Fishing Village Memoirs

Hola Taganga! Cute, charming and picturesque fishing village on the Columbian north coast. Definitely a place I could stay much longer.
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The 1 street town is always buzzing with artisans selling their crafts, restaurants scaling their fish and people drink beer.
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Our days here were spent walking over and around the mountain to the next cove
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where the views are amazing
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and even better, is the end destination.. Playa Grande
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Swimming, kindles, sun and fresh fish for lunch!
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An “emotional experience” as Josh put it.
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Afternoon drinks, never without our kindles
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and gorgeous sunset!
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Followed by ice cold mojitos, garlic bread and the most delicious barbeque at Cafe Bonsai 🙂
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We spent the next couple of days on the isolated beach of Palomino. We got a good beach run in (which reminds me why I fell in love with running) and amazing kindle time
20121227-111854.jpg Unfortunatey, the water was very rough and the beach was a tad disappointing (had nothing on Playa Blanca) so we left a day early so we could spend our last day on the coast in Taganga!

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Indulging in the sweet tastes of Maipu

Argentina’s beer wine region, Mendoza, here we come! We were greeted with beautiful hot, sunny weather and a great balcony at our hostel to enjoy it.

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But we had places to go! Next day we bussed to the vineyard region in the large, brown area of Maipu (pronounced my-poo) which as you can imagine left us with hours of play-on-word jokes (which I took a took a step to far, continuing on for days…) From there we hired bikes and rode to the different wineries.

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Maipu smelt like roses!

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We tried different wines from Maipu region, then pooped popped back on the bikes and skidded on to the next stop.

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We were greeted by the cutest puppy, Tommy. It was love 🙂

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And here we also enjoyed tasting the olives and olive pastes.

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We both loved our day in Maipu and highly recommend getting there if you are visiting Argentina.

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We arrived back in Mendoza and checked out some of the great bars the city has to offer. It was a Monday night and the bars were packed!

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We love our day trips- bright and early the next morning we caught a bus to Uspallata. We kind of had no idea what we were going to and to be honest we were both looking forward to 2.5 hours of sleep time on the bus. But when we arrived we were not disappointed! Beautiful, rustic small town in the valley surrounded by mountains. We hired bikes once again, got given a map and disappeared with not another person in sight into the desert wilderness!

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The town itself is described as a green oasis in the middle of the desert…

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The ride was uphill on rocky, unpaved roads for 10 fricken kms! Maybe had we prepared ourselves mentally for this challenge it would have been easier? Pretty low on the energy side of things, we eventually got to the end of the road,

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used every last ounce of energy to climb up to the top of one of the mountains and took time to enjoy the incredible view of the multicoloured desert mountains.
Worth the hard yards 🙂

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After some chill time and targeted rock throwing, which is becoming Josh’s new hobby we readied ourselves for 10kms of pure downhill sweetness!

These highlights from Mendoza are only a handful of what this city has to offer! We also enjoyed just relaxing in the beautiful parks- went for an awesome run, enjoyed the cafes, markets and bars and were sad to be leaving… Luckily overnight buses aren’t that bad 😉

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Next stop, Salta – in northwest Argentina!

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!

Josh’s Thoughts – What I’ve learnt travelling with my girlfriend

So i admit I have been quite slack in keeping my side of the blog updated, following my introduction in our Ushuaia Post. With a little spare time on my hands, I thought it’s time I share some more of my thoughts.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken several great holidays, with most of them being with my best (male) mates. Guys are guys, and lets be honest, we function very differently to our opposing gender. While this isn’t my first trip away with Kel, the nature of this trip has really opened my eyes to some interesting things about travelling with your girlfiriend – some of them are just interesting differences between us. There are, however, many simple things that guys could learn from our female friends and I thought I’d share them so that those that haven’t travelled with a girl don’t miss out!

Before I get into it, there are some obvious differences that I am not going to bother discussing here ( e.g. The role of wingman is probably not necessary, personal hygiene is not an unaffordable luxury and paper-scissors-rock is not a viable way of settling an argument/making a decision ).
Rather I am looking at some subtle things that I have found to be amusing/helpful.

So here we go:

1) The many uses of wet wipes – these little gems are something that most guys (without kids) would have no idea about. Great for cleaning hands after a packed picnic lunch, but even better – when you get to the point where one more wipe with hostel toilet paper will likely draw blood, call on the wet wipe! Also can be used in lieu of a shower during long multi day treks! (Great for the hard to reach places…)

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2) The time-money-HEALTH relationship – The extent of one’s travel is generally subject to two main constraints – TIME and MONEY. For example, when planning a holiday, you are normally limited to the amount of leave you get from work, and how much cash you have in the bank. You may be able to get more time off, but do you then have to lower your daily budget to be able to make use of the extra time? The same can be said when actually on the road- e.g. You really want to do a 3 day trek – you may have the money, but do you have the time? Thus the theory of constraints – Obvious, right?

But travelling with Kel (and maybe this is not applicable to all girls), a third constraint exists – HEALTH. Take the example of eating lunch- if i was travelling with guys, i imagine my lunch would consist of 2 empanadas (typical south american street food) and maybe a beer from the supermarket. Its quick and very cheap, leaving plenty of room in the budget for the rest of the day.

One of the few empanadas I have indulged in (almost as delicious as my Granny Ida’s perogen!)

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However what about the HEALTH budget? 2 empanadas for lunch may mean there’s nothing left in the health budget for dinner, and therefore I have to get something smaller AND have a salad.

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Hence I am more likely to agree to a tuna and avocado sandwich for lunch, to leave space for a 500g sirloin for dinner!

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Luckily Kel and I both love the physical activities (trekking, bike riding etc) so that boosts the size of our health budget!

3) Dessert is a possibility – when travelling with guys, dessert after dinner is not even considered, as dinner usually consists of cooking in a hostel, leading into a massive drinking session and then into a big night at a bar/club and spending all your money on drinks before stumbling home, and waking up with a hangover. However cut that all out, and you actually leave a lot of money and time (and health budget) to enjoy ice cream or a chocolate fondante!

The BEST ice cream I have ever tasted… And I mean it – Juaja in Bariloche (apparently they have a shop in Melbourne too so check it out!)

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4) Sometimes asking for directions can help – but only sometimes and it’s probably because you have a bad map…

5) Check border customs restrictions before crossing – Chile, like Australia, has very strict rules about what you can bring into the country, with fresh fruit and vegetables being a big no-go. If I was with guys, this would never be an issue. But when travelling with Kel, bus rations do not consist of chips and chocolate, but rather a fresh green salad (with dressing) in a Tupperware container, plus 2 bananas, an apple and 2 carrots!!
You should have seen the looks on the faces of the border staff when emptying our bags. Luckily I insisted on ticking YES on our immigration form for “does your luggage contain fruit or vegetables”.
Believe it or not, Kel even tried to take an apple across the border the next time, and only agreed to chuck it once we saw this sign:

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6) Your travel companion is 50% of your trip – so make sure you have a good one! Even after spending all day every day together for just over 3 weeks, Kel and I are still powering on and loving (almost) every moment of each others company. We live every day like its our last day of the trip, and we always end it with a laugh. This trip wouldn’t be half as special if it wasn’t shared with Kel! Hopefully I’ll feel the same after 3 months!

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That’s all for now- Thanks for reading and we look forward to updating you all again soon.

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!

Bariloche Part 1: Revenge of the nerds

The Argentine Lake District’s largest city, Bariloche, was our next stop and bring it on – we were ready for it! Arriving at Hostel 1004, which came highly recommended from a number of our friends (thanks Lee, Brad and Bortzy) we knew this would be a place we wouldn’t want to leave.

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We immediately felt at home with the lovely staff and the beautiful views over the lake and city.

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With our Spanish slowly progressing and the hopes of staying put in Bariloche for a little while, we thought we might try some Spanish lessons. We planned to meet Carolina the lady at the Spanish school for a brief introduction conveniently timed at 8:45pm (everything happens late here) – our time or dinner. She sat us down for a hard core test and we were not happy Jan.

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Needless to say, the nerds rebelled. Cheating our way through the first part of the test and failing to complete the rest of it, we threw away our hopes of mastering Spanish. Instead, we planned our revenge and opted to spend our days exploring the city by bike, car, foot, kayak and chairlift all fuelled by the most delicious food and an awesome city vibe starting in the main square and extending across the city.

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The streets of Bariloche are lined with cute chocolate shops (hello endless days of taste testing!), restaurants and cafes.

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This city doesn’t do healthy. Most nights I ate the local fish, trout drenched in the traditional butter and lemon salsa

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and Josh enjoyed his schnitzel or steak, nicely portioned ay?

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Needless to say when we came across this next little gem it was well received by both of us even if Josh is too stubborn to admit it 🙂

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Heaven!! Amazing juices, assortment of different veggie delights and complimentary sweet tea to finish the meal off with. So good, we went back a second time!

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But enough about the food, the real heart of the city lies in its beautiful surroundings. One of our highlights was hiring bikes and doing the 25km ‘Circuito Chico’ route. To begin with, the hilly terrain and cars speeding past almost blowing me away left me screaming and close to tears at many points.

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But Josh was patient, gave me many a pep talk and soon enough we were flying down those hills in unison.. Stopping every now and then to enjoy the incredible views.

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At about the halfway mark we turned down a gravel road with steep inclines and decided to tie up the bikes and walk down to the lake. We found a beautiful spot and enjoyed our picnic lunch.

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Back on our bikes we got and our next stop was at a little Cervazeria (beer house) where we sampled some beer and enjoyed the view for a little while before completing the rest of the circuit. Awesome day!

The following day we changed our mode of transport from bike to hired car, where we set out bright and early to drive the ‘Circuito Grande’. Our cute station wagon took us all over town.

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We cruised along the freeway, trying to figure out these roads with no rules; plugged in the iPod and sang our way through the mountains and shimmering turquoise lakes.

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We felt really spoilt with these views.. It is amazing how beautiful and so diverse a region can be.

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After a long day on the road, we chilled with a competitive game of cards and some drinks.

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Guess who won? 🙂

That’s all for now,friends. Pease leave us a comment and fellow travellers, feel free to ask us any questions or share your thoughts/recommendations. We love hearing from everyone!

Stay tuned, Bariloche Part 2 is on its way!

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!

Volcano sightings keep life interesting!

Feeling ready to progress our way up north, we spontaneously booked a flight Puerto Montt to begin our journey through the Lakes District of Argentina/Chile. We spent 2 nights in the lovely town of Puerto Varas which has beautiful views and interesting Colonial style German buildings. We arrived just in time for a magical sunset.

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Josh got the buzz around town that a big soccer game – Chile vs Argentina was on that evening so guess where we ended up? A few beers, pisco sours and a massive pizza later we were having a jolly time soaking up the atmosphere. Needless to say Josh (bless his soul) was trying to discuss tactics and strategies with me, but I was quite content people watching 🙂

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The next day we put the hiking boots back on and made our way by minibus to Petrohue, the entrance to Chile’s second largest national park. Our aim for the day trek was to get a good view of the volcano, and that we did! Cool feeling being higher than the clouds..

20121019-083307.jpg Being in the Lakes District I guess you would expect beautiful lakes, but pictures don’t really capture how pristine and spectacular these bodies of water are! And the guy standing in front is alright as well 😉

20121019-083328.jpg Now this next photo is Josh showing off how much faster he was walking than me. That’s ok :). Spending 24/7 with one person means a little space is required… Today we soaked up the opportunity to enjoy some personal space.

20121019-083631.jpg Lunch at the lookout point was amazing! Food is always that much better when you have earned it. Tuna and avo rolls hit the spot.

20121019-192935.jpgAfter lunch we persevered up a little higher and a little closer the volcano. Hard work as it was quite a steep incline, but the reward? Running skiing (without skis) our way down the sandy trail. Adrenaline peak!

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Interrupted by this awesome cloud! Reminded us of the Philadelphia cream advert. We took so many pics of it and have o far been unless with deleting unnecessary pictures, but have kept a good handful of these cloud ones.

20121019-083840.jpg 16 kms of nature at its finest, finished off with a Chilean Pink Lady Apple makes for a very content girl!

20121019-083850.jpg Great day, great place. Coming to you next from Bariloche, Argentina.

Adios amigos and THANKYOU everyone for your comments, we love arriving at a wifi spot and reading them all!

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!

Chile adventures on foot

After arriving in the town of Puerto Natales after a long 14 hour bus ride from Ushuaia our trekking adventure in Torres Del Paine national park was next on our agenda and the part of our trip we were both so excited for!

This trek involved carrying our tent, sleeping bags, mats, sleeping gear, wet weather gear, stove, gas, cooking utensils, 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners all on our backs for approximately 85 kms. Our hostel room was a bomb before we left.. 20121015-120610.jpg

We woke up bright and early Wednesday morning – but not early enough. Our phones were on the wrong time zone setting and thinking it was 630am it was actually 730am. Luckily the bus driver agreed to come back for us! We took a bus to the park and then a catamaran to the starting point of the W-trek which we were about to begin. Ready to go with bright orange wet weather gear- tick! 20121015-120623.jpg
From the very beginning of the trek the views were breathtaking. The terrain was so diverse from devastating desolate fire affected areas (caused by a tourist in January), to lush greenery, snow capped mountains, aqua lakes, glaciers and beautiful valleys and streams. With little to no wind the reflections of the mountains on the lake were incredible.
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Luckily we didn’t have to carry water with us. Any running stream of water was good to drink. And good is an understatement 🙂 water never tasted so fresh and crisp! 20121015-120641.jpg
Day 1 we walked towards Glacier Grey. It was so cool seeing the icebergs and the different shades of white and blue caused by the reflections of the sky and the surroundings.
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Got to love a few selfies 😉
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We camped right by the glacier the first night. We woke up thinking there was a massive thunder storm when in actual fact it was part of the glacier chipping off. Nature and its surprises.

For dinner we enjoyed devoured mushroom risotto from a packet. Our conversation went something like this.. “This could honestly be served in a 5 star restaurant”… “Maybe its just cause we are hungry”… “no i’m serious i don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so good”. Lol.
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Next day we were all packed up and off to our next campsite. Crossing big, unstable bridges with signs like these are enough to make you a bit concerned. 20121015-120821.jpg

On day 3 we were blessed with beautiful blue skies which we did not take for granted after hearing horror stories about Patagonian weather.20121015-120829.jpg
A day of picturesque scenery.
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Panoramic 360 degree view. Feeling a bit low on the energy side of things, this definitely raised the spirits!20121015-120845.jpg

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Occasionally we would just stop, pinch ourselves that we were actually here and have a moment to take it all in.20121015-120914.jpg

This was by at our favourite day of scenery. Patagonia was really showing off what it has to offer 😉 20121015-120924.jpg

If mushroom risotto was 5 star quality, then 2 minute noodles AND creamy spinach soup deserved 3 hats!20121015-120930.jpg

Pitching our tent on a wooden board at the next campsite was luxury! A flat surface, unlike the previous night prevented me waking up squashed to the side of the tent on the hard cold ground (with Josh soundly asleep and oblivious) haha 20121015-120936.jpg

We had a relatively good night sleep and were ready the most difficult day of the trek. 22 kms and steep inclines. But after a hearty bowl of delicious hot oats- you know about my love for them– we were ready and pumped! . 20121015-120943.jpg

We reached our campsite way earlier than we expected, pitched our tent and decided to trek up to Torres Del Paine thinking it would just be a stroll. How wrong we were! Steep and rocky- but well worth the view! 20121015-120951.jpg
The cow mountain.
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After a lovely evening at camp we woke up for our last day, dosed up on the oats and coffee and off we went! 20121015-121006.jpg
We made it our tradition to run as fast as we could down hills (yes, with our massive backpacks on)… Such fun! This also meant our 10ks down to our end point just flew
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After a fun and relatively easy day we arrived at our final destination feeling good, accomplished and satisfied!20121015-121024.jpg

We enjoyed coke and coffee and a clean bathroom with oh so sweet melting soap!!!!20121015-121034.jpg

After finally returning to our hostel, returning our hired gear and scrubbing up like never before we headed out for a post-trek feed to a place recommended by our friend Bortzy, La Picada de Don Carlitos. a20121015-121103.jpg

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What an incredible journey we shared together! We crossed many boundaries that should probably never be crossed, spent hours chatting about random topics from trigonometry to economics to singing random songs, playing rhyming games, predicting passer-byers’ itineraries and enjoying kms of absolute silence.

Today we are taking a day to unwind, relax and rest the feet before taking a a bus early tomorrow morning to El Calafate back in Argentina.

Until next time, hasta Luego!

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!

Walking the hoods of Buenos Aires

Our first 2 days in Buenos Aires have been a real feast for our senses. We have been walking and talking (we are loving the Spanish!) our way around the different neighbourhoods which are all so diverse and each unique in their own way. We arrived late Tuesday evening, checked into our hostel and went out for drink. We walked to San Telmo and found a cool bar with live music and a well deserved beer started off our trip with a bang!

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Our first full day began with an early morning run around our area where we got our bearings, sussed out the 23 (I think it is) laned street and checked out some of the famous landmarks. After a shower and free hostel breakfast we headed to Palermo where we landed up at the zoo!

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Palermo is such a cool hood. The cobblestone streets are lined with boutique style stores, great little cafes and bars and lots of interesting gimmicky stores. You can really lose yourself in the streets, as each store you enter and each corner you turn leads you somewhere new and exciting. We found a restaurant called Bio Solo Organic which immediately captured my attention for lunch 🙂

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After lunch we popped into a wine store out of interest and ended up spending a bit of time wine tasting. Mmmm.

When we got back to our hostel we took a long nap and at around 10 pm, yes everything here happens late, we headed to the rooftop bar at our hostel for some drinks. We met some people and ended up heading our for an extremely late dinner and then out to a club back in Palermo. Fun, fun night!

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Today we spent in the neighbourhood of La Boca. A colourful, buzzing, soulful, soccer and tango obsessed hood.
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Graffiti lines the street walls and is well and truly works of art. I love this shot!

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Such a great day!

A nap and late dinner finished off our day. Steak. Josh’s happy place 🙂

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Tomorrow we fly down south to Ushuaia where the temperature drops and the hard core adventuring begins!

Until our next update, adios amigos!!

Check out our Travel Page for more of our adventures!