Our SOUTH AMERICA TRIP

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So the very last international trip we went on before things got crazy in 2020 was a #backpacking adventure in #SouthAmerica. 3 months, 3 countries: Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. What did we get up to, you ask?

Well, we kicked things off with a brief stay in Buenos Aires, the most logical place to start the trip. Here we took a chance and accepted a kind invitation from strangers to go sailing, we indulged hard on all the foods we had been craving, and as always made time to get together with family.

We then continued to Cordoba, where we lived the slow life. We made friends with sheep and tried using song to lure the cows from their pastures. We splashed around rivers, hiked through alpine towns, shared the road with goats, and also got our hands dirty. There’s a magnetism to these sierras that’s kind of hard to put into words.

Next up was Tucumán where we drove up to subtropical jungles, shared the road with cows, zig-zagged up mountain passes, and watched the landscape turn to desert. We drove down dirt roads in search of Pre-Columbian ruins, we got friendly with a pig, uncomfortably close with a llama, and we saw lots of cacti.

In Salta, we lived the good life. We wined and dined our way across Cafayate, hopping from winery to vineyard, and then in the city of Salta, we couldn’t help but admire the colonial architecture in its soft pastel shades.

We then continued further north to Jujuy, the northernmost province in Argentina. We saw colours we didn’t know could be found in nature, and played with optical illusions on the salt flats. We walked through a fiery canyon, pulled over at roadside attractions, felt faint at altitudes of over 4000 meters above sea level, and still we kept going.

After exploring the north, we hopped on a flight to Buenos Aires, and then a ferry to Uruguay, the second smallest country in South America. Here we were charmed by the cobbled streets of Colonia, enjoyed the cool shade of its tree-lined avenues, walked the fortifications, watched a spectacular sunset over the River Plate, and tried their famed national dish: chivito. We also made our way to the capital of Montevideo, where we enjoyed the plazas and surrounding architecture, strolled along the beach, and discovered that Uruguay loves asado just as much as their neighbours across the river.

After saying goodbye to my dad at the airport, Sam and I hopped on a southbound flight. Onwards to Patagonia!

First up was the province of Rio Negro where we met up with friends who feel like family. We got to see the sweetest dog who still remembered us from a previous visit, we planned day trips, broke down on the side of the road, and still had the best time ever. We drank mate, we went to parties, we ate meat with our bare hands and drank wine out of a leather bag, we laughed until the early hours of the morning, and fell a bit more in love with Patagonia.

Then, we crossed over to Chubut, where we visited Comodoro Rivadavia, a city that struck it big with oil. It’s not exactly geared towards tourists, but we had fun strolling the waterfront, feasting on seafood, and we even went on a day trip to the neighbouring beach town of Rada Tilly.

We then hopped on another bus and continued even further south to the province of Santa Cruz. In El Calafate, we toured estancias, danced in an ice bar and even found flamingos. But my favourite day was the boat excursion where we came face to face with glaciers and icebergs. There are just no words for the majesty of this place. It simply moves you to tears… I quite literally found myself crying on deck as we cruised past these frozen giants...

We continued to El Chalten where the mountains made hikers out of us. We were brought down to our knees at Laguna de Los Tres and we saw how quickly the weather can turn at Cerro Torre. We hiked, and we hobbled, and we walked and we grumbled, but the mountains kept us going forward. Just one more kilometre we told ourselves, until we could barely make it back into town and we’d collapse into bed.

We then crossed over to Chile by bus. In Torres del Paine we battled winds like we’ve never experienced before, we wandered into a cave in search of a prehistoric creature, we climbed into replicas of 16th-century seafaring ships, and explored the town of Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.

And that brings us to our last stop: Ushuaia. What can I say about reaching the end of the world? Well, it was surprisingly not as lonely or isolated as I imagined it would be. Complete strangers took us in for the holidays and taught us to barbecue the Fueguino way, we got our passports stamped and sent postcards from the southernmost post office on the continent, we reached the end of the road (quite literally), hiked through bewitching forests and rode a train that once carried prisoners, because did you know Ushuaia started out as a penal colony?!

Looking back it all feels like a dream. These were our 3 months of #travel across Argentina, Uruguay & Chile.
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