Florionopolis ( 3 nights)
After recovering from the mystery 24 hour illness I went out for a meal and a "few beers" with this lad from Bath in Campo Grande. Turns out he drinks like a fish and a few beers turned into several and I was actually the one pushing to stop and go back to the hostel. There is a first time for everything!
The next 25 hours were spent on the bus to Florionopolis - only gringo on there so tres boring!!! Eventually got there and this local guy (a 22 year old artist) offered to help carry my bags and help me find the hostel. Was sure he was going to pressure me to buy soem of his paintings in return but he didnt. Just said nice to meet you - enjoy Flori. Thats the 2nd Brazilian who has done that with no motive. Nice country!
Rach - stayed at Tucan Backpackers. Great hostel with friendly staff, good facilities including free srfboards, kayaks etc. A right result when I arrived. The hostel was organising a transfer to Oktoberfest in Blumenau (a German town 3 hours away) that night. Turned out to be a quality night with a group of us including 2 Canadian girls, a guy from California and a funny Dutch couple (Angela, Marilyn, Robert, Ronald & Katarina). Was planing to meet up with a Ozzy couple there but massively misjudged the size of it. It was huge. Must have been at least 20 thousand there, some dressed up in the Laderhosen. The night started off at a fast pace on the bus there, led by the Brazilians who partied too hard and were sleeping on the bus when we got back to it at 4. Hilarious moment at the end with this fit but crazy blonde Brazilian girl shouting "Shay, where is my f***ing hat_weve got to go!!" to this leathered Ozzy guy who responded with nnnhhh, went straight back to sleep and had to be dragged off which only made her angrier! Great night - anyone fancy doing the real thing next year?
After 3 hours sleep impressively got up to watch Everton spank the dirty scousers - a perfect cure to a hangover! lol A few of us checked out Mole beach (not great) and Joaquina (nice but weather was crap) before going out for a Mexican and a few beers.
Finally, my first really sunny day on the Brazilain coast after weeks of trying!! Me, Angela, Ronald & Kat, and Majek made the most of it and bussed it to the Pantano do Sul on the south of the island to trek through the forest to a gorgeous secluded beach. Was greeted off the bus by 5 stray angry dogs who sacred the s*** out of us!! After deciding not to kill us they became our guides for the trek. Swam, Sunbathed and went for a run before trkking back to eat at a delicious fish restaurant on the main beach.
Went out for a thai meal at night and then met up with everyone else from the hostel in a bar in town. Got chatting to Tobias, a local guy who was out celebrating his mates birthday. Went to a few more bars with them and then a random van in the street which sold beers and had a TV on the passenger seat. ??? The guy obv wanted to go to bed so was not happy at 10 of us persuading him to stay for another hour.
Had to move on to BA the next day so missed out on a surfing lesson te next day. Oh well. It was too much hard work when I did it in Oz anyway lol
Florionopolis, the gateway to Isla San Catarina is a great place and I miagine would be absolutely jumping in peak season!
BA (2 nights)
26 hour bus ride back to BA to catch my flight down to Patagonia. Hopefully this should be my last ridiciulosly long one!! Explored San Telmo, the docks and did a bit of much needed clothes shopping. Met up with Tanaya and Josh for beers and a steak. Back to the hostel ready for the big nightclub night which turned out out to be about 6 of us. lol Rache - dont saty atArtsfactory. Its Millhouse Avenue all the way! All 6 of us went to this electro club for a few ours and then me and Josh searched desperately round San Telmo for another one that was still open.No luck so ended up in an Irish bar which was dead so Josh proceeded to tell this poor Irish girl how her long distance relatiobship would not work cos they would miss cuddling! Gay! He regretted that quote in the morning!
Guilt kicked in the mroning so used the day to do some long awaited exercise before a group of us heade to Palermo (the posh part of BA) to explore, drink and sample the delights of a La Cabbera, the best restaurant in BA!! It was fully booked so we turned up and waited with the masses outside. Should have been a 2 hour wait but after half an hour the poor woman had had enough of the lippy Ozzy bird trying to have some banter with her (Tanaya!) so let us have the VIP area. Champagne, bottle of wine,bread,gorgeous steak and sides for 14 quid each. Would have cost 70 at Gauch Grillin MAnc.Can not complain at that! Went round to Chris´s (mate of J & T) massive student flat and then onto an expensive trendy club on the docks.
Will definately be going back to La Caberra!
Patagonia (7 nights)
Flight was at the worst possible time. 5.45am!! Chilled all day then much to the gay receptionists dismay got the 20p bus rather than the 10 quid taxi. Didnt want to be standing around on the streets of BA with all my bags too late so got the bus at about 11pm and then tried unsuccesfully to sleep on the freezing cold floor at the airport for a few hours. Glad I took the cheap option cos it turned out Patagonia was going to be a costly week!
El Calafate - Got chatting to Marcus, this America/German guy on the airport transfer bus who decidedtojoin me at America Del Sur. Rach, if you make it down here stay here. Great hostel with firndly helpful staff and a sunkissed lounge wth agorgeous view of the mountains. Explored the local lagoon in the afternnon and massively regretted wearing flip flops.Feet were soaking and freezing! Laggon was not up to much to be honest. Met up with Amy (from GAP group) in the evening and ended up having the BBQ with a couple more girls, one of which turned out to be the craziest person I have ever met!! Hilarious until you remember she is sleeping in your dorm and your going to have to sleep with one eye open all night as I was convinced I was going to wake up with her sitting on the end of my bed!
After surviving the night with Crazy mc Crazy me and Marcus went off to to the Big Ice to explore the Galcier Perito Mereno, the highlight of the Los Glaciares nationalpark. 35km long,5km wide and 60m high above the water and advancing at up to 2m per day compared to most glaciers who are receding. Spent about an hour taking pics and gawping at the massive chunks of ice that drop off the face every so often, then got on the boat to get up close to the face of the blue glacier. We had decided to spalsh out on the most expensive tour option which involved walking for an hour through the forest, putting on our crampons and then trekking for 3 hours into the centre of the glacier. Was similar to the ice treekking Id don in NZ but to a bigger scale and there was no precarved tourist trail so the guides choose the route as they go along. The trekking and admring the crevaces, sink holes, perfectly blue glacier rivers and pools and differnt ice formations was cool! Back to the boat for a well earned whisky on the rocks (glacier ice)!
Met up with Marcus´s mate from Buenos Airies at night who was coming with us to El Chaten. 3 hour bus next morning to El Chaten.Argentina´s trekking capital home to teh snow capped towers of the Fitz Roy range. 6 hour roundtrip trek to Lago Torre in the afternoon which had stunning views even though it was a bit cloudy.
After being warned by the hostel that we werent going to be able to hit the trails cos of bad weather we woke up to the sun and clear blue skies! 7 hour round trip trek/climb to Lago de los Tres,1000m up MT Fitz Roy. The last hour up was steep but wellworth it for the frozen blue lagoon set in the foreground to the peaks of FitzRoy! Even got to see a mini-avalanche as we sat there eating our lunch. Bus back to El Calafate that night.
I know this sounds gay but the next day was one of those that you read about in soppy novels(so Ive been told lol). Bused it to a local gaucho ranch with this Israeli family and met Manuel my horse for the day. Spent the day riding around the lush green terrain of the national park with views of the mountain range and the Moreno glacier in the distance. Topped off by enjoying freshly cooked steak (from the ranch) and onion sandwiches and plenty of red wine for lunch, in the middle of the park cooked on a gaucho hot plate. It turns out horseriding is a lot easier when your half cut! Amazing day!!!
One day left in Patagoni so had to do an epic 5,30am to 11pm day trip across to Torres Del Paine national park in Chile. Ideally I would have trekked in it but not enough time:( Lookon my facebook pictures to see how stunning the scenery was with clear blue glaciar lakes and rivers, snow capped mountsind and bright coloured fields and fauna. Definately going to have to come back here to do the 6 day W trek! Met a few interesting guys including Ramone, a child kidney specialist from Barcelona.BA round 3 (1night) Flight was delayed 2 hours so mad rush and panic that I was not going to meet up with the girls from Igassu in time to enjoy La Caberra again! Thankfully they had been waiting outside for a table for 2 hours so all was ok. Robbo convinced me that the Coby steak would be the nicest thing I had ever tasted in my life so I splashed out (Ok it was still a bargain at only 25 quid). Luckily for Robbo I was not disapointed. Rach - If you only listen to one bit of my advice go to La Caberra!! The girls wre still hungover and crashed at 2, leaving me to hit the town with Raj who I bumped into bk at the hostel (from Isla Grande) and a few other Spanish guys. 7 weeks left. Next stop Ecuador