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 🙂

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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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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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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 AsunciĂłn 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

 

Going from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni

Someone told me Bolivia is a great country in South America, and my answer to that was “I Bo li via” I really do Believe !!
I have been on a 4 day trip from San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) to Bolivia.
It’s a popular tour with jeeps that tourists book while they’re in San Pedro, you can book it in one of the many little travel agencies in San Pedro.
The tour that I did was with Cordillera Travel and I was the only one who didn’t continue to travel further into Bolivia after arriving in Uyuni at the end of the trip, I booked a tour that had to bring me back to Chile from where I had my flight back home. So that’s the 4 day trip, most people do the 3 day trip to continue onward travel in Bolivia to Potosi or La Paz.
Maybe some other time I will go back to Bolivia to see some more of the country, but I’m really happy of what I have seen already, beautiful landscapes like the Siloli desert with crazy rock formations, the Laguna Verde, Laguna Honda and some other altiplano lakes and offcourse the amazing Salt flats of Uyuni with Cactus Island (Incahuasi Island).
Also on this tour was the train graveyard, old rusty trains abandoned in the middle of the desert.
In San Pedro I bought enough snacks for the road, 5 liters of water cause when going on high altitude  you need to drink allot and rented a sleeping bag for the cold nights in the desert, cause the sleeping places down the road are very basic so you need a sleeping bag. Make sure to take tablets against altitude sickness cause you will be going up to 5000 m above sea level. To my surprise I only had a light headache and didn’t had to use any tablets. The next day my headache was over and my body was adjusted to the high altitude.

Ready to go ! Bolivia here I am

Ready to go ! Bolivia here I am

my jeep 4X4

my jeep 4×4

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Arbol de Piedra

Siloli desert with it's crazy rock formations

Siloli desert with it’s crazy rock formations

Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada with it’s Flamingo’s

Laguna Honda

Laguna Honda

Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde

The basic lodging in the Uyuni Salt hotel

The basic lodging in the Uyuni Salt hotel

Uyuni Salt Flats

Uyuni Salt Flats

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Incahuasi Island aka Cactus Island in the middle of the Uyuni Slat Flats

Incahuasi Island aka Cactus Island in the middle of the Uyuni Slat Flats

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train graveyard

train graveyard

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A Triangle Island in the Pacific Ocean

Easter Island

Formed by simultaneous volcanic eruptions this triangle shaped Island in the Southeastern Pacific belongs now to Chile, it was annexed by Chile in 1888 and is known as Isla de Pascua. The people there are more Polynesian cause its close to Polynesia and it actually is part of the Polynesian triangle.

Easter Island on the world map, so small you can't see

Easter Island on the world map, so small you can’t see

triangle island

The Polynesian people have their own language and call their Island “Rapa Nui” which means Easter Island offcourse.
The Island is mostly known for its Moaie statues of which there are many across the Island but there is also a volcano you can hike. It’s quite a walk from Hanga Roa the main city of the Island, but some of my hostel buddies and me got lucky to get a lift from a some locals, hoppend in the back of a suv and later that day we decided to rent a little jeep to tour around the Island the next day in our search of all the Moaie statues, those statues carved out from volcanic stone are spread all over the Island. To move around the island its good to have a bike or a quad or a car, which you can all rent.
The Volcano’s name is Rano Kao it’s close to the sea on the edge of the Island and it’s huge crater with lake is worthed to take pictures from different angles.
The reason why I flew to Chile was mainly to go directly to Easter Island and to discover this amazing Island. Nice beaches, beautiful nature ,statues you can only see here, a Polynesian and South American mixed vibe. Offcourse I also did see something in Chile (see my Chile page) but I really wanted to go to Easter Island, its so far away almost out of reach untill I saw that there are several flights a week from Chile’s capital Santiago with Lan (Chilean Airlines). There is also a direct flight from Lima (Peru).

The Moaie statues most of them standing on a  “Ahu”  which is a stone platform

Several Moaie statues across the Island

Ahu Nau Nau on Anakena Beach

Ahu Nau Nau on Anakena Beach

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Ahu Tongariki – The largest Ahu Moai’s on the Island and I’m the last one lol

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Ahu A Kivi is the only Ahu were the Moais are looking towards the sea

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Ahu Takai

Sunset at Ahu Takai

Sunset at Ahu Takai

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Rano Raraku with Moais

Rano Raraku with Moais

Me pushing a Moai :)

Me pushing a Moai 🙂

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There is more on Easter Island then Moais

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Rano Kau volcano crater with lake at the edge of the sea

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