Friday, October 28, 2011

Argentina Photos

Guanacos at Punto Tombo

Southern Right Whales Pto Piramide

Hike where I am staying

Bariloche

sunset

from the bus

the Andes coming from Mendoza, Argentina to Chile

Penguin Colony Megallan at Punto Tombo

Toninas at Rawson

Friday, October 21, 2011

Patagonia and Argentina

I started my vacation by going to Puerto Montt.  It has an area to walk around by the water, a large artisian market and a large fresh fish market with small places to eat.  Tons of eating cheap eating options and people asking you to come to eat at their small restaurants with only a few tables. I tried raw sea urchins.. probably tasty but couldnt quite get used to the taste and texture. Homemade cheese shops were abundant too.

Then I went to Puerto Varas also in Chile.  There it was a very European town.  We got a kilo of clams for $1USD.

Then we went to Argentina to the Lakes district.  First to Bariloche which is very Swiss German with fondue places everywhere and chocolate shops on every corner.  We stayed at an amazing place with a view of the lake.  It was on the 10th floor of an apartment building and a balcony and lots of windows looking over the lake.  At little challenging to find since but worth it for the view.  One day on the elevator up to our place an older woman says in Spanish ¨Goodbye black woman¨ as a black woman leaves the elevator.  Then she turns to us and tells us in Spanish that she is a prostitute.  Not sure if it was true or not but it was funny.  The next day we went on hike up a mountain and around a park.

The next day we headed out to El Bolson a smaller town also with a bit of a European feel where we went horse back riding in the hills and walked around the local park and craft market. 
Then another bus to Puerto Madryn.  Where we went to Puerto Valdes to see the penguins and the elephant seals as well as to see some wale watching where its guaranteed to see southern right whales.  Then the next day we went to Punto Tombo to see the Magellan penguin colony of over 400,000 penguins during their mating and nesting season where you could see eggs in their nests.  We also took a boat trip out to see Torono Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) dolphins one of the worlds smallest dolphins.  It is threatened by being a by catch in fishing nets. Overall the tours in Puerto Madryn were very expensive and all day long.  If I had more time I would probably take a bus out to Puerto Valdes and stay a night there and save the money on the day trip.  The also had rain the night before and we were not able to see all of the park as the roads were closed. We actually got stuck and had to have someone tow us out of the mud. 
Now in Mendoza for some wine tasting. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

River hike

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day which is rare here in rainy season.  Went for a hike along the river yesterday.  It was beautiful the water is completely clear in some areas.  We ate nalca an edible plant.  It has a huge leaf and we cut the very large stem and at the stem with salt.. raw.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bavarois de Lucuma & mote con huesillo

I just had this for dessert.  Lucuma is a fruit from northern Chile. It was liked a whipped creamy dessert with a frothy foam top.  The one I had also had almonds in it. 

Below is a recipe I found for it.

Ingredientes:
- 3 lucumas maduras
- 5 claras de huevo
- 5 cucharaditas de gelatina sin sabor
- 5 tazas de azúcar granulada 
Preparacion:
Forme un almíbar, con el azúcar. En otra olla, vierta la gelatina a disolver. Forme un betún con las claras y le agrega el almíbar.  Una vez bien mezcladas eche las lucumas trituradas y la gelatina. Pongalo en el refrigerador.

I also tried mote con huesillo, a dessert popular during the summer in Chile which combines dried peaches soaked in a light syrup and served over barley grain

Patagonia

I made it to Patagonia.  I spent a day walking around Santiago.  The city was beautiful and the people were welcoming.  One man stopped me when he saw me looking at a map and offered to help me in English.  Then said welcome to my city I hope you enjoy it. I hiked up to this castle at the top (Cerro Santa Lucia) of the park in the city and it had beautiful views of the city and the surrounding mountains. (Video posted below) Then walked around a little and went to the artisans market and got some empanadas which are sold everywhere. I navigated my way a day and a half journey here to Patagonia where I look out onto the ocean and snow covered mountains.  The weather is cool here which I am enjoying.  To get here I had to take a 3 hour ferry and then have  launch come meet me at the ferry.

The people in El Salvador went out of their way to be friendly and helpful. In El Salvador a man gave us a ride and told us he wouldnt accept money for gas and that it was a privilege to drive us to the bus stop.  We met many people who wanted to help us and make sure we had a good time and were so sad to hear how the rest of the world has such a negative view of El Salvador.  Its a beautiful country with lots of nature and we were there during low season so we didnt meet many other travellers.

One of the funny experiences I had was a German traveler saying oh you are from Boston, I want to go there for the view from the toilets. I  had no idea what she was talking about at first.  I was trying to think of a skyscraper that maybe had toilets with a view.  Then finally realized she was talking about the round public toilets that I have never been in but heard they are one sided glass so you pay like $4 and you can see people walking around on the streets while you go to the bathroom.  I never knew Boston was famous for this!!!  I have seen them and always just scoffed at the price.. apparently its a tourist attraction.

video