A Travellerspoint blog

Boats, Trains and Automobiles

semi-overcast 23 °C
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My transfer to Argentina was a more involved affair than just getting onto a bus, however it did start with a bus, and an early one at that. As we lifted our bags onto our backs the sky was still as black as a gaucho´s thick, well trimmed moustache. The bus´arrival in Carmelo was signalled by... well nothing really, there´s just not a lot there.

By just after mid-day the boat we were to get over to Argentina left its mooring position and headed off through the delta. Never really loosing sight of some sort of land for the entire journey it was almost a surprise when we arrived in Argentina, Tigre to be precise, just north of Buenos Aires. The train into Buenos Aires was brilliant, the Tigre station is the end of the line and only has one route running on it, yet it has 4 platforms. The ticket was 15 of your English pennies, even better.

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So now im in a 1920's building with 5 floors accessed by a design of walkways M.C. Escher would be proud of (the picture above doesn't do it's complexity justice). Situated in the historic area of San Telmo its not a surprise that come Sunday there was another antique market to visit, but it wasn´t the fancy grammer phones that stood out to me here, it was the street music and tango along the cobbled streets. Some of the more youthfull bands were very good.

The newly developed part of Buenos Aires is the docks but this doesn't come close to the charm the older parts of the city holds. The only solution then, as it appears I had stroled into happy hour, was to make full use of the buy one get one free cocktails at TGI Fridays within the docks complex of trendy bars.
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Within the city there is the National Art Gallery which I obviously visited but behind the building and over a busy road a surprisingly large metal flower sculpture stood. This sculpture it seems, opens in the morning and closes with the coming of the night, but don't be fooled into thinking it has been cleverly designed using solar pannels as would be interesting, it is just motors on timers.
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A few more days in Buenos Aires should be enough and with my newly purchased tent I can move on to more adventurous Argentine places like the nature reserve that I have to camp outside before they let you in in the morning. Bring on the mozzies.

Posted by FlatCapped 19:34 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Bye Bye Uruguay

sunny 26 °C
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After sitting down to the computer and writing so positively of my last stop on the south island in Florianopolis, i went out and got stupidly sunburnt. Fool. This became quite dibilitating over the next few days which was a shame as this was the nicest place I`d visited in Brazil, no sights to rival the falls but a laid back natural beauty radiated from this place.
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Leaving this oasis of tranquility a 23hour bus jouney was placed between me and arrival in my next country, I knew from experience this would mean I would arrive in Uruguay portraying a smelly traveller but on top of this i was as red as a tomato and screwing up my face in agony from the 15kg hiking bag I had cutting through my red raw shoulders.

Montevideo allowed me to recover and save some money in a very cheap hotel (hotel means TV, TV meant i got to watch England destroy France in the rugby!). I stayed till Sunday for the huge market that takes place but was depressed to see the ammount of animals in truely awfull conditions. My escape was a move to another beautiful quiet place called Colonia where I am to this day.
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My departure to Argentina is immenant and the pace of travelling should pick up once again with a lot to cram into the month planned there.

Posted by FlatCapped 16:48 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

Gringos on Tour

sunny 32 °C
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GRINGO [regional slang term for white foreigner]

Finally I´m actually travelling. Since leaving Rio 6 days ago I am posting this blog from the third town I´ve visited all of which I have enjoyed more than the famous City of God

Curitiba was a day stop, after getting the bus overnight there, we left again late that evening on another bus to get to Foz. As you can imagine upon our arrival there I was offensive to the nose and headed straight for the hostel thanks to directions from a tourist information man with a map, it has to be said his mood was surprisingly upbeat at 7 or so in the morning, being confronted by a man with aforementioned odour issues. The town of Foz was not how i expected, again grey, but it was for the Iguacu Falls that I was here and after ablutions, straight to the Brazillian side of the Falls I went. The views were truly awesome, on scale if nothing else these 200 odd waterfalls left you lost for words ammongst the thunderous sound of the falling water. 4445329.jpg
With the overview tantalising my desire to get closer the next day I visited the Argentinian side which bosted more intimate views of the falls, this side was even better with enjoyable walks on which I saw more wild animals than we did on a suposed nature walk in Rio. *It must be noted that my passing accross to Argentina would have been impossible that day had it not been for a pair of friendly English people, Tom and Phil, I met on the bus who paid for the second bus which would only take peso´s. We may meet up with Tom who works in Porto Alegra and I will thank him in the time honoured English tradition, with the buying of a beer.

Before arriving at my current base in Isla de Catarina, where I have felt I can properly unwind for a small time, I have two very different sights to tell of from this week which are important for me, the first is more recent and a light hearted image of a turtle I watched using an aligator as a common taxi and the alligator happy to let this go on. Madness.

The second was more symbolic and as which I doubt I will ever forget it, this was the journey out of Rio, i fell asleep with the dark city outside and woke up just after the sun rose to the gorgeous green brazillian countryside. For anyone into music, as many of my friends are, this moment was made even more poigniant by the fact that my headphones, still playing from when i fell asleep, soundtracked this snapshot with a Brian Eno recording "An Ending (Ascent)". A perfect representation of how i felt to be on the road.

Posted by FlatCapped 16:22 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Ready to Leave Rio

sunny 31 °C
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After writing last weeks message, I headed straight to Centro, the hub of things in Rio in search of two Blocos (carnival parades) I was aware of. Straight out of the metro the first one was in full swing and they were singing songs and handing out cards with the words on for people to join in. It wasnt as bright as i had expected but the drums were thundering away. After leaving the Bloco I noticed the architecture of the area and new we would have to return after the carnival stalls etc had left. The next Bloco was a walk away but we got there early and saw all the floats waiting to parade into the financially elusive Sambadrome, they were amazingly deecorated with endless different themes from space men to dinosaurs. The walk back to the metro was interrupted by a rally of fireworks followed by a flag seen above the crowd sprinting around a corner like a standard bearer.

The next day was more casual and the best weather wise since arriving. We strolled in the heat around the salt lagoon before de-touring to Jardim Botanico to visit the botanical gardens, these were the perfect way to relax in the heat with waterfalls and streams, monkeys playing in the trees, turtles, an Orchid greenhouse and even a few sculptures. After this we headed toward Ipanama where parties were on every other corner, the festival ended that night for lent so people were out to make the most of it, I even saw a drum act bashing out a techno backed rendition of Hocus Pocus by Focus, Farren would have loved it!

Wednesday was a bit of a non day as another attempt to visit the museums in Flamengo was foiled, the Media Arts Gallery looked dissapointingly really interesting.

A new day, a new hostel and this one is right next to the more serene metro station with artwork and classical music. The hostel took hours to get checked in but it is better than the last one. The copacabana market was open on the beach front now the carnival had ended so that was accordingly visited.

A return to see the architecture in Centro was followed by jumping on an old tram up a mountain to the suburb of Santa Terresa, this is a quiet bohemian area with ruins and a fantastic view. From here I spotted the Modern Art Museum so following descent headed in its direction. The gallery was a bit of a dissapointment but later we finally got to see a sunst in Ipanama.

The weather had finally turned so Christ the Redeemer was visited before the grey clouds returned, the train ride up to it wound through the trees and provided a few clear views over the city but once up to Christ the clouds were over the statue most of the time and they hindered viewing the city, a shame but also dissapointing because there were so many over the top tourists, particularly american. That evening I met Joe, Ali and Brian and drank my first Caprianah (if thats how you spell it).

Sunday was incredibly hot but the market we visited provided shade and local artwork to look at, a stroll along the waves also helped cool off. Leaving Rio tomorrow I have to say I cant wait, the city isnt what Im looking for on my travels and ten days has been far too long...on to Curitiba (another city, but only for two days) before on to less urban Brazil.

Posted by FlatCapped 10:46 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

48 Hours of Learning

rain 25 °C
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Well after all the news of rain we were pleased to arrive to blazing sunshine, of course that feeling subsided after a few seconds in the melting conditions. Our correspondance, Marcio, from the first hostel met us at the airport to transport us accross the city telling us of the sights we were passing on the way. It all seemed brilliant and easy even much so that after a mere 2 hours sleep on the plane it was not a problem to me when the beds were mixed up and we got moved around. We dumped our bags and looked around the area, upon our return we were told there was infact only one bed available in the dorm so we could have the private room.

Local to the hostel were many many banks, all of which we visited did not seem to accept our cards and were impossible to deciepher why (my phrasebook wasn´t versed in such problems) After a lot of looking and a bit of worrying we headed to the supermarket to at least eat as we could pay on the card, as we approached, as if bathed in a beam of sunlight, a cash machine which would accept my card. Armed with Reais we headed to the metro and got off at Copacabana, we had expected a moderate carnival fever brewing but the bus and dancers were below my expectations. After something to eat by the beach we returned to catch up on our sleep.

The next morning i awoke to rain and the days weather continued in this vein. Our first lesson for the day was that museums do not appear to open, either on Sundays or carnival time, we couldnt quite decide, so the media arts centre visit was resigned to me peering through the gates. The change of plan took us to Ipanama, a very nice beach area next to Copacabana but divided by massive rocks, from the top of which the views were great, but as explained, fairly wet. Where was the latin sunshine? Once again we ate on the beach and enjoyed some lives music this time whilst drinking coconut milk.

To be honest I´m looking forward to leaving the bigger cities. I´m sure there are many more lessons to come but weve took them in our stride so far.

Posted by FlatCapped 11:14 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

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