A Travellerspoint blog

Mad Mendoza

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So Mendoza if you don’t already know this city produces 70% of the countries wine. I was lucky to have a friend who I met when I was volunteering back in Pisco, who was working in Mendoza. After her shift we headed off to our hostel…we had arrived at a campsite nice :o) thank god they had a spare tent! After settling in we were invited to …well my 1st asado party. It was like your traditional Sunday lunch, loads of food (esp meat!), a lot of booze (Fernet and obviously red wine) and great company. The lunch must have lasted for at least 3hrs…people here like to chill and actually enjoy their food. As it was extremely hot we all took an afternoon nap. The evening came by real quick and we headed out at midnight to a local pizza joint met up with local friends of Pauline. It was not until 2am (and by this time I was seriously dosing off lol) we headed towards a club. What an experience! This club was packed with cross dressers, gays, lesbians, straights, old and young crowd! The atmosphere was crazy. I absolutely loved it here. Half way through the night/morning there were 3 mini dances by the drag queens and they had represented! It was not until 6am that we had left the club to head back to the campsite. When we finally work up we thought we would check out the town properly but as it was a holy weekend literally everything was closed, we could not even hire a motorbike nor a wine tour. But just being able to walk around for me was more than enough. Mendoza is like a big small town. It has all the convenience stores but still remained its non city atmosphere – very chilled out. Our last night in Mendoza we had gone out for dinner in the city but got lost on our way back to the campsite lol we thought we had taken the right bus but we didn’t so cab it was lol.

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 02:22 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Curious Cordoba

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Argentina’s 2nd largest city with a population of 1,531,500 arriving at the early hours of the morning we began looking for a hostel (which something you should pre-book in advance lol) we must have looked around for an hour or so. We finally found ‘Palenque Hostel’ unpacked, slept, showered and then we were off to check out the city. The breakfast here is just full of sugar, you would get a coffee, a very small glass of orange juice, a very small glass of sparkling water, several pastries that are full of Dulce de Leche (this amazing spread which is very tasty but not so good on your figure lol) and with your margarine and jam. Once we were all sugared up my first impression of the city were negative as everything was big and people were rushing, rushing here and there reminded me of London and as I became accustomed of little villages, smaller towns and boom I’m back to city life. After a few days I started to settle down and saw different sides to Cordoba. The new town was so beautiful; loads of nice cobbled streets with amazing restaurants, people were very nice and always greeted us. The food here became a lot better, choicer and not everything was fried lol. We spent our time in Cordoba just walking everywhere and anywhere, sitting down and just people watching. I loved it! By the end of our stay here I started to love the city and was very surprised – never judge anything by your 1st impressions!

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 02:20 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Last border crossing: Tupiza to Villazon (Argentina)

Tupiza and Villazon
So another boarder crossing nothing different the crossing went smoothly.

Argentina – Salta
Leaving Tupiza at 4.45am this morning was HARD as I woke up late lol but the bus station was only a 5min walk, saying bye to Michael (my 2month travel buddy) was a quick one as I had was running late and had to walk in the pissing rain! I can not believe that I have made it to my last South America destination – Argentina! The difference between Bolivia and Argentina is incredible! Firstly the roads and I know that I have banged on about this but only you will know once you are there! Everyone even books will compare Argentina to Europe and that is kinda true…Salta was small and picturesque. The houses were proper brick and big! If you have been to North London ‘Millionaires road’ or even South Woodford the houses will resemble to them. As Salta is a small town we only stayed there for 2nights and we visited San Martin Parque which was big and beautiful populated with people but Martin and myself had manage to find a quieter spot with this serene lake with your swans and ducks just chillin, fitness freaks with their trainers and the odd old couple having a picnic. We also walked up towards Cerro San Bernardo (1454m) but you could take the cable carts I felt a bit of a fitness urge lol. The views once at the stop were very cool a few nice and pricey restaurants at the top :o). For our 1st dinner here in Argentina no doubt we had to try the red wine…not only was is cheap as chips but it tasted too good and apparently all the good wine gets exported so what we thought was great was actually crap lol.

On the way to Cordoba I had found the only Sikh temple in Argentina in a place called Rosario and I really wanted to pay a visit so we hopped on a bus and within a few hours we had arrived. We were given lunch Indian style pasta which was nice, we stayed for an hour or so and then back on the bus towards Cordoba.

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 02:17 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Sparkly Salar de Uyuni

all seasons in one day

Finally I made it to my next big tour, the worlds largest salt flats which sits at a soaring 3,653m and the blankets an amazing 12,106sq km. We managed to get a really good deal for the 3 day tour at a very cheap £25 per day!!! We were travelling with a group Spaniards comprising of 10 backpacker’s altogether and we were lucky to have such a good tour guide who had taken us the reverse way round so we didn’t have to be with another 30 other tour groups viewing the same sites at the same time! So day 1 comprised of us going to the old trains which still stand, all rusty but really cool to jump on and have feel of the size of these bad boy machines – there was a man made see-saw where I and Michael had so much fun on and also swings that were made out of odd bits of train remnants. After leaving we had to make a lengthy ride to our 1st hostel so we had to spend most of our afternoon in the car but the sites that we came by were so different and diverse. For lunch we had stopped over these mahussive rocks, I felt I was in some Indiana Jones movie heheh. Lunch was great but our 1st night was not! There were no showers available and well the toilets I would not call them that and how cold was it….bloody cold I literally had all my clothes on in a sleeping bag plus 2 blankets god know how I managed to get some sleep!

Day 2 – we had hit the 4,950m ‘Sol de Manana geyser’ basin very early in the morning and these streams of volcanic steam were ridiculous esp the height that they were reaching not forgetting the foul sulphurous smell that they were gushing out and the boiling mud pots! We then were very glad to hit Termas de Polques hot springs which reached a comfortable 30degress water and certainly provided a relaxing morning dip at 4,200m. The view was sublime…outside the small pool we were faced with a never ending view of the ocean and nothing else! Clothes back on and we were off to see several lakes but Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde were just breathtaking! Honestly, Colorado I just could not believe that the water was actually RED! The rays of the sun heat up all the elements from precious stones to bring out the colour – just crazy. Laguna Verde was in the middle of nowhere and BANG there it was. Greener than green a beautiful turquoise in colour just spectacular but extremely COLD! My pictures seriously do not do any justice to them. Right next to Laguna Verde was Laguna Blanca which was ok…We were off to our next hostel which was a lot warmer and the toilets were more bearable heheh. We were staying near these huge rocks where supposedly Condors fly by really early in the mornings (did not get up that early to see them).

Day 3 - The final day we were making our way to the piece de la resistance the actual salt flats…it was a bit of a drive so by the time we reached Uyni we stopped to have some lunch and then we had spent about 3hrs on the salt flats. Trying to describe the view, the feeling, and the atmosphere is just so hard! You are faced literally with a blank canvas. Straight ahead of you cannot differentiate where the sky ends and where the salts meet. The salts were covered by an inch or so of water which gave it an amazing mirror gaze. As you can imagine we took loads of pictures and went a bit too loco hehe but everywhere you looked it was just looked crazy. At one point on the left we had the clouds forming a very soft cover, on the left there were grey clouds building up with the odd lightning sprouting out, in front I had saw the most beautiful sun set and then to top this we saw a flock of flamingos flying away in the distance. This was an amazing tour that I would recommend anyone to do and you would be surprised…I mean who would have thought you would get to see loads of pink flamingos in Bolivia?!?!?!? Beautiful Bolivia but bloody cold.

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 19:11 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Spectacular Sucre & Poco loco Potosi

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Sucre 28.01.2012
I could not miss the actual capital of Bolivia (you would think that it would be La Paz but no), Sucre. So it was a short visit for a couple of days. Like Arequipa this city is very cute, small and reminded me of Berkhamsted/Bicester Village. This city is flourished with whitewashed buildings that adore the colonial look. The market is another crazy experience with a lot of bustling going and Api being sold only in the mornings or at 5pm. I did go to the viewpoint to see the city from Museo de la Recoleta which I did not go in to see the art work but to admire the city from above. You would only need a few days here or there were activities such as hiking (whats new heheh), tubing, and horse riding same kind of stuff.

Potosi
Making our way to Uyuni we stopped off at Potosi, which just happened to be the world’s highest city reaching a whooping 4,070m! As it was only a stop off (we needed to get a connecting bus to Uyuni which only run once early morning or late evening) we had to kill a few hours and there just so happen to be a local match that afternoon. So for £1.50 we went to see ‘The Strongest’ play against ‘National Potosi’ the game had a great atmosphere, fireworks being shot, the supporters were constantly singing out loud, there was no sign of alcohol which was very different and loads of families together! It was a great afternoon spent before we got another bumpy ride to Uyuni. A lot of people do go to Potosi to see the miners that still run today, to get a chance to participate in how a work is like down in the mines. This was something I did not want to go and see as I know it would be hard to take in. A few travellers that I met along the way did say that they fully enjoyed the experience and how they love talking to the miners (which some of them were as young as 14ys old!!!).

Posted by jasdeep_virdee 19:07 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

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