Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mount Fitz Roy

I think that Fitz Roy was the captain of Darwin's ship The Beagle. Anyway there is a spectacular mountain named after him. A stella day, super view.

A stunning mountain, a glacier, a waterfall and a glacial lake. Some stress buster don't you reckon Carl?

El Chalten

Another glacier I'm afraid, and some towers chucked in as well for good measure. It started off pretty overcast but was clearing up by lunchtime so I headed out to see the sights.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Cheerio Sheilas

Been a fun couple of weeks with the Aussie sisters, Liz and Jen. Will have to catch up with them in Sydney.

Monero Glacier

A huge glacier which is piling into a lake. Sections of the glacier tower 70m above the lake. Sections of the glacier carve off the face with a massive crack and splash.

Dad rang whilst one of the rangers was explaining the facts and figures with the news of a more interesting that Arsenal had come from 2 down to beat Spurs 5-2. Happy days.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Small world

I've crossed the border back into El Calafate, Argentina. Dumped my stuff at the hostel and rushed out to find somewhere to watch the second half of England v Wales. Spotted it was on in a restaurant and went in and sat with two blokes who were obviously English. Got talking to them and one of the was Kevin Wilkins who had just retired from being active underwriter of the Atrium syndicate at Lloyd's. Small world. Shame about the result.

Kayaking and ice climbing

Went to visit the Serano glacier in the Benardo O'higgins national park with Jen and Liz. Bit of excitement when we were kayaking in lake in front if the glacier.

We were just landing the kayaks in the edge of the lake to go pyro the glacier when a large section of glacier fell into the lake causing a tidal wave to come across the lake. Our guide got soaked saving his kayak, I managed to grab mine and haul it further up the rocks to relative safety. All very exciting.

The ice climbing on the glacier was fairly tame but we got some good photos.

Saw a family of 5 condors soaring over the glacier which was pretty cool.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Puerto Bories Industrial complex

Built at the start of the 1900's to process, freeze and export meat from Patagonia. Now part museum, part 5 star hotel. Sounds like an offal idea but it seems to work...

When I was trying to find the entrance I asked a chap in overalls where it was and by chance he turned out to be English (from London, but has a house in Aldeburgh, what are the chances?). He's lived here for 15 years and is in charge of sorting all the snagging out on the project. He gave me a tour of the building. Good bloke.

The bar is really smart, might have to head out here tonight for a drink.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lookie likey bin

Found a bin that looked a little like me.

Dog takes a shine to me

The dog belonging to the hostel owner took a bit of a shine to me. Dogs are such good judges of character.

Three in one crisps

Jim, another post for you. One packet but 3 different types if crisps; same flavour obviously.

Viennetta heaven

6 different flavours of Viennetta! Jim, best get Sainsbury's on the case. I reckon the mint one would still be my favourite.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Torres del Paine day 5 the trek to the Grey refuge

Bit of a transit day, but a long one from Los Cuernos to the Grey Refuge. This is the area of the park that was burnt in the major fire which happened around Xmas time last year. Terrible as some the woodland was 150 years old and so will take as long to regrow.

First sight of the Grey glacier was pretty impressive and seeing icebergs in a lake is a little unusual.

Could have done with some uplifting tunes for the last section of the walk but the iPod didn't make the final kit selection.

The saving grace is that the Grey Refuge is really quite smart and I'm looking forward to sleeping in a bed rather than on a roll mat. Early bedtime beckons.

Torres del Paine Day 4 French Valley

Met up with an English chap and an Aussie couple to walk up to the French valley. Bit cloudy to start with and we met a couple coming down so said that you couldn't see anything up there. We pressed on regardlessly and are efforts were duly rewarded when the sun burnt off the clouds, leaving not a cloud in the sky. The French valley was stunning; huge towers of rock everywhere you looked.

It was a long trek back to Los Cuernos, a nice 10 hour day, but worth it.

Torres del Paine day 3 trek to Los Cuernos

It looks like I had a fun night at the refuge, but unfortunately I can't remember it. I'm renting a sleeping bag at each refuge to save having to carry one. When I got up this morning a pair of black knickers fell out of the sleeping bag. Hope it was memorable for her.

Stunning day, mainly blue sky with a few high clouds. Very tempted to head back up to the Towers for some more pictures but in the end decide to head to Los Cuernos. The Cuernos del Paine are almost as spectacular as the Towers. The granite walls are just immense.

David and Emma, the English couple I shared a cabin on the Navimag are at Los Cuernos so I caught up with them. They saw a puma up near the Grey glacier! Beats my wild llamas.

Camping for the next couple of nights, quite looking forward to it.

Torres del Paine day 2 The Towers

Trekked up to the towers of Torres del Paine today. Constantly fretting whether I would get an unobscured view of them or not.

I had to wait a short while but the cloud did lift to reveal a pretty spectacular view.

Saw a male and female woodpecker in the woods on the way back, hammering away at a fallen log. Well that was until a yank on full volume walked around the bend and scared them off.

Still it's fun telling the American girls that all this hill walking is a good workout for their fannies...

Torres del Paine day 1

Saw lots of wild llamas, a few rheas. The weather was a little mixed but nothing terrible. The real stuff starts tomorrow.

Torres del Paine day 6 the Grey glacier

The Grey glacier is pretty impressive, so I'm glad I booked an extra day in order to see it.

After lunch back at the refuge it was the long hike back to Lake Pehoe to catch to boat and then bus back to Puerto Natales. Bit tired, but not emotional.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Torres del Paine

After a romantic Valentine's meal with Jen and Liz (the Aussie sisters) I'm off to the Torres del Paine park for a six day trek. The weather looks good this morning but unfortunately that's not a guarantee as to what it will be like in half an hour's time.

Bad snorer in the dorm last night, not happy.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales has a lovely atmosphere about it, very laid back. All very low rise. It also has some very amusing bins.

The beer down here is a lovely surprise; they have ale. Natales Ale is
really good.

Navimag day 4

The day after the party/disco on the boat. Not too messy.

The ship had to navigate through so very tight channels this morning. Weather wise We seem to a bit of everything each day and this seems par for the course.

Navimag day 3

The open sea section was a little choppy but my sea legs held up. Saw so many albatrosses yesterday, a few minke whales and a seal.

We propped the cabin door open last night to keep the cabin cool and I slept like a log.

A lot brighter today and went ashore to look around a fishing village.

More minke whales and albatrosses, with a couple if seals thrown in.

After lunch we sailed past the Pia glacier, the largest in the southern hemisphere. It is one of the few glaciers in the world which is still advancing, at a rate of 500m a year.

Navimag ferry day 2

We set sail from Puerto Montt in brilliant sunshine. I'm sharing my 4 berth cabin with an English couple who teach in Chile and a middle American lady. It's steerage, so no window and it was pretty stuffy at night. It was like sleeping in a hot coffin.

Have woken to mist and drizzle. I could be on a ferry crossing the Channel (no fruities though).

It brightened up a little and I spotted a couple of albatrosses, which was nice. Also a pod of minke whales cruised past the bow of the ferry.

Been hanging out with a couple of Aussie sisters who are a really good laugh.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Navimag ferry to Puerto Natales

I'm catching the Navimag ferry to Puerto Natales today. It's a 3 day trip and is supposed to be stunning if you have the weather. It's a good start on that front so fingers crossed it stays like that. No internet for 3 days but I'll update the blog when I get to Puerto Natales. I think the chances of me seeing the Italy v England are pretty slim. The sacrifices I make.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Chocolate flavoured crisps

Chile is definitely More civilised than Argentina based on the crisp flavour index. Minus one point though for having chocolate flavoured crips.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

My big fat gypsy wedding travels to Chile

They might not travel, but their TV programme does. Just saw a trailer for my big fat gypsy wedding on Chilean TV. Makes you proud.


Having crossed into Chile the landscape has changed and it's really quite green; it reminds me of the countryside back home (apart from the volcano in the background).

Border control

Bariloche was great, would have happily spent more time around the lakes but I've got a ferry to catch to Patagonia. Border control between Argentina and Chile is a bit if a palaver. Off the bus to be stamped out if Argentina and a twenty drive (during which I'm convinced I should have got a stamp into Chile, despite checking with the bus driver twice before I got back in the bus), before arriving at the Chilean border control and back off the bus to finally be stamped into Chile and have the sniffer dogs snuffle around the bags. On the plus side I changed some money. Only 777 Chilean pesos to the pound!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

J R Hartley

Spent the day fly fishing. Given it was my first time I was proud of my catch of two fish. You should have seen the ones which got away. No lie, one monster snapped the line and a got pretty close to landing another biggie. Apart from that I caught the sun, a few rocks and a couple of trees.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Steak heaven

Fantastic steak, and only cost a tenner. Steak is so cheap out here. It's six quid for a crappy pizza or a tenner for a great steak. No brainer.

Not on tap

Well it wasn't on tap but at least they had a picture of the tap badge in the loos. Even had the tap badge for Adams Nutty Brown and I haven't seen that for years.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

US of A

The hostel is full of septics at the moment. Definitely a case of will someone turn that yank down. It's the Super Bowl tonight so they are whipping themselves into a frenzy.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Why are windmills exciting?

I saw a windmill (old fashioned one not a new wind farm type) from the bus yesterday, and had an urge to point it out to my fellow passages from the hostel. Not sure what it is about windmills that causes this, their rarity or maybe it's the Trumpton factor.

Postcards and stamps

Argentina follows the unwritten rule of the world that if a shop sells postcards it's not allowed to sell stamps. That would be just too simple. The postage is bloody expensive out here as well.

Hand of Homer

They are really taking the piss now.

Pan pipes

I think "Help" would have the most appropriate Beatles album to cover.

Bernie Winters has changed

I wondered where Berne had got to.

Cycling around the lake

Well around one of the smaller lakes anyway. Couple of swim stops; the water was a little fresh but warmer than the North Sea on Xmas day.

The route was surprisingly tough, a series of mierscourt roads (deceptively long uphill road in Rainham).

Along the way I visited a so called micro brewery. The beer was filthy. It looked like the brewer had literally made it himself.

At the micro brewery I bumped into a German girl and a Dutch couple from the the hostel. The German girl said that the British don't have a cuisine. A little controversial; like a sausage and a pile of cabbage counts. She didn't really an answer to that. Building international relations in what travelling is what is all about.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Climbed up to the Lopez refuge with a scottish lass from the hostel. The views over the lake were pretty special. The lake was a really vivid blue. Met a kiwi girl and Irish chap at the top and hiked down with them. Nice glow of tiredness now.