A Travellerspoint blog

Back to the big smoke

sunny 10 °C

Having departed Hostel ‘Mothball’ we were finally on our way to Ushuaia - our final destination of the Chilean trip (yes we know it’s officially in Argentina!!). There was clearly a sense of excitement in the air mixed with a little nostalgia as we sensed our journey together was slowly drawing to an end. Our motley crew of 17, which had come together in Santiago some 3 weeks earlier, was soon to disband and return to their respective corners of the world. Having driven us almost 4,000Km even Gus was beginning to show the signs of some wear and tear with the starter motor proving unreliable and even the ‘pub’ (aka safe) refusing to open. As always our ‘resident engineer’ (a 23 year old engineering graduate with not an ounce of common sense) gave us much to think about as he proceeded to inform us that Trucks couldn’t be jump started in reverse...as we once again proved him wrong we began to wonder whether any of his constructions in Australia were still standing at this point!
Welcome to Ushuaia, talk about culture shock....less than 24 hours ago I was crouched over a campfire blindly boiling some eggs for breakfast and now I’m surrounded by enough Russian ‘bling’ in the pre-departure hotel to blind a bat! Welcome to the expedition brigade! A quick scan of the passenger list in the lobby confirmed our worst nightmare...apparently we were the youngest! Somehow the prospect of spending our evenings being hustled at ‘whist’ and ‘bridge’ by the octogenarians was slowly becoming reality!
Following a quick embarkation briefing we excused ourselves and headed off to catch the sights and sounds of the town before joining our overland colleagues for a farewell Chilean dinner at Chcko’s restaurant.

Posted by Rosscopico 06:25 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Sausages never tasted so good!

sunny 15 °C
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Never act in haste my dad would always say....such wise words readers and if only I’d paid more attention. Once again in a moment of male bravado I had accepted Chris’ bet and committed myself to run the 7 hour return Glacier Grey walk in the Torres Del Paine National park. Trying to convince myself that the training would come in handy, especially with the Cape Town ‘2 Oceans’ Marathon looming on the horizon, I now had 3 hours to regret those words! How hard can a 22Km route be to a ‘big roughty toughty man (as Leigh puts it with a sly smirk) like me who’s run a few marathons....well for starters those were on the flat and didn’t involve clambering up and down 50 m rock faces or getting lost on false trails which had been ravaged in the recent bush fire that devastated the area. In all honesty if it wasn’t for the image of sausages and hamburgers sizzling over an open fire (our evenings promised BBQ) I’d never had made it. Later as I sunk back into my seat on the 30 minute ferry ride back across Lago Pehoe little did I realise that my adventure was far from over. Upon arrival I was greeted by the familiar sight of Jimmy (our driver) but Gus was not to be found.....”Fancy a run back”? he quipped (with his Comrades Ultra Marathon a few months away he too had seen a golden opportunity)...seeing that I had no other option apart from hitching a lift from a passing condor we trundled off on our 7km return leg.....to console myself all I could think of was those sausages!

Posted by Rosscopico 05:10 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Masterchef

sunny 13 °C
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Australia may have the great Matt Moran but we’ve got Russell, our very own resident M
masterchef - who deep down would give him a run for his money if they ever got together over a campfire. As we’ve journeyed through Chile, for the past two and half weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of group cooking and been subjected to meals ranging from traditional school dinners to Lou Lou’s first attempt (which consists of turning recognisable ingredients into what can best be described as road-kill puree) but thankfully we’ve also had Russell. For those of you not familiar with her cooking, might I suggest you book a table ASAP as her cook night here has now become so legendary that even other campers are trying to hustle a table most nights.
Also on that great topic of food....watch out for meat eating vegans! And so it was as we trundled along Ruta 40 that our resident loon turned and declared to the group that she was a vegan as she couldn’t eat meat or meat products for moral reasons....taking our silence as a green light to continue she then proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes attempting to convert her ‘captive’ audience (well we couldn’t quite well jump from a moving truck now could we) until Leigh quietly pointed out that the Bovril she so enjoyed spreading on her toast contained beef extract – Opps!! As you can imagine, the stony silence that followed was punctuated by stifled laughter! Later that night by the fire light I was convinced that I saw her eating a sneaky pork sausage....another convert!

Posted by Rosscopico 05:09 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Care for some ice with that man?

sunny 15 °C

Today saw us depart El Calafate and head 25 km north for the Los Glaciares National Park. The Park and reserve covers an area of some 6000,000 hectares in the South West of the province of Santa Cruz (Argentina) and was created in 1937. In 1981 UNESCO declared the area a world heritage site in recognition of its international importance. Descending from high up in the valley, the ‘white giant’ better known as the gigantic Perito Moreno glacier is 5 km wide front which rises some 60 m above the water. Throughout the course of the day we were treated to the amazing spectacle of ice fronts crashing into the Lake barely 200m away from the walkways...a nice little reminder as to the true power of nature!
Tomorrow we depart El Calafate for the last time as we continue south to the Torres Del Paine National Park for the next leg of our adventure and the popular 3 day ‘W’ walk...a trekkers paradise!

Posted by Rosscopico 05:08 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Pounding The Path....

sunny 17 °C
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And so it was at the crack of dawn that I rose from my bed....quietly cursing to myself I threw on my running kit and headed out. Fortunately for me my Spanish isn’t that good but the look of sheer horror from the restaurant manager pretty much confirmed that it was definitely going to be cold (that or else she took offense to my pale white Irish legs). Stepping outside was akin to being immersed in cold water...breathtaking to say the least...but being the hardy soul that I am I forged ahead leaving a rather sleepy El Chalten behind and headed for the main mountain range. Buoyed on by a fantastic sunrise and a rather quiet trail I made it up to ‘Lago De Los Tres’ in just over 2 hours to watch the early morning rays light up the glacier and mountain face. The return leg (13km) was surprisingly faster despite the extra trail traffic and before long I was once again back in time for a cold crisp beer and a shower....the little luxuries of life!
For those of you yet to visit El Chalten be sure to take in the wonderful microbrewery on the main street where the beer and food is matched by the equally delightful staff. Talking about food though, Argentina & Chile may be renowned for its fabulous meat but we have still to come across a restaurant that can cook a steak ‘medium rare’ as opposed to ‘well done’ which appears to be the norm (unfortunately my futile attempts to moo like a cow to demonstrate ‘raw’ don’t seem to have gone down well here).
Tomorrow we depart El Chalten and skip over the border again into Argentina to a little town called El Calafate.

Posted by Rosscopico 05:06 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

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