Flashback to Patagonia

April 17, 2017

This is why I love being on the road

 

 

 

 

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Peru

March 20, 2017

I´ve never been in a propper desert before. I couldn´t even imagine, how desperate a place can feel. And despite all that, there are people living there!

There is nothing but dust, yet you see people walking by the road, you see their little shelters and numerous, numerous posters.

These photos are from a 50 hours bus ride from Lima to Santiago. It is doable.

We took a Bus Sur cama bus to Tacna. (That is actually important, the seats in cama are so big and so comfortable, but semi cama is a normal bus. Still ok, but after 40 hours tall people may have some issues.)

 

To cross the boarder from Peru to Chile we hopped on a shared taxi and drove all the way down. We stayed overnight in Arica, which is a pretty chilled beach town at the border and then continued to Santiago. We booked the bus directly on the bus staion, there are many many bus companies that go all the way to Santiago.

It was the time when we were counting the conversion rate wrong, so we though everything was cheap. Well, turns out that it is a bit more than we thought…but hey, we hada good time.

 

NOTE: you can only pee in the toilet on the bus. 😀 I am happy to announce that nothing dramatical has happened. Also if you are going to trave this route, make sure you have plenty of water. The bus doesn´t stop and we were given more limonade than actual water. Also I´d recommend spending more time in Arica as there are apparently more sights to visit.

Amongst the locals Arica is a famous beach district, but to be honest the beaches were not that appealing. Much nicer were the onec in Inquike – a few hours ride down south from Arica.

Disclaimer: I am author of this text, but most of the trip ideas and ways to get around the reservation system are not mine. Credit goes to my friends, who have more balls than i do 🙂

This is Torres
So, turns out that going to Torres del Paine is not possible without a reservation. So of course, we found out only when we were in South America already. To our defense, I must say that this is a recent think, so your Lonely Planet from 2013, or even a friend who went there a year ago won’ t be too much of help. Unfortunately nor would be the lady at information desk at local bus station.
Well, better have a coffee and cake and go to El Chalten.

And a week later we attempted gain. You just can’t be in South America and not see the freaking Torres Del Paine, right?

So here is how we did it for 3 days.

Night one: we stayed in a town Puerto Natales in Josmar Hostel + camp.
http://www.josmar.cl/

For 10 000clp per person we got a bed, warm living room and a breakfast at 6:30! (we cold arrage the time when we wanted the breakfast which was super convenient as our bus was leaving at 7:30 in the morning).

at the end of the world

Prices of the buses to Torres del Paine are pretty similar, as well as the departure time. We went with Juan Ojeda, which was alright. Booking in advance is highly recomended.
All buses take you to Laguna Amarga, which is the entrance.
Here is …ehm…a queue, which kind of temporarily spoils your sense of adventure. But don’ t worry, these crowds will eventually spread across the area.

queue for Torres

Nearly with your own blood you have to sign a contract that you are not going to cuddle animals, set Torres del Paine on fire, throw rubbish or you will go to prison.
Well, fair enough, there was a huge fires in 2005 and then 2001/2012 and and one of them was started by a Czech guy (more: http://www.thetravelword.com/2012/02/06/irresponsible-tourism-and-the-forest-fire-in-torres-del-paine-national-park-chile-2/), so I guess we were even lucky to be able to go 😀
And after paying the entrance fee of 21 000 clp per person you are ready to hike.

Good idea is to keep the ticket as the fee is valid for more days.

Torres del Paine

We then took a quick 3000 pesos ride to Las Torres Hotel Lodge and camping zone (yes, booking required, no, no free spaces). You can also go horse riding here and there is a coffee shop.
And for another 5000 clp the horse riding center store our bags for the day.
Oh and there is this amazing looking eco camp. However their website doesn’t even have prices, so I figured out that if you have to ask for price, you can’ t afford it. Looks amazing tho. Check it out: http://www.ecocamp.travel/en#

We then hiked up, up up to Base de las Torres lookout. The it the famous photo you see everywhere and yes, it is impressive. It is slightly crowded up there, but well, it is the most famous tourist site.
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and of course I had to dance here 🙂

We then run down as Pierre had to catch a shuttle bus back to Laguna Amarga as he was leaving earlier from Pataonia. We didn’ t quite get the return times of the red shuttle bus. It seemed the driver is either really late for his schedule or we don’t understand Spanish numbers, both is equally possible. However and never the less, the buses seemed to be waiting for each other. So the departing buses at the bottom will wait for the last shuttle. At least i February 2017 they did.

The rest of us wanted to stay and see if we can somehow stay in the area.
Apparently at border of the park there is a camp where you don’t need a reservation. Information about this place were mysterious. Some of the tourist information centers said it was a place, other said they didn’t know and others said this place didn’t exist. We also couldn’t find the camp online. But guess what!
No more than 2 km down on the dusty road (just follow the river) IS a camp where you don’t need a reservation. Price is 6 000 clp per person. It is a bit windy, but who cares! This is Torres and literally the first think I saw when I opened my tent in the morning. This is the proper hidden germ of Torres.

Foto by BART, thank you :)

DAY 2 GOMEZ DRAMA
In the morning we took a bus from Laguna Amarga. We had the ticket from yesterday and a smily driver from Buses Gomez company promised to take us with the bus to the pier, the boat station. A kilometer later he stopped and asked additional payment 5 000 clp per person to take us there, but in my amazing (non existing Spanish) I argued with him that he should have asked us at the start of the bus journey, not one kilometer later when we don’ t really have much of an option.
We refused to pay and I was loud enough to maintain status quo even at the arrival to the Pudeto Cafeteria, a departure station of the boat. Like sorry Gomez, but we have already payed our bus ticket!

A catamaran arrived and after paying another ….we were taken to the Paine Grande Lodge and camping station.

…to be continued. HOW WE DIDN’ T GET PAST THE RANGERS

Patagonia. My new love

February 19, 2017

This is not a one night stand (or “one holiday stand” by that matter). This is a love for life. Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego is just magical. I am having shivers just looking at the photos.
So here is a little taste of our little afterchristmas adventure:

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…getting to Torres del Paine, the main main tourist attraction in Chilean part of Patagonia was not the easiest. The nickname we gave it – Torres del Pessos says a lot, unfortunately. It is quite pricey to get there. You also need bookings for the camps, if you are trekking for more than one day, which you probably do as it is so huge.
The booking systhem, where each camp is owned by a different company is a recent thing that makes life more complicated for travelers.

HOWEVER. Once you are there, this all is forgotten. And it is all definitely worth it.
In one of my next posts I ll tell you how we managed without the bookings 🙂
…so yes, it is possible 🙂

To Torres del Paine you’ll get from Puerto Natales by bus. There are many companies that operate and buses leave from 7:30 in the morning. Day tours leave also from Puntas Arenas or El Clafate, but that is much further. It is better to book the bus ticket at least few days in advance.

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Tierra del Fuego and Stepanka. My companion in rolling naked in the snow and bathing in ice-cold rivers and heaps of other, sometimes unpublishable, adventures. Since we were kids, pretty much.

To get to Tierra Del Fuego get a 11 hour bus from Punta Arenas (or a flight, if you can afford it) to Usuhaia. Book at least a week in advance, ticket sell out quickly.

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…after a week of uncooked instant noodles (I needed to economize with the gas bomb we were using for cooking, you know. I had to make sure i can have a coffee in the morning, otherwise I am the worst person in the world, trust me), this already felt like a food porn….and the steak was yet to come.

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…views like this. If it seems to you that it is burned in some places you are right. Few years ago a Czech tourist set a part of the national park on fire. At that time he got out with a little punishment, however he volunteered to plant trees and even payed $$$ as he was sorry..Well you would be, wouldn’ t you.

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Omnia mea mecum porto.
i just love the freedom of carrying stuff with you and then sleeping in the nature. It may not be easy, but it is rewardig. BTW. This is the most common sigh I had of my friends, as i am …ehm….a bit slow 🙂

Sleeping in the national park in Tierra del Fuego is for free. You just need to pay the entrance fee to the park.

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Perito Moreno. Glacier that is 74 meters high on average. The ice time to time breaks off and falls down with this great sound similar to thunder. Named after a pioneer who was discovering the area, Perito Moreno is unique, because, unlike most glaciers, it is advancing. Why is that remains a mystery.

Located around 80km from El Calafate in Argentina, serviced by regular buses leaving El Calafate in the morning and returning in the afternoon.

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do i need to comment on this one?
Just maybe that it is in beautiful and magical Tierra del Fuego, near Usuhaia.

To get there you can take a bus from Usuhaia to the national park. Buses and shuttels leave regularly, we high hiked :). Then the hike takes about 3-4 hours one way and is not advised to do in bad weather.

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…so yeah. This was Patagonia. #takemebacknooooooow

Patagonia

February 17, 2017

…I found heaven on Earth (…ehm, another one)

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…Jenolan caves..

June 2, 2016

One day trip from Sydney….and totally worth it!
Leave Sydney in the morning and by lunch time, you will be there. There is also a hostel and hotel, if you want a sleepover. And the caves are just stunning!

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Location: The Hibernian, Sydney

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Tasmania 3

April 11, 2016

…pure love

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Tasmania 2

April 9, 2016

love….love….love….love….love….love….love…..love…..

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Randomly we looked up the cheap flights, one was to Launceston…so we googled it and there we go, two days later, I am in Tassie! And it is absolutely awsome!
Fresh air, mountains…everywhere mountains, friendly backpackers and cheap wine.

...happy to be on diamond island...nia

...my crew for the day...

...lost...

diamond island...

...in the middle of nowhere...