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My Journey Round The World » 2010 » February

My Journey Round The World

279 days on the road…



Short night under a roof… Finally I felt more secure in the bus! What a strange feeling to feel the aftershock - as this time I felt it! – even if it’s not much compare to 8.5… I just don’t know what to do… Don’t feel like visiting the city, even if I forced myself a bit after lunch. I was happy to visit the market, see people living as if… and find a comedor as in Peru and Bolivia but even food didn’t help to feel better… The only thing I wanted is to meet a face I know… So when I saw one of the bus driver from yesterday, at the bus station, I just went to speak with him, such a release for a few moment… We are supposed to meet tonight, for me not to be alone! The airport is supposed to be closed for 72 hours… I’ll see tomorrow if I can get there…

Valparaiso – todo bien… por ahora!


Valparaiso – Chile… After 24 hours stuck in the bus… But hey, better than stuck underground! It seems that we were really close from the epicentre and it moved  quite a lot… but I didn’t feel anthing… I was sleeping!  Still it was impressive to see that…

Hope to be able to leave Santiago on Monday for New Zealand!

Chile Ășltima visita: Puerto Varas – Saltos Del PetrohuĂ© & Lago Todos Los Santos


With all that, I didn’t had time to show you this… But you cannot miss this amasing view of the Osorno Volcano who remind me so much of the Fujisan in Japan – what do you think about it my Japanese trip partners? :)Puerto Varas is a lovely city – it seems that they felt the earthquake too! – and the nacional park next too it is also beautiful. Only thing is that it’s much easier to go there if you have your own car!


Carretera Austral


Believe it or not but thanks to Anna & Laia, we went on a 3 days cruise along the Routa Cordillera from QuellĂłn to Puerto Chacabuco for free… Invited by the Capitain of the Don Baldo and his officers, we could stay in the cabin as much as we wanted and even had diner in the Camara Oficiales with them from time to time! Unfortunately weather wasn’t really good for the view of the fjords – and the second night my stomach gave up after more than 2 hours of wind intensity 8 as I didn’t want to take a pastilla… - but still, it was really interesting to see the life of a boat going to pick up or bringing people in the middle of nowhere or only bringing food or any other valuables to small villages on the way. We could even see dolphins – too quick to take a picture!

Well I have to say that after 3 days, I was happy to be on terra firma and to reach Puerto Varas, even if I had to take shortly another ferry to escape ChiloĂ© island :) Ok, I missed Puerto Varas stop – 3nd rules: always ask the driver where you are instead of a passenger… – and went up to Frutillar. Lucky me, I didn’t even had a chance to reach the bus stop – in the middle of nowhere! – that someone picked me up and brought me back to Puerto Varas! Who said that Chilean arent’t friendly?!

Argentinean’s Mate


Wikipedia’s Mate definition: Mate is a traditional South American infused drink. It is prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water. It is the national drink in Argentina, though Paraguay and Uruguay also happen to claim nationality over the beverage, and drinking it is a common social practice. The drink contains caffeine.

Mate is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called a bombilla in Latin American Spanish. The straw is traditionally made of silver. Modern commercially available straws are typically made of nickel silver, called Alpaca, stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa. Even if the water comes in a very modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mates or cuias. However, “tea-bag” type infusions of mate (mate cocido) have been on the market in Argentina for many years.  As with other brewed herbs, yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture. A modern bombilla design uses a straight tube with holes, or spring sleeve to act as a sieve.

Drinking Mate is a common social practise, so famous that the journalist AdriĂĄn Robledo wrote the below article:

Argentina feedback


Argentina is definitely a country where I want to come back! I still need to visit the North and the famous South with the glacier and Ushuaia.

I don’t know exactly why I so much enjoyed it… Maybe because it looks a bit like Europe – with European’s cars, Carrefour shops, clean streets… – and I was happy to find this atmosphere again after 4 months of travel in countries far different than what I new. And definitely because of the friendly Argentine I met! From Alejandra to Maxi, without forgetting Pablo and lovely couple Eze & Flor, as well as most other people I get to talk to.

Still Argentin is for sure different than Europe! They have this famous Mate tradition, where you see most of the population walking around with their special cup and hot water… Shops where you need to ring to come in and/or where shop assistants are asking you what you are looking for before you even had a chance to have a look at anything! Or in some shops, you even have to take a ticket to have a look and an answer… Funny! People without helmet, even if here – not as everywhere else in Latin America! – this is compulsory or even beeing able to be at the back of a pick-up car – which is fun but not really secure… I also loved the fact that in all menu del dia there is a dessert :)

Argentina is definitely a country where I could live for a while… – Ok, only in region under 25 degrees! ;)

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 ChaitĂ©n… 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 QuellĂłn. 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 FutaleufĂș and finally taking the same boat to QuellĂłn ;) - 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]

FutaleufĂș: 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 ChaltĂ©n 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 FutaleufĂș.

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 QuellĂłn on the ChiloĂ© Island, as they didn’t had any boat before the next 4 days… and FutaleufĂș 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 TĂ© GalĂ©s!


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 TĂ© GalĂ©s: 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, ! :)