After reaching the end of the road, we had to turn north (we hadn’t really driven north since we ran away from Baja) and head to Buenos Aires. Why Buenos Aires? Well its a cool city and that was where we’d have to put the Hulk on a ship for him to get home (unsurprisingly we can not afford to cargo fly a truck). Guess how far Buenos Aires is from Ushuaia? WRONG! (well maybe you were right, but I had no idea) Only 3057 kilometres/1900 miles, one website reckoned we’d be able to make that in 33 hours, we opted to go with some long drive days that landed us in some cool places. Day one we failed and camped at this weird roadside BBQ place, but the day after that we made it to Gaiman. A Welsh settlers town from 1874, Gaiman’s main attraction it the traditional tea houses that still serve afternoon tea. After a quick visit to the tourist office where we picked up a Welsh language map (I would’ve been smarter picking the Spanish one), we located a cute riverside tea house and gorged ourselves on cake and tea. This is an all you can eat and drink service and seeing as it was a tad expensive (to us) we just kept ordering pots of tea and plates of cake. Also it had started to rain and we didn’t want to walk back to the camper in the downpour and it would have been rude of us to sit there and not eat and drink, right?
Strangely we didn’t sleep great that night. Anyway our next port of call was the National Park of Peninsula Valdes. This is a little out pouching along the eastern coast of Argentina that is a hot spot for marine wildlife. Our big goal was to spot a whale, this whole trip we had just been “just missing” or “just ahead” of any whales, so this was our last shot and we were cutting it close. After a quick visit to the welcome centre we were disappointed to discover that we’d missed the orca’s, however there was a good chance that we might be able see the Right Whale. We headed to the only town in the park, Piramides, to book ourselves on a whale watching boat, only to find the weather was too rough for the boats to go out (I think I may have dodged a bullet here). Instead we drove the circuit around the peninsula hoping to find one. We saw a lot of baby elephant seals, but we’d missed the adults as there were all in Antarctica eating. We also saw lots of sea lions, but again most of the males with the their mane looking heads, were gone. We had a nice time at the Magallanes penguin colony, and then it happened, we spotted a Right Whale out at sea. Sadly we don’t have a super zoom lens, so we didn’t bother with many pictures and instead just enjoyed the moment. Satisfied we headed back to town for dinner and spent the night in the empty municipal campground. It was strange to be back on a beach, sweating, when we’d been bundled up for so many months, what a difference 2 days driving can make!
The next day we were treated to another whale siting and an adult male sea lion, and then one last stop (specifically for me), Isla de los Parajos. You can’t actually visit the island, and many birders wish they could, I however just wanted to see the island that claims to have inspired Antoine de Sainte-Exupery’s opening sequence of the Little Prince.
I love the book (no I haven’t seen the new film yet), and loved seeing all the Little Prince references around Patagonia (mainly here and El Chalten) it always brightened my day.
Finally we pressed on for Buenos Aires where we had booked an apartment with our friends AJ and Kat, it took 3 more long days of driving, but we made it. The apartment was awesome and we enjoyed wandering around the beautiful city. We also had the difficult task of getting the Hulk to port. That is a story that I wont bore you with, but it was so hot, we got stuck there over lunch, and I felt sick watching the KLine operations guy drive the Hulk away. Thankfully we still had a few more fantastic days in the city eating huge steaks and drinking cheap and yet delicious wine to make me feel better. We flew to Toronto on December 18 and surprised the family by showing up at the big Christmas event. It’s been strange being home, I still want to throw out the toilet paper instead of flushing it, I find myself trying to convert prices to Canadian dollars, our condo seems huge and sometimes I say gracias. Things that comfort me is that we live in a very multi cultural city, so I still hardly hear English spoken (and sometimes we hear Spanish) and we are no longer constantly stared at, but when did the city get so loud?
By the way we’ve fixed the link and you can now sign up to follow our next adventure here;
We will attempt to repost our stories here, but we don’t know how fast that will happen.