Sunday, 28 September 2008
Thursday, 25 September 2008
As we neared the outskirts of Puerto Madryn at midday on the Saturday (1300km´s from BA approx) we could just about see the sea between the houses, and I was totally convinced that I´d seen a whale just off the coast. Jo was telling me to be not so ridiculous and my mind cast back to when I was about 12 on holiday with my Mum, Dad and brother in Tenerife. My Mum was convinced she´d seen a dolphin from our apartment balcony so ushered us all down to the rocks to scour the sea for about an hour, no dolphin to be seen. Anyway, after checking in to our hostel we took a stroll down to the seafront to be completely floored by the sight of loads of whales about 500 yards off the beach! We walked down the pier to get a closer look and it was truly incredible. Each year loads of Southern Right Whales come to this huge gulf as it´s quite protected, an awesome sight.
We arranged to do a boat trip to get a closer look at the whales from nearby Peninsula Valdes which is a big protected national park area. We managed to get fairly close to some whales and they were huge. We also saw some elephant seals, one of whom who had just given birth, on the beach. We were sure we could hear David Attenborough´s voice as we were witnessing all of this. We had a cool guide called Daniel who was a cross between an old, overweight Rafa Nadal and the late Steve Irwin, unfortunately I didn´t get a picture so you´ll have to use your imagination for that one.The next day we visited Punta Tombo which is home to the largest colony of Magellanic Penguins (approx 175,000) outside of Antartica, once again accompanied by Rafa/Steve. Incredible to see so many penguins, and some walk half a mile inshore to make their nests!
Later in the day we went to Gaiman which was established by some Welsh settlers in the late 1800´s (they still speak and teach the language there). We had tea and cakes in a Welsh tea house which felt pretty surreal, we were served by a lady who spoke Spanish with a slight Welsh accent which made the experience even more strange!
After a few days there, we´ve now just arrived in Ushuaia in Tierro del Fuego after a mammoth 31 hour bus extravaganza (now imagine THAT on a National Express Rapide bus). We´ll update again soon with more news.
Hope all´s well back home.
Lots of love.
Mr and Mrs Mason x
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Jo and I sporting our trendy travel cushions on the plane..... not sure why we didn´t get upgraded....
The cool metal flower in a park near La Recoleta....
Street tango at the San Telmo antique market....
Monday, 15 September 2008
Yesterday we went to see Boca Juniors vs Independiente, the second biggest BA local derby after Boca vs River Plate. Totally amazing! We thought we´d got ourselves into the seated area but arrived at the stadium with our fixer, Paula along with a group of other nervous tourists from all over the world to realise we were standing on the terraces with the Boca fans! The atmosphere was awesome, the game was fairly average quality but the best thing to see was the ref pushing all of the players quite aggressively! Two Independiente players were sent off for abusing the linesmen, and after each player was sent off, all the Independiente players started attacking the linesmen, having to be dragged away by the riot police before the game could restart. Total mayhem. You could actually feel the stadium swaying underneath your feet when all the fans were jumping around! By some small miracle, having all been split up into various parts of the terrace we all managed to reconvene to head home on our cool old school bus that had obviously been ´borrowed´for the weekend. Tried to upload some pics, but having some technical difficulties.
Plan for the rest of the week:
Finish spanish lessons with Paloma our cool tutor
Find Jo a coat (somewhat hilariously Jo and I arrived here with no coats or waterproofs - still getting to grips with this whole travelling thing, have realised shorts and tshirts might not be sufficient for climbing glaciers)
Continue chilling in BA - really starting to love this city
Then we´re going to head down to Puerto Madryn on Friday by bus to look at the penguins and whales. It´s a hard life....
Friday, 12 September 2008
After a painful 13 hour flight, we´ve arrived in Buenos Aires! Our attempts at getting an upgrade on the grounds of being honeymooners were futile as the flight was jam packed. We have already seen the Iguazu Falls though, from 37000 feet! The pilot did some nice banking right over them to allow all to get a good view. We are still planning to get a closer look later on in our trip.
So, Emma and Mags had planned a little surprise for our arrival which I had a little prior knowledge of having been asked by Emma to push back the dates of our first 2 nights accomodation. Emma and Mags gave me a blank sealed envelope the night before we left and told me not to open it until we had met our transfer at BA airport. I wasn´t allowed to tell Jo anything, although Jo being Jo she´d already sussed something was up. The penny dropped when we came out in to the arrivals lounge to be greeted by a very smart gentleman holding a leather bound sign for Mr and Mrs Mason. We were then shown to a very nice big Merc with blacked out windows. We opened the envelope to learn that Emma, David, Mags and Matt had treated us to 2 nights at a luxurious spa hotel in the Puerto Madero district of BA. We got to this awesome hotel to be shown to our hotel room complete with rose petals in the hall and on the bed and a bottle of champagne!!! The following day we strolled into BA centre to get the lay of the land, and returned to the hotel for some serious spa and steak action.
Today we had a fairly large shock to the system transferring to our first BA hostel experience, which is a perfectly okay place but not quite a spa hotel! We can´t seem to find the telly in the room, and massages from the staff are not forthcoming. Anyway, we´ve arranged for a weeks worth of Spanish lessons starting tomorrow and will probably then head out west to seek some rural relaxation. BA is excellent but the countryside is calling.
We´ll post some photos once we´ve sorted the cabling out.
Lots of love.
The Masons. x