It is still early in the morning when we arrive in our charming boutique hotel” Legado Mitico ” in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires arrive. We are warmly welcomed by the receptionist. We immediately decide to explore the city. We buy a metro ticket and get off at the Obelix at the Plaza de la Republica. From there we go on foot to the Pink House on Plaza de Mayo, where Evita Perron gave a speech from the balcony at the time. We have lunch in a restaurant where almost exclusively Argentinians come.
STREET TANGO & TANGOSHOW
On the Plaza Dorrego in the San Telmo district we are treated to a street tango. We enjoy the beautiful spectacle under a lovely spring sun. Then we continue our journey to the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, where the tango originated when immigrants from all corners of the world tried to kill time by dancing at the harbor. It is wonderful to stroll between the brightly colored houses. Here too the tango is danced in the street. When we arrive at the hotel tired in the evening, we have 18 km on the pedometer. We are satisfied because we got the most out of our day. A quick shower, because at 8 pm we are picked up for a tango show with dinner in hotel Faena at the harbor of Puerto Madero. We enjoy the spectacle. It reminds me a lot of the Lido in Paris. When we return to our hotel, the receptionist promises the “Belgian Ladies an upgrade of the room for the next stay”, because he thought the Classical Room we had now been given was rather small. We didn’t complain though and were quite happy with our room.
PATAGONIA FOR US ONLY
The next day flight to Trelew. We pick up our rental car and start our four-hour journey through Patagonia with final destination Estancia Rincón Chico in Puerto Delgada. After about an hour’s drive we arrive at a gravel road and then we hardly encounter a single car. We have Patagonia to ourselves!
It is almost dark when we arrive at our destination. A beautiful old Victorian style estancia. We are warmly greeted by Maria and Augustín and receive a home-cooked meal with Argentine Champagne. After a nice chat with Augustín we crawl under the blanket tired but satisfied.
SOUTH CAPE WHALE SPOTTING
After a nice breakfast with a beautiful view of Patagonia, we drive to Puerto Piramides with our rental car. Today we go Southern Cape Whale Watching . After barely fifteen minutes at sea we already get to see the first whales. And from very close by. Mother with calf come to swim next to the boat. You can almost touch them with your hand. After an hour and a half the tour is over. We decide to have a picnic on the cliffs near the bay and get to see a lot of whale tails!
The next day, Augustín takes us to the cliffs of Punta Delgada. The beach is full of sea lions, elephant seals and their puppies. We can see from the blood on the beach that many puppies were born that night. Augustín peers incessantly through his binoculars. “Maybe we can spot orcas today,” he says. I look at him a little skeptically. And suddenly we see three black fins looming from the ocean. Augustín knows them all by name. I ask him how he can tell those killer whales apart. “Not difficult”, he says, “they are residentials”. And then we see the killer whales getting closer and closer. Augustín jumps straight and tells us to walk west. We run from one cliff to another. Our fitness is severely tested. But we don’t want to lose sight of the orcas. Wow, that was exciting. We were able to spot the orcas very nicely and then from the land.
PERITO MORENOG GLACIER
After a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast we are ready for the flight to El Calafate. The Perito Moreno Glacier still impresses me as much as it did 18 years ago. The weather is fine and we take pictures of this beautiful glacier from every angle. The Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in El Calafate is one of the few glaciers still accreting and not subject to global glacier retreat. The Perito Moreno Glacier is 30 km long and 5 km wide with a height of 60 to 70 m. An absolute wonder of the world! We close the day with a delicious Argentine steak and a bottle of Argentine champagne with the very appropriate name “Fin del Mundo”.
The next day a visit to the Upsala Glacier on the program. The Upsala Glacier is located in the National Park “Los Glaciares” in southern Argentina. The glacier empties into the Southern Patagonian Ice Field not far from the Perito Moreno Glacier. Unlike the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Upsala Glacier is shrinking every year, most likely due to global warming. During the boat trip to the Estancia Cristina we look out for the giant blocks of ice floating in the sea that have calved from the Upsala glacier. A monster jeep takes us to the point where we have a magnificent view of the glacier. The deep blue lakes contrast sharply with the glacier. What a beautiful panorama!
WHAT A VIEW!
Under a steel blue sky we drive it Torres del Paine National Park within. The Torres glisten in the sun. After a warm greeting and lunch in Explora Patagonia, we set out to explore the area. What a view!
We can’t stop taking pictures. “Tomorrow has gold in its mouth” and you can take that literally here. After a delicious breakfast with a view of a glowing Torres we do a first organized exploration tour in the park. A beautiful walk around the Torres under a lovely spring sun. After the horseback ride we drink mate with the gauchos. “We like those tough gauchos with their checkered shirts and brightly colored alpins.”
During our last day in Torres del Paine National Park we make a trip to the Frances Glacier. In the meantime, some clouds have built up but still decent weather. After all, in Patagonia you can have 4 seasons in one day. The weather gods were very kind to us during our stay in the Torres del Paine Park. The trip to the Frances Glacier is quite tough. Our time is limited and so we have to maintain a decent pace to take the boat back to the hotel in time. The Frances Glacier is not the size of the Upsala Glacier or the Perito Moreno Glacier, but the trek was well worth it.
We spend our last vacation days on Easter Island or Rapa Nui , as it is called by the locals. Easter Island, which has only 3000 inhabitants with an area of 163m2, is located about 3400km from the mainland. After a flight of 5.5 hours from Santiago de Chile we are warmly welcomed at the airport of Easter Island and are given a flower garland around our neck. After check in and lunch in the sympathetic Explora Rapa Nuic we do our first guided exploration of the island.
The mystery surrounding Easter Island has always intrigued us. The Moai’s make a deep impression on us. Easter Island has hundreds of Moai’s, all placed in beautiful locations. So we can’t stop taking pictures and enjoy our three days on Easter Island to the fullest. A sunrise with Moai’s in the foreground should not be missed. We gladly accept that we have to get up early for this. Of course, there was also a sunset.
End of another wonderful journey! We return home satisfied with far too many photos and just as many wonderful memories!
Ann and Miet