It's a bit like Carlsbad here...with Penguins
Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
34Trip End Jul 29, 2010
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When we arrived in Puerto Madryn it was 8am on Easter morning and not a soul was walking the streets. Except a few stray dogs, and each of them was running with inexplicable urgency. "Love to stay and chat, but I gotta go!" We found a nice hostel (HI Patagonia) a block from the beach with a rose garden and a hammock. They were able to book us tours to Punta Tombo and Peninsula Valdez, each day trips that we were looking forward to. Sunday, then, turned into a day of walking around town and relaxing in the hostel. At night (still not used to the late-night eating schedule) we had an asada with the other hostel guests
In the morning we were up early to catch our tour bus to Punto Tombo… to see the PENGUINS! I wish we had the eloquence of Ginger Brown in describing these adorable animals, but the pictures and videos will have to suffice. Even though we were there during their molting season, just before they migrate to warmer Brazil, the hundreds of thousands of penguins we saw easily made the trip worth it.
Next our tour took us to the Welch village of Gaimen. Miriam, I hope you had as delicious of a Welch tea experience when you were in real Wales as we had while we were in a fifth generation Welch-village of Argentina somewhat stuck in the mid-19th century.
We came home that night and checked into a new hostel
The next day we went on another tour, this time to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Peninsula Valdez. Deemed “the one of most beautiful bays in the world” this windy peninsula revealed nundus (kinda like ostriches), guanacos (kinda like llamas), armadillos (kinda like armadillos), foxes, little kangaroo-like animals, sea lions and lots of baby pups, and the world’s only colony of elephant seals. And if the wild life wasn’t enough, the breathtaking views of the bays would satisfy anyone’s craving for awesomeness.
That night we had our tour bus drop us in Puerto Piramides, the only “town” on the Valdez Peninsula, where we camped for the night. The camp site was practically on the beach, separated only by a line of thick trees that guarded us from the wind. It was hardly roughing it. We had power, bbqs, and freshly desalinated water (anyone know how desalination works, Ron, we were wondering). We did have to gather our own wood and flammables for the fire. Luckily all the trees around the campsites were very dry and we practiced our newly honed wood ember (asada) cooking skills from a couple nights ago
Woke up early the next morning and decamped and caught one of the two daily buses that head back to Puerto Madryn. We went directly to the bus station to by some tickets to El Calafate (a trekking basecamp) but realized that it would be a better idea to go to Torres Del Paine first, so we’d do less backtracking. Well, it turns out they only make trips to Puerto Natales (the access town to Torres Del Paine) on Tuesday and Saturday. Look likes we’ll be stuck for two more days in this horrible resort beach town with nice people, beautiful views, and cheap rent. Sometimes you just get dealt lemons.