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My Journey Round The World » South America

My Journey Round The World

279 days on the road…

Desolate Chaitén


Pretty hard to wake up after such a short night to jump on the bus at 6am! What a little shock also to arrive to Chaitén… I wasn’t aware of the volcan eruption that happen more than a year ago… And as the town is still under continued threat from the ongoing volcanic activity the view is quite desolate… No more bank or post office, some supermarkets with electricity generators for light or even hotel are still working, but the city look really dead… Some people left, some other stayed, fighting to still live here and hoping for the best… Impressive to see!

We could have a short walk around the city before taking the ferry to Quellón. The bus driver said to us to come back at 12pm but he changed his mind and decided to leave before that: “things are changing” as he told us later on! In this circumstance, I met Anna & Laia - 2 Spanish girls travelling in Latine America for a year ; funny as we were in the same dormitorio in Esquel, cross the border together, were in the same hostel in Futaleufú and finally taking the same boat to Quellón ;) - while watching the bags of 2 Israeli girls who weren’t as lucky as us to catch the bus in the city center… Girls finally arrived just on time to take the ferry![/lang_en]

Futaleufú: rafting!


After 1 month in Argentina, I finally cross to Chile on the 15 of February after a great evening spent with Yvonne – from Germany – & Jo – from the US – whom nearly convince me to follow them to El Chaltén in south Argentina… But I have to say that 30 hours bus didn’t really helps  - Yvonne confirm later on that it was a nightmare!

So I moved to Chile taking a bus from Esquel to the border and another Chilean Colectivos to Futaleufú.

After finding a hostel room – which look more of a closet than a room! But for 1 night it was fine and I could even watch the stars while laying down! - I went to pick up info to take the ferry to Puerto Montt – which ended up to be Quellón on the Chiloé Island, as they didn’t had any boat before the next 4 days… and Futaleufú is lovely but really small. So small that you meet all people with whom you cross the border! When going to pick up something to eat, I came accross Walter, a German guy who convince me to come for rafting with him and David from Switzerland. Actually I wasn’t that hard to convince as I always wanted to try it and while in Esquel I had a chat with another German guy – it seems to be my German period :)who told me it was amasing to do it there as he tried it the week before… As 1 person was missing, Donalda passionate US fisher, actually teaching English in Santiago – decided to join us.

What a great advendure!!! I loved it! Such an amasing landscape that you hardly have time to see as you have to concentrate on paddling… But still you can enjoy it everytime you have a short break… It was really great! I’ll do it again for sure :) Even after the good snack we had when arriving at the end of the trip, we where starving and went all together for a great salmon diner!

Parque Nacional Los Alerces


West of Esquel, the spacious Parque Nacional Los Alerces is home to creeks, verdant mountains and mirror lakes. However, the real attraction is the alerce tree (Fitzroya cupressoides), one of the longest-living species on the planet, with specimens that have survived up to 4000 years! As I was a bit lazy to hike, I went on a long! boat trip, including a 2 hours hike  – well, 2 hours including the many stops of our flock… :)to discover this famous tree.  If I had to do it again, I think I’ll take only half of the trip as sitting for more than 5 hours wasn’t that fun finally… Still landscape was amasing as usual! Next day I came back to have a small hike on my own as after paying nearly 4 times more than local people I just wanted to make the most of it, even if transportation there isn’t really easy! 1 hour bus ride only twice a day: 7:30am and 2:30pm… On my way there I had a really nice chat with the young Karina going to help her Dad at the restaurant.

When I came back to Esquel, I come across a funny street concert with a stage made of beer basket!

Now on my way to Chile, last country in South America before flying to New Zealand 1st of March…


Trevelin – El Té Galés!


On Maxi advice - again! and thank you so much, again!!! – I went to Trevelin, a small village 25km away from Esquel. This is the only community in interior Chubut with a notable Welsh character from where does come from the name: tre – from the Welsh for town and mill (velin) = Trevelin. There is not much to do there but they do have a small Museo RegionalMum you would have love it! – giving you a hint about the Welsh history and culture in the Andes Mountains range with old dailylife stuffs, going from glasses to clothes, flatiron ; from wringer to tractors… Most of them coming from Europe as from the Welsh community. Of course, I couldn’t miss the Té Galés: the famous tea ceremony accompanied by a variety of cakes and tarts: sweet toffee cake, cream tart, raspberry tart, scones, and the traditional welsh black cake… I definitely need to change my garde-robe now!!! I went to one of the oldest tea house: http://www.casadetenainmaggie.com – Believe me or not but I didn’t eat in the evening… Ok just a little peace of bread to say I wasn’t going with an empty belly to bed, ! :)

El Bolsón


El Bolsón is a little village nestled in between two mountain ranges. Back in the 70s, hippies started flocking to this peaceful place and in the last 30 years El Bolsón has been declared both a non-nuclear zone and an ‘ecological municipality’ – are you getting the picture yet? El Bolsón produces nearly three-quarters of the country’s hops and fruits and I was really happy to enjoy more healthy food than the usual rice and papas fritas… I stuffed my belly with natural and vegetarian foods of which the excellent raspberry :) It seems that I missed the beer…

Four times a week there is the Feria Regional with handycraft products, healthy local food and various shows on the main square. I found a lovely place – a bit far from the center though – at La Casa del Viajero where I shared a cabaña – which reminded me of the crosscountry skiing trip in la Jura, my Mum organised when I entered the college ;) – with 2 guys and where I was woke up by snoring! Still it was a lovely place that I left too quickly to get a lift to the center… I enjoyed my Coca Mate – you can buy hot water in certain place for the famous Mate! – in the park with Media Luna – croissant ;) Hippies atmosphere was fun to see but finally a bit too much for me… I escape after 1 day… 

Cerro Campanario


The view from Cerro Campanario is considered by UNESCO to be one of the best views in the world!!! Well… It was a fascinating view… under clouds… I guess with sunny weather it would have been better… Still I enjoyed the pretty stiff (!) way up as well as my way back half walking next to the really windy lake side to reach my hostel with this stunning view… I could have stay there forever if it wasn’t overbooked :(

Colonia Suiza, Curanto y Circuito Chico


What a day: Sunday in a Swiss Colony in Argentina… Colonia Suissa was the first Swiss settlement in Patagonia. On Wednesday & Sunday there is an arts & crafts fair and restaurants prepare a traditional mapuche food called Curanto, in which they cook the food using a hole in the earth filled with hot rocks. I couldn’t miss that!

While waiting for the bus I had a chat with 3 Argentine womans – Cristina, Nancy and Maria Isabel – going there too. The cue was so long that they called another bus to bring everybody there.
When arriving we could see how they do prepare the food: a hole in the earth filled with hot rocks where they put first
nalca or maqui leaves, and add various vegetables and even fruits such as: carrots, onion, apple, pumpkin, of course potatoes… with different types of meat and and recover all that with ash to cook it for about 2 hours. It gives such a good taste to the food! It remind me of the great dish we had in Poland few years ago, cooked by Monika’s parents to make us discover a tradional food from her region! Monika, will you give me the name again?!

Portion are normally for 2 and at that time I was on my own as my 3 Argentine mate didn’t want to try. Finaly it wasn’t too much… I ate everything, I was happy to be alone… my trousers will hate me still… ;)

After such a good meal I bump into Alessandro – the Italian guy with whom I went to Salsa course the day before – Elisabeth – from Austria – and 2 Dutch girls who came by bike – maybe I should have join them in the morning…

While I was thinking to go back to Bariloche I came accross Cristina, Nancy and her Mum Maria Isabel with Gustavo. They offer me to join them and Gustavo – guide in the region! – drove us around the famous Circuito Chico to see the outskirts and the characteristic sites of the city with a nice break at the lovely tea-cofee shop Bellevue for a small dessert… :) Thank you so much for this time shared together! It was terrific!


Bariloche y sus alrededores


When arriving in my dormitorio I met 2 friendly German guy: Frank & Christoph with whom I spent the next 2 days, hiking around Bariloche – where I encounter another wooden bridge… Ariane, Gregoire does it remain you something? :)

On the next day German multiply by 2 ;)I was glad to hear German again but I have to say that it was pretty hard to speak… Mixing Spanish and German… – Florian & Viviane (she is from Aachen! ;) join us and we rented a car to go to visit el Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi and see waterfalls and the strange black glacier!


Bariloche, I live again!


Travel to Bariloche was amazing! Just after leaving Mendoza there were thunderstorm all around and during more than 3 hours we could see lightning far away, kind of thing you see in movies, wondering if this can be real… Yes, this can be real and it was absolutely amazing!!! Its pretty hard to describe and of course pictures waren’t possible, however this was spectacular to be sitting confortably and beeing just in front of the show! Following my 15 hours bus trip in a confortable Andesmar bus where they even offer you to play bingo! – Ok I didn’t win but it was fun! – I finally arrived to Bariloche!!! What a relief! I’ve lost more than 20 degrees but I could breathe again! And the view from the Hostel Inn – C/ Salta 308 www.hostel-inn.com – is awesome: lake who seems to be a sea and mountains all around… Thank you so much Maxi to convince me to come here rather than going to the north!

And guess what guys… Bariloche is full of chocolate shops! ;) Ok Gregoire, I’m sure you’ll have something to say about it but still I taste some of them from Mamushka’s or Abuela Goye’s chocolate shops – as Maxi recommended – and the 70% is pretty good ;)



Such a hot weather again!!! Really too much for me… Even with the small swimming pool at Itaka Hostel – www.itakahostel.com.ar which was a bit expensive, I guess the one next door from Hostelling International would have been cheaper but ok staff is friendly at least! – So I decided straight away to leave the next day to Bariloche!!! After buying my bus ticket for the next evening – 15 hours bus and I couldn’t managed to get a Super-cama or first Class seat, where you can lie down like in your bed! or I would have to wait 3 more days – NO WAY! Anyway, Andesmar is really confortable – I went to the main plaza where a friendly little men start to speak to me and offered me a poemin Spanish and English – before desappearing as it came :) The big Parque General San Martin which seems to be really popular for jogging, biking, rollerblading… reminded me a bit of the Stanley Park in Vancouver, crossed with roads! On my way back to the hotel I came upon a road accident – Luckily I never seen any before, sometimes I’m wondering how!?! – driver had his helmet but security around the place scared me bit! I guess in Europe it could be the same?…

Poem from Carlos López: You are pretty

Without more words
Without less words
You are pretty

Looking at you
Is to invent the brightness
In the morning

You are pretty

When you smile
In your smile
The poem is born bright

When you walk
You are like a flower
That decorates the eye views

Without more words
Without less words
You are pretty