Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mendoza and family time

Having great time in Mendoza with family!
How fun was that, we got to spend few days in Mendoza discovering the area with Jim and Linda!
Sadly this is over and tomorrow (April 1st ,no joke)we will have a long travelling day to Lima Peru!
We will miss Mendoza, family ,friends , weather and charm!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bussing Bariloche to Mendoza and Wine!

17 hours in a first class bus where we got fed, watched 3 movies and slept despite too many stops and here we are in Mendoza!
Mendoza is very famous for it's wines and wining we have been doing......
We are staying at a local bed and breakfast (posada) in the middle of the wine territory!
Carol's brother Jim and his wife Linda were here to greet us and finding them made Mendoza an even nicer stop!
Carol has been touring the wineries while I am catching up with the kids in our beautiful pueblo style accomodation! playing soccer (pardon futbol) and swimming!
The weather is fantastic (90')and we are appreciating another fine side of Argentinian life!

Our pad in Mendoza

Taxi are getting smaller

Bus Trip!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Puerto Montt (Chile) to Bariloche (Ar)

Long bus day today!
We left early morning in our nice shinny bus for an 8 hours journey crossing the Andes!
Unbelievable scenery reminding us a lot of the high Sierra and Lake Tahoe!....but so much bigger!
Argentine and Chile have to be the best kept secret ever! those 2 countries have a very good lifestyle with barrely none of the arogance linked to the western world!
People are so nice ,friendy and educated.....very refreshing!
Arriving in Bariloche (The mountain sport capital of Argentina) we got blown away by the beauty and quality of life! This a place where we could move to in a minute!
To best is the South America capitol of ......Chocolate! People are known to gain weight just strolling thru the street looking at chocolate displays....LOL
Check pictures below and tell us you think if we are in South America or ....Austria???
Sunday night we will have another first ...a 15h bus ride overnight in First class to Mendoza where we will meet Jim and Linda (Carol's brother and wife for 3 days)
Folding seat , meals, sleeper.....sounds too good to be true!

Old Europe or South America????

Old French cars are still popular in Argentina

Crossing the border in Bus!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cruising the Patagonian Channels! In Chile!

A first for this one: our first lengthy journey on a boat!(4 days)
1000 miles cruising from the bottom of Patagonia to the top in Puerto Montt!
After bussing from El Calafate 6 hours to Puerto Natales (real cool town!) we had to spend an entire afternoon before boarding our Cargo ship with about 100 humans and more live cows…..the smell was awesome!(Some humans were smelly too!)
We had our little cabin for 4 where we slept so well since it was cold outside (40’)!
Just like an Alaskan cruise (with the slight difference that we may have been among the oldest on the boat) we cruised the fjords , admired Glaciers and watched dolphins and seals play around the ship!
It was a very interesting experience for all of us not unlike the Transiberien where we had the luxury to get bored and enjoy life at a very slow pace! To us it is really a luxury….LOL
The food was great and the people (mostly very young) were real cool!
As most of the time we bonded with some English people which seems to be a trend on this journey!

Arriving in Perto Montt

Unbelievable glaciers

Very narrow channel!

Luca lost a tooth.....but really lost it this time...could not find it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Boarding our cruise ship!

We will be cruising the chilean fjords from Puerto natales to Puerto montt the next 5 days in this cargo ship with locals and few tourists !
It should be very spectacular!
Bad news or good news (we do not know yet) phone nor internet untill Friday!

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ice Ice baby!

If you need ONE good reason to go to Patagonia!
THIS IS IT! "Glacier Perito Moreno"
Unbelievable and we have seen plenty of glaciers in our life!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

From Ushuaia to El Calafate

Busy 48h travelling from TierrA Del Fuego to Patagonia!
Interesting since I thought the 2 regions were the same but infact they are completely different!(the first one is an Island while the other one emcompass a quarter of Argentina!
The highlight being of course smugling illegal lunch into Chile and getting caught!
After being warned by Carol that I should not lie on the custom declaration I got myself in hot water and the meanest people to me were not the Chilean custom!
I spent almost an hour in various offices with professional but intimidating people.
I had to write my confession and begged for forgiveness on paper in Spanglish! then watch an official fill countless paper by hand and stamps ....more stamps....!
The final step was in a back dark room where I had to incinerate all the illegal goods myself in the their official stove/oven!
After all that humiliation process I was simply let go with a short....
Don't do it again!
What a relief if was.....nada nothing....after thinking it was the end of trip and we would have to sale everything to get out of this one....!
Then I had to face Carol who was patientely waiting for me in the car.....!!!!!!!!!!
This delay +waiting 2 hours for the ferry + reclearing custom to get back in Argentina made us arrive at our midway point in Rio Gallegos almost by midnight!
Fortunately , the first hotel we saw was open and available!
Today we drove from Rio G to El Calafate, Beautiful little town on the shore of the pastel blue Lago Argentino and gateway to famous Perito Moreno Glacier!
That will be our Sunday excursion!

Alec on top of Patagonia

Crossing the Magelan Strait!

terra del fuego freeway.....

Lamas are so beautiful and cool!

More fjords

Friday, March 19, 2010

Crossing the strait of Magellan to Patagonia!

What a day!
After being almost arrested for smugling a sausage and few fruits into Chile, we finally reached the ferry taking us back to the mainland!
It was an interesting day, great scenery, a lots of lamas and plenty of time at border crossings!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tierra del Fuego......Land's end!

Unbelievable Vistas!
Tierra del Fuego was named this way by early navigators who were noticing fires on land!
Those fires were lit by local Indians for food and this area got the name “land of fire”!
Why did we ask? Simply because we are freezing with a high of 40 ….maybe! and the name made us wonder!
We went to the end of the world, the southern most road (numero 3) and enjoyed a quiet feel!
We were 12000 miles from Alaska!
The scenery around here is equal of superior to the best mountain sceneries we have seen before!(Alaska and Scandinavia)
Missed the penguins since they started their migration last week, we will catch them farther north on our Chilean trip side!
Tomorrow, we start our drive toward Patagonia in our very expensive rent a car ($250 a day), cross into Chile, drive hundreds of miles on dirt road and then get to El Calafate by Saturday!

Argentina Rv...I am sure this one gets 30mpg

Us in Tierra del Fuego National park

luca in beaver land!

I like this tree!

on our way to Ushuaia

National park fjord!