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. 

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