Trelew

We did not intend to spend any time here. Described in the guide as a city of many people but few charms most travellers just drive through. But alas, courtesy of a broken phone and a smashed boot we had to spend a couple of days here. And we actually liked it.

Granted, there’s not much to see but if you are into history and nature (i.e. Us) the Palaeontology Museum is a must see. The museum is both a research and exhibition centre as the largest dinosaur skeletons in the world have been found only a couple of kilometres out of this sleepy city. Crammed in a small space, we explored 1,5000 skeletons and fossils, only one of which (a fossilised dino egg) is kept in a glass cabinet. Want to touch the femur bone of a 76 ton dinosaur? Go ahead. It’s only the largest fossil ever discovered.  Measure yourself against its 3-plus meter foot? Help yourself … Want to leave your kid for a pyjama party in the museum for a night complete with a tour of the lab? No problem. This little gem is at the forefront of paleontological discoveries and kicks the Natural History Museum’s ass.

Trelew Paleontology Museum

We spent a good couple of hours here fascinated by the plethora of findings and spying on the palaeontologists who work on the latest findings behind a glass window in front of all visitors.

The rest of our time was spent in phone repair shops, mechanics, nail salons (me, not Andy) and local canteens serving grilled meat, fries and salad in search of good wifi. Drinks here are filled with sugar; options when dining out are always sodas or alcohol. Ask for water and you get a look like you’ve asked for a kilo of heroin. It’s no surprise that almost everyone we meet is overweight.

Kicking off 2017 with a bang

Pensinsula Valdez

This story continues from our previous post ‘lead up to New Year’s Eve’ here

ACT III

Having stocked up on gas, food and booze (the last customers at the corner store before it also closed for the festivities) they head to Peninsula Valdez. The lure is not only its flaura and fauna but also that Manu, Oli and Max who they met in Pichilemu are there.

By 6.30 they arrive at what they think is the right place. All they have to go on is a location pin shared by solo 3 days earlier on What’s App. As they take a turn they spot the top of a camper van.

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Why do you wear shorts in bed when you’re in the van…

D: Why do you wear shorts in bed when you’re in the van?

A: Guess you never know what’ll  happen and it’s an advantage to not be naked when you have the step outside.

D: Oh.

A: Goodnight.

A: Goodnight.

Silence, wind, silence.

Spit of gravel and engine rumble. Another truck pulling in for the night. Quite close. Very close.

Thump, smash, grind. We shunt forward a few feet off the parking into the bushes. For fucks sake! Fumble for tent zip in the darkness.

Legs out and jump down to ground. Not naked.

Maybe because we’re a dark green van in the dimly lit corner of the truck stop, maybe because the driver had been driving 49 hours with nothing but  mate to keep him awake. Either way, once again our van is smashed, this time more seriously.

Police are called, statements given, ID and paperwork. Gaffertape a temp cover over broken window. Look at each other, shrug and climb back into tent.

Silence, wind. The spit of gravel and rumble of engine, close, very close.

D: You know, maybe we should move to some where brighter. 

A: Yeh.

Climb back out, drive to other end of park. Reset ladder, back to bed.

The wind blows harder in this less sheltered spot, the dogs bark. I spend 6 hours ‘waiting’.

And now it’s now and we are grabbing coffee in the service station before going to see the police (again), find a mechanic/body shop, convince the Chilean insurers we are good people, and fix our shit.

Travel yeh,  character building.

The lead up to New Years Eve 2016

The story of our New Year’s Eve party actually starts on December 30th.

Protagonists:

  • Andy: Tall english man,
  • Daphne:Mediterranean woman who everyone assumes will be fluent in Spanish,
  • Gellan: dark green, fearless 4×4
  • Middle aged lady
  • Short chubby bald man

ACT I

Early evening, Friday 30th December. Daphne, Andy and Gellan are on their way to Peninsula Valdes, a UNESCO World Heritage site about 2,000km north of Ushuaia. Having travelled 950km the previous day the gang are looking forward to a day not driving.

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Christmas at the end of the world

Ushuaia

The city at the end of the world, the restaurant at the end of the world, the post office at the end, the sign post that says “The End of the World” at the end of the world. Ushuaia figured out the importance of marketing in the mid 1980’s. In the hundred and fifty years of ‘settlement history’ prior to that it squeezed a great deal in.

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Trekking around Mt. Fitzroy – chasing the shot(?)

In which we climb to a ridge for a view of ‘The Fitzroy traverse’ at dawn, and meet the mountain’s legends.

'Summit' ridge at dawn. WINDY
‘Summit’ ridge at dawn. WINDY

Another weather check, another pensive look exchanged. 24 hours. We pack bags, check food, water and waterproofs and set off in light rain from the far end of Chalten in late afternoon. The plan is simple: a 10k hike to the foot of a ridge ascent that promises panoramic views of the Fitzroy skyline.

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