A Travellerspoint blog


The Grand Boat Trip !!!

Antarctica, South Georgia, Tristan de Cunya and finally.... Cape Town

semi-overcast 13 °C


well this is our last entry for the next 53 days as we´re off on the Ship today to sail to Cape Town, via Antarctica, South Georgia and Tristan de Cunya.

Hope everyone´s well and we´ll update the site with pictures and stories... sure there´ll be a few... as soon as we get to Cape Town... assuming the ship gets there that is :)

Here´s the link to the Ships web site so you can see from the GPS where exactly we are and there´s also a ships log etc. posted every now and again so you can keep up to date with our journey.


Go to follow the ship and you´ll see where we are !

We´ve finished shopping, dropped our stuff off and board in a couple of hours.... so....

See you all soon...

Steph and Al.

Posted by Taffski 09:40 Archived in Argentina Tagged cruises Comments (0)


The End of the world... well .... near enough

all seasons in one day 8 °C
View The Three A´s on Taffski's travel map.

We arrived in Ushuaia (La Fin Del Monde... the end of the world)
and checked into our hostel

Hostel La Posta was a brilliant hostel (if a little bit far out from town) however, they made up for this with breakfast includced in the price and free waching and internet etc.

Ushuaia was a bit touristy after being in Natales for so long, so it was a bit of shock to hear lots of French & American accents from people down here specifically to do the big cruise ships down to Antarctica.

We chilled for a few days and got supplies and went shopping ready for the next BIG leg of the journey!

I went fishing one day as Tierra Del Fuego is one of the premier trout fishing spots in the world (I caught nothing though....DOH!) and luckily Maria & Kieron turned up for a few days so we had a few beers over the next few days.

We also went walking to the National Park (Tierrs Del Fuego) which was lovely as the weather was (apparently) brilliant for Ushuaia :)

Anyway.... it´s a nice place, if not the furthest south place... Puerto Williams in Chile getting this title. Unfortunately, we never went there (obvious though it would be to get William Williams in Puerto Williams) but it would have cost us about $100 US to just get the ferry over.... which for a day trip we reckoned was a little bit too expensive... so we never went South of Ushuaia.... until today !

Posted by Taffski 09:33 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

El Calafate

Perito Moreno Glacier and Gauchos

sunny 23 °C
View The Three A´s on Taffski's travel map.

We arrived in El Calafate and found our hostel... America Del Sur.

We got a warm welcome and were shown to our room. We then got the usual run down of Touristcos activities... for the usual turisticos prices, to which we did the usual..... muchas gracias and decided to see what it was really all about in town.

We walked into El Calafate and spoke to a few people about the associated trips and the different aspects of each one.

We knew Bert and Ans (a dutch couple we{d alreadcy met in Buenos Aires) had already arrived and funnily enough they were staying right across the road from our hostel, so we popped over for a cerveca and a discussion on the merits of each of the trips.

We decided to do the day trip on the bus which was the cheapest option, and this proved to be a great decision. They offer boat trips and hiking on the glacier... however... Steph and I are still of the mind that we might finally get to do the Heli hike on the Franz Joseph glacier in New Zealand... so we decided not to bother.

We pulled up at the park in the bus and payed the usual "exoticos" price for entry into the park. Katie (the American girl from Fitz Roy) was with us and we all took pictures on our entry to the park.

We arrived at the viewing platforms and started our walk down.....

Crack...rumble.... crack...... something was happening already ????

We ran down to the first viewing platform just a a massive piece of the glacier was sheering off into the water. Steph was the quickest and managed to get a picture of the piece falling off... whilst slow coach Williams was far too slow and got a video of the ripples (or rather massive waves) hammering down the glacier afterwards!

Well done Ms D..... the photo proved to be a good one !!! Action shot or what !

We then sat around for the next four hours listening to the glacier cracking and watching bits (albeit smaller ones) cheer off the face of the glacier and collapse into the water below... it was cool!

We were joined by a group of (unfriendly) Israeli´s who promptly began to slag everyone off in their vicinity.... seems to be quite a few of them down here and although the odd one is really nice... the majority... well... If we didn´t have any opinions before... lets just day we do now!

Anyway, we got the bus back and that night had a nice meal with Bert and Ans and (supposidly) Katie... however, Bert and Ans hadn´t booked the restaurant so it was full.... unfortunately, we moved to another.... I hung around for 15 minutes or so waiting for Katie, however, she never turned up.... although the next day we met her and she said she´d been a bit late and where the heck had we gone.... whoops.... Sorry Katie!

We´d all arranged to go horse riding also.... Steph, myself, Katie, Bert and Ans so we were picked up later the next evening from our respective hostels and driven up to the Estancia.

The Estancia was right in the hills and the views (since it was a lovely evening) were awesome!

We only got to ride about on the horses for an hour or so and the ride was a bit slow to say the least (Although I managed to get a short gallop up the hill!) We did however, get a lovely assado (Argentinian BBQ) when we got back and the wine began to flow.

We got home later that evening and packed our stuff ready for the short hop over the following day into Chile.

We´d got a bus for about $50 pesos (I think) and crossed over into shile relatively uneventfully (well.... apart from stopping to watch the other bus companies bus out of the ditch in the side of the road with the help of a tractor...very amusing!) and pulled up to Erratic (Not Erotic) Roack II... our hostel for the next three nights whilst we got comfortable in Puerto Natales.

Posted by Taffski 13:53 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

El Chalten

And the Fitz Roy Massive..... Boyakasha !

sunny 20 °C
View The Three A´s on Taffski's travel map.

Having had a nice night in the Albergue Patagonia (a double room with EnSuite Bathroom) and spent half a hour soaking in the shower which had hot water !!! Steph and I went downstairs to speak to Cecilia (....You´re breaking my heart... as in the song.... honestly.... 60 a day and 60 years about explains her)

Anyway, the lovely Cecilia was fantastic in recommending how to get to the Fitz Roy Range, the various walks and the limited services available in El Chalten (the first one being no ATM.... so luckily we´d heard about this before we arrived so had packed a wad of cash before we´d arrived!)

We´d met some people on the bus and met them again in El Chalten since it´s only a tiny little place... some hostels and the odd hotel, some panaderias (Bread shops) and a few other buildings (it was only built in 1985 to stop the Chileans taking the land from the Argies!)

The next day we walked the southern route from El Chalten to Laguna Torre. Now the Pargue Nacional Los Glaciares is a beautiful place and competes with Torres Del Paine in terms of beauty and scenery (although the mountains here are bigger than those of it´s more famous neighbour!)

The Laguna Torres Walk was direct from El Chalten and since you don´t have to pay for entry into the park....



You don´t have to pay for entry into the park.....

Feck me..... the first thing I´ve had in Argentina for free since we´ve been here !!!! I already loved the place !

The walk was an easy 4 hour amble up to the Laguna where we could look on the Glacier Torre and if lucky we´d get a panoramic view of Cerro Torre (one of the highest points in the park)

Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy, however we did have lovely weather and the glacier was nice also!

We walked back and met up with some other people from the bus, Kieron (Irish), Katie (American) and Maria (German).

The night was spent in the Micro Brewery, which was virtually next door to the hostel....coincidentally I thought, with a few other guys from the bus and a couple from the Hostel. A great night was had by all :)

The next day we´d arranged to meet up with some of the guys from the bus and thought we´d go for the more taxing Laguna de los tres route, which would give us great views of Mount Fitz Roy also.

It was a beautiful day and the photo opportunities at the first Mirador were fantastic.... I got the Welsh Flag out for posterity reasons and "the flag travels" photo was taken.

The last hour of the walk was a bit more strenuous and after scrambling up a cliff face (well... it seemed like it!) we got to the top to have a great view of Mount Fitz Roy, the Laguna, the glacier and the surrounding mountains, lakes etc.

It was a lovely day and all five of us really engjoyed it. On the way down, Kieron (and Irish bloke we´d met on the bus) left the four of us to go camping for the night and we headed back to the hostel for a well earned cerveza.

We met up with some of the guys from the bus again and had a cheeky beer or three, and then went to bed so we could get up the following day to get the bus to El Calafate.

We said goodbye to Cecilia and thanked her for her hospitality and great help whilst we were in El Chalten. Both Steph and I were taken by the hostel, the little town and the location of the place, and were both dissapointed to be leaving after only the three days.

We´d have preferred to have spent another couple of days there and maybe camped (for free) in the park and done a few more walks etc., and a day or two less in El Calafate... but hey... hiensight is a wonderful thing, and as I keep saying to Steph (which is driving her nuts!)

You live and Learn.... live and Learn!

Surprisingly... although Chalten travel offered the route from El Chalten to El Calafate.... we chose to go with Cal Tur... their competitor !!!!!

I Wonder why ????????

You live and Learn Steph.... live and Learn ;)

Posted by Taffski 07:46 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Torres Del Paine Parque Nacional

An Entertaining 6 Day Hike

all seasons in one day 12 °C

After our helpful talk, on how to get prepared for our 6 day hike on the W circuit of the Torres Del Paine, the four of us were ready to go! Alan, myself, Kieran (a fellow irish traveller) and Maria (a fellow german traveller) had all of our camping gear and enough food to feed the 5 thousand!

We´d popped into Erratic Rock (one) the sister hostel of ours for the free information talk given by Bill (The Owner) on the W and Circuito route (which was free... we even got a free coffee) and Maria Hired a tent and we hired some mats to sleep on!

Day 1:

It was a nice and early start at 7.15am with a bus pick up to the park! It took 3 hours to reach the park and another 30 minutes to reach our drop of point! So it was 3.5 hours of snooze time for us!

We had decided that taking the catamaran was completely wussy (and extra expense!) so decided to save the 5 pounds or so and walk the first easy(ish) 17 kms to our first camp!

The walk was pleasant which was nice as we had full backpacks.... it was good practice anyway!!

The sun was shining as we approached the first camp ´Lago Pehoe´. The charge was 3500 chilean pesos (It was easy to convert Chilean Pesos to sterling as you just dropped a zero and the price was in pence.... so 3500 chilean pesos is about 3 pounds and fifty pence.... easy or what!) each but had nice hot showers and a quincho (a hut with free gas and plenty of tables). The camp was very busy but we managed to squeeze in and have a ´cook up´(as Kieran called it), have a hot shower and then hit the sack!

Day 2:

The camp was pretty open so it was a windy start but we rose nice and early and rushed to the quincho for brekkie! Alan made porridge... yum yum!

We left our gear at the camp and set off on the sendero (walking track) to Grey Glacier.

It was mainly uphill and in some places quite hard work, especially with the powerful patagonian winds which sounded like jumbo jets coming towards you as they blew through the trees!

Halfway up to the glacier we heard a big rumble and witnessed an ice avalanche..... quite an impressive one too!

We made it to the glacier mirador, it was quite an impressive glacier, although I personally preferred the perito mereno glacier near El Calafate, but nice all the same and worth the trek up to see it.

We walked a few metres back from the mirador and in the shelter of the forest we stopped for lunch, having walked off out morning porridge, and had some much needed sandwiches!

The walk back down was easier but at the same time (which was thought was impossible) we were both hindered and helped by the amazingly strong winds! It was just not possible to stop so we made the 3.5 hour walk in 2.5 hours! (Hardcore !!!)

Back at camp Lago Pehoe we had a very quick rest, packed the tents away, grabbed our backpacks and continued walking onto camp Italiano!

It would have been an easy walk except for the blooming wind.... the walk was done in silence as we were all shattered and we did not dare stop until we reached the camp incase we lost the will to carry on!!!

We arrived about 2 hours later yeahhhh!!!

It was a nice sheltered camp and even better it was free with free runnning water very nearby (aka the glacial river which was gorgeous water although freezing cold! Makes you wonder why people pay so much for the stuff when we were guzzling it down for nowt!!!)

Tonights ´cook up´was bangers and mash with a much deserved rosé wine that we (sorry... alan!) had bought in puerto natales (and carried all the way so far) whilst Kieron and Alan were fastly comsuming their 2 litres of Local Rum.... in either cofee... tea... hot water with lemon juice... porridge... etc. etc...

We sat around talking into the night before crawling into our tents (in mine and Alans tent it literally is crawling as its a small 2 man tent... very cosy and fun when you want to get changed ha ha)!

Day 3:

We left our backpacks at the camp again and walked up Valley Francés to Camp Britanico where we had a short breather before heading further up to the mirador. After a short but steep climb we came to a rock that had ´mirador´written on it but we were convinced that it was not the spot and ventured on.

The next leg was an even steeper climb before bringing us out onto a flat section.... the views were great but the path still carried on so the guys decided to carry on.

Maria and myself waited while we caught our breath. It was snowing a little which produced a rainbow over the mountains... very pretty!

The guys didn´t make it to the top, god knows where the path went, so we descended back to camp britanico to have lunch!

After lunch we headed back to camp italiano! On the way back we spotted 2 woodpeckers happily .... well.... pecking wood!

Back at Camp Italiano we packed the tents and grabbed our gear before walking to our next chosen destination which was camping los cuernos.

The 5.5km, 2 hours, to los cuernos was very pleasant next to the lake side most of the way. Los cuernos was busy again but we managed to get a nice sheltered site each.... Alan and myself in our two man tent, Maria in her one man tent and Kieran in his bivvibag (like a swag)!

We splashed out and purchased a litre of vino tinto to drink with our dinner of pasta and hit the sack!

Day 4:

Had a nice hot shower before having the much needed porridge (with fruit and nuts in this time... posh or what?) and packing our tents away.

We had a fairly easy 6 hour walk to do, but we did have our full backpacks on (although they were getting lighter(ish) as we ate our way through our rations!).

The first leg, a supposed 4 hour walk, took us 3 hours with plenty of stops on the way! We decided to stop after the 3 hours for lunch. After a cuppa soup we all (except Alan) had a siesta in the warm sun.... this was a luxury as the sun was shining and the wind wasn´t strong enough to whip a walnut!

After our long lunch break we decided to carry on to camp chileno.

It was a steep but steady climb but 1 hour into the walk we saw the camp, there was light at the end of the tunnel! Apart from the ever determined wind the sun was shining and as soon as we hit base we grabbed a cerveza each!

We were nice and early so grabbed a decent camp site...... it was very open to the elements again so we found a sheltered spot around the corner of the refugio to cook!

After eating we bought another litre of vino tinto and grabbed a seat inside the roasting refugio where we chatted until the wine ran out!!

Day 5:

I woke up pretty grumpy as it was a pretty cold night (was down to about 1 or 2 degrees C... or so it said on Kieron´s thermometer!) but after a warm shower and lots of porridge I was a LITTLE better.

We packed up the tents and moved onto Camp Torres for our final night!

The walk was steepish but only lasted an hour so to hardened hikers like ourselves it was a ´piece of piss´. We arrived at camp and set up the tents, had a coffee and headed for the mirador Torres Del Paine... the whole reason for doing the 6 day trip!

Now this was extremely steep and hard going, after 45 minutes we rounded the peak and boy was it worth it! We stayed there for a while admiring the incredible view of the massives (3 granite pylons forging into the sky).

It was such a cool view of the Torres!

Climbing down was great fun.... not... but it was a lot less tiring!!

After another coffee at camp the guys decided to walk to a camp a little further (Japonesa) while Maria and myself decided to conserve our energy.

The guys arrived back and we all had dinner and some vino tinto (that we had purchased at the refugio chileno... a little forward thinking) while the guys managed to finish the last drops of the two bottles of rum that they had brought with them.

I personally don´t like the stuff but must admit a hot toddy (hot water, sugar, lemon juice and rum) was quite nice on a cold evening before bedtime!

Day 6:

It was an even earlier start at 5.30 am to head up the mirador for sunrise!

I must say it was great fun climbing up the mirador in the dark with my trusty maglite. It was quite funny to see the numerous headlamps bobbing up the side of the mountain!

At the top we all had a cuppa soup, which felt quite bizarre at 6.30am but it warmed us all up!

Unfortunately we didn´t get a good sunrise but the Torres were still amazing and worth a second peek.

So it was back down to camp for a coffee and muesli bar before packing away for the very FINAL time.

We had a 3.5 hour walk infront of us and 4.5 hours to do it in so we could take our time and amble on with our relatively light backpacks!

On the way past chileno we met a german guy who had hurt his knee... it was pretty swollen and he was struggling a little so the guys took his backpack all the way to the shuttle bus pick up point. We also put a bandage on his knee to support it!

We arrived at the shuttle bus pick up point 1.5 hours early so it was decided to walk the 7kms to the coach stop along the road in the mid day sun (have we learned nothing !!!)

I had my reservations but went along with the idea... we had time!

Well we made the coach on time and saved a whole pound sterling with the walk as we didn´t have to take the 1000 chilean peso minibus.

Back on the bus, We spotted the german guy with the swollen knee alive and complete with backpack so our good deed seemed to have worked well!

As soon as the coach started moving we all fell asleep.... surprise surprise!

After 4 hours on the coach we made it safely back into Puerto Natales, shattered but safe and sound!

We walked back to Erratic Rock, had a shower, wenbt out for some food and then crashed out for the rest of the night... we had an early start in the morning to get the bus from Natales back to El Calafate as we´d arranged something quite posh for our trip down to Ushuaia....

Uno Aeroplano.....

Posted by stephyd 06:32 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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