Southern Chile and Argentina- Patagonia!

Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Monday, November 7, 2011

So, after leaving mum and dad Michaels we headed down south to Puerto Varas, Chile, which would mark our most southernly part of the trip so far, which as the crow flies from or start point (Bogota) is 3,300 miles but the route we took must have been closer to 5,000 miles. We arrived in Patagonia with spring in the southern hemisphere, wild flowers blooming and the snow melting. A real highlight for Alex was skiing on Volcan Osorno, especially after almost everyone we talked to said it wasn't possible being so close to the end of the season. We loved Puerto Varas but the pull of a new country led us to cross the Andes one last time to enter Argentina.

On our bus journey we started to notice that the scenery was unlike anything we'd seen before and had a strange white tinge to it. After about 20 minutes, we remembered seeing on the news that volcanoes had been active down here, and we realised there was volcanic ash on the ground! People say Patagonia is surprising and constantly changing, but we never thought we'd experience something so dynamic.

Over the Andes, we arrived in Bariloche in time for some colder weather and rain. A charming place, but we quickly discovered a town just north called San Martin de Los Andes that held everything we were hoping to see and do with a quiet atmosphere and well equipped town. Seven days here and we aren't looking forward to the final stretch to Buenos Aires. San Martin is set between two mountains and Borders a stunningly blue lake that is 300 metres deep. We have tackled both mountains on foot and were almost defeated by one while on bikes. The scenery is constantly taking our breath away and around every corner we see different views that only Patagonia could contain (Alex says it reminds him of Switzerland or New Zealand on steroids - I hope to be able to make this comparison some day).

So the Argies have been playing over the last few days just like Endland and this has lead to some interesting times... The first match was on in the supermarket where all but one of the cashiers has pulled up their chair to the TV screen. After a very long wait Alex couldnt help but announce he was cheering (accompanied by actual cheering!) for Bolivia and the conversation descended into Maradona's hand of god... The second took place whilst watching the Colombia match and followed a fierce debate about Beckham and Simone... It got kind of childish though with a rather passionate Argentinian supporter saying Beckham was a bad footballer anyway and Alex calling Simone a cheat who would never be forgotten... They are both right! Anyway thank god the Falklands didn't come up! It's acrualy been in the press recenty as madam Christine has stated she wants a crack at getting them back (election promise!) and we spoke to some locals about it- it's rather a touchy subject still.

Video from one hike:

We've spent 8 nights here at Bike Hostel, an enormous, beautiful cabin-like house. It can sleep over a dozen people, but we have been essentially alone the whole time. It has a decent kitchen so we haven't had to eat out once, huge rooms (we have the eaves all to ourselves) and bikes literally litter the hostel (walls, floors evrywhere) and the hosts are very relaxed, they just leave us here alone as its shoulder season and the ash cloud has closed all the airports so there are very few tourists (twe are about 20 hours by bus to Buenos Aires)

It's a lovely end to our travels here, and who knows if we would have ever gone anywhere else if we would have started our trip here. In a few weeks we will very sadly be leaving to do the monotonous task of filing for our paperwork to return to the UK so we can both work but are already getting excited about taking some time on the way back to the UK (there is more than one way to ge there you know;)

Right now, if we could go anywhere in the world, it would be right here, right now (spring!)

Check out the pics below...
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