That's about the extent of the Spanish
I learnt while visiting Argentina, Chile
and the starkly beautiful region known
as Patagonia. Well, also "vino bianco"
and "pisco sour", and couple of other
In February 2005, IP-TREK members met
up in the exciting metropolis of Buenos
Aires, Argentina. Our group came from
Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the
USA and Venezuela (thank goodness for
someone who could speak Spanish - I
don't count Paul). We were incredibly
fortunate to be led by the wonderful,
highly professional (and heaps of fun)
Argentinean guide, Verena Santangelo,
representative of our tour supplier,
Peregrine Adventures. Verena travelled
with us to the remote regions, trekked
the trails with us, and tucked us up
in bed at night after convivial dinners.
After sampling the delights of Buenos
Aires (steak, red wine, steak, bookshops,
steak and tango - did I mention the
steak?) we flew to the remote Patagonian
steppes, to the town of El Calafate.
From there it was 200k in a bus over
gravel roads (I won't dwell on that
part) to the frontier settlement of
El Chalten, at the foot of the mighty
peak of Fitzroy. This trip saw us based
in lodges and other local accommodation,
and trekking out each day on several
of the most famous Patagonia trails.
With treks of about 20-25k per day (no
altitude problems here), we were able
to reach the glacial lakes at the bases
of the famous Patagonian peaks, with
spectacular views and icy cold water
for a dip, if you were game.
We bussed across the border to Chile,
to the Torres Del Paine national Park,
and trekked to the spectacular Torres
themselves. In between - massive glaciers,
wonderful mountain views, South American
red wine, guanacos (have a look at the
pictures) and fabulous company.
The trip wound up with a flight down
to the Fin del Mundo - the End of the
World - at Ushuaia, the world's southern-most
city, and some day trekking in the Tierra
del Fuego National Park. A great boat
trip out onto the Beagle Channel - Argentina
on one side, Chile on the other - brought
us up close and personal with the wildlife,
and rounded out the South American experience.