Wednesday, February 06, 2008

1. A holiday in South America

GB raftingThere are 8 posts in this blog about my holiday to Chile, Argentina and Brazil with boyfriend P in January 2008. The bulk of the holiday was in Chile, but we then had a couple of days just across the border in Argentina, before heading to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the last few days. The posts aren't too taxing, mostly just a photo gallery, organised as follows:
  1. This posting
  2. Flight from São Paulo in Brazil to Santiago de Chile
  3. Santiago de Chile
  4. Atacama desert, Chile
  5. Altiplano, Chile
  6. Lake district, Chile
  7. Patagonia near Bariloche, Argentina
  8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Clicking on each photo will bring up a much higher resolution version of the picture. Also note that this blog is configured so that all 8 posts load up on the home page, so to see all the photos just make sure that you're on the home page and scroll down. And as well as all these postings, there are also 5 posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) on my main blog which mention the holiday :-).

GB xxx

2. Flight from São Paulo in Brazil to Santiago de Chile

I took the seven pictures below from the window of the plane on the second leg of my outbound journey, between São Paulo and Santiago in Chile.

Can anyone tell me what's going on in the pic below? What on earth are all those circles on the ground? The picture was taken after we'd crossed the Laguna de Mar Chiquita near Córdoba, but before we reached the Andes.

The five pictures below are all of the Andes mountain range:

3. Santiago de Chile

Palacio de La Moneda, photographed from Plaza de la Constitución. This is the presidential palace, and was the site of the 1973 Pinochet-led coup that ousted Salvador Allende.

Plaza de Armas, the centre of Santiago

Artists display their work in the Plaza de Armas

Museo Histórico Nacional on the north side of the Plaza de Armas

Panoramic view of Santiago from Cerro San Cristóbal

An Easter Island Moai statue in the coastal town of Viña del Mar

It's not white paint that's made that rock white, but the sea lions on the bottom left don't seem to mind :-). Our guide said that they call it the 'Michael Jackson' rock, but that's probably just a joke for us tourists!

View towards the port of Valparaíso from Viña del Mar

4. Atacama desert, Chile

Above and below: the Salar de Atacama salt flats

A couple of flamingos on the Salar de Atacama salt flats

The Atacama desert is meant to be the driest place on Earth, but that didn't stop it raining while we were there! Apparently it was the first time that it had rained in 6 years and consequently all the locals were ecstatic, but as Londoner I wasn't so impressed. If you can't escape the dreary rainy British weather by visiting the driest place on earth, climate change really has gone too far!

The oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, with a volcano looming out of the clouds in the distance :-)

A lightening storm in the driest place on earth brings more rain!

Horse riding in the desert

The white colour starting to appear on the rocky terrain is apparently due to salts coming out as a result of the rain

A cliff with a view :-)

More threatening clouds roll in :-(

The green in the distance is the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama

The old thatched church at Socaire, a village in the Andes situated at around 3,500 metres above sea level

5. Altiplano, Chile

The Altiplano (Spanish for high plain), where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on earth outside of Tibet.

Laguna Miscanti, view to the north-east

Laguna Miscanti, view to the south-east

Hut near Laguna Miscanti

Laguna Miñiques (the smaller lake to the south of Laguna Miscanti). According to our guide, originally Laguna Miscanti and Laguna Miñiques were a single lake, but are now divided into two as a result of lava from a volcanic eruption

The volcano in the distance is apparently the one whose lava divided Laguna Miscanti and Laguna Miñiques

Nice place for a picnic? Well, it was until it started raining!

We found ourselves in the middle of a magnificent thunder storm, but the lightening somehow managed to evade capture on my camera

6. Lake district, Chile

GB rafting on the upper Trancura river near Pucón. I'm the one with the purple helmet!

I'm still the one with the purple helmet :-)

Sunset over lake Villarrica near Pucón

Volcán Osorno in the distance over lake Llanquihue

A ceremony for the firemen of Puerto Varas, I think this was their 100 year anniversary

Waterfalls on Río Petrohué

Above and 2 pics below: crossing Todos los Santos lake by catamaran, en route to San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina

7. Patagonia near Bariloche, Argentina

After 12 days in Chile, we headed across the Andes to San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina, for a couple of nights in a hotel near Villa La Angostura.

A catamaran arrives for the next leg of our journey from Chile into Argentina

View from the catamaran as we cross Lago Nahuel Huapi, on our way into Argentina

View onto Lago Nahuel Huapi from our hotel near Villa La Angostura

Looking through the trees towards Villa La Angostura from the Los Arrayanes National Park on the Quetrihué Peninsula

One of the hallmark Myrtle trees in the Los Arrayanes National Park on the Quetrihué Peninsula

The quiet Laguna Verde Reserva Municipal near Villa La Angostura

Hilltop view onto Lago Nahuel Huapi. Our guide described the small waterway that connects the two sections of the lake in the top and bottom parts of the picture as "The smallest river in the world".

Early morning view onto Lago Nahuel Huapi from our hotel near Villa La Angostura

One of the activities that we did while in this area was the Canopy Adventure Tour. There seem to be various location where it's possible to do this in the region, so we did it near Villa La Angostura rather than at Bariloche. Highly recommended :-).