Monday, 17 June 2013

3rd to 17th June - Uruguay and Buenos Aires

Colonia in Uruguay is only a one hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires and we learned that some wealthy types live there and work in B.A. Ooh la la. $1million houses, cobbled streets, 1930s cars, Autumn leaves blowing down tree lined streets and lots of restaurants and bars. Ok, the pace of the trip in Uruguay is going to be very chilled.

Starting our Uruguay holiday in style

flowers? in the boot?

a table? okaaay

After Colonia, we went to Punta del Este, staying in a white boutique hotel, which freaked us out a bit. We're generally dusty and that goes for everything we own. Lisa and I made it to our room, being ridiculously careful not to scuff walls or touch anything. I felt like apologising for my trekking shoes. This is where the celebs go in the summer and we saw some of the biggest houses we have seen on the entire trip here; albeit shut because it's winter and these must be summer homes. Just one night here as it's quiet and pricey. We nosed at the famous sculpture of a hand which is meant to warn people of the drowning risk and then we headed off to Punta del Diablo.

Lisa reading the instructions for how to function in a white room

Lisa and some whopping great big sea lions

Talk to the hand

Rogan on the pinky

We stayed at my favourite hostel of our trip in Punta del Diablo. A funky chalet style place with a big fire in the lounge, music to give some atmosphere and the cutest puppies which we all had a cuddle of. Again, this place sees 30,000 people arrive in the summer but it was lovely and quiet for us, lending itself to walks around town to see all the beach houses on stilts, walks along the beach and playing board games by the fire - bizarrely very christmassy.

Sitting around in the lounge/i>

Kirsten plus puppy (Eddie)

Francois plus puppy (Alfredo) and Racoon (faced) Bat (eared) dog

Kirsten plus all 3 pups!

Me and Eddie's bum

Lisa by the fire....probably with a puppy in her jumper


Some of us helped clean the truck and everything in it

How many have we lost/gained in 6 months?

Crew look a bit knackered

Our last stop in Uruguay was Montevideo where half the population of Uruguay live. Mooched a little bit, had a cracking steak here and off we went to a wine tasting at two wineries. Lovely. Our final night in Uruguay was marked with plenty of wine, giving some folk a tough start to the next day (not me, say I smugly) and then a 3 hour ferry ride. Oops.

Typical parillia (BBQ) in a steak house

Lisa, there's a pic of us that's almost identical to this from about 5 months ago. ha.

Rogan being classy on the way back from the winery

Back in Buenos Aires, we then had another 'final night' and ate at a great restaurant where our steak was cut with a spoon.

Tony gives a speech

Francois gives a speech

The plate at the back...has a single steak on it.....cut into three. Huuuuge!

Kirsten and Rogan left the next day and over the next couple of days, the remaining overlanders left, until there was only me left. I mooched around Buenos Aires, which reminds me very much of London, packed up and wrote this, my final blog.

The pink palace in B.A.

The spike is the 'woman's bridge'. hmmm. Nice rowing in foreground though.

La Boca

This is very big. You'll have to trust me as there's nothing for scale in this pic

Oh, I went to a Tango show....doing fabulously at the Tango lesson before it

Buenos Aires by night

The pink palace even pinker by night

Matte mugs for sale in the sunday market

Recoleta cemetery

Photo taken through the metal door which has the puniest padlock on it. Eek.

Eva Peron's grave

This last picture was from one of the Uruguay hotels but I believe in its sentiment. I've had fun mooching around Buenos Aires but it would have been more fun with my mooching buddy. I've made some good friends this last 6 months and I miss them already. I hope to see them soon. But no more missing my UK England friends and family - See you soon folks, I'm coming home. :-)

25th May to 2nd June - Tupiza, a Gaucho ranch and Buenos Aires

We took a very long, rocky and dusty road to get to Tupiza. We got delayed behind a coach which had a flat tyre and was doing a change....90 minutes later, Rogan had gone to help and they were just finishing. Rogan did well driving that road in the dark though as it was a bit Death Road-esque. Such roads do provide cracking scenery though...till they get dark. Tupiza is famous for some striking scenery so I took a jeep tour with Steve and Karen and we had a great day. Vanessa and I were rudely awakened on night 2......with a rock through our ground floor window. Luckily it didn't get past the long curtain, which was lucky as V's bed was right by the window. Just drunk kids. The interruption to our sleep was most unwelcome though, as our alarms were set for 5am for a 6am departure. Yawn!

The Valley of the Penis's .... I'm not kidding

Some VERY dusty roads as we dropped altitude (hurrah!), an easy border back into Argentina, a reintroduction of sandflies, which we haven't seen for a while, a bit of camping and then we arrived at a ranch to stay for 3 nights. A very homely place and some enforced relaxation as it's a trekking and horse riding place really. The river was very pretty and the food/wine good so out came my book and the hours ticked on by happily. Whilst clearing our room of bugs, we discovered these were stink beatles. As Mikkel picked one up, it "phuffed" at him. It didn't bother us for long but it did put Anthony off our room and he ended up in his tent outside.....which then got nibbled by a horse at 5am. Ha.

Mikkel feeding the biggest goat in the world

Rogan at the ranch

After the ranch, then on to our final night of camping, a curry dinner and plenty of music, booze and fireside chats. Then we packed up the tents for the final time and headed off to Buenos Aires in winter, the very place we started off 6 months ago in the summer. I even ended up with Vanessa, Lisa and Heather, in the same room we met each other in, almost as though the last 6 months hadn't happened. We went out for our last dinner, ending the trip as we started it, with big Argentinian steak and red wine; we stick to what we're good at.
Jeanne, half a beer's nothing. I got Keith to neck half a bottle of red wine on his last night in B.A. Ha.

The next morning saw 10 of us plus our two crew leave for Uruguay, a final 10 day extension to the trip and our 10th country. We left those who were going home at the hotel and this one made for a tearful goodbye to some people who have become great friends over the last 6 months. I've seen this people every day for 6 months (bar the odd excursion here and there where we may have split off) and it's strange to think I now won't see some of them.