On the cruise, we had a very full itinerary. On our second full day, we got a wake up call at 6:15, had breakfast from 6:30 to 7:30 and were on our way to a 2-hour hike before 8!
We hiked on an island that was three million years old. We climbed to the peak and while it wasn’t very steep, we had to watch our footing since we made our way up by climbing on broken volcanic rock. It felt like an accomplishment to make it up and down without breaking my neck. I had seen several wipeouts since I got on the cruise. Continue reading
I am now on day 2 of my cruise in the Galapagos Islands and loving the experience. The islands are a short plane ride from Guyaquil or Quito in Ecuador. They were discovered in the 1500s and became known as the enchanted islands. They are a volcanic hot spot and home to varied wildlife that are completely protected in their natural environment. The only way to see the islands is by boat and there are many companies that offer popular three-day and seven-day cruises. Continue reading
My first tour in Ushuaia was to the national park called Tierra del Fuego. We started off at the end of the world train station. It’s a replica of a train prisoners used to take when they were brought to Ushuaia in 1896. The prisoners were primarily repeat offenders so it was the really bad dudes who were sent to Ushuaia!
The train ride was expensive and pretty lame. We basically circled around hills, tree stumps and a small stream for an hour. Fortunately, I met an interesting guy from England so we hung out throughout the tour and had lunch when it was over. Nick was very well-travelled. He has been to Australia, Japan, Nigeria, India and many more places. We exchanged stories about our adventures around the world. It was great to speak in English and we both agreed it was the most in depth conversation we had in days. Continue reading
On my last day in Ushuaia, I booked a boat trip on the Beagle Channel and prayed for good weather. The waterway was discovered in 1830 and is 180 kms long. It provides a divide between Argentina and Chile.
Fortunately, I woke up to a beautiful day and had a feeling that this was going to be a much better excursion than the one yesterday. Our first stop was to watch the sea lions. They are so comical, especially as they sluggishly move from one rock to another. They are very agile in water but the complete opposite on land! Continue reading
On a short plane ride, I landed in Ushuaia – the most southern city in the world. It’s 1,000 kms from Antarctica and the most common entry point for travellers heading there.
I could not imagine anywhere comparing to Calafate, but the aerial view of Ushuaia was impressive. I felt like I was flying into a land of a thousand mountains and trees. It reminded me of Vancouver and Banff in western Canada. Ushuaia has a population of 60,000. It is completely surrounded by mountains and is a major port for ships. Continue reading
I had heard that El Calafate was a special place but didn’t understand why until I saw it with my own eyes. As soon, as I landed at the airport I was greeted by an incredible indigo blue lake. It was even more beautiful than the lagoon in San Rafael.
The landscape on the ride to the hotel was just as amazing. However, the highlight of El Calafate is the glaciers. There are 13 in the province and I went to see the most famous one on the second day of my stay.
On Friday, we took two buses back to Rosario. We boarded the first bus at 4pm and arrived in Rosario at 3:30 the following morning. Alex was sweet enough to meet us at the bus station. We went back to his place and since it was my last night with them, he made a very special drink for us. Lemon Champ is lemon ice cream blended with champagne. It’s light, refreshing and totally delicious! I’m definitely going to make it next summer in Toronto – maybe even sooner!
Agnes and I loved our week in Mendoza and were even more excited about heading next to a beach town in Uruguay called Punta del Este. It’s known as the Miami of South America and is featured in many magazines as the hot spot for the rich and famous. We packed our bikinis and party dresses and took another 10-hour bus ride to the luxurious destination.
Sadly, we were disappointed with Punta del Este. Maybe it was because we just missed the peak season that ended in January.
After two days of decadence, we headed further south to San Rafael. It’s a smaller town surrounded by The Andes, lakes, valleys and the beautiful Atuel River. We stayed at a ranch called La Finca Carmelita about 10 minutes outside of the town.
The finca was a refreshing change from a hotel. It was on a beautiful piece of land and had llamas, horses, dogs, geese and a fabulous swimming pool. I felt an immediate sense of calm there and loved every minute we spent at the ranch.
For all of you who know me, there’s no doubt that I am a live to eat, not an eat to live kind of a person. I love good food and wine and I was in heaven when I visited Napa Valley last summer. I was hoping to have a similar experience in Argentina’s wine country, called Mendoza, and I was not disappointed.
It was just Agnes and me on this part of the adventure. Alex had to go back to work so the plan was to travel during the week and then to meet him back in Rosario on the weekends. Continue reading