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Rich’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 09 Mar 2006

Location: Patagonia, Argentina

MapWe went to the Boca Juniors football match which was an excellent experience, right in amongst the local fans, singing along with them as they watched their side win 3-0.
Then we headed south by bus for the tip of South America, Tierra Del Fuego. After 4 days of travelling, we eventually made it to Ushuaia, the most Southern city in the world and a major depature point for trips to Antartica (which we decided against due to the $3600 price tag). On one of the days we did a boat trip on the beagle channel, visting uninhabited islands and various bird and seal colonies. It also gave us fantastic views back over the National Park. We also did a tour of the prison which used to hold all of Argentinas most notorious criminals - it was really quite bleak and would have been horrible being sent here.
Next stop was a trip to Torres Del Paine in Chile, reported as the best National Park in South America and we found out why. We did a 5 day hike around the park, sleeping in our tent and cooking all our own food which meant the bags were pretty heavy. The scenery was fantastic, as the photos hopefully show, although the walk was the toughest yet. The highlight was camping above Glacier Grey, which provided us with views all the way up the Glacier to the mountain range behind.
Hopping back in to Argentina, we visited Los Glaciares National Park, which contains the Moreno Glacier and the Fitz Roy Range. The Moreno Glacier is a monster of a Glacier which regularly calves huge chunks of ice in to the lake below, causing massive waves to spread out into the lake - boats have to keep their distance in case they become overcome. In the Fitz Roy Range, we did a day walk and a 2 day walk up into the mountains, which have fantastic formations and are popular with rock climbers (who must be mad to climb them).
From here, we planned to leave Patagonia for the Lake District, and decided it would be a bit of an adventure to go via the Carretera Austral in Chile, a gravel road trip that had been recommended for its fantastic scenery. 6 wet days later we arrived in the Lake District having seen only glimpses of the scenery through the clouds, having spent a night in a remote village with an ex Chilean Navy captain who enjoyed sticking dead Pumas and Eagles (as well as pictures of near naked women) around his lodgings, and having endured an 8 hour ferry trip that took 16 hours but no one seemed to worry about it. It seems that our luck with the weather had finally given out, but the scenery was fantastic and it was a mini adventure.
Now we have arrived in Bariloche in the Lake District, Sheena is on cloud nine as its the chocolate capital of Argentina, with shops selling mountains of top quality chocs at rock bottom prices. The plan now is to head up to luxury lodgings on the hillside above Bariloche and chill for a couple of days before we continue our journey North.