Ushuaia – last town in Argentina!

27th December 2016

The Hosteria Patagonia Jarke is set on the hillside with a view overlooking the town and port of Ushuaia and is a lovely place to stay with plenty of spaces to sit, relax and take in the surroundings. They have a couple of gorgeous rooms with glass roof and walls with big comfy sofas and chairs, I was wishing I had more time to enjoy them.

Hosteria Patagonia Jarke, Ushuaia, Argentina

Hosteria Patagonia Jarke, Ushuaia, Argentina

I took off down town to find the clothing hire place I had contacted about renting an outer jacket for the cruise but found a sign on the door “Out for a Ride”. Oops, that was unexpected, I didn’t realize Argentina celebrated the art of the siesta!

Not to worry, I wandered around the shops and had lunch at Tante Sara’s where I took out my sketching gear again and drew a cute little place across the road while having lunch.

First sketch for a while, pretty rusty!

First sketch for a while, pretty rusty!

Back to the hotel for a nanna nap, I’m still blaming jetlag, as I woke again 4 hours later!!! Wow, quick rush back downtown to Ushuaia Extremo who were now open, thank goodness, and a lovely girl quickly helped me with renting my jacket for the next 12 days. I thought it was pretty good value at US$65 for the entire trip and think it turned out to be the most used piece of gear I had.

Trusty jacket hired for my trip from Ushuaia Extremo

Trusty jacket hired for my trip from Ushuaia Extremo

Another walk around then back to Tante Sara for another sketch and more food before heading back up the hill where I spent a couple of hours drawing with a glass of wine beside me in the lovely glass room before heading off to bed around 11pm with the sun still shining. What a place.

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Off to Antarctica on Christmas Day 2016

25th December 2016

Well, this is something you haven’t seen for quite a while, a new post from MidlifeTraveller! I last wrote about my 2013 travels a year ago, and was only up to Vigo in Portugal on 6th August 2013. I continued my travels that year until early November and continued on to Spain, Morocco, Croatia, and Puglia in Italy as well as Sicily. I still hope to write more about this one day!!! In December 2015-January 2016 I had a fantastic trip to Cuba and Mexico and same time this year I was off on an Antarctic cruise, just returning home on 13th January 2017. If I don’t write now it won’t happen, so here goes.

Hobart Museum sketched Jan-16

Hobart Museum sketched Jan-16

I took a trip to Hobart last year over the Australia Day weekend, and found the Antarctic section of the museum there totally fascinating. Then and there I decided my next destination was going to be the great southern continent. By the end of March it was all booked and deposit paid, only thing left to do was save the rest!!

On Christmas morning 2016 I flew out of Brisbane on Air New Zealand bound for Buenos Aires via a few hour stopover in Auckland. I’ve never flown with them before but couldn’t recommend the airline highly enough. The plane, staff and service was exceptional, we even had NZ wine poured out of full-sized bottles, something I haven’t experienced before in economy class! Being Christmas Day also bought a visit and chocolates through the plane by Santa and one of his elves – how cool was that.

Santa & helper on Air NZ flight Christmas Day 2016

Santa & helper on Air NZ flight Christmas Day 2016

About 20 hours later I arrived in Buenos Aires to Christmas Day still, about 3 in the afternoon, talk about making the day last. Stayed 2 nights at the Hotel Merit in San Telmo and took a half day bus and walking tour around the tourist hotspots of the city. Being only 5 of us in the group, it was a very relaxed and fun morning. This gave me a good idea of where I wanted to revisit when I came back for a few days at the end of my trip. La Boca was one of my favourite spots, seemingly, along with plenty of other tourists.The rest of the day was spent wandering back around the streets near the centre of the city.

Flying over NZ on the way to Buenos Aires, peaks in the distance

Flying over NZ on the way to Buenos Aires, peaks in the distance

An early start to the next day saw me at the airport by 5:30am and landing in the southern most town of Argentina at Ushuaia by about 10am. I must say it’s quite a change for me to be met at the airports by someone holding a sign with my name on it who whisks me off to the hotel. Much less stress that finding my way in a country where I don’t speak the language.

 

 

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Vigo and beyond

6th August 2013

Looking back over my emails from this time I see this is the point I started looking around for a tour to join. I still hadn’t recovered well from my bouts of sickness that started in Paris and I think home-sickness was playing a large part in my feeling a bit lost.

The train journey from San Sebastián to Vigo passed through fields of what may have been wheat or barley and looked just like home at times, then I spotted the towers, so not Australia, lol. It’s fascinating to wonder why the train lines run where they do, sometimes almost on the beach, or running along a river and other times through small hills instead of around them. This trip was particularly interesting, farmland, mountains, a river with pretty garden plots, and a dam with its gates open.

Perfect weather in Vigo Spain

Perfect weather in Vigo Spain

I wandered aimlessly around Vigo for a day or so while trying to decide where to go and what to do next.All the same, it’s a pretty city and I was never lost for new and unusual things to keep me interested.I stayed near the waterfront quite close to the old part of the city, the cruise liner docks and even a shopping centre – the first one I’ve seen for weeks!

Jules Verne riding an octopus in Vigo Spain

Jules Verne riding an octopus in Vigo Spain

Did you know that Jules Verne set a part of his book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the Bay of Vigo and he visited the city in 1878 on his yacht? Neither did I, but there’s a fantastic statue commemorating this on the waterfront!

The architecture is a mix, with huge ornate gothic looking buildings along side plain square block of offices and apartments. I saw several  unusual building details too, they looked like closed in Juliette balconies or window seats. I just love all the little quirky things you see, like a derelict building with a few of its outside wooden blinds still hanging as if new, or an old building finding a new purpose in life and still retaining its original gorgeous and unique features.

Loving this building in Vigo

Loving this building in Vigo

I sat and sketched in the gardens, watched a guy in the plaza entertaining kids with a bubble blowing contraption made from two sticks with a piece of rope tied to each end and a bucket of water and soap suds, and googled tours endlessly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My gateway to Spain – Donostia San Sebastian

4th August 2013

Decided to spoil myself with a first class ticket on the TGV to San Sebastian as a few of the trains I’ve been on lately have been really crowded and noisy but not in a nice way.

Ahha, I'm in Spain!

Ahha, I’m in Spain!

Somewhere along the line a nice young Irish guy made his way into the almost empty carriage and was in for a good old chat. We were having a lovely time until the ticket person came along and evicted him for lack of the correct class of ticket! Poor guy, he had to go  back to the pleb carriages!!

The stop at  Irun was  a matter of follow everyone else and hope for the best. I didn’t realize but it was the border crossing because I was herded to what I thought was a ticket office, made to produce my passport and get waved on after a really perfunctory glance.

La Zurriola Beach in the late afternoon glow

La Zurriola Beach in the late afternoon glow

Parts of the journey took me along the coast which was easy to take and left me wishing I could stop for a while.  I also found it amazing how the architecture changed quite dramatically as soon as we were in Spain, the overall style of buildings was very different within just a few kilometers. My hotel was just a few streets away from the train station (getting clever!) so I had no trouble finding Pension Ondarra which was rather chic,  modern and in a great spot.

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain

I thoroughly enjoyed my couple of days in San Sebastian, explored the beach close by, Zurriola, which is massive and full of people, young and old, playing games, surfing and generally hardly sitting still for a minute. Walked across the bridge to the old town centre and the more famous ones at La Concha Bay and marveled at finding such beautiful beaches only steps from the city and it’s grand old buildings. It surely must have the best in-city beaches anywhere in the world.

There was a great little bar just across from my hotel so pintxo and mojitos were my new favourites although I heard a gin-tonic is a San Sebastian specialty  – maybe I’ll have to go back again to try them!

 

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