06.01.2017 15 °C
Unlike Neil, I haven't found my groove with the blogging of the trip. I have been writing an electronic diary of the trip details, but only to keep account of the logistics and details that we are likely to forget as all of our hotels, hostels and b&bs meld into one amorphous shower, bed and bad breakfast. I have had a couple of ideas for writing about the trip, but not in a connected or themed way. My writing is sporadic and depends entirely upon my mood, recent events and who may have annoyed me most lately. So for my first post, I have included a post from some of my personalities which may crop up over the next 12 months, or not. Because I haven't made up my mind yet.
The flukey photographer
Cape Horn immediately prior to disembarkation. We were greeted by hail, but then had an amazing and clear half an hour on the cape. The last 3 visits by the Stella Australis were unable to disembark due to weather, so once again our luck with the Patagonian weather has been extraordinary.
De Agostini Sound where we disembarked for Aguila Glacier. The weather was glorious, so much so that we got a little sunburnt on the walk to the glacier.
Magdelena Island contains contains one of the largest colonies of Magellanic penguins in the world. When we arrived they were nesting their chicks across the entire island, sharing it with the predatory skuas and enormous dominican gulls.
Farewell to Ushuaia at sunset, a slightly misleading concept as the sky remained light for the entire night, never receding to more than a dark dusk. The cloud formations over the fin del mundo were striking for our entire time in Patagonia.
Street art along the foreshore in Punta Arenas.
Sew much travel...
Over the next 12 months, Neil and I are going to spend an awful lot of time on buses, trains, boats and camels. I was trying to think of ways to while away the time which would be suited to being offline, requiring little resources and able to be balanced on a saddle. I really enjoy sewing, but wasn't so sure about packing the Juki. And then mum posted this photo on line of a challenge that friend had given herself of stitching an item every week for a year...
So, with a bag of threads and a book of fabric, I am going to endeavour to stitch at least one item which represents each country we go to on the trip. It may be slightly easier for the larger countries where we spend more time, and slightly more 'interpretative' for those in which we have only 24 - 48 hours. Anyway, my first effort is below and represents our last flight for at least 4 months!
The star-crossed foodie
Don't get me wrong, I have had some amazing food when travelling. Some blow your socks off, foodgasmic moments of pure unadulterated tastebud pleasure. But to be honest, the food that I remember most, usually due to the laughter that has ensued, is the horribly bad vegetarian cuisine I have been served up in places where my ethical choice not to eat meat is not only misunderstood, but clearly creates utter terror and confusion in the kitchen. I have found that there are two variations on truly horrendous vegetarian dishes, trying too hard and giving less than no fucks at all. And so I bring you the Vegetarian Guide To Truly And Utterly Horrendous Food From Around The Globe! Over the next 12 months I (unfortunately) expect to delight you with an array of truly special 'dishes' on the spectrum from 'meatless=tasteless' to 'hide the carne, she'll never notice' and 'eat this reindeer steak or it will go bad for you'. I'm sure there will be a prize at the end....
Dish 1: Food for Life - Ushuaia
The first contender was of the tried too hard variety. They even had a 'vegan special' of the day - in Argentina! It was Seitan, here pronounced Satan, wrapped veduras with a side of potato salad. The salad was tasteless although strangely shiny, but the Beelzebub was a special treat of tyre rubber and off marmite. I didn't quite know what to do with this new taste sensation, so I pretended it was meat and fed it to Neil. To top it off my vegan coffee, which I thought might be a soy flat white, was in fact black coffee with cocoa powder stirred into it! Bliss!
Dish 2: Fusiones Gastrobar - Punta Arenas
The second dish of note was a polenta dish, described on the menu as polenta topped with mushroom and cheese ragout. Yum, yes? It certainly contained polenta. Lots of polenta mixed with something. Perhaps plaster. It had an intriguing lumpy texture, enhanced by large globs of dried polenta. It held its form so well that I did consider modelling a full scale replica of the albatross in homage to our recent visit to Cape Horn, however after a couple of bites (it was 4pm and I hadn't had lunch), I realised that I wouldn't need to find a banos for about a week and decided to have a lie down instead. I never did find the mushrooms....
The slightly too excited about new (old) techy stuff traveller
No, it is not what you think it is! This is in fact our amazing new Steripen water purifier! I was really concerned about the amount of disposable plastic water bottles we would need to buy throughout the trip in order to stay safe. As we are wanting to enjoy this beautiful planet not destroy it, I was looking for solutions that would give us a safe reusable source of water, minus the plastic. After much research, I found this device that kills bacteria and viruses in water using ultraviolet light, just stir for 50 seconds! We both now have rather fabulous water bottles from the Cape Horn cruise, which we can fill with water from any source and purify on the spot using the Steripen. More useful than you can believe when arriving sans water late at night after all of the shops are closed! And you should have seen the look the guy in customs gave me when I took it through....
And finally, is a huge thank you to Mr Google of all people. Two new offline capabilities have made an enormous difference since we last did any significant travel, being the offline maps and translator. We have downloaded the offline Spanish language pack which means we can translate in either direction with my phone whether we are connected to wifi or now. Likewise we can download selected offline maps and then use them once we get into a new location without needing to get online. As the GPS doesn't need WIFI either, we know exactly where we are at all times! How travel has changed from the days of desperately asking directions and hunting down a wifi connection...
Hasta la proxima