Sunday, 26 March 2017

Six Weeks on the Road... Notes from a Weary Traveller

Six weeks on the road and I'm a gonna make it home tonight... well, not tonight, exactly, but the day after tomorrow night. Apologies to Dave Dudley for misquoting his classic sixties country and western song. And apologies to those who are not as familiar with (or as fond of) old country songs as me. We are in the home stretch of our trip... and I'm happy to be almost home. 

Mostly because I am tired. Soooo tired. Extended travel can be wonderful. And it can also be exhausting. Especially at the pace we've been setting since we left Arequipa, Peru a couple of weeks ago. After Bariloche we spent six wonderful days in and around Salta, including the best road trip we've ever taken. I'm saving that post for when we get home and I can do it justice. Then we were off to Peru and five days in Arequipa. Followed by tours, and bus trips, and island dancers. I have a priceless video of Hubby dancing on Isla Taquile in Lake Titikaka. Then there was the wonderful food, breathtaking scenery, heartbreaking poverty, and kindly, smiling people everywhere we went. This is a shot I took on our Colca Canyon trek. We'd stopped for coca tea, and a visit to the "banos," and I made two new friends. This is me (looking a bit rugged, as we say downeast) with Mary, her little brother and his (rather hapless) new kitten. 

Colca Canyon friends 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Beautiful Bariloche, Argentina... Almost Like We Never Left Home

A few weeks ago Hubby and I left southern Patagonia behind... but only in the flesh. It will be in our hearts forever. Like all those places we've been that make us smile, and sigh, and say to each other... "Ahhhh... Dawson City (or Boltby  or Broome  or Ispagnac ) remember when we were there?" So San Carlos de Bariloche, our next stop after El Calafate, was at a disadvantage from the beginning. Pity. I mean, I can't say that Bariloche wasn't beautiful, or that the people were unfriendly, or that the weather was terrible. Because it was lovely, the people were lovely and the weather was fabulous...except for one very windy, cool day. It's just that it wasn't El Calafate, or El Chaltan. 

And that it reminded us too much of home. This is the view of Lago Nahuel Huapi in front of our hotel. Blue water, mountains in the distance, and huge evergreen trees. Wait a minute, blink, blink, shake my head... am I in Canada? 

Looking out over Lake Nahuel Huapi in San Carlos de Bariloche 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Patagonia: Like Falling in Love

Hubby and I are beginning to wish that we'd planned our trip differently. That we had not come to Patagonia quite so early in our South America adventure. Because, from the moment we stepped off the plane in El Calafate, we fell head over heels for the place, and the people. And, frankly, we're a bit worried that nothing else after this will measure up.

El Calafate. How to describe this town? It's a place of contrasts. Set beside the blue, blue waters of Lago Argentino. Surrounded by mountains, and dry gorsey plains. Kind of ramshackle. Kind of cutesy. Dogs wander the streets, some strays, some not, most of weirdly mixed breeds. All quiet, docile, and obviously used to traffic. They wait patiently at the door of the "Supermarcado," or curl up in a patch of sunlight on the sidewalk. The main street has many restaurants and stores that sell high-end outdoor gear and Patagonia souvenirs. Line-ups for gas stretch away from the service stations and down the street most days, and like in Cuba or Coober Pedy (in Australia) residents drive beat up old cars that we never see in Canada any more... except maybe up north. Not all the residents drive beat up cars, of course. But enough to make it noticeable. Our room the first night looked out on the main drag that takes people down town, and out of town. And the number of wonky mufflers and backfiring engines we heard was amazing. I even actioned my ear plugs to be able to get some sleep. 

low stucco building with beautiful purple flowering heather bushes
Schilling Hostel Patagonica