To the ´End of the World´...

Trip Start Feb 01, 2014
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Trip End Jul 03, 2014


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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Distance Travelled since last post : 3,407.5 miles
Total Distance Travelled : 11,078.3 miles
Total Time on Bus : 94.5 hours

Ok, it´s been quite a while since we last posted so there{s quite a bit of ground to cover this time! After finishing in Brazil we headed over the nearby border to Paraguay. So far on our travels no-one had been to Paraguay, and we were keen to discover why and whether everyone was missing out on somewhere spectacular. We walked across the Friendship Bridge from Foz de Iguacu to Ciudad del Este and made our way south to Encarnacion. 

A very quiet town, separated from Argentina by the Parana River. From Encarnacion we were able to visit the Jesuit mission ruins, one of UNESCO´s least visited sites in the world. They were first established in 1609 and flourished over the next 150 years. There were a number of different sites within reach of Encarnacion, but based on recommendation we opted to visit Trinidad - one of the largest missions, and also the most well preserved. It was a very impressive site and made even more so by the complete lack of any other visitors - quite a shock after the shoulder to shoulder crowds of Iguacu!

From Encarnacion we headed back to Ciudad del Este - essentially one enourmous market place for the 3 bordering countries of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Even from our fairly brief strolls around the town and the main market street of Puente de la Amistad, it was pretty clear that you could seemingly buy anything here (and in any currency)! Pretty much every street corner would be a case of fending off the traders, who were always keen to show you how well their tazers on offer were working! 

We left Ciudad (sadly tazer-less) and made our way back over the border, passing straight through Brazil, and over to the Argentinian side of the Iguazu falls. Everyone we´d spoken to had been adament that this was the best side to see the falls from, and hopefully the photos give an impression of the  . Although one thing to be aware of is that, certainly from our experience, you will get properly soaked. 

From Puerto Iguazu, an overnight bus (or ridiculous bed on wheels - we decided that 20 hours on a bus warranted coughing up for a decent bus!) took us to Buenos Aires where we spent 4 days exploring the city. BA was a wonderful mix of cultures, with each area having it´s own distinct personality - from the colourful streets of Boca to the bohemian feel of Palermo. 

From BA we got a boat over to Colonia Del Sacremento in Uruguay. A whole town declared a UNESCO site, and rightly so. It was a beautiful old fishing port, set against a maze of cobbled streets jutting out onto the river. We spent 2 days wondering around and moving from one gorgeous cafe to the next. We did manage to stretch ourselves to climbing the light-house but that was about as strenuous as it got.

After a brief stop back in BA, we flew down to the far south of Argentina to catch the last of the semi-decent weather in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia. We flew into Ushuaia - the southern-most city in the world - where we had to adapt quickly to the cold and windy weather which we thought we´d left behind in the UK. We had a few days of hiking (we had a great day trip up to see the Martial Glacier) and ´´the end of the road´´ in Tierra Del Fuego national park - this was to be our warm-up for the adventure that happened next. From Ushuaia we went slightly further north and into Chile where we set out on the ´W´ Trek in Torres Del Paine. We hadn´t heard of this trek before, but over the preceeding and following weeks we barely heard talk of anything else. We had 4 nights and 5 days trekking in this beautiful national park. We experienced up to 90kmh winds, blizzards, viciously cold rain and the occasional glimpse of sunshine. Despite the extreme weather, it was one of the most amazing experiences - seeing some of the most stunning landscapes imaginable. We were even able to fit in some kayaking to the Grey Glacier (to ensure we had a full body ache by the end of the trip). From Torres we headed back to Puerto Natales in Chile where we had a much needed shower, warm bed and, more importantly, pizza and beer! 

So after our brief excursion over to Chile, we´re going to be heading back over to Argentina - stopping off to catch the last few stops in Patagonia, and then heading north back towards some much needed sunshine!
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