? Really, is that necessary?  There is a child present!

Yellow tassles? Really, is that necessary? There is a child present!

We took a 15 hour overnight bus from Floripa to Foz de Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls). We arrived about 9 in the morning and headed to the National Park to check out the falls from the Brazil side. VERY impressive. We got soaked on one of the lookout points and then headed in for some super salty french fries.
Our first view of falls

Our first view of falls

Beautiful

Beautiful

Jungle

Jungle

Pre-shower in falls

Pre-shower in falls

Kate soaked

Kate soaked

Tim wet

Tim wet

Kate and falls

Kate and falls

Tim and falls

Tim and falls

Took bus over to Argentina today. Tomorrow we visit the Argentine side of the falls and then overnight bus to Cordoba.

Happy day,
Kate & Tim

Posted by PetCon 19:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 12) Page [1] 2 3 »