Mucho Penguinos and Crafty Nannas

Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 12, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Sunday, January 6, 2013

After our first real long-haul bus trip (24 hours) we arrived in Puerto Madryn which is a coastal town known for its access to a number of wildlife reserves including the largest penguin colony in South America.

Once we were settled at our hostel, we took a walk around town and arranged a trip to the penguin colony for the following day.

We headed out early to avoid the crowds and our driver made good time to travel the 170km to Punta Tombo - some would argue we made too good a time - i think we were going around 150km/h most of the way and around 110km/h on the gravel roads in the little Renault hatch.

Punta Tombo is the home of around 500,000 penguin pairs and after a quick walk through a introductory exhibition we headed out to the penguin colony.

The colony itself is huge and the path that you walk literally takes you amongst the penguins and their nests. Sometimes they would be walking along with you although you had to stop to give priority to any penguins crossing. Quite funny as you see a queue of people lined up as a penguin waddles across the path! It's made more surreal given that the penguins are about 500m from the water in amongst the scrub that looks a little like a desert and are mixing with other animals like guanacos (small llama) as well as guinea pig type creatures.

As we were leaving we had a penguin walk all the way down the boardwalk behind us, waddle past and then jump off the boardwalk on the way to his nest, redefining the Penguin shuffle!

After a few hours amongst the penguins we headed back to Puerto Madryn via a small town called Guiman a welsh settlement basically in the middle of nowhere. On the way the inevitable occurred as we blew out a tyre at around 100km/h on one of the dirt roads. The driver managed to bring the car to a stop and after a quick tyre change we were back on our way. After the minor drama our driver seemed to curb his driving enthusiasm which was a good thing as we swear we were nearly airborne across some of the cattle gates.

In Guiman we were given the option of a walk through town or stopping for a cup of tea in this random welsh tea house complete with botanical gardens. The other people on the tour were keen for the tea house so we went with the flow. We were quickly ushered to our seats and before we knew it we were being served platter upon platter of cakes to go with our tea by these little welsh looking Spanish speaking Nannas. Without exaggeration there were about 10-15 slabs of cake per person. This was awkward given that no one wanted cake but there was no choice to order what you wanted... the Nannas were too crafty for that. It was a case of eat it or take it with you. The Nannas slight of hand was complete when the bill arrived, we had had four cups of tea a piece of bread and jam and a piece of slice for $40! The rest it seems would be donated to the hostel. Don't worry about the mean streets of Rio, what you have to watch is the crafty Nannas in Guiman...!
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Ronnie on

Little fellows look cute! Just watch out for those mad Spanish Drivers!! and Nannas bearing gifts( CAKE ) very funny! Take Care have Fun love ma xx

Lyn Carter on

Some of these photos are amazing glaciers,penguins,scenery WOW. Glad I am reading some of these driving adventures after I have spoken to you!!!!!!

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