A Travellerspoint blog

Basic Travel Itinerary - Updated!

Day 1 - Day 2: San Francisco to Georgia (flight) to Buenos Aires (flight)
Day 2: Buenos Aires
Day 3: Buenos Aires
Day 4: Buenos Aires
Day 5: Buenos Aires
Day 6: Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento (ferry)
Day 7: Colonia del Sacramento
Day 8: Colonia del Sacramento to Buenos Aires (ferry) to Mendoza (night bus)
Day 9: Mendoza
Day 10: Mendoza
Day 11: Mendoza
Day 12: Mendoza to Santiago (bus)
Day 13: Santiago
Day 14: Santiago
Day 15: Santiago to La Serena (bus)
Day 16: La Serena
Day 17: La Serena
Day 18: La Serena to San Pedro de Atacama (night bus)
Day 19: San Pedro de Atacama
Day 20: San Pedro de Atacama
Day 21: San Pedro de Atacama
Day 22: San Pedro de Atacama
Day 23: San Pedro to beginning of Southern Bolivia 4x4 tour
Day 24: Southern Bolivia 4x4 tour
Day 25: Southern Bolivia 4x4 tour to La Paz (night bus)
Day 26: La Paz
Day 27: La Paz
Day 28: La Paz
Day 29: La Paz to ???

Posted by AnzelcL 10:00 Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Argentina

sunny 27 °C

Eric and I have been busy enjoying Malbec, Mendoza's most popular and well known wine. This has resulted in delayed posts. So, we'll fill you in now.

Eric is covered in bites, head to toe - literally! It seems that no matter what we do or where we sleep, he ends up with more bites. I've been pretty lucky, just a few here and there, and Eric has been such a good sport about it. Yesterday he even said, "I'm turning into a bug!" Not quite, but sometimes it seems like that!

On Tuesday we wrapped up our time in Colonia del Sacramento by eating breakfast by the water, playing giant chess again (Eric won, again), then took a ferry ride back to Buenos Aires before jumping on a night bus to Mendoza. We were pleasantly surprised to realize that not only were the “cama” seats incredibly comfortable, but we got to play international bingo (Eric almost won!) and meals were included! We both decided that THIS was the way to travel.... not the night buses I'm used to!

We arrived in Mendoza at about 9am and easily found our hostel. We were standing at the front door, ringing the buzzer, when a girl approached us and said, “Eric?” Greeted by name? Now that is service! We were showed to our room (same as the one we booked, but with a bathroom en suite at no extra cost because the other room is being “disinfected”... hmmmm). We figure that if you're greeted by name, chances are pretty good that not many others are checking in and you may have the room to yourself!

Shortly after we found our hostel, we set out to explore the city. Mendoza is an artificial oasis in the middle of the desert, according to our book. Water is transported throughout the city in elaborate roadside canals, which reportedly are celebrated by the locals. Hmmmmm, is that what all the trash in them is about? They say that Mendoza is one of the most beautiful cities in Argentina. We don't really agree, but are enjoying the city all the same! Its a lot smaller than Buenos Aires, a lot dirtier than Colonia del Sacramento and a lot more fun than Redwood City (sorry, Rdub locals)! We decided to head to Parque Central while seeing what the city had to offer, and found ourselves in the midst of the projects, before finally arriving at our park (not worth the trip, but Eric made the best out of it). This was a lot further away then we initially expected and we were both starving by the time we finally found a restaurant that we both agreed on. I chowed down on spaghetti (not so Argentinean) and Eric tried lomo. We weren't exactly sure, but after he ate it I asked the waitress, and she confirmed that he had just eaten llama! Way to go, Eric! I had a little taste myself, and we both agreed it was delicious.
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Later that night we bought a couple beers and some wine at the local store and sat around the common area of the hostel chatting with some of the employees and other travelers. This was quite the experience, and was about the time that Eric and I decided that there was a pretty good chance that our hostel also doubled as a drug house (again, sorry mom). “G” (his name will not be included do respect his anonymity – or because we can't remember it) spent a long time chatting to us about his life in the streets, his lucrative drug selling side job and how to say the best swear words in at least 10 languages. Of the three employees that run Carahue, they all seem to be about twenty two and none of them actually seem to do any work. They have guests that come over, give them some money and then leave shortly after. Meanwhile, there is always a slight scent of weed in the air and and people running around with excess energy.

We had a typical (LATE) dinner at about 10 and got caught in a completely unexpected thunderstorm. Especially because we were under the impression that it only rained five days a year in Mendoza. One minute we were sitting outside feeling a couple light drops, and the next we were huddled under an overhang while the city filled up with water – literally. We waited it out for a couple minutes before deciding to just suck it up and get a little wet. The rain didn't let up, nor did the thunder and lightening. We ended up home about fifteen minutes later, excited, wet and minus one flip flop. I've never seem anything like that before in my life!
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Today we decided to hike up to a “nearby” hill to see panoramic views of the city. The walk to the park was a couple miles, once in the park we walked a couple more miles before reached the hill and then headed up the steep incline. The view was beautiful, but Eric and I were mostly focused on the group of about twenty people who were running it! We decided to take the long way home, something I was starting to regret as we entered hour number five of hiking. Now its after lunch and we're relaxing in our room, trying to decide what should be the plan for dinner. We'll probably skip the wine tonight, because tomorrow we tour the vineyards on bikes!
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Posted by AnzelcL 22:26 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Fun in Colonia del Sacramento - Updated!

sunny 25 °C

Eric and I are currently waiting for our ferry to take us back to Buenos Aires, where we'll hop on a bus that leads to the famous wine region, Mendoza. We're mentally preparing ourselves for the sixteen hour bus ride ahead of us. On the bright side, that sure is a long time to sleep!

But back to where we left off. Eric and I headed out for coffee on Sunday evening and found out that Colonia del Sacramento can be quite busy in the evenings. I sipped coffee while Eric stared in amazement at the bizarre variety of cars that passed us by. And the scooters. The best part about the scooters was that some were holding entire families (literally: mom, dad and their three kids) or those who made sure to carry there mate and thermoses with them. The coffee was delicious, but according to Eric, it was the most expensive coffee in the whole world.
Note: This seems to be the appropriate time to inform everyone about just how crazy Eric can
be with money. It appears that he may actually experience a physical high when saving. This
has resulted in smaller and less frequent meals, choosing between water or lunch and searching
the ground for extra change. Times are tough.
On the way home we stumbled across a group of people playing large bongo drums in the street. The sound was intoxicating and we were mesmerized (I know that sounds really corny, but it's totally true). We stayed and watched them long enough to see them take off marching down the street, led by a group of dancers. Even back at the hostel later that night we could hear the sound of the drums getting closer and further as they made their way through the city.

Mom: Stop reading.

We were about to go to bed when Eric pointed out, “There's a police officer.... And there is one of our roommates with him.” Uh oh. We had no idea what was going on, just that the man we were sharing a room with (Adolfo) was being escorted home by the police. We hurried back into our room to see what he was doing, but quickly changed that plan we Eric was lucky enough to see him sitting on our other roommate's bed, naked! A few minutes later, the police officer went back to the room and Adolfo followed him out. We sat in the courtyard (talking to some adorable German boys) for a couple minutes before nervously going to bed. We found out later that Adolfo was mugged, robbed and beat up just a few blocks from our hostel. Phewww, what a relief.

Mom: Continue reading.

On Monday we finished exploring the city, took a break to play a giant game of chess (Eric won, but it must be noted that I was schooling him for the majority of the game) and stopped at a local store to buy groceries for dinner. We went back to our hostel and sauteed some veggies, made garlic bread and cooked some breaded meat (or milanesa). After a couple glasses of wine and a couple games of spades we were ready for bed!
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Eric likes to be in charge of the camera, so I try and have a little fun when I get to be in control!
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We've also begun rating our hostels. In case you were keeping track:
06 Central (Buenos Aires, Argentina):
Eric – 5
Laurel – 7
Hostel el Espanol (Colonia de Sacramento)
Eric – 5
Laurel – 7
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Posted by AnzelcL 19:15 Archived in Uruguay Tagged backpacking Comments (5)

Uruguay

sunny 26 °C

We are out of Buenos Aires and have arrived in Uruguay. We took a ferry over this morning, which was a lovely experience, with the exception of Eric's creepy doppelganger who seemed to be following us around. We easily found our hostel (I was in charge) and booked ourselves into a four bed dorm this time. As of now, we have one roommate. Her name is Hazel and she is spending nine months traveling around Central and South America alone. See mom, it could be worse!

We wandered around Colonia today... we stretched out this short task to a couple hours and saw pretty much all there is to see. We'll head back out again tomorrow to see anything we might have missed, spend some time at the beach and try and track down some more street food.
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My personal favorite part of Colonia was this afternoon. Eric and I were eating dinner in a park'ish' area in front of a building. A man walked by carrying a chair, mate (a popular Uruguayan tea) and cigarettes and sat right down facing the corner of the street. We're still not sure what he was doing, but he sat cheerfully muttering to himself (and some of the stray dogs).
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Back to the night before last yesterday, Laurel slept in past 11 (again! I don't think shes over her jet lag yet) we set out to find Buller Brewing Company (the only microbrewery is Buenos Aires). On our way to the brewery we finally found the touristy part of the city with beautiful tree lined streets that the guidebooks had been telling us about. Not eating breakfast and trekking the 20+ blocks ensured that we were ready for the beer sampler and the Argentinian version of pub food. And they hit the spot, especially for Laurel.

Next we headed to the 4 square-block cemetery filled with above ground tombs. This is suppose to be Buenos Aires biggest attraction, we both just thought it was creepy. After that we hit up our not so local supermercado (it was 10+ blocks and 2 subway rides from our hostel) for some food to make a cheap dinner.

We made salami sandwiches for dinner (my favorite) played some more spades (I won of course), packed our bags for Colonia del Sacramento and went to sleep.

Posted by AnzelcL 20:26 Archived in Uruguay Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Day Three

overcast 25 °C

We are still enjoying Buenos Aires. Well, I'M enjoying Buenos Aires. Eric has decided this isn't the city for him, meanwhile I'm considering means by which I might be able sustain myself financially (street entertainer - who doesn't want to watch a slightly awkward American hula hoop?).

The city certainly lives up to its reputation as the Paris of South America. The feel here is very European... The buildings look similar (but much newer), the streets are dotted with fountains and Eric and I look very out of place. Just like Europe!

Last night we debated going out to a bar for a long time. In fact, we even ended up in our hostel before deciding that we wanted to "live it up" at Kit Kat Klub. It only took us a couple minutes to realize we were about to enjoy the finest strippers Buenos Aires has to offer... Oops (You know you're a tourist if... you're practically in the strip club before you even realize everyone is about to get naked). We ended up at The Coyote Bar, which proved to be almost as fun. After one drink, and three women fawning over a sixty year old bald man, we decided there was something "special" going on there.

This morning we slept in (SOMEONE didn't wake SOMEONE up) and then focused our attention on planning. After several hours, we decided that Patagonia was probably going to be too time consuming and too expensive for our resources. We also decided that we DEFINITELY were going to head to Uruguay, a short boat ride to a cute little beach town named Colonia de Sacramento (just like home, I'm sure).

We spent our day today wandering around, eating food and exploring. We made it to the indoor market selling everything from postcards (circa 1800) to fruit to jewelery, a free tango show in a plaza and a local supermarket (one of our favorites, except this may have been more of a candy store which just happened to sell pasta).

Turns out I am totally fluent in Spanish. Well, maybe not... BUT I was able to purchase a book ("Lo siento, no hablo espanol pero yo queiro aprendar. "upside down question mark"Tienes una libre muy facil?) and bobby pins (Solomente hablo un puequito espanol, pero queiro comprar una cosa. En engles es, "Bobby pins". "upside down question mark"Tu tienes?). The store owner said, "You don't speak it? You understand it?" Eric on the other hand, probably knows more than me but speaks very little. I keep trying to get him to make me Argentinian friends so we can practice our Spanish, but he refuses. "upside down exclamation point"No Bueno!

In case you hadn't guessed, I still haven't figured out all the keys for this computer yet...

Hope you enjoy Eric's favorite tree and our dinner tomorrow night (if we're brave enough)!
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Posted by AnzelcL 22:02 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (6)

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