So I managed to get across the border no problem at all. The view at the border crossing was stunning! There are more photos in the blog that took our breaths away. We have certainly done some risky things in our time, but at our age should we really be like this? Of course! Read on…….
We got talking to an old couple whilst stood in the queue. They were on our bus and both English. Allan is 86 and Joan is 83. They’ve been to Chile and Argentina 18 times! They back pack their way around and thumb lifts from one place to another. Allan said it’s cheaper for him to come to South America for 14 weeks in January than pay his heating bill on his 10 bedroom house in Derbyshire 😲. People say that we inspire them to travel, well these two inspired us…a lot! They’ve invited us to go stay with them in our motor home or their house. Haha. They are the same age as my mother and father in law but are world’s apart in their way of thinking and how fit they are. They’ve travelled all over the word, and back packed it all the way. What a couple 😍
As soon as we entered Argentina the scenery changed. It was stunning. I got a couple of shots from the bus window but they really don’t do it justice.
We arrived in San Martin De Los Andes and was pleasantly surprised at how up market it is. The houses are all made from wood and immaculate. The shops in the town all cater for winter and summer activities in the area..it really is a beautiful place. People from Buenos Aires tend to buy their holiday homes here, and you can see why. It has a small bay with black sand and surrounded by luscious green mountains and rocks.
We were staying in a private room in a hostel. The views surrounding it were breathtaking.
The day after we arrived we went to sit on the beach for a couple hours. Our legs were still painful from climbing 2 days before! We can’t sit on beaches for too long without getting bored so after 2.5 hours we went back to the hostel to make lunch. We don’t eat out everyday, it’s too expensive. We are travelling for 3 months so to stay in hotels and eat in a restaurant every day is not really cost effective for us.
Today’s lunch was pasta with pesto bolognese and Parmesan cheese 😊. Total cost of £2 for both of us. Cheap, filling and tasty. We decided to go for a walk and get some more steps in. We aim for a minimum of 10k but usually hit around 20k.
The views on our walk were “muoy linda” (very beautiful). We just kept saying “wow”. Take a look below
The heat from the sun was relentless. It wasn’t ideal weather to go hiking in! I was shattered but Kev kept saying “just round the next corner and we’ll stop, there’ll be a beach and we’ll get a drink “. He always says stuff like that to TRY and encourage me to keep going. It just winds me up and makes me want to punch his lights out cos he just makes things up😂😂.
To his credit there was a beach there. We had to walk down a steep dusty path to get to it but the wind was blowing a coolish air and there was a bar overlooking the sea. Perfect. 😊
The guy behind the bar should have been wearing a stripey top and carrying a “swag bag”. What a robbing sod. The price for 2 small bottles of cokes was £3 and he had the cheek to charge us 60p each for 2 plastic cups with ice in!! 😮
After rehydrating and feeling better we decided to walk back. It was a steep hill and the heat was taking it out on us. We managed to get to the top OK but then decided we’d do something we’ve never done before…we decided to hitch hike back! 😂 We stood on the roadside, took our hats off (so they could tell we were foreign) and stuck our thumbs out 🖒. I can’t believe we were going to get into a strangers car in South America. Haha. If Allan and Joan could do it, so could we!
Ten minutes later we were in the back of a young couples car sat at the side of their 2 young children. 😂 they dropped us back in San Martin and wished us luck with our travels. Haha We made it alive. Think we’ll be trying this again.
We went straight to the supermarket and bought a large bottle of ice cold beer and some things to do and bbq. We stood outside eating only with our fingers, that were covered in black from the charcoal. We demolished a burger, chicken and blood sausage (like black pudding) whilst sat on a tree stump. We certainly know how to live the high life 🍻
A woman in the supermarket looked down at our feet/legs and grimaced and said something to her husband in Spanish. I bet she thought we were grubby travellers that don’t get washed. I didn’t enlighten her that we’d just finished trekking a very dusty road.
We sat talking to 2 young Argentinian boys. Lucas aged 17 and Valentino aged 20. They were asking where we had travelled and recommending places on Argentina to visit. We had had a laugh with them whilst enjoying their company for an hour.
The next day my stomach wasn’t in too good a state. Don’t think I’d cooked the chicken properly 😂. Luckily we were staying around the town as there was a parade on. They were celebrating 120 years of the town. They were paying their appreciation to the police, mountain rescue, mountain fire crews, soldiers, voluntary and paid firefighters and there were gauchos dressed up and riding their horses. They all applauded really loudly when the service men went past.
We headed to the beach and I was just about to sit down and Kev said “quick, hide, they’re coming with a harpoon, they think you’re a beached whale” 🐋 I just threw him a look and he laughed. 😄
It was so hot, even though there was a breeze. I told him if I’d had my swimming costume on I’d have gone in the lake. “Don’t talk daft. You couldn’t do that, you’d scare all the kids on the beach!” He just gets worse!! 😂
On returning back to our hostel we found a note and a small gold wrapper with 2 red love hearts on, on our bed. Lucas and Valentino had asked one of the staff to leave it in our room. The note said “Thank you for making our travels better”. They’d left a small chocolate bar that broke in half and had hearts on each side. How sweet was that, and what a compliment to 2 middle aged people 😊.
Our next port of call in Argentina was Bariloche, in Patagonia. I got some amazing shots on the bus journey. The lakes were deep blue and dotted around them were plenty of campsites.
We got off the bus and had to board another local bus to get to our airbnb. We were staying with a Belgium lady named Kata. The street she lived on was called Bandurrias, named after these birds.
This is our house and the street, So scenic.
By the time we had dinner, I’d not eaten for 26 hours. I was trying to give my stomach a rest.
The temperature dropped by about 10 degrees the day after we arrived and the sky was full of clouds. Not a site we were used to. We set off walking to the local beach but it was deserted, and not warm enough to sit on. We climbed some rocks and took in the surrounding views.
Kev thought I was trying to take a photo of him, and he couldn’t see as he didn’t have his sunglasses on…so he improvised! You wouldn’t think he was 60 this year! 😮
We decided to have have a wander on and walking down the busy road Kev decided to try his luck at hitch hiking again! Within a few minutes he said “come on we’re in!”. A lady had pulled up so we jumped in.
She told us which bus we needed to get to where we wanted to go. She dropped us at the bus stop and went off on her journey. “Sod that” Kev said and stuck his thumb out again! 😂. It took us about 8 mins to get our next lift. “Vamos a Lago Gutièrrez” I said. They opened the back door and we got in. The couple didn’t speak one word to us until they told us we’d arrived at our destination. Haha. This hitch hiking is good.
The lake was overcast but still stunning.
We set off to find the waterfalls. There were signs say saying saying to beware as there were Puma’s in the forest. Kev was twittering on, trying to talk Spanish but in a gruff Mexican accent. To be fair he wasn’t doing too bad until he decided to call me a “perro con lipsteek” (dog with lipstick) again. 😂 “You’re going too scare the Puma’s” I said. “You’d best put a bag over your head” touchè 😉😎
We set off walking back to the main road but we’d already decided that we weren’t getting the bus back…..thumbs at the ready 🖒😂.
We waited no longer than 10 minutes when a guy stopped to give us a lift. I got into the front but the back door was locked so Kev couldn’t get in! He did open it for him but it made us think for future free rides. 😲
The following day we decided to visit the Puerto Bañuela. Now we knew we could get a free lift, there was no way Kev was spending money on the bus. He liked the thrill of a free ride. 😀
It took us half an hour standing with our thumbs out. Me smiling away and Kev stood with his hand on his heart saying “por favour” (please). An 8 seater Kia Carnival stopped for us. We climbed in the back with the kids and set off. What a lovely family. To cut a long story short they asked if we wanted to go with them to a vista point. Of course we did! Wow. So glad we agreed. Look at these views 😍😍. This was one of the times when the saying “life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away”.
This is us and the family enjoying enjoying the views.
We took the cable car down and they said they’d take us to the port. In we jumped and carried on our free car ride. 😁. This was our next stop off.
They wanted us to go to lunch with them and to see the Swiss village but we bid them farewell as we wanted to have a walk around the Lake. Below Below is a short video of the lake. Click on the arrow to view.
We promised to meet them again on Sunday in Puerto Montt, Chile. The guy , Sergio, was was a lawyer and said if we needed anything whilst in Argentina…just call him. 😊 We love meeting people like this. The locals were laughing at us, as it’s normally younger people who hitch hike. Age is just a number. 😉
We tried thumbing a lift back, but to no avail. A local lady came up and told us we didn’t need to do it as we could get the bus. We told her “We know this but we like thumbing a lift” 😂. In the end we admitted defeat and paid for the bus. The day was finished with a bottle of ice cold beer to numb the aching in our legs and feet. We shared 2 bottles with our airbnb host, Kata. She paid us a great compliment by saying if and when she finds a partner, she hopes they have a relationship like ours, as we are always laughing 😊.
Our last day in Bariloche we went to visit the Swiss Colony. It was OK, but nothing special. It was like a hippy camp. We got there for free though 😂
A quick hike up a hill got us to a beautiful vista point before getting the bus to Bahia Lopez.
It was a lot colder today so we had to wear our coats, and for the first time I wore long trousers! Kev decided he was brave and only wore shorts 😨.
He would soon regret this decision when we reached the shores of Bahia Lopez. It was was beautiful but so cold and windy. His legs were freezing so he had to improvise. 😂
A gorgeous view…and there was Kev!
We needed to get back and as the bus was going in the wrong direction and it was too far to walk, we did what is now coming natural to us….thumbed a lift. A guy came over to speak to us and was telling us he didn’t know whether to get the bus or hitch a ride. Hmm, We’d have no chance if there was 3 of us and I told Kev this. “We can’t just walk away from him” he said. “Watch me!” I said, as I walked away and stuck my thumb out. Within 30 seconds I had got us a lift. The other guy could sort himself out. 😉.
We got a lift half way home then got the bus. We walked in to our host making us cottage pie for tea…perfect after a day in the cold.
Tomorrow we head back to Chile….hope you’ve enjoyed this rather long blog 😘