A Day in Tierra Del Fuego NP

The few days that I spend in Ushuaia prior to my Antarctica expedition, gave me the opportunity to do a day trip to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park which is only 11km away from Ushuaia centre. Because of the bumpy road it was a 20 minute drive.
Through my hostel I booked a ticket and headed to the main busstation, from where busses leave in the morning and some around noon, depending if you want to spend a day or half a day at the park.
In the late afternoon they pick you up at a central point in the park, in my case it was at restaurant and visitor center Alakush from which most bus company’s pick up the visitors.
Some people stay a few days to camp at the park and to hike and go a little further, visiting Isla Redonda and such. I did a few hiking trails myself , on the map that I got at the visitors centre it showed which trails you can do, from what I remember I did trail number 2 and 3 and for me it was more than enough. I have been to Parks like this before (Yellowstone NP and Banff NP) so it didn’t impress me that much but the nature is nice and for people who like to hike its worth the visit.
It’s not cheap, you pay for the transport to the Park, then again for the entrance and if you want to take the most southern train in the world you pay extra again. Its tourism its business I guess, but still I think tickets to visit a Park should include the entrance because whats the point getting there in the middle of the woods at an entrance gate not being able to entre the park ??
Here are some photos from my Day at Tierra Del Fuego NP :

Tierra Del fuego NP

Tierra Del fuego NP

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Ushuaia The end of the world

Ushuaia is for those who don’t know the most Southern city in the world and the place to be if you want to head out just like me to the southern ocean sea aka Antarctic sea to go on a fantastic journey to Antarctica. See my post here and be the first to like it ūüôā

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Fin Del Mundo sign close to the pier

The only reason why I came here is because of my Antarctica trip but it doesn’t mean that Ushuaia isn’t worth visiting, it is if you are doing a South America trip and for example you are coming from the South of Chile it’s just a short flight to Ushuaia and from here you can go up north again in Argentina. Most backpackers end up here when they came from Chile, but the majority of the people flying in to Ushuaia do this for one main reason and that’s to go to Antarctica.

As I said before Ushuaia is worth a visit, it has a nice city centre, touristic shops trying to sell you anything that involves Antarctica from postcards to maps and T-shirts with Penguins on them.

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Souvenir shop selling Penguin t-shirts

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Penguins having a coffee or a tea or perhaps enjoying a warm coco

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The small streets going up and down reminded me a little of San Francisco, some buildings have nice street art, but the main street where are the shops are and bars and restaurants is Avenida San Martin named after José de San Martin who was a Argentinian general and a national hero of Argentine history.
If you still need any gear for your Antarctica trip then there are enough shops who sell them, from special outdoor shoes to trousers, flees and coats.

First thing I did in Ushuaia was to look for the Ushuaia “Fin Del Mundo” sign translation : “End of the world sign”
It’s this kind of place that tourists who came so far to the most Southern city of the world want to have their photo taken with it.

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This was my first selfie

Little outside the centre there is a park called Plaza Malvinas with a monument to commemorate dose who gave their lives in the Falkland war against the UK.
Argentina still considers it as their land and at the port of Ushuaia I saw a banner on the wall in spanish that British ships are not welcome in Ushuaia.
The war of 1982 still not being forgotten with all the names of the lost soldiers displayed on the monuments wall.

Here I am at the Plaza Malvinas

Here I am at the Plaza Malvinas

War Monument

War Monument

30th anniversary of the War Battle

30th anniversary of the War Battle

You can also visit an old prison, now a museum kind of like Alcatraz and here again Ushuaia reminds me of San Francisco although this prison museum is not on an Island.
I did not visit it as I have already visited Alcatraz which to me still is the best prison to visit if you are interested in these kind of things.
There were some places in city centre with souvenirs of prisoners and prisoner puppets in the streets were displayed.
I stayed here 3 full days prior to my Antarctica trip and had a nice time.

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Prisoner puppet announcing the departure hours of a touristic city train

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street art

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Fidel Castro wall painting another form of streetart

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro wall painting, another form of street art

Monument of Evita Peron

Monument of Evita Peron

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Belgian Polar Expedition leader Adrian de Gerlach also has a monument in Ushuaia

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Banner at the Port of Ushuaia

Banner at the Port of Ushuaia against Britain

Ushuaia Port sign

Ushuaia Port sign

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Lake Titicaca

One of the places I absolutely enjoyed in Peru was Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world (3800m) surrounded by the mountains of the Andes forming a natural border between Peru and Bolivia. I left the town of Puno and visited the Uros Islands on the lake, one of the many floating islands made by reeds, the houses by the Uros people who live on these Islands are also made of reeds just like their little boats.
On Island Taquile another Island not made of reeds this time, I had lunch and some time to hike around the Island and climb to the top, chewing on coca leaves to cope with the high altitude. Very nice Island with amazing views from all different angles and specially when reaching the top to have a 360 view. That’s when you realize how big this lake is.

Lake Titicaca floating Islands

Lake Titicaca floating Islands

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nice lookout tower in the form of a fish, all made of reeds

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Here I am on a typical Uros Island

Here I am on a typical Uros Island

let's have a look what's cooking

let’s have a look what’s cooking

lookout Tower

lookout Tower

view from Uros lookout tower

view from Uros lookout tower

House of reeds

House of reeds

Inside of the house

Inside of the house

Local selling her handicrafts to the tourists

Local selling her handicrafts to the tourists

nice boat of reeds bringing me from one floating island to the other

nice boat of reeds bringing me from one floating island to the other

enjoying a Peruvian Cusquena beer on the roof of the motorboat taking me to the Taquile Island.

Enjoying a Peruvian Cusquena beer on the roof of the motorboat taking me to the Taquile Island

Taquile Island

Taquile Island

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On top of some building from where I could see the mountains in Bolivia

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Machu Picchu

The reason why I wanted to go to Peru was because of the Machu Picchu.
Northwest of the city of Cuzco lays Machu Picchu on a mountain above the sacred valley.
It’s the icon of the Inca civilization, not found by the Spanish rulers during the colonial period and that’s why it didn’t get destroyed cause it was not known by the outside world for about 400 years. Now it’s world-famous and visited by many tourists from all over the world every year.
I remember taking a train and after that a bus to arrive at the entrance and before you know it you have this magnificent view that will make you freeze. This is one of the most incredible places of all that I have ever seen.
It belongs in the same category of the “Seven Wonders of the World” like the Great Chinese Wall and the Grand Canyon.
I could stay there the whole day and walk around, or just sit somewhere and observe the beauty of the mountains around this magical place.

Entrance of Machu Picchu

Entrance of Machu Picchu

The best view ever

The best view ever

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the terraces

the terraces

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Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Cuzco

Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Cuzco

 

Buenos Aires to Colonia

It’s the year 2000

Crossing the Rio de la Plata by ferry from Buenos Aires Argentina to Colonia de Sacramento Uruguay on a day tour is something worth considering doing.
I went with this company called Buquebus (they are still operating today), you can choose to go on a daytrip to Colonia like I did or on a longer trip to Montevideo the capital of Uruguay. Because I did not have that much time I went for the first option. The old Colonial Town of Colonia is a Unesco heritage site. It’s very peaceful and quiet compared to Buenos Aires. Colonia is a great place for people from the city who want to escape the city. Many Argentinians go to Uruguay to relax and Colonia is one of the places they can do so.
I remember the old town with its empty cobbled stone streets, the most known street will be probably Calle de los suspiros which is a steepy cobbled stone street where most Tourist photos are taken. Also charming little shops and restaurants and not to forget the little houses with small green porches in front of them was something I found very nice and charming.

 

Buquebus ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia

Buquebus ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia

View from the ferry on the Riverbank of the Rio de la Plata arriving in Colonia

View from the ferry on the Riverbank of the Rio de la Plata arriving in Colonia

Old Gate of the town

Old Gate of the town

This is me having a knee injury walking with a crouch

This is me having a knee injury walking with a crouch

remains of the old town wall

remains of the old town wall

Lighthouse Colonia

Lighthouse Colonia

old bull fighting arena

old bull fighting arena

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Buenos Aires

I visited the capital of Argentina in february 2000 , 1 month after the crazy New Year millenium celebrations, my mind was set on travelling. For my 18th Birthday that was still to come up in may, I got an early present from my parents, they bought me a flight ticket to Buenos Aires Argentina ! Oh my God was I excited or what ! The country I support for so long in football and even in other sports like it would be my own country, finally here I have the chance to go there for a week. I was still going to school and in February I had a week off and decided to go then, cause in Argentina it was summer at the time when in Belgium it was the middle of the wintertime. Continue reading

Brazil 93 My best trip ever of my childhood

BRAZIL – PARAGUAY – ARGENTINA TRIP 1993

One of the destinations that I didn’t travel solo or with friends is Brazil.
I was lucky as a 12 year old to travel with my parents to Brazil. First time South America, so why not the continents biggest country?!
The reason why I didn’t go to Brazil with the world cup in 2014 is because I have seen so much of Brazil already back in 1993.
I still remember allot from this trip, cause the country made a big impression on me.
Been to places like Iguazu,Rio,Bahia and Manaus Amazonas. First time in my life I tried coconut milk, I saw how rubber was made, got almost bitten by a snake in the Amazon, got to hold a crocodile (gator) in my hands for the first time, met some nice Brazilian friends who later became my pen pals. There is so many things to name them : samba dancing show, people playing soccertennis and volleyball on the copacabana beach in Rio. Cuatimundis at Iguazu waterfalls welcome me just like the monkeys in the amazon. So many animals encounters I had as a young boy something you never forget. Brazil untill today is the best trip I have ever made in my childhood and maybe ever, although some of my US visits are getting close.
These photos are scanned from the old family album so the quality is maybe not so good, but these pictures are more than 20 years old now.
What else do I still remember from this trip, I remember seeing the Corcovado and Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio. Jumping in the sea with waves of 3 metres high coming at me, its crazy you don’t even have to go that far to get waves this big all over you.
I saw the big football stadium Maracana unfortunately only from the outside.
In Salvador the Bahia, I did a daytrip by boat to a small Island called Itaparica, the sun was burning, it felt like fire on my skin, the reason why the sun was burning so strong is cause the place itself is close to the equator. Didn’t find any good pictures of the place to post them here.
In Iguazu I visited the 3 country point (Brazil-Argentina-Paraguay). In Paraguay I was in Ciudad del Este a crazy border town where you can buy anything, so much people, if you want to know how it is to feel like an ant, go to Ciudad del Este. See the only decent photo I have of Paraguay here.

In Argentina I visited some local village where I bought myself a Argentinian flag, cause I was always a fan of Argentinian national football team and need something to support them with.
Offcourse I have been to Argentina to visit this side of the Iguazu Falls, the biggest are on the Argentinian side but you have the best view on Brazilian side.
The last place visited in Brazil was Manaus in the Amazon. To the City of Manaus I haven’t been, I remember arriving there with a late flight, and after 1 night in a novotel hotel, my parents and I took a 3 hour boat on the Rio Negro River to the Amazon hotel in the middle of the jungle were we would stay for 3 days. The name of that place was Ariau Jungle Tower Hotel. There were several big tree houses connected to one and other by bridges. sleeping above the Amazon waters was a great experience on its own.

here I am little Pol in Rio sitting in front of the Cristo Rendentor on Corcovado

here I am little Pol in Rio sitting in front of the Cristo Rendentor on Corcovado

Eating icecream before taking the cable car to Sugar Loaf mountain

Eating ice-cream before taking the cable car to Sugar Loaf mountain

The Iguazu waterfalls Brazil-Argentina border

The Iguazu waterfalls Brazil-Argentina border

The place I stayed in the Amazone

The place I stayed in the Amazon

This is the hotel tower on the water connected by bridges to another hotel tower

This is the hotel tower on the water connected by bridges to another hotel tower

The Rio Negro Amazonas River

The Rio Negro Amazonas River

Raining season everything is flooded

Raining season everything is flooded

Coatimundi licking my ear

Coatimundi licking my ear

my Braziian friends

my Brazilian friends

On The crocodile night hunting tour, for a long time no crocodiles or gators to see.
They told everybody on the boat to be silent and to look for little lights on the water surface, as these would be the eyes of the gator shining into the lamps that we had on our boat. I really wanted to see a croc or a gator, a big one wouldn’t that be cool is what was on my mind back then. Finally when we catched one even if it was a baby gator, I wasn’t less excited cause when they asked who want to hold it, I was to only kid on the boat between all these adults screaming ¬†“me me me” and so I got to hold a real gator in my hands for the first time, can’t describe how happy I was cause crocodiles and Gators are my favorite animals.

Crocodile hunting at night

Crocodile hunting at night

first time holding a real gator in my hand. Little baby gator

first time holding a real gator in my hand. Little baby gator

Paraguay

Back in 1993 I was with my Parents in Brazil. When visiting Iguazu Waterfalls and the 3 country point, that’s when I visited Ciudad Del Este in Paraguay.
Since my mom made a video film about the trip, not many photos were taken, looking back at it, it’s a pity cause the only decent picture that I could find was this one, me standing on a market with all these footballs, if you look close you can see the Belgian flag on these balls as these balls in 1993 were sold 1 year before the world Cup 94 in the US where Belgium was qualified for.
I will have to go back to Paraguay one day to make more photos, but I’m not sure if I would want to go back to Ciudad Del Este, it’s a very crowdy place and nothing special to see, only people selling a lot of stuff or smuggling stuff to and from Brazil as this is a border town, one of the buzziest ever seen, and from what I know things haven’t changed since 93. Paraguay is one of the least visited countries in South America and yet I can say I ‘ve been there, but might go back in future to see something more, maybe Asunci√≥n will be one of my visits in the future.

Paraguay Ciudad Del Este

Paraguay Ciudad Del Este

Mysterious Nazca Lines

The Origin is a Mystery, How did it got there in the middle of the Peruvian desert ?
Some say by the Aliens, others say it’s the native civilization.
These figures in the sands are thousands of years old and are still very well conserved by nature. The Best way to see it is to fly over it, with a little sports plane.
There are 12 figures in total, (the whale,trapezoids,astronaut on the hill,monkey,dog,condor,spider,humming-bird,heron bird,parrot,tree,hands)

ready for take off

ready for take off

me as co-pilot

me as copilot

the whale

the whale

trapezoids

trapezoids

The Astronaut is the only figure on a hill

The Astronaut is the only figure on a hill

monkey

monkey

dog

dog

condor

condor

Alcatraz

spider

Humming bird = colibri

Humming bird = colibri

alcatraz

alcatraz = heron bird

pap

parrot

tree (left) and hands (right)

tree (left) and hands (right)

 

Chile

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA

On my trip to Chile in 2014 I visited San Pedro de Atacama, Santiago the capital and Easter Island.
San Pedro de Atacama is the driest place on earth.
San Pedro itself is a small town in the Atacama desert, it does not have a airport, the nearest airport is in Calama about 100km away. I took a domestic flight from Santiago to Calama to eventually get to San Pedro. I arrived there and I directly left Atacama the next day for Bolivia where I did a 4 day trip to Uyuni. After that trip I got back to Atacama for a few days to spend some time in the old town and visit the area around, so I did a trip to the Moon valley.

San Pedro de Atacama church

San Pedro de Atacama church

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The Moon Valley

The Moon Valley

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The 3 Maria's rock formations

The 3 Maria’s rock formations, except the one on the left is called Pac Man from the videogame

SANTIAGO

In Santiago de Chili, the oficial name of Chile’s capital my visit was a very short one, I don’t have much fotos, the famous Plaza de Armes was under construction. It wasn’t very interesting spending much time in the city when so many construction works were going on, after a few hours in the city I took a bus to the airport as my holiday in South America came to end.

The Flag of Chile

The Flag of Chile

Palacio de la Moneda

Palacio de la Moneda

Palacio de la Real Audiencia at the Plaza de Armes

Palacio de la Real Audiencia at the Plaza de Armes

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Former National Congres building of Chile