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Travels in South America

Bits and Bobs

ARGENTINA | Saturday, 27 December 2008 | Views [900]

After leaving Puerto Natales we travelled 12 hours to get to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in South America and the point from which the rich people go on trips to Antarctica. We expected Ushuaia to be cold and windy and wild, just like the end of Earth should be, however we were a little disappointed. The hostel we stayed in (Hostel Freestlye) was really good. New and clean with a really huge room that you could lounge around in, listen to music or play pool. The National Park near Ushuaia is Tierra del Fuego and this is largely the reason people go to Ushuaia. So we went there and (whoopy!) did some more walking. Tierra del Fuego was nice but was like a poor man's Torres del Paine. There were less trails, smaller mountains, less impressive lakes and no really amazing views. But, still it was good to see it for ourselves. From Ushuaia we wanted to go straight to Buenos Aires. To save us a coach journey that would have taken 2 days, we decided to fly. Much quicker and not really that much more expensive.

So Buenos Aires. We got in late and spent the first night in a fairly crap, over-priced hostel. The next day we went to the centre of BA (that's what they call it here) to find somewhere better and we got really lucky. We went to a well-established hostel called Milhouse which had recently opened up a new hostel on the next block. The place looked like a hotel inside. It had a big bar, brand new pool table, big TV and lovely rooms, so we happily spent the next few nights there, and thanks to some birthday money from mum and dad we even managed to pay for a few nights in a private room. Staying in a dorm in BA is not that much fun considering how late people stay out. BA was really nice. We met up with a couple we met at the animal sanctuary (hello Gui and Kelly!), we went on some long walks around the city, ate a lot of cheap pizza, saw a few crappy sites and some good ones, had a fantastic steak and chips dinner and to top it off the weather was fantastic! Where did we visit? Well on one day which resulted in a particularly long walk, we saw the unimpressive dock, the even more unimpressive imitation Big Ben, the amazing Recoleta Cemetery and a Japanese garden. The cemetery was really good. The town's rich people have had big sarcophagi and statues built here for many years and the result is a cemetery that looks like a tiny town of tiny houses. It's really very odd. Unfortunately this long walk of mixed value also resulted in us being very sunburned as it had looked cloudy when we left and didn't bother to put any sun lotion on – Big Mistake! A few days later we went to La Boca one of the supposed slums of BA, however, this place is so touristy now it can hardly be called a slum. The coloured houses were pretty nice and Dave enjoyed the pre-football match excitement.

From BA we got a long 18 hour bus journey to Puerto Iguazu. Time to see another one of the big reasons for coming to South America – Iguazu Falls. Puerto Iguazu is a nice little town and we both really enjoyed the feeling of being back in the jungle. The hostel (Residencial Uno) had a swimming pool which was a welcome relief from the heat, plus seven fluffy and fat little puppies which is a bonus for anyone. The next day we set off for Parque Nacional Iguazu, which apparently has more to offer than just waterfalls but like everyone else we didn't bother to find out what. The first trail shows you the waterfalls from a distance and the view is brilliant. You get quite close to some of the waterfalls and some people enjoyed getting saturated by their spray. The next trail takes you across the top of these waterfalls and you really get a sense of how huge the rivers are that are feeding in to them. The park has a little train that we got on to take us to the piece de resistance Garganta del Diablo (the Devil's throat). This waterfall is ginormous and really, really loud, we had to shout at each other to hear ourselves. Although we had done well so far, there was no avoiding the spray from this waterfall and we both got pretty wet, me more so than Dave as he kept using me to block the water. The fall was also so big it seemed to create its own wind and a girl waved goodbye to her hat as it was swept off of her head and into the froth. The falls were really very impressive and it was definitely well worth the trip. The next day we bid farewell to the puppies and got a bus across the border into Brazil.

Garganta del Diablo

Garganta del Diablo

Tags: buenos aires, hostel freestyle, iguazu falls, puerto iguazu, ushuaia



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