Monday, November 24, 2008

Iguazu Falls and Puerto Madryn

What does waterfalls and penguins have in common? They make you giggle and say ooh and aaahh over and over again. Experienced both in the last week.

We took the (amazing) night bus to Puerto Iguazu on the border of Brazil and checked out the falls, including going on a boat getting completely drenched, I guess that was the ultimate experience of the amazing falls at this national park. Spent another couple of days in BA doing a city walking tour. Best tour we have ever done. Couple of young recent graduates who took you all over town and told you about the finance, politics and history of Argentina. Highly recommended if you are ever in BA. Invited to a pick-up game of soccer after Christmas with the same guys, we'll see how that goes. Erik and Camilla, bring your soccer shoes.

After another bus trip, this time 17 hours south we reached the small coastal town of Puerto Madryn where we decided to hang out for a couple of days. The 80 degree weather and nice beach helped us make that decision. The main attraction here is visiting the natural reserve at Peninsula Valdes. We spent a day there with a driver and guide taking us to different beaches showing us different kinds of wild life. The highlights included a one hour whale watching boat tour where we got to see some southern right whales up close (i.e. swimming under our boat) and a penguin colony. Watching Brad being chased by an armadillo was quite amuzing as well. We also saw sea lions and elephant seals.

Getting on the bus with destination El Calafate this afternoon where we will be switching out the bathing suit for crampons.

We`ll see if they have some Turkey at the next stop, otherwise chicken will have to do for Thursday´s festivities.

Hasta Luego!


Brad checking out the penguinos

On the boat looking for whales

Brad cooking up some dinner at La Tosca Hostel

Southern right whale swimming on her back

One should take tan lines in to consideration before buying hiking shoes

Brad and Eric at the beach in Puerto Madryn after riding our bikes in the heat

Devil`s Throat at Iguazu Falls (that´s Brazil on the other side)

The Argentinians know how to enjoy the small things in life; styrofoam coozie in Puerto Iguazu

Riding the bus is like being on an airplane here, only better. Movies, dinner, wine, champagne, blankets, pillows, toilets, amazing scenery (Schreff this is where you see the live cows, lots of them) and no turbulance

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buenos Aires

9 days in to the Argentina leg of our trip and we are still loving it here in Buenos Aires. We´ve been taking it easy most days, exploring the city at our own pace. Eric has been a great resource here, both in pointing out great spots to eat and enjoy the city, but also in facilitating transactions when our spanish doesn´t quite cut it. He´s taking off with us today for our southerly journey through Argentina stopping first in Puerto Madryn for some whale/wildlife viewing, before heading further south to El Calafate and Puerto Mareno for some glacier hiking (apparently we haven´t had enough hiking after the 4 days in Peru). After that, its up to Bariloche to meet Camilla and Erik who are joining us for 3 weeks at the end of our trip. Mendoza for some wine after that, then back to BA sometime around Christmas to see anything we missed there before heading to Uruguay for New Years.

(On the terrace at our home base in BA ¨Casa Jardin¨)

Brunch w/Eric our first day in BA.

The streets of Palermo Viejo

I´m convinced there can´t be a better steak restaurant in BA than this one (¨La Cabrera¨)

The best steak meal I´ve ever had. 6 small tapas style sides with one gigantic steak. The menu reccomends you share. 2 got 2 meats for 3 of us. We´re going back here even though its a far cry from our backpacker budget. That said, all that beef including the sides ran 56 pesos or just less than USD 20. Not a bad deal. But, considering my lunch costs just under $3 (including a liter of beer) that´s a little pricy.

Plaza de Mayo, where the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo walk, protesting the ¨disappearances¨of thier kids in the 70´s. The military junta captured dissodents, tortured them, then dropped them out of planes in the Rio de la Plata outside BA. Argentina has somewhat of a tumultous history.

I counted 19 lanes on this road leading to the Washington Monument...errrr...Obelisk.

Typical ¨Parilla¨where all the meat gets cooked. There´s steak restaurants literally on every corner, and one of these grills on every terrace in BA.

Casa Rosada (Pink House) where Pres. Kirchner lives.

Protests close to Plaza de Mayo. People protest here contstantly. I think they´re teachers demanding more pay, since its tough to keep up with 25% inflation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Everything everybody told us about this city is true. It was love at first sight, or should I say first steak? Anyways, we love Buenos Aires! The city is an interesting mix of Paris and Italy but in South America. Sometime it even feels like Charleston with cobblestone streets and outdoor seating everywhere (with the big difference that BA is cheap).

We got to the hostel around 8 pm last night after traveling all day from Cusco, Peru. We are staying at in the Palermo Viejo district and are enjoying a spacious patio and an apartment feel close to tons of bars (steak) restaurants, clothes and designer stores and parks. Like true Argentinians we went out to dinner around 11 pm last night and met up with Brad´s buddy from Charleston, Eric, who has been living here for the last 8 months. Enjoyed an awesome steak dinner with some Malbec wine, spontenous tango music and singing by the waiters and patrons and hit the sack around 4 am.

It´s really warm and beautiful here with it being spring in this part of the world. We are hanging out in BA for about a week and then taking the bus to Iguazu Falls ( before making our way down to Patagonia. Eric is done with work and will be traveling with us for a while as well. Pictures later.

Hasta luego,


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cusco and the Sacred Valley

So we´re on our last day here in Cusco, Peru. Its a beautiful city, if not a bit too touristy. What can you expect from the biggest city closest to one of the worlds wonders though. We spent the first couple days not doing a whole lot as Jaseon and Way-Jam were getting acclimated to the altitude change before heading off on the Inca Trail.

While there are many routes to take, we booked long in advance and took the most popular route that takes you past multiple ¨lesser¨ruins on the way. In all, its a 4.5 day hike, covering about 26 miles and about 3 miles in altitude change. The 26 miles over 4.5 days isnt the challenging part. Throw in vertical hikes of 1,200 meters in a day and it gets rough (especially if you are fighting a stomach bug which Jaseon and C were). That on top of the fact that all four of us came to the realization that we don´t really like hiking the day before the trek and one completely overpacked backpack you have all the makings for a miserable trip. That said, the scenery was amazing and reaching Macchu Piccu was all the more gratifying for the difficulties.

We´re off to Buenos Aires (BA) tomorrow where we´ll be for about 4 days before heading up to Iguazu falls. Then back to BA to regroup for our overland trip down south to Patagonia for some more hiking at Parque National Torres Del Paine ( for some more natura wonders. Looking forward to meeting up with Cecilia´s college buddy Camilla and her boyfriend Eric in Mendoza around the 15th of December and Russ from Seattle around Christmas before heading to the Uruguay coast for New Years.



(Signs we were picked up at the airport in Cusco...¨Jaseon and WayJam¨

Jaseon took the liberty of making our sign as they arrived a couple hours before us...Ceece and Brad ¨the Donkey¨Albright

Insane halloween festivities the first night in Cusco. If you had candy, you were a target.

Amazing fresh juice stands at the market in Cusco.

Happy before the trek. I won the biggest bag of the group award. Not the award you want to win before a 4 day hike.

On the trail the 2nd day.

Llamas passing us on the way.

On the trail....

Well deserved mini bottles of wine after the 1st day.

Day 1.

Our guides at 5am last day of the hike, 1 hour from our first sighting of Maccu Piccu (MP).

The group at the MP. We hiked with a group of 16, some Americans, Brits, Aussies, a Frenchie and Quebecois guy.

7am at the Sun gate, our first sight of MP.

On the bus from MP, exhausted from the hike.