I forgot to include in yesterday's blog our swim at Copacabana Beach. As today is a long traveling day from Rio to Buenos Aires and on to El Calafate in Patagonia, I will include yesterday's swim to begin today with.
We decided it was time to venture onto the sands of Copacabana and brave the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It was another very warm day and after the 5 minute walk to the sand we were ready for whatever was in store for us. Even at mid morning the beach was crowded; people mostly sun baking and few in the water. From the road the water is about 100 metres further. There are many vendors hiring chairs, umbrellas and selling food, drinks and clothing such as hats, dresses and beach towels. Some vendors have water pumped up and have black poly tubing spraying the sand with water so you can be cooled as you walk to the beach. Of course the path goes straight to their store, a tent often with national flags enticing you to use their supplies. Most vendors also have a shower rigged up spraying water to wash yourself down. We wondered if you were expected to use the hire goods, and if not then don't walk on his wet sand! We left the cool spray of a path when we saw a vendor approaching us, so the question remains unanswered. I can't see them going to the trouble of sinking an artesian bore hole and all the other effort without expecting beach goers to use their equipment.
We walked to the edge of the water and laid out our hotel beach towels - instantly recognized as tourists; and prepared for action.
Most women on the beach were wearing bikinis and for many this was a "g-string". Men wore mostly briefs. So us two "whiteys", Joanne with a one piece and me boardies, must have stood out - again.
With many people lazing around or walking it felt safe.
The water was cold but refreshing and we both enjoyed the splash around. We sat on our hotel beach towels,enjoying the views in either direction, and savouring the fact that we were on one of the worlds iconic beaches.
Today's photo is of Copacabana beach looking south. Also on the"photos tab"you will see the pathway to the beach with the wet sand visible leading to the vendor.
8 February begins
Pickup was at 5am and we were soon at the airport. Check in, immigration and security mostly a walk through, except we had bottled water which was a "no no", a wave of a finger and a point to the rubbish bin got the message across to us. Airport nothing special considering it is a major international gateway.
Flight with Aeroloneas Argentinas in a Boeing 737 - 700 series; smaller carrying less passengers than the 800 series flown by Qantas and Virgin.
The departure out of Rio was spectacular, heading out to the East and making a right turn. The city, mountains, beaches and harbour clearly visible although there was an inversion layer of pollution to spoil it just a little.
There were a few spare seats so we moved from our allocated seats; me with an exit row to myself, and Joanne with also a complete row to herself in front of me. I think she has stretched out and is sleeping as I write this blog, now half way into the nearly 4 hour flight.
Breakfast was the Aeroloneas Argentinas special! Cardboard box with 2 cakes and a chocolate nut bar, juice or soft drink and a toffee. This time, a first for our domestic flights in South America, we were offered tea or coffee. Not much for a 3 hour international flight considering we had been up since 4.30am.
Arrival into Buenos Aires flying over Uraguay and the bay with a good view of BA. Landed at Jorge Newbery international & domestic airport, located on the waters edge. Not the best of landings appearing to fishtail when the nose wheel hit the ground. Passport control 1.5 hours, collect bags, then re-check in for the domestic flight to El Calafate. One way to use up over 2 hours.
Flight to El Calafate about 30 minutes late. Aircraft was a MD80 - my reckoning a DC9 of about 40 years old. We were changed onto Austral a subsidiary of Aerolineas. You have to keep watching the departure board to make sure that you are onto changes when they occur.
Arrived El Calafate at 6.30pm; meet and greet and transfer to Posta Sur Hotel about 10 minutes walk from the town centre. Reminds me of a snow resort town with many restaurants and shops - a little like the Christmas markets of Europe.
Snow on the mountains, cold night and a barren landscape with a picturesque lake. Day tour for the next couple of days.