Glad all is well! Mum I hope you have a fab time in Cromer! Dad it sounds like she's been working you hard, but doesn't sound like you're doing too bad with your jaunts! It did make me laugh- the thought of all your children abroad and each on a different continent- quite impressive! Smell, I hope you've had a good trip to NY and not bought too much! Vic, hope your week was good and you enjoy the fireworks! Paul, hope your not going to the gym too much- you make me feel guilty! But enjoy your walk- 19 miles will take a while.
Anyway, on Monday before I got the bus, me and Grainee went to the vege restaurant for lunch. We took it down to the water edge to eat which was nice and the food was great! We looked around some shops, more for her sake as I still hate shopping! I packed up my bits and said my farewells before getting a local bus to the big bus terminal. The bus left at 5pm and I read quite a lot and then managed to sleep.
I awoke to watch a lovely sunrise in the unusually flat landscapes that the bus was driving through. Then we arrived in Puerto madryn about 7am. I found my hostel, but it was too early to check in, so I just dumped my bags and they advised me on how to see the whales. I got another bus to the national park, only about an hour. The bus drops you by the sea and you can get a boat trip out to watch the right whales. However, I decided to save my money and so walked along the shore and watched them frolicking in the sea- squirting water and waving the tails! It was quite impressive, although the weather was drizzly! Got the bus back and checked in my room- it was a weird hostel- the staff were all French and so were all the guests- I think I might of missed something?! The facilities were good though! I went out to explore the town, which is a nice seaside resort. Most things shuts here between 1-4 and so I just bought tuna, tomato, avocado and peppers and took them back for my lunch. A Scottish guy had arrived at the hostel, so I had someone to talk too! He is travelling about by motorbike! I chilled and then went for a run. A lovely route all along the beach, although I got lost running back and so had to ask a local woman. My spanish must be good as every time I ask people something they proceed to chat away to me and I get lost! But she insisted on walking all the way back with me, chattering away and me replying "si". Haha! Chilled night, planning the next part of the trip!
I went on the mooch and managed to find myself a phone charger :) it wasn't too expensive either! There was quite a strong wind, but I walked around for an hour or two to stretch my legs before the long bus journey!
My bus was at 1.10, but on arrival I was told that the bus had been delayed due to a protest on the streets, so I could wait til the 6pm bus or have a refund. Luckily there was a couple from Belgium/Switzerland there in the same boat and they knew of a different company doing the same route so we managed to book on with them for an hour and a half later. We just waited around the bus station, I chatted to the couple a bit but they weren't the chattiest and totally loved up. Eventually the bus arrived and it was an 18 hour journey to Rio Gallegos. The bus was a nice one, with big reclining seats. But we'd only been on the road two hours when it stopped and we all had to get off and wait over an hour for it to refuel?! I do seem to spend a lot of my life waiting around for buses and it is quite scary when I think how much time I have already spent on buses- I know I have always been accused of being a bus w***er but this is ridiculous! I must admit that I actually quite enjoy the bus journeys- the thought of 18 hours on a bus probably seems horrendous, but it's a perfect excuse to do nothing! A great opportunity to just read and sleep and think! I have had ideas about my book and miss writing! But I have written some poetry on the meaning of life- very fun! They bring round lots of food and even wine on the bus and played good music and films! And then give you a blanket and pillow and I slept like a log!
Arrived in Rio about 8 and booked a bus to el calafate for about 9.30. More waiting around a bus terminal! It was snowing outside- a stark contrast to scorching mendoza! The bus was only about 4 hours. From the bus station in el calafate I decided to try and walk to the hostel i'd booked- again I got a bit lost a couple of times and when attempting to ask a local they sent me totally the wrong way! Eventually I found the hostel and checked in. I went out exploring the relatively small, but pretty town. The vege restaurant in the lonely planet was shut, so I ended up at the supermarket picking at their dire fruit and veg sections! Tinned lentils and veg it was! I chatted to several people in the hostel, including an Irish girl who turned out to be friends with Grainne- they'd been travelling together for most of their trips! I arranged to do the glacier with her tomorrow.
Friday 31st: not much Halloween spirit here! I had breakfast at the hostel and then me and Irish Rachel went to get the bus to the glacier national park and specifically to see the Moreno glacier! It was an hour by bus and it dropped us right by the glacier. We had 6 hours before the bus back, which seemed a lot! But there are lots of walkways you can take that allow you to see the glacier from all angles! It really is stunning! It's huge and sits between two green but snowcapped mountains, surrounded by a huge lake! The colour of the glacier is lovely and turquoise in places and looks like it's formed of huge cone shapes?! As you look at it big chunks fall off into the water and makes a sound like thunder that echoes around the whole valley! It moves forward by several meters a day and when it joins with the land on our side then the pressure of the water causes it to rupture and all break down again. It really is impossible to describe the enormity and beauty of it! Me and Rachel were photo buddies and so I ended up with 100s of pics. You can go hiking on the ice glacier, but I did similar on the franz Josef glacier in NZ, so thought I'd save my money. Especially as a few people done it and said it was like walking on snow due to the recent snow. We were lucky with the weather- it was chilly but the sun come out and it wasn't windy.
We got the bus back and I stopped at the shop before coming back to the hostel to chill. Had to move rooms and got chatting with a Danish guy in my new room. My conclusions about nationalities: the Germans are surprisingly quite nice and generally a lot more friendly and polite than the French! The kiwis are nicer than the Aussies. The Americans are also generally a lot of fun and nice people. The Dutch are fairly quiet. The Irish are loud and like to party.
So that's it's from me for now! Take care and keep me updated peeps!