So where did we last leave you? I think we were flying into Buenos Aires. This was our first flight with Aerolineas Argentinas and possibly the worst landing I have ever experienced!! Being a religious person I think I said a few prayers as we landed - the plane shook from side to side a lot. I was convinced we had the world's worst pilot. Finally we landed and were met by a taxi - our guide couldn't make it to the airport because of the storms!! This is when we realised the pilot must have been fairly good to land in these conditions. As we drove to the hotel there was gale force winds gusting and trees toppled over the roads. It was also raining very hard. Got to the hotel and checked in with no difficulty and went for a walk (with rain gear on!!) into the town. It was real havoc - there was trees toppled over cars and branches everywhere. Nearly everything was shut but we managed to find a restaurant. Had a nice meal - Paul enjoyed the beef - very tender apparently (cheeky young man!!). Headed back to the hotel around midnight.
The next morning up at 7.30am - listened to the morning news and heard a state of emergency had been declared as a result of the storms. It was a nicer morning though and we were met by our guide and taken to the airport for our flight to Rio Gallegos. The flight was delayed a couple of hours!! We arrived around 5.30pm and had a 4 hour bus ride to Calafate. What fun that was - in the back of a little mini bus. Felt slightly car sick! On arrival at our hotel (which was quite nice) had a meal and booked a trip to the Perito Moreno glacier for the next morning.
The next morning up at 7.45am and picked up at 9.00am for a 2 hour bus trip to the glacier. Did a boat trip to the edge of the glacier - it was really cold on the top deck - even for Paul - who struggled with the camcorder his fingers were so cold!! First view of the glacier was very impressive - amazing blue colour. After the boat trip we had lunch and then went for a walk to view the glacier. It was more impressive from further back - could hear huge crashes as bits of ice fell into the water. The walk had to be a fair distance from the glacier as people had died from flying ice!! Around 4.00pm headed back to hotel and booked a trip to the Upsala glacier for the next morning. Had a wander around town - not much to report. Then had dinner and went back to the hotel
Following morning up at 5.30am to leave by 6.15am!! It was an hours drive to the Port. This was followed by a 2 hour boat trip - not too bad - we were given a few snacks. On arrival got onto 4 wheel drive jeep and had an hours extremely BUMPY ride to the edge of glacier. Paul felt extremely car sick!! Had a short walk to the glacier in the freezing cold - luckily I had about 8 layers on and only my eyes were visible behind my glasses!! I wasn't too cold. The glacier was a long way away - it was massive - much bigger than Perito Moreno. But Upsala is regressing, whilst the other is in a stable state. Saw lots of fossils in the rocks, which have been revealed as ice has melted. Headed back to Christina Ranch for lunch. Lunch was superb - roast spit lamb, salad, fresh garden produce vegetables and home made bread. I won't even mention the desserts and unlimited supply of wine!! Paul got pissed! Everyone was much warmer for the walk around the ranch - the ranch was originally owned by an English couple that had moved there before the First World War. It is now a national reserve - the couple were entitled to keep the ranch and pass onto their descendants. Unfortunately their children came to sad ends and now the ranch has reverted back. Left the ranch at 5.00pm and returned to hotel around 7.30pm and went to bed with bloated stomachs!!
The next day we headed back to Rio Gallegos at around 10.00am to catch 2.00pm flight. Arrived in Buenos Aires at 7.30pm - a smooth landing! Booked a tango show for that evening. The show was superb - the meal average. Got back to hotel after midnight and hit the sack.
Our last day in South America - had a walk around Buenos Aires. The city had been cleaned up since the storms. Walked to Recolata - nice shopping area, park and cemetery with body of Eva Peron. From here went to San Thelmo markets - supposed to be lots of street shows. Saw one!!! Then we walked to the port area and had a drink followed by dinner. It had been a beautiful sunny day, but Argentina was very expensive!! We had to leave - picked up at hotel at 8.00pm. Got there nice and early to get emergency exit seats for our 14 hour flight to New Zealand. Departed at 1.15am.
South America had been the most amazing experience - we had enjoyed ourselves.
Better go for now - hope everyone is well. Next mail will be our adventures in New Zealand and Australia. Take care, Pip & Paul