Chile – Days 14 & 15 – Travel Days

The next two days were mainly travel days. We had to drive back to Punta Arenas, fly to Santiago, sleep overnight, fly to Buenos Aires, and then fly to Iguazu Falls. We were supposed to be able to sleep in but unfortunately our heater in the loft wasn’t working so we both woke up at 7:30am fairly cold. I used the oven to heat the place by turning it on and leaving the door open. We decided to have a lazy morning and hung around the loft until 11:00am when it was time to check out.

We drove back to Punta Arenas and experienced intermittent rain along the way. It looked as if anyone who was hiking in Torres Del Paine was going to have a very wet day because the clouds in that direction were very dark.

Once we arrived in Punta Arenas we decided that we wanted some ramen or Vietnamese food. We found a hole in the wall place that served Korean noodles, but they only accepted cash and we decided it was too much of a hole in the wall. Across the street was a restaurant called Gyros Pizza. We both shared a Hawaiian pizza, which was absolutely delicious. I also had an americano coffee as I was starting to fall asleep.

After lunch we went for a 12km walk along the beach front, which was very relaxing. After the walk it was time to head to the airport, drop off our truck and kill some time. When I returned the truck there was nobody to inspect it so I was told to just leave it and they would clear my receipt. Turns out three weeks later after the trip I am still in a dispute with my credit card company and Europcar because they double charged me for the truck. I had prepaid for the vehicle before the trip and they were supposed to just have a $800USD deposit that would be removed when I returned the truck. Turns out they actually charged my credit card for the cost of the vehicle even though I had already paid in full.

While waiting for the flight to Santiago we found out that the flight was delayed about 45 minutes. We managed to make up most of that delay once we were in the air. The view on takeoff was absolutely incredible. The flight landed at 11:30pm. We parked at a remote stand and had to take a fairly long bus ride to the terminal, which was perfect because I had to figure out how to order us an Uber, since it’s quite different at Santiago airport than other places because its still not technically legal in the country.

Ordering the Uber was the same; you just use the app, but that’s where things differ. Barbara, our Uber drive, texted me on the Uber app and told me she was behind me and to board the parking lot shuttle bus and then she would talk to me on the bus. She was super friendly and we took the parking lot shuttle bus to the parking lot where we walked to her car. She explained to me that they have to keep a low profile at Santiago Airport because authorities were cracking down on Uber drivers, who were not supposed to be there. When we got into her car she had quite the setup to communicate with foreigners. One phone was dedicated to Uber and the other was dedicated to Google Translate communications.

The drive to Hotel Diego de Almagro Aeropuerto was short and sweet and Barbara was extremely nice. After checking into the hotel we went to bed immediately as we had to get up at 4:45am the next day.

The next day we woke up at 4:45am, quickly got dressed, and had some buffet breakfast before boarding the shuttle to the airport for our flight to Iguazu Falls via Buenos Aires. Before boarding our flight we had to clear immigration to leave the country. The lineup at the immigration booth was about an hour long, but the process was simple. Before boarding the LATAM Airbus A320 flight to Buenos Aires I tried to get some Argentinian Pesos at the foreign exchange, but they were out of currency. I was starting to get a bit concerned about obtaining Argentinian Pesos as nowhere in Calgary had any, nor did Chile… more on that fun adventure later…

2019-01-25 Chile & Argentina iPhone 091

We arrived in Buenos Aires after a moderately turbulent flight. We had a two hour layover and had some food and a drink before boarding our next LATAM Airbus A320 flight to Iguazu Falls, Argentina. An interesting thing to note about Buenos Aires AEP airport is that it sits right next to a beach so you can see people hanging out on the beach sunbathing. The next flight was less turbulent and arrived on time. After arriving at Iguazu Falls and the aircraft door was opened we were greeted with 37 Celsius weather and tons of humidity. It felt really nice as we had just spent a week in Patagonia where it was cold, dry and windy.

2019-01-25 Chile & Argentina iPhone 094

After deplaning into the terminal I searched for a bank machine and found the only one in the terminal. Of course this was too good to be true because when I put my card in and requested any denomination of Argentinian Pesos I was greeted with the message of “ATM out of cash”. At this point in time I decided that we would have to find a way to get to our hotel with only credit or debit. Uber was ousted from the Iguazu area by the taxi commission a few years ago so that left us with having to take a taxi. There was only one taxi company that said they took credit or debit so I picked them. All taxi companies have a flat rate of 700 Argentinian Pesos to the main city.

When we were only a few blocks away from the hotel the taxi driver pulled into a gas station and told me I would be buying her gasoline as she doesn’t have a credit / debit machine. I thought it was really weird at first but then told the taxi driver that I will not be paying for more than 700 pesos. She gave me a very dirty look and started to talk in Spanish to the service station agent. After fueling the taxi we were dropped off at our hotel; Boutique Hotel de la Fonte. The hotel beautiful, but fairly dated. You could tell that it was once an extremely prosperous place.

From my research and talking with others it appears that Argentina is going through economic decline, where as Chile is actually doing really well. Their roles over the last decade have reversed as Chile used to be a fairly impoverished country. Argentina’s economy is being eroded due to political instability and corruption and the locals are suffering. It’s extremely difficult to obtain cash because the citizens of Argentina have lost trust in the local banks due to devaluing currency. They panic and take out all their money, leaving the machines empty.

After settling into the hotel for a bit we decided to go explore the town and get some dinner. We came across a quaint Italian restaurant called Il Fratello. I had vegetable lasagna and Catherine had herbed chicken with pumpkin infused mashed potatoes. Both meals were exquisite.

After dinner we found a bank machine that actually had some money in it. I took out 4000 Pesos ($130 CDN) and was charged 385 pesos ($13 CDN) to take it out, which is extremely expensive. Most countries charge $1-5 but this was the most that I had ever seen. Either way I was happy to have cash as I would need it for tomorrow and to also buy some bottled water. We stopped at a convenience store and tried to purchase a few bottles of water for tomorrow, but the store owner didn’t have enough change for my 1000 peso bills. I ended up having to buy four bottles of water, some bottles of beer, and some ice cream just to purchase enough items to receive change. He even had to go into his own wallet, and the next days float to have enough change to give me.

After arriving back at the hotel we swam in the pool and were greeted with a welcome drink of champagne. Catherine started to not feel well, but I was feeling better at this point in time. We had a lazy evening before heading to bed. Tomorrow we explore Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side.

This concludes my Chile series, but I have two posts left for Argentina/Brazil that will be debuting sometime this week.

2019-01-25 Chile & Argentina iPhone 0952019-01-25 Chile & Argentina iPhone 097

Chile – Day 8 – Anita & Chacabuco Ghost Towns

Today I woke up at 6:45am coughing uncontrollably. My cold was definitely getting worse. C was still sleeping and I let her sleep until 8:00am and then woke her up. We had the complimentary buffet breakfast in the hotel and then set off to explore.

Today we visited a very famous Chilean ghost town near Calama called Chacabuco. On the drive out to Chacabuco we came across another ghost town called Anita. Anita was an abandoned Nitrate or “Saltpeter” town that was founded in 1902 and abandoned in 1912. The town fell into quick disarray and is not that well preserved. Vandalism covers most of the Anita property. Our next stop was Chacabuco; the main highlight of the day.

2019-02-02 Anita Ghost Town 032019-02-02 Anita Ghost Town 052019-02-02 Anita Ghost Town 072019-02-02 Anita Ghost Town 09

Chacabuco is an abandoned Nitrate or “Saltpeter” town that was founded in 1924 by the Lautaro Nitrate Company and soon fell into ruin as the nitrate mining boom in Chile came to an abrupt end in the 1930’s The Germans had invented synthetic nitrate and by the end of the 1930’s most of Chile’s nitrate industry came to and end. At one point in time nitrate provided 50% of Chile’s GDP. Chacabuco finally shut its doors in 1938, where it remained closed until 1973. In 1973 things took a dark twist and the town was reopened as a concentration camp during the Pinochet regime in 1973. Chile was under a Military dictatorship from 1973-1990.

2019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 012019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 042019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 062019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 112019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 172019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 192019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 212019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 232019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 242019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 292019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 302019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 332019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 352019-02-02 Chacabuco Ghost Town 36

I was really starting to struggle with my cold so we drove back to Calama and went to a pharmacy to get some decongestant medicine. We spent the late afternoon resting before venturing out for some delicious corn and egg pizza from La Pizzata; yes you read that correctly it was corn and egg.

IMG_1891

After pizza we walked back to the hotel and watched half of a movie before going to bed.

2018-03-16 – Lyon

Today I woke up at 7:00am with the use of an alarm, because I knew I had a busy day ahead of me. The day started off by taking the metro to City Hall Lyon station where I saw City Hall Lyon, Bartholdi Fountain, Place des Terreaux and picked up some delicious baked goods from Antoinette Pain & Brioche. The City Hall Lyon was built in 1651, but has survive a fire, and received some modifications and restorations since.
2018-03-16 Lyon 012018-03-16 Lyon 022018-03-16 Lyon 032018-03-16 Lyon 052018-03-16 Lyon 092018-03-16 Lyon 102018-03-16 Lyon 122018-03-16 Lyon 152018-03-16 Lyon 16
My next stop was Amphitheater of the Three Gauls. The amphitheater dates back to 19AD and has ties back to the Roman’s! It’s estimated that the theatre had four levels of seats, and was about 80×60 metres in size. I then stopped at a local coffee shop and had a delicious coffee with a cranberry and chocolate chip cookie.
2018-03-16 Lyon 22IMG_6553
After the coffee shop I walked the streets in the beautiful community of La Croix-Rousse, coming across a very beautiful stairwell called Cour des Voraces. I rode Metro Line C back down, which is a pretty unique Metro line, holding the current record for the worlds steepest metro line.
2018-03-16 Lyon 242018-03-16 Lyon 252018-03-16 Lyon 262018-03-16 Lyon 282018-03-16 Lyon 302018-03-16 Lyon 36
After some walking and a quick ride up a funicular line 1 the next stop was the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière and the adjoining museum. The museum showcased the history of how Lyon came to be and why there was so much Roman influence in the city. The theatre was built around 15BC, has a 90 metre radius and could hold an estimated 10000 people!
2018-03-16 Lyon 412018-03-16 Lyon 442018-03-16 Lyon 472018-03-16 Lyon 482018-03-16 Lyon 492018-03-16 Lyon 522018-03-16 Lyon 65

The next stop was the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere and the underwhelming Metallic Tower of Fourvière next to it. The basilica is actually rather new compared to the rest of the Lyon, being built between 1872 and 1884. It overlooks the entire city and is decorated with some of the most beautiful art that I’ve ever seen!

2018-03-16 Lyon 712018-03-16 Lyon 722018-03-16 Lyon 732018-03-16 Lyon 742018-03-16 Lyon 762018-03-16 Lyon 792018-03-16 Lyon 802018-03-16 Lyon 812018-03-16 Lyon 82
I took the funicular back town to the community of Vieux Lyon. I had pizza and a beer for lunch at La Trattoria before walking through the remainder of Vieux Lyon, visiting the also rather underwhelming Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptist). I was quite tired at this point having walked over 20km, so I went back to my hotel for what was supposed to be a 1 hour nap, that ended up turning into a 3 hour nap.
2018-03-16 Lyon 832018-03-16 Lyon 842018-03-16 Lyon 852018-03-16 Lyon 87
IMG_6581IMG_6583
When I woke up I took the tram to Musée des Confluences and took a picture from the nearly bridge overlooking the museum. I then went back to the base of Fourvière and took the funicular back up so that I could get some night time photos of the basiclica and a view of the city. On the way home I stopped by Brasserie George, which was literally next door to my hotel. I picked up a Princess Pale Ale, which was a delicious India pale ale with mild citrus notes.
2018-03-16 Lyon 892018-03-16 Lyon 912018-03-16 Lyon 922018-03-16 Lyon 932018-03-16 Lyon 90
IMG_E6599
While drinking my beer I booked some exhibits that I wanted to see in Barcelona as they were quickly selling out. The exhibits I booked were Sagrada de Familia, Casa Mila, and park Güell. I went to bed at around midnight.

 

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

New York & Boston Part 1 of 2

In April I had to opportunity to take a trip to New York & Boston. Work was a little slow that week so I decided to take the opportunity to fly out to New York & Boston. I ended up getting a Return Ticket from YYC directly into JFK for only $332 with WestJet in Economy Plus.

I spent a total of two days in New York. For some reason I had a huge difficulty sleeping in the AirBNB I was staying at because it was so warm, so I had an early start each day, which allowed me to see a lot. Some highlights of New York were visiting the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the finance District, Chinatown, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Brooklyn Bridge, East Village, Harlem, and The High Line. I didn’t have the opportunity to go on top of any of the towers there as I didn’t book the tickets enough in advance. When I was there I even got to meetup with the sister and husband of a friend that I used to work with at a previous employer. We had so much delicious food including Vietnamese and Pizza, as well as some of the best IPA’s I’ve ever had in my life. The east coast definitely knows how to make a great IPA!

I’ve included some pictures of my New York trip below. Check back soon for Part 2!

2017-04-04 New York 0122017-04-04 New York 0132017-04-04 New York 0172017-04-04 New York 0212017-04-04 New York 0222017-04-04 New York 0292017-04-04 New York 0432017-04-04 New York 0462017-04-04 New York 0482017-04-04 New York 0532017-04-04 New York 0542017-04-04 New York 0562017-04-04 New York 0602017-04-04 New York 0812017-04-04 New York 0822017-04-04 New York 0842017-04-04 New York 0912017-04-04 New York 0932017-04-04 New York 0952017-04-04 New York 0982017-04-04 New York 1012017-04-04 New York 1082017-04-04 New York 1112017-04-04 New York 1162017-04-04 New York 1172017-04-04 New York 1192017-04-04 New York 1242017-04-04 New York 1392017-04-04 New York 1422017-04-04 New York 1442017-04-04 New York 1512017-04-04 New York 1572017-04-04 New York 1582017-04-04 New York 1592017-04-04 New York 1622017-04-04 New York 1732017-04-04 New York 1912017-04-04 New York 2072017-04-04 New York 2452017-04-04 New York 2562017-04-04 New York 2572017-04-04 New York 2622017-04-04 New York 2652017-04-04 New York 2822017-04-04 New York 2912017-04-04 New York 2972017-04-04 New York 3042017-04-04 New York 3082017-04-04 New York 3092017-04-04 New York 3112017-04-04 New York 3182017-04-04 New York 3242017-04-04 New York 3252017-04-04 New York 3262017-04-04 New York 3282017-04-04 New York 3602017-04-04 New York 3662017-04-04 New York 3682017-04-04 New York 3712017-04-04 New York 3772017-04-04 New York 3832017-04-04 New York 3852017-04-04 New York 3872017-04-04 New York iPhone 012017-04-04 New York iPhone 022017-04-04 New York iPhone 13

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

August 24th 2016 – New Zealand Day 4

Today I woke up at 7:00am to make my commute into Auckland. I looked outside my camper and the view was pretty darn nice! I prepared myself a coffee and hit the road. No breakfast this morning because I was meeting Anne for breakfast. 

IMGL5641

The commute was fairly steady until I hit the Auckland city limits then it slowed to a crawl. Navigating the RV around Auckland wasn’t too difficult, but I am used to navigating fairly large vehicle from a previous career as a delivery driver for a coffee company. I picked up Anne from her hostel on the way to my parking spot as she was central downtown. I found a spot to park on Z Pier for $20 per 24 hours. I will eventually camp here later tonight. The place even has a dump station, but no fill station.

I packed my small backpack with my camera, some water, and a rain jacket and headed in pursuit of a place that sold pancakes; her request. We walked half an hour to “No. 1 Pancake”. Sadly this was false advertising because it definitely wasn’t pancakes. It was some Chinese impression of a pancake. We searched on Google and the word we were looking for was hot cakes. We found a place on the other end of the Central Business District (CBD) called “Britomart”. I ordered a huge cowboy breakfast with all the meat you could possibly want, and Anne got her Ricotta hot cakes that she wanted. The service wasn’t very good, but the food made up for it. We settled up the $45.50 bill and left.

IMG_2946

Anne told me she had free tickets for the Sky Tower from work and invited me to go with her later on in the evening. I told her I would love to come and that I was going to Mt. Eden today if she wanted to come along. She said sure but she also had to do laundry. I had to do laundry as well so it worked out well. I went back to my camper, grabbed my larger back pack and stuffed my laundry in it, and met back up with Anne at her hostel. Laundry wasn’t open until 2:00pm so we went to Mt. Eden. The walk took about an hour in the pouring rain. It was up hill all the way there. On the way we saw a lot of beautiful old buildings from the early 1900’s.

IMGL5649IMGL5651IMGL5652IMGL5655

The views at the top of Mt. Eden was breathtaking. You could see the entire city, although it was a bit overcast. There was a monument at the top of Mt. Eden as well that was used as a survey point for the area when Auckland was founded.

IMGL5674IMGL5683IMGL5690IMGL5691

The walk back was way easier since it was downhill the whole way back. When we got back to her hostel we both put our laundry into washing machines and she talked to her boyfriend on the phone. I passed the time catching up with my friends too. After switching the laundry over to the dryer we went and got some groceries and delicious Domino’s pizza; also her request. It’s much better than the Domino’s pizza at home. 

We then we’re going to go to the Sky Tower but when we arrived we were told it’s pure white out conditions at the top and to come back another day. We decided we could come back tomorrow evening instead. 

IMGL5694

We went back to her hostel, just around the corner, and talked for a while. I headed back to my camper at about 7:00pm and worked on my blog and catch up with friends. 

Tomorrow I will be visiting the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) and attempting to visit the Sky Tower again. 

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here