I apologize for not keeping to my schedule of a post every Sunday due to lap top explosion three weeks ago while on the road. But we are back in Buenos Aires now, settled into a new barrio and a new apartment, with a computer up and running.
Our 6 week tramp around Patagonia reinforced my belief of "good travel" .
The touted tourist destination towns and attractions are indeed easier to navigate, with better service structure (taxi's and ATM's and English understood). The researched and planned trip, reservations made, does make for more relaxing, less harried travel. For me,though, the most memorable and thought provoking are the towns, people, restaurants and sights off the tourist path, the unplanned event, the times when one is stranded and stymied and has to work out the next step.
We had scheduled the first 20 days of our trip pretty tight, but after the Lakes District and El Bolson we had 16 unplanned days to meander down South to Calafate. We opted to take an overnight bus back to the Atlantic coast to Playa Union ( barely mentioned in guide books), just south of Puerto Madryn. Puerto Madryn is in ALL the guide books for seeing whales and other marine marvels, but we had seen enough whales in Oregon. Playa Union turned out to be full of tourists, but mainly Argentine ones. Its a vacation beach town with a long board walk, with the Atlantic on one side and on the other, rows of tiny bungalows interspersed with restaurants and ice cream stores. I loved walking down the boardwalk in the evening, peeking into the living rooms of all the bungalows, being a voyeur of argentine vacations. That's were we saw the guy at the top of the page...he was sipping a martini, watching the people go by. When I gestured through the window asking if I could take his picture, he leaped up and came outside, told us his story, then puffed up a bit for his photo.
The town of about 1,500 full time folks seems to be doing pretty well, with lots of fancy houses going up...
And here is what the other side of the boardwalk looked like... lots of kids on their summer break, and the big group down on the sand was watching the regional team hand ball playoffs.
We found this great old dance pavilion in the bigger town of Trelew, a Welsh farming settlement, a 15 minute busride from Playa Union.
And a 20 minute walk got us to the tiny fishing port of Puerto Rawson, where the one restaurant gave us our first good seafood of the trip....