Our travels now see us in the wonderful land of Uruguay, and currently Pug is enjoying himself in Fray Bentos - and yes it is the home of the infamous tinned pies!
When we last wrote we were about to board the bus from Mendoza to Bariloche, which was surprisingly very comfortable and didn´t seem like the massive 18 hour journey it was. Bariloche was incredibly beautiful (as I hope our photos show). We spent a couple of days in the town enjoying the scenery (and ultra nice hostel) and also made a trip out to the national park next door for some trekking - which included walking to the base of a black glacier (the glacier emerges from a dead volcano and so the ash makes it black).
Although sad to leave, we had to push on and soon found ourselves on another nice long bus journey to Puerto Madryn - we travelled cama this time which means you get much biggers seats and food, felt like we were in luxury. We had a mini adventure when we got off the bus at Esquel and Pug got taken away by security guards for looking like a drug dealer! Obviously we somehow managed to get past that minor problem.
Arriving in Puerto Madryn nice and early meant we got out onto the beach at high tide and spotted lots of southern right whales offshore popping up and waving to us. To see the whales close up we took a trip out on a boat and managed to spot whales mating, which was interesting! That was abit closer than expected. They were incredible though and there were hundreds of them about. We have far too many photos and videos because I got overexcited!
Puerto Madryn and surrounding towns are where the welsh immigrants came to Argentina and settled in 1865, so there was plenty of welsh memorobilia about - flags and welsh spoons and pics of welsh ladies! Before we left the area we took a bus out to a little welsh town called Gaiman. There´s not much there just lots of welsh teahouses so we sat and enjoyed tea and cake (lots of it). The people of the area seem quite happy of their roots and whenever heard I was welsh got quite excited (although the owner of the teahouse was abit sad she couldn´t speak much welsh with me - whoops).
When we left Puerto Madryn we headed to the capital, Buenos Aires. It´s a very cool and interesting city and we loved it - the shopping was great but I forced myself to be good. Getting out and about in the city (lots of walking, but luckily we didn´t get lost) we got to see most of the highlights including the cemetery of the rich and famous, which is a mini town made up of marble and stone tombs (weird), the presidential palace, and the busy sites of the central area. We met some quality people in our comfy, if loud and party-ish, hostel and spent alot of time chatting and drinking vino with them. Oh and we got to eat lots of amazingly tasty beef, gorgeous desserts and to watch Batman!
Forcing ourselves to leave the party city we hopped on a boat (after some cuffufle at the ferry terminal) to Uruguay. Our boat came into port at the stunning little town of Colonia del Sacramento. Many Argentinos go over to Colonia for weekend breaks and so the town has a very much touristy feel but it´s charming and you can see why Argentinos like to visit. As soon as we stepped off the boat we felt the relaxed atmosphere of Uruguay!
Moving through Uruguay quite rapidly (we have to keep moving now to reach Cuzco in time to meet Jen and Sean who are coming over in September! Yay!) we have visited the capital - Montevideo, the coastal resort of Punta Del Este, a little cute town called Mercedes and now on our way back to Argentina are in Fray Bentos.
Montevideo is, again, very chilled (like Uruguayans) and is an easy city to walk around and see in a day, we stayed at a great hostel though (with an open wood fire!). The highlight of Montevideo was the tango night. Thinking we were going to watch professionals dancing tango we were quite suprised when we actually ended up at the local tango dancing night. It was great fun dancing around with all the locals (although there weren't any locals of our own age) - especially when an 80 year old uruguayan woman was trying to make Pug move his hips independently of his whole body (she didnt succeed! but it was funny).
We headed down the coast with some friends we met at the hostel in the capital and stayed for a night, we were quite lucky with the weather and got to see a lovely sunset near some famous Uruguayan architects house! Sorry I have no idea who the guy is but his house was cool - all white with funky "Little Mermaid" shapes. Our last stop last night was Mercedes and was relatively uneventful, it was a nice little town with cobbled streets lined with trees but nothing to do there. We were lucky to meet a minor legend at our hostel in Punta - he films for Discovery Channel all his journeys across the world and has been to 167 countries on his motorbike!
Fray Bentos has turned out to be quite nice, with lots of green park running along the river and big, leafy plazas. We visited the meat museum today and learnt about the founding of the meat extraction industry in Uruguay and its effects (well as much as we can learn when stuff is written in spanish). Pug is loving the pie connection alittle too much.
We return to Argentina tomorrow by passing through abit more of northwestern Uruguay - towns of Paysandu and Salto, before crossing into Concordia in Argentina. Luckily the bus journey´s aren´t as long as previous ones.