Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hi Patagonia Hostel
We eventually made it to Puerto Madryn at just gone 10am some 24.5 hours after boarding the bus. I was feeling a little spaced out however the Lady was still talking about how uncomfortable sha was, I was gobsmacked she did nothing but sleep. For me I enjoyed the bus journey in a sort of perverse way, I would take a 24 hour bus journey in Argentina over a 6 or 8 hour bus journey in Myanmar any day of the week
We walked from Puerto Madryn bus station down to the beach and started looking for the hostel that we had booked only to find ourselves getting a little lost. We found a tourist information office who soon pointed us in the right direction and by about 10:45 we had arrived at Hi Patagonia and had been shown to our dorm room. The guy was so helpful and we sent out our few last e-mails, looking for last minute cruises to Antarctica for 25% of the price or free to be a short term worker for nothing. We have apparently found one for £700 which we are following up in earnest.
We had missed all the trips for the day so spent the day wandering around town, booking our bus tickets out of town heading further Southbound, and checking out the prices of various peninsula tours. We talked about 20% off the price and thought we would head back to the rather nice hostel folks to see if they would match the discounts we had got. As it turned out they wouldn’t / couldn’t so we had to head back out into town and get booked on a Peninsula Valdes tour. For those unaware Peninsular Valdes is often spoken about in National Geographic and the big hitting nature programmes to be almost of the importance and wildlife richness of the Galapogas Islands. In particular this is perhaps most famous as it is one of two spots in the world were Orca’s snatch baby seal cubs from the shore by throwing themselves onto the shoreline before rolling back and catching the next wave into sea
Well after 6 of the best empanada’s we have ever eaten, (blue cheese, meat, cheese and chorizo to name but 3) we decided our packed lunch tomorrow would clearly be a dozen empanadas (this shop does nothing but empanada’s it’s like a small bakery that sells nothing but pasties, greaattt). Erica edit: Gregg’s is becoming a fond yet distant memory.
As tea time approached we decided we would be extravagant and go out for dinner to a restaurant ranked as number 1 on trip advisor due to its near fine dining at reasonable prices and a great atmosphere. As we were having a romantic stroll down the beach front I was telling the Lady about how I had been reading a review of a hostel on the beach front (i.e. out of our price range) and only a week ago somebody had seen whales from the terrace out at sea. Erica told me I was being stupid and it must be Puerto Piramides (closer to the action but a lot more expensive to stay there), then I suggested I had seen a blow out at sea, she told me I was being stupid, then she saw one, then we both saw another, maybe 70m from the edge of the shore was a mother and calf that looked almost as if they had been beached they were that much in the shallows
We were both completely gob smacked but the Lady was going a bit mental because I’d left the camera locked up in the hostel. After about 15 minutes admiring this awesome sight trying to ignore the crazy woman telling me to run back for the camera, we did indeed speed march back to the hostel to get the camera and headed back to the beach. Unfortunately you will never see how mad a sight that was, however we did head off to the pier past the many fisherman and see about 5 more whales out at sea much further away. It was crazy being stood up on dry land whale spotting and having the opportunity to see so many. We must have spent a good hour and a half until our fingers and toes could no longer move. While the locals were dressed for the gale force winds we obviously were not.
We got to the restaurant just as things were starting to get a bit busier (you know about 10pm’ish) and had a small pizza each just because it was cheap. As soon as the bread and dips arrived we knew we had made the wrong choice. It was stunning, different types of bread with dips like Tzatziki and almost meat broth type dipping sauces, it was obvious to see we should having been eating one of the many but quite expensive meat dishes on offer. The steak and chips (nice fat chips built into towers) looked amazing but was a little beyond our price range. I had given up drinking for a few days so we were on water, that was until Erica ordered a bottle of wine (which she needed to get over land based whale spotting) I wasn’t forking out £5 and leaving half a bottle. Erica edit: As I remember I didn’t order it!
We headed back to the hostel, I was completely knackered I hardly feel like I have had a proper nights sleep since we arrived in South America, through jet lag, drink and busses it was about 11pm and the two Czech girls in our dorm were fast asleep. We were not long behind.