A Travellerspoint blog

La Quiaca

sunny

The bus journey, though 7 hours, actually calmed us down greatly, after our horrid experience in Salta, we were so glad to get on the bus and away. and the journey really perked me up. the scenery was out of this world beautiful. mountains rolling past us, it was truly gorge! and i got my first glimpse of Llamas! made me smile from ear to ear, they are soooo cute!!!!

So once we arrived at the very dusty bus station of La Quiaca, we managed to locate a map, and trudeged with our bags to our Hostel. It was very tiring, not just because our bags were so heavy and it was a good few blocks away, but because the altitude was much worse than in Salta. I found myself very short of breath, even without my bags, but believe me, its something you get used to, and it certainly is not going to ruin my trip one jot!!

P1030504.jpgP1030505.jpg

We arrived to the most loveliest hostel, all new, clean and the staff so smiley, they even let us do our laundry, and when we were hanging the clothes out to dry, we ran out of pegs, so the lady sent her adorable daughter to get some more from the shop, she came running back with the pack of pegs, all out of breath from her little excustion. such a cutey!

P1030540.jpg

During the day we went on the search for some food, and came across a sort of diner. it was great, looked like a sort of 1950´s diner, but completely authentic. We fell in love with it, and the people were so acommodating. As soon as we walked in the door, we felt like we had entered some kind of Clint Eastwood film, i could hear the good, the bad and the ugly music going riund in my head. It seemed at first that only men were sitting down, and for a brief moment, we thought we had entered a time when women were not welcome in such places! haha, but as soon as we were seated, and our delish sandwish was placed in front of us, we didnñt really want to leave.

P1030518.jpgP1030519.jpg

We walked around the town a bit and happened upon the old railway station, again, made me think of some kind of western movie, it was dusty and deserted, and both Fi and i had little stories running through our minds, that we could picture this place in. It was eerily magical.

P1030538.jpgP1030537.jpgP1030535.jpgP1030531.jpgP1030511.jpgP1030500.jpg
One we got back to the hostel, it was time for bed, as we had the dreaded border crossing the next day. we had read so many things where people had had difficulty, so, i can tell you, i was a little nervous.

Bed was comfy, and we laid back and watched ´House´on tv, which we both really enjoyed, and i think i may try and make an effort to get into at home.

unfortuaneley, the night was not as comfy as we would have hoped. It was so cold, and for such small quiet town, they certainly have some kind of nightlife. whatever was going on outside, had intruded on our much deserved sleep, and we were not happy ladies.

Alas, we had to suck it up and get up to get ready for the off. Loaded with our bags we set off for our journey into the Bolivian border town of Villazon, twined with La Quiaca (Argentian side). FAREWELL ARGENTINA!

Posted by Lisaann 13:23 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Salta

rain

So after a hideous journey that i though would never end, we arrived in the sunny town of Salta.

At first glance we knew we would love it, not only because we had been couped up in a sardine can for 19 hours, but becasue it was very pretty, and very warm.

Once off the bus, and fighting to get out bags (the bag guy wanted us to pay him to take our bags off the bus...the cheek!) we found a taxi and arrived at our Hostel.

P1030427.jpg

We sat about and then got up and washed. the day was nearly over, as we arrived here at about 4pm, so we decided today would be chill and just walk about and find our bearings.

After much walking and searching for a supermarket, we gave up and headed back to the hostel. We then found a mini mart and picked up some bananas amd yoghurt for brekkie. then we both had cravings for chips and spotted a cafe across the road.

P1030318.jpgP1030321.jpgP1030324.jpgP1030325.jpgP1030332.jpg

as soon as were we at the table, i wanted to try the local beer. Salta Blanco. thinking it would be a small bottle i waited eagerly. she then came over with 2 glasses ..hmmm... and then a litre bottle just for me. arrggghhh!!

We headed back to the hostel (very tipsy) and literally just fell into bed. zzzzzzzzzz

The next day we awoke to find hot sunshine waiting for us. we ate brekkie then headed out.

P1030335.jpgP1030337.jpgP1030338.jpgP1030341.jpg

We managed to find an open top tour bus to get a good view of the city, and on said bus bumped into a german dude who to me looked very similar to dawason from dawsons creek. Fiona thinks he was more of a chesney hawkes wannabe, so take an look and see what you think.

P1030358.jpgP1030384.jpg

Salta is very pretty, with lots of lovely architecture, and it was great to get a sit down and see it all. we even found a supermarket, so jumped off and ran for it.

P1030368.jpgP1030343.jpgP1030345.jpgP1030366.jpgP1030377.jpgP1030376.jpgP1030383.jpgP1030400.jpgP1030404.jpgP1030407.jpgP1030425.jpg

We decided we would cook ourselves steak. and the peice that we cot was enought for 2 days and it cost (dad this sicken you....) 12 pesos, which is less than 3 quid! it was yum, more so because of the price.

Tomorrow we are going to cable car it up to the top to get some great ariel views of Salta.

First thing we felt we needed to do was to find somehwere to do our Laundry, sadly though, this proved extremely difficult,we gave up. everywhere was closed, as they were having a big festival today, and all the gauchos and horses were out in this best clobber.

P1030492.jpg
P1030489.jpg
P1030429.jpg

We headed to the bus station and got our bus tickets to La Quiaca for 7:15 in the morning. Then we headed to the cable cars, and jumped in. I can say now, that although i dont really have a fear of heights, it was a little scary, as the car toddled along i sear it was tilting left and right throughout. and the higher we went, the more i fear my end was near! WE MADE IT! but decided the safer way back would be to walk down the hill. which was actually rather fun, exceot when some locals threw stones at us! :(

P1030433.jpgP1030452.jpgP1030475.jpgP1030455.jpgP1030473.jpgP1030470.jpgP1030481.jpgP1030487.jpgP1030488.jpg

Once we arrived back from our little trip out, we bumped into Rami (the hostel guy). We asked him if he could order us a taxi for early tomorrow morning as our bus was due to deart at 7:15am. he said this would be fine and we can check out and pay in the morning. Then claiming that our rooms for the night would be $41 pesos for each night, not the $35 that we had on our booking.

P1030494.jpg

After thinking this through for a moment, and getting very aggitated, as he had done a runner, we went on the rampage looking for a printer.... no luck. we decided that we would just bring up the booking on screen, incase they had any issies.

P1030497.jpg

The next morning, we arose, bags packed, confirmed our booking with Hostel Copacabana in La Quiaca, and found our guy to chek out. He was a fat, greasy, ugly being, who was rude also. when we showed him our booking and how much we were willing to pay, he went off in a huff to get his book, again quoting a completely different price, even to the one Rami had quoted, trying to make out we only owed them an extra 3 pesos on top of our bill. I then went on to mention that we had already paid a deposit, which seemed to throw him. their scam had not worked on us, and hey even if it was only 3 pesos, it was the principal now!!

he then refused to book us a taxi, claiming he had no credit, so we grabbed our bags and began our long walk to the bus station. Luckily, as if by magic, a taxi turned up and took us to the bus station.

We were both so infuriated, that unfortunatley Salta, has left a rather bad, salty taste in our mouths. Goodbye Salta, don´t think we will be back, we have enough fat greasy a-hole swindlers in the UK as it is!!!

Chau

Posted by Lisaann 17:36 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Mendoza

Mendoza

After a very tumultous ride on a bus that lasted 14 hours, we finally made it to a rather sleepy town called mendoza. Very famous for its Vino!

I say sleepy because they are big fans of Siestas, whcih last for the whole day whether it is hot or cold outside. its great because its quiet, but trying to get things done and meet ppl is a bit of a pain.

Anyways, we arrived, and queued up to get our taxi, along cmes the scabbiest looking car i´ve ever seen, but at least it moves. He speaks no englaish, so we just yell out the name of the street our hostel is in, in the most spanish sounding accent we can muster, and away we go. Of course the guy had cottoned on that we were not local, and so drove us arounnd the town, making sure our tab wet up and up.

P1030089.jpgP1030093.jpgP1030104.jpgP1030111.jpgP1030120.jpgP1030132.jpg

Finally we made it to Hostel Oasis, a last minute booking, and very cheap, must have cost less than 5 quid for a night.

we were lucky as we had a room to ourselves, which is just what the doctor ordered, after our 14 hour ordeal. we showered and popped out to find our bearings. We were really tired from our bus journey so headed home early and went to bed at about 8pm.

The next day we booked ourselves on a tour to go up into the Andes.

After this we strolled around Mendoza, to just get a feel for the place, and to find a supermarket to make some food. we were both very much up for an omelete.

P1030135.jpgP1030143.jpgP1030149.jpgP1030117.jpgP1030115.jpg

The day after we got up early (6:45am) to get ready for our Andes tour.

It was fantastic, the weather was great, if a little chilly, but what do you expect. I was very glad of my coat.

P1030170.jpgP1030169.jpgP1030173.jpg

Luckily our tour guide spoke a little englsih, so we were fixed for knowing where we were going and wehat to do.

We stopped in a little place called Uspallata, where Brad Pitt filmed ´Seven years ion Tibet´.

P1030180.jpgP1030187.jpgP1030194.jpgP1030198.jpgP1030200.jpgP1030204.jpg

We stopped at a plave called the San Martin Bridge, where a great battle had happened long ago. The argies love San Martin.

P1030212.jpgP1030213.jpgP1030223.jpgP1030224.jpgP1030228.jpgP1030231.jpg

Also on the way up, we stopped by to visit an ugly yellow bridge, which was called ´The bridge of the Inchas´. this bridge was self formed, and was created by lots of weired and wonderful things including sulphur, algae and other such stuff. There was once a hotel near the bridge, and a church, but an avalanche came and destroyed the hotel. However, the church survived, which is very much cherished by the locals.

P1030237.jpgP1030249.jpgP1030254.jpgP1030262.jpg

We finally made it to the last stop, which was right by the Chilean border. Brrrr it was freezing, and we nearly got blown away.

P1030269.jpgP1030276.jpgP1030278.jpgP1030282.jpgP1030284.jpg

On our way back we stopped off to get something to eat. today was bbq day, and our lovely new friends on the tour helped us pick what we wanted to have. One lady was from Bolivia and the other 2 ladies from Argentina. They spoke no english, but somehow we managed to communicate.

Let get this over with now, the Argies love their meat, and yes it was truly delish, but the plate just kept on coming, and we felt so bad that we had to send most of it back as we could not eat any more. our new friends laughed at us loads.

Once back at the hostel we collapsed in heaps on our beds and fell into a lovely sleep.

The next day we had to check out, buit were able to still use the kitchen and other facilities until we left.

We walkd to the parque San Martin, which was beautiful, but massive, so took our tired legs back to the hostel, eager for more omelete.

P1030287.jpgP1030288.jpgP1030295.jpgP1030297.jpgP1030300.jpgP1030304.jpgP1030310.jpgP1030312.jpgP1030315.jpg

When we got back though, someone had stolen out eggs and our onion. we soon found out the culprits, it was the owners of the hostel. they tried to fob us off with beer, but we just made pasta instead, though very grumpy, as the omelete had been calling to us all day.

We sat about for a few hours, waiting for our taxi to the bus station. The suddelnñt Dawsons Creel came on the tv and we started laughing about it. this ended in us chatting to 2 english girls from sherwood forest.

They had been on a 5 week tour through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, so they gave us a few tips on where to go and what to do and what not to do.

They were stuck in Mendoza beacuse they were due to us it to Santiago to get their plane home, but unfortuenalty the border was closed, so they had no idea how long they would be trapped on Mendoza. I felt so awful for them, but was also glad that we had not bothered to go to Santiago, as we too could have been stuck in Mendoza for goodness knows how long.

The girls were keen football addicts, and David Beckham fans, however, i quickly found out that they also liked tennis and was able to chat non stop about the game. I was in heaven! hehe

soon our bus came and away we went for our 19 hour journey to Salta.

Chau amigos!

Posted by Lisaann 17:04 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Buenos Aires

sunny

Well howdy all!

We finally made it after our approx 16 hr flight, got to watch Alice in wonderland on the plane, which made the first few hours bearable on the plane, and managed to fall into a semi consious coma for about 6 hours. all in all, i´m just glad i coped and the plane didn´t drop out of the sky.

Once we finally landed in BA airport, we had a walk around trying to find out where to get the shuttle bus into the city. you´d think it would be easy, but nothing was clearly written anywhere, and with all our backpacks, the sun shining at us, and about 20 taxi drivers in your face, lets just say it got rather confusing. i got my little guide book out, and finally after about 20 mins we found the ticket booth. once the tickets were bought we went on another run round the airport looking for where the bus stop was. never have i had such a good work out!!! so finally on the bus, settling down and relaxing, i had a sudden ´lisá thought´..... ´wheres my guide book??????!!!!´ i calmly resigned myself to thinking i must have stupidly left it at the ticket booth.

so after much wanting to punch myself on the journery into town, we arrived at our hostel ´The Art Factory´. sweaty, tired, fluffed hair and all, we stumbled into the hostel and up the stairs, only to be greeted by, what i can only call adonis defined!!( we call him hot hostel guy) absolutely beautiful... and look at the state of me. the beautiful man, took one look at us and said we could have a private room for the night for the price of a shared dorm. what a lovely guy. so we went off and got washed and had a kip determined to look stunning the next time he saw us, but of course, the next time he saw me was emerging from the shower, panda eyes and all. oh well...

oh and back to my missing book, as you can probs guess, i found it, in my bag. I´m much cleverer than i give myself credit for.

after our kip, and looking far more refreshed than before, the beautiful man informed us that we should go to the ´pretty fair´which was a few blocks away from the hostel - so off we went.

P1030010.jpgP1030018.jpgP1030021.jpgP1030023.jpgP1020927.jpgP1020946.jpgP1020942.jpgP1020937.jpg

The weather was beautiful and the fair was a great way to settle us in, it reminded me of Camden and portobello market rolled into one, all pretty much junk being sold, but nice to stroll through and have a nose.

P1020910.jpgP1020916.jpgP1020922.jpg

Once we had finished at the fair, we had a bite to eat and some green tea and then headed back to the hostel to sleep.

We have decided to go to the Iguazu falls in Brazil, as the bus journey from BA is approx 17 hrs and a cheap seat was over $500 pesos. plus we don´t really want to back track, so next stop is mendoza.

The next morning we moved rooms to the shared dorm, with our keys in hand we went to drop off our bags. we opened the door, and the smell of dirty, sweaty, grubby, drunk boy hit us like a big red bus. oh no!! and no room for us. 4 men slept there unknowing we had walked in. we headed back and left our bags with reception. whilst locking our bags together with my dads handy big padlock we met ´Teo´ One of our new room mates to be. he worked in the hostel. lets just say after the smell of that room, we were not very pleased to meet him. and he had the sweatiet clammy hand ever, we both walked away searching for our anti-bacterial gel, and wondering where that hand had been to be like that! YUCK!

So anyways, off we went to the Retiro bus station to book our tickets for Mendoza. we walked through the centre of town and took lots of pics of the plaza de mayo and other such places.

P1020947.jpg

We have decided that the best bet to save money is to cook ourselves so we have bought some pasta and other bits and bobs for our food (i knew my plastic bowl would come in handy.)

Once back at the Hostel we found our bearings in the new room and just chilled out, wondering who our other room mate would be.

We went to sleep and the next day awoke to meet our new room mate who stumbled in at some silly o´clock. his name was Michael and he was a corpoarte Lawyer from belgium... and he was yum. very nice guy, quiet, chilled and not a heavy drinker. he was in BA learning spanish.

Tuesday we spent in Palermo and central BA just walking about (also finding a pair pf jeans for Fi as hers had ripped in the crotch area.) Palermo is really nice, good shops a good feel to it, the centre is very much like Oxford street in London. San Telmo where our hostel is, is the arty underground area, its quite nice, but can seem a bit dodgy especaially at night. i would not feel safe walking around on my own at night. the city is beautiful though, with lovely buildings and parks. am deffo coming back!!!!!

P1020961.jpgP1020956.jpgP1020953.jpgP1020950.jpg

we decided that as we are off to Mendoza on thursday, tonight would be our night to go out. so we had a beer in the hostel which we sneaked into our rooms and drunk out of our new plastic tea cups and then headed out to find a bar. The bar we ended up finding was a really nice chilled out place where you could sit and chat and listen to some very cheesy 90´s classics (ace of base anyone?). then they had a live band who played stevie wonder, the police and Jamiroquai. they were pretty good and i had a good time shaking my shoulders about and bopping to the music.

we then headed back to the hostel at about 1.30am. the Belgium boy had unfortunatly been drugged earlier that day, by a guy who either wanted his passport and money, or something more.... ( he is very pretty!) so he was passed out in a dizzy world of his own. bless him.

as we were sat out on the patio chatting to a new Zealander called Steve who knows Milton Keynes, Teo came round and virtually begged us to go to a club called the Red door. ( we later found out that at the red door, Teo got free drinks for the night for bringing us there, we were the only girls in the place, so were hot property.) so we thought, alright we´ll go for one drink- one drink led to many and before we knew it it was 7am!!

we met quite a few guys, one being a barman from Israel, who only had eyes for Fiona and after talking a lot about catholics, religion and then his religion (which consists of slapping women around cos they love it,) a love bonded like nothing before, and he played her 2 U2 songs and propsed marriage - she declined sadly and the night moved on.

We were being hounded by a peruvian guy who would not leave me alone, and was really starting to get to me, so after hiding out in the loos for a bit, then glancing at the pool table, we started chatting to some Americans, one chap from washington called Fernando and a young 21 year old who was very happy he could legally drink, called Frederico. they sweared a lot, but were actually really nice guys. we have their e-mail addresses, so time will tell if we keep in touch.

Also met an English guy from our hostel who was nice and ´normal´. he is staying in BA as he has now run out of money.. apparently. but he was handy to walk back to the hostel with as he saved me from the freaky peruvian. who kept coming up and asking me if i needed a bodyguard - no thankyou!!

Wednesday, was recovery day, and we mainly chilled out in the hostel and popped out for some air and a stroll around. we got back to make some dinner, and guess what! the beautiful hostel man was there again, looking as lovely as ever. he came in and said Ólla Chica´s´and we swooned big time. he was in the kitchen at the same time, so we chatted to him for a bit, he has been to Dublin and London and wants to go back (he can come visit me anyday!!! hahaha). He also mentioned that Colombia is the place to see, so we are quite excited about going there. He really was lovely, and i will deffo miss him. ahaha

P1030036.jpgP1030027.jpgP1030023.jpgP1030018.jpg

We decided to stay in wed night anf just chill, even after Teo and the gang tried to persuade us to go out, we were having none of it and got some well deserved rest.

Waking up the next day to find out that Belgium guy was the unlucky one this time, as he got dragged out instead, and was nearly late for his spanish class.

So today is our last day in BA, and sadly for the time being I cannot up load my photos - hopefully in Mendoza we will have some luck. we are off to the hostel in a bit for a cuppa and to get our taxi to the station.

We got back to the Hostel, and Hot hostel guy was on reception - oh he really was so dreamy, never met a more handsome bloke, I might even choose him over Nadal, so you can imagine how hooked i was. We dossed about in the hostel for about 30 mins, until our taxi came. and away we went with all our bags, as we clambered down the stairs, hot hostel guy came and gave us both a kiss on the cheek goodbye (OMG!!). to say we were both bushing furiously was an understatment. haha

So away we drove to the bus station, never to see hot guy again.

Adios Buenos Aires.. i will be back one day!!!

Once geeting on the bus, we made ourseleves comfy for the long drive ahead, only to get stuck listebing to 80´s power ballads on the radio. songs like ´don´t dream its over and must have been love´ it was as if the radio dj knew how we were feeling.

Posted by Lisaann 10:01 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Ready for the off?

sunny 24 °C

Well here we go, no more talking about it, just doing it!

BA so far have confirmed that our plane will still be flying, so fingers crossed there should be no further bumps in the road (Ash cloud and those darned cabin crew striking). WE ARE OFF!

Question is, am I ready? Well my bags are pretty close to packed, my passport and money are on standby, what else do I need to think about? At the mo, all thats on my mind is this bloomin hayfever, its a good job I'm leaving. Just to get away from the sneezing itchy eye, head, throat everything!

It's really just a waiting game now, nothing to tell, just that big deep breath before all hell breaks loose and I am in the air about to tuck in to my delicious airplane food! LUCKY ME!

Well be seeing ya on the other side!

adios amigos!

Posted by Lisaann 05:39 Comments (0)

(Entries 31 - 35 of 37) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 »