Sunday, November 20, 2005

Puerto Madryn - Argentina - 20 Nov 2005

Hi, it has been some time again since I wrote you all here, but I am still on the move. When I left Santiago de Chile I took a night bus to Osorno about 900 km more south where I arrived at 07.00 in the morning. It was rainy and cold there. At 10.30 I had a connection to Bariloche in
Argentina which is a 5 hours bus ride. The ride was very scenic. The first 150 km looked like
Belgium, flat with green grasslands full of cows and a grey dark sky with rain from time to time.
Then we got little hills and lateron even big mountains with non-tropical rainforest on it with a lot of waterfalls and snow when we entered parque nacional Nahuel Huapi. In the middle of the park we came on the Chilean border and I got an exit stamp in my passport. About 10 km further we came at the Argentina border and I had no problem to get a entry stamp for 90 days.
When I was sitting in the bus I saw something low flashing by 3 times and the 4th time a looked
a bit better and saw it was on oldsmobile sportscar. Later on I saw mabe 140 of these cars dating from 1900 till 1980. It was the annual Argentinian oldsmobile rally, a great scenery
here for the organisation. About 3 hours later I arrived in Bariloche in the lake district and on
the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, surrounded by snow dusted mountains. It looked as I was in
Switzerland. It was not easy to find a room but with the help of another guesthouse I could
find a room for 10 USD. It was the first room on my trip where the central heating was on
during the night, a strange feeling cause most of the time I am used to air conditioning or
vans on my trips. The next day I went to El Cathedral, the biggest ski resort in south america.
As its springtime here the snow is melting so the ski season is over but I could do so nice
hiking up to the snow. That evening I had to take a bus to Puerto Madryn so I assured myself
that I was tired enough to get some sleap on the bus.

During the busride, crossing Patagonia from west to east it rained the whole time untill I
felt asleep. At around 07.00 in the morning we arrived in Puerto Madryn on the Atlantic
ocean and here is was almost a blue sky but very windy. I came to this place for the wild-
life at and around peninsula Valdes, a world heritage wildlife park. When I got from the
bus I jumped into a travel agency at the busstation and asked if I could still join a tour the
same day, which was possible if I took my luggage with me, so no hotel and shower first.
Travelling can be hard sometimes but I agreed and 1 hour later I was on a minibus to
Peninsula Valdes, about 120 km from Puerto Madryn. I mad a good choice cause this day
I saw sea lions and sea cows on the beaches and even pinguings walking wagling around.
In the afternoon we went on a boat for whale watching. When it gets to cold on Antartica
in winter the whales come here to breed. I saw about 7 whales in the huge bay, mostly
mothers with their baby on their side. They came so close to the boat we could almost
touch them, its an amazing experience when you see it for the first time, such huge animals.
It was almost 20.00 hr when we were back in Puerto Valdes. I checked in in a guesthouse
for 15 USD, shared bathroom, its a bit more expensive here. I was hungry so I went to
a restaurant and ordered a huge steak and a small bottle of wine. You can eat here very
well for about 14 USD, wine included. Argentina is really a wine drinking country, not beer
like in Peru or Bolivia. They have a lot of nice wines from the Mendoza area.

Today I have a restday, my memorycards were full again so I had to let a shop burn
my pictures on cd. I have about 800 pictures already now, a new record on my trips but
I see a lot too of course. Tonight at 18.40 I have to take another night bus. I tell you
in my next blog about my new destination.