Whales and Penguins
21.10.2008 20 °C
Hmm it´s been a while...mainly I´m lazy. From El Calafate to Puerto Madryn is pretty much a 29 hour bus journey with a changeover at Rio Gallagos. The break made it bareable and because we were in semi-cama the seats went back quite a bit facilitating sleeping. The only point I was annoyed about was the fact they decided to play a horror movie at 10am in the morning. I can´t tolerate horror movies at any time let alone while you`re mulling over breakfast. It wasn`t a good horror movie but mind you there were kids on board and stuff.
Puerto Madryn is on the eastern coast of Argentina and known mainly for it´s proximity to two animal reserves; Punto Tumbo penguin colony and Valdes Penninsula for sea lions and whales. The tours are expensive in my opinion. We did the one to the Valdres Penninsula because we would see more animals and we did see Patagonian hares, Guanicos (cousins of the llama), whales, penguins, sea elephants and even a hairy armadillo. The scenery itself was a bit desolate but it was a decent day even at the molopoly prices. Also the whale seeing boat trip we could have done without on the basis that you could see whales just as closely and free from the docks in Puerto Madryn. You´re aren`t actually allowed on the beaches with the animals, which I suppose is fair though I would have loved to get a closeup of the elephant seals. They actually look quite dead when you see them at first - they only appear to muster energy to throw stones on themselves and occasionally wail like some sort of half-dog/half possessed demon child. The penguins were actually quite close to the fence so we got to see them closeup. Very cute and small - these are megellanic penguins. The guide told us a story of how an emperor penguin got lost and ended up down by the penninsula. Apparently one of the park rangers took it in as it were, the penguin actually followed him around. Apparently they´re like a meter high so it looked like a kid or small person beside him waddling along. About a month later apparently they put the penguin on the boat heading to the antarctic. The guide was in tears because they were like friends. I thought it was a cute story.
We stayed at Hi Patagonia which was a very nice hostel with a minifridge and a TV in the room. I have to say it was quite enjoyable having a TV in the room. Was able to watch some shows in english with Spanish subtitles including the titillating Legally Blond and Two and a Half men...better than nothing I say. The owner of the hostel, Gaston, was quite the accomedating , nice chatty fellow. We´ve been finding the higher rated the hostel the more they´re willing to bend backwards to make you happy and keep that high rating on hostelworld. The restaurant we went to on the first day, El Nautico I think had a fabulous set menu that I feel necessary to menu on the basis that it was one of the most memorable parts of Puerto Madryn. Anyway we left with no regrets onto Bariloche.
For more pics go to: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=76183&l=dafd5&id=684816071