Hola chicos, now I’m trying to think what Conor has said to start my blog with Conor said haha! We left lovely futaleufú and headed back into Argentina and to Bariloche the lake district of Argentina! We arrived late at around 2130 and the bus station was closed which was annoying. Because we have to pay everything in cash in Argentina we try to book the next bus as soon as we arrive because we can’t book online but also it saves us having to go all the way back and also the busses fill up really quickly so you need to book a couple of days in advance. In Colombia we used to just rock up any time and you could get the next bus. I have realised what is an absolute bus ruiner for every traveller. If you get on the bus and someone is sitting in your designated seat it is an absolute nightmare! For some reason they always refuse to move so then you have to sit in another seat which is also designated to someone else. Eventually that other person will get on and ask you to move and this goes on until infinity. Its so annoying on a night bus as well because you feel like you can’t sleep because you could get woken up any minute and get moved and also it’s too hard to try and explain in Spanish that someone else has stolen your seat. Most of the time when you find someone who can explain the situation they are so unhelpful but the problem is we don’t care where we sit! Like if they want to sit there but tell us what their seat number is then you can sit in theirs and relax knowing no-one is going to wake you up. We have had this situation so many times it’s so annoying but the worst was in Buenos Aires and I think I forgot to tell you. We got on the bus and someone was sitting in Sabzis seat. The guy refused to move but also refused to show us his ticket, he said its his seat he isn’t moving. Every time the bus started moving he would move out of that seat to another one at the back of the bus but if Sabzi tried to come and take it he would jump back on it. It was SO frustrating! After an hour or so we managed to get the bus driver to help and it turns out it wasnt his seat it was Sabzis but his seat was the one next to hers and there was a woman in that one who had kept very quiet during the whole thing and it turns out she didn’t actually have a ticket and was just sneaking! We were like omg!! We’ve all been arguing like for hours and this woman just hasn’t said anything, what a wee cow. Then she stood up and hobbled off the bus with this like horribly infected leg wound… Yeah we didn’t feel so good after that. She said something like we don’t do things like this in Argentina… We felt like we had just kicked this poor, skint, septic homeless woman off the bus! Not very heroic… Haha, you’ve got to laugh. We have spent a lot of time on buses as you have heard. My number one complaint would be they are also absolutely freezing!!!! You need every part of your body covered and a blanket and you are still cold and it’s 30 degrees outside. It’s madness. Argentinian people actually get on and put on dressing gowns and hats!
We went out for dinner that evening and of course it was dissapointing (Argentina) but they did give us free bread and hummus which I was buzzing about! We woke up the next day to the most glorious sun and wandered about town. Poor Sabzi got some bad news about someone in her family so she was a bit out of sorts. That poor girl has had so much bad news in the last month you wouldn’t believe but she’s such a wee trooper. We went out for some brunch and drinks and she got a kiesh because she’s an old woman haha. Bariloche is such a weird town because loads of Swiss and Germans moved there and the architecture is soooo European like ski season Europe. It is also where people say Nazis and Hitler fled to and hid to avoid being killed after ww2. We met up with a couple that we had met 4 days before in El Chalten. None of us could believe it had only been 4 days because we had all been through so much haha! Our whole bus and border debacle and they gwr been unable to get a bus so hitchhike 800kms…hahaha they found one guy that took them the whole way. They were from Switzerland and had saved up during covid to do a MASSIVE travel. They seemed pretty well travelled they spoke a few languages and gave us some Brazil tips. However when we asked how long the longest they had travelled for before they said 3 weeks… They are now travelling for 4 years!! I was like wow that is very adventurous! I said you guys will be nackered and they were like nah, we’ve always been fine every other time.. We couldn’t stop laughing and were like there is a difference between 3 weeks and 4 years! Anyway, they got carried away with us that night and didn’t go home until 4am, their flight was at 7am.. We woke up to a voice message from them saying they managed to get their flight but couldn’t collect their washing… And that was all of their clothes they had for the next 4 years! So lucky little me is the only one with space in my bag so I’m carrying their tumor of clothes around for the next 4 weeks. On that night out we went to the casino because it was right next to our hostel and I had never been to a casino! I know weird. But there is a gambling history in my family and wow would I be a gambler. I could never go on the chase or something like that because I would gamble and go for the bigger money every single time. I’ve never played blackjack and stuck, I either get 21 or I’m bust every single time. So Conor gave me a 20 quid limit knowing fair well I was going to gamble it all haha! But it was fun and I was terrible.
I now have a new hate I’ve developed which is very annoying. Honestly I can say for the last 3 months I have never woken up on my own. Someone always wakes me up. Mostly for really annoying reasons. Let me tell you why I’ve been woken up in the last 3 days. Oliver BLASTING his music from his speaker in the bathroom for about 45 minutes at about 930am and Conor from being on the phone right outside my OPEN, ground floor window at 8am for at least 30 minutes talking rubbish to one of his pals. The last day I had to get up because Conor wanted to go get cash out but he couldn’t wait for 10 minutes until my alarm went off. It is driving me quite insane. Sabzi doesn’t wake me up thankfully and obviously i never wake anyone else up because Im quiet or asleep! Oliver or Conor will get knocked out one of these days and no one will ever know if it was me or Sabzi but it’s going to happen haha! Bariloche was such a cute wee place and it smelled like gas or chocolate everywhere it was amazing. Can you think of two better smells. The gas was unexplained but the chocolate was just because of the Swiss influence it was DELISH. There was a chocolate shop maybe every 10 feet and about 80% of them had free tasters. It made walking way more fun! Haha
Conor decided to book us on a wee tour round 7 lakes. It was like the lake district of Argentina so we all thought that sounds good until we found out it was starting at 8am! Then we found out it didn’t finish until 7pm… 11 hours? Of lakes? But it was too late we had booked it. THEN we quickly found out it was a 100% Spanish tour the guy didn’t have a word of English.. For 11 hours. To top it all off let me tell you. When you’ve seen one lake you’ve seen them all haha! We spent 80% of the 11 hours on a bus and the rest looking at lakes that either looked all the same or there was one called ‘the hidden lake’ that you couldnt even see because it was hidden by trees. Safe to say it wasn’t a success haha if there is one thing we didn’t need was an unnecessarily boring extra day on a bus. Also I opened my pasta and started to have a wee munch and the guy was like NOOOOOOOO and honestly went on a rant for like 20 minutes about not eating on the bus. Obviously I couldn’t understand any of it because it was all in Spanish but Conor managed to piece it together and confirm with someone else. The reason I couldn’t eat on the bus was because there are yellow jacket wasps that if they smell the food they will follow the bus… Yup they will follow the bus driving 60km an hour, the bus that’s Windows can’t open so no smell can get out and wasps can’t get in.. We were like what!?!? What a bizzare reason to not be able to eat. The next stop we got off at there was another bus with at least 20 people on it stuffing their faces. This guy was just abnormally scared of wasps. We got back on the bus and guess what…. There was a bloody yellow jacket wasp on this bus! Just to spite me! And for him to think he was right! Hahaha Conor bashed it with his hand and the guy freaked out and was like noooooo it’s sooooo sore if they sting you don’t ever touch them. Like calm down mate you are about a 5 hour drive from the amazon there’s worse things out there than wasps.
That was the only entertaining thing that happened on that bus and we slept for most of it. The guy never stopped to draw breath for 11 hours, honestly. To make it even extra boring, the night before my phone fell off the bed and broke. Just totally randomly, I drop it way worse all the time but that’s it gubbed. So I only had my kindle to keep me amused. So I’ve read a full book in 3 days because I have nothing else to do. It was a kurt vonnegut book called galapagos, about- you guessed it! The galapagos but it was really good and kept me sane. Conor and I went for a few drinks down at the water front and we played some cards and went to bed early exhausted from a day of lakes and lakes and lakes. The best lake is actually the one next to our hostel. Its got a wee pebble beach you can sunbathe at which keeps all of the beach haters I’m travelling with quiet for once because there is no sand to moan about! It’s also nice going for a wee swim most days even though the water was surprisingly freezing. It was like wild swimming in Scotland which I do miss. Probably not in February haha but in general. It ended up that there wasn’t ant seats on the bus for the day we wanted so we had an extra night in Bariloche. None of us were too upset about it because luckily we got to stay in the same room. Moving all of your stuff all of the time is just part of travelling but moving from one hostel to the one next door or from one room to another is the worst. Just packing to unpack again to pack again to leave the next day. Its a massive pet peeve of mine and Sabzis! Also it gave us a chance to get all of our washing done. Getting your washing done when you are travelling is like one of life’s little pleasures. Its like when your washing basket is empty and you don’t have a wash in the machine or drying, every piece of clothing you have is in its right place for about 12 hours until you put your jammies on and it starts again. The never ending cycle of washing. But I think it’s worse so then lore satisfying when the washing is done because we are hashing to carry about all of that useless dirty washing for days and days before we can do anything about it. The even more exciting thing about this specific wash was that when it came back it smelled like fresh washing! For the first time in South America. Normally it comes back smelling of actually nothing, just like cloth. Wow just realised I’m so old writing about how good having clean clothes is hahaha.
There were actually a few perks to our extra day in Bariloche. Conor Sabzi and I went for a shot in one of those floating meditation tanks and had a massage afterwards. The pod was really weird I enjoyed it but I kept getting interrupted by hitting the sides of it which was really stressing me out. Like as soon as I was uber relaxed and in deep meditation I would bump into the top or the bottom of the tank it was like almost falling asleep and then getting woken up by something bumping into you over and over again for an hour. So I came out more frustrated than when I went in to the relaxation tank haha! Luckily then I had one of the best massages of my life for a whole hour. All of that for 25 quid! You would spend around £160 for that at home. It was the cheapest thing we’ve seen for a while.
Argentina and Chile have been way more expensive than we expected. I knew it would be more expensive than Colombia but compared to travelling in Asia its very expensive. Our budget in Asia was like £35 each per day. Here our average spend is around £55 per day almost double. It doesn’t help that every time we leave Scotland there is some sort of big problem with the currency and exchange rate. The first time it was brexit and now the cost of living crisis. We lost thousands. Not nearly as much as other people have and we haven’t struggled thankfully. We are very fortunate to be able to still travel like we are and very lucky to have secure jobs and properties that allow us to live like this.
Anyway! We have a lot of changes coming up which I’m not looking forward to of course! Sabzi is leaving us!!!! We are absolutely gutted but we will see her in like 12 days in Río haha! And Oliver has decided to go home at the start of March! But we will just keep plodding for as long as we can and I’m going to start getting back into Spanish. No more messing about… Haha
We got another night bus after our massages and float and I had two wonderful naps it was amazing then we had yet ANOTHER border cross to Chile and we realised we had an executive bus for the last 10 hours and wow were we excited. Extra large chairs, loads of legroom, they almost went completely flat. The wee guy that worked on the bus came up and shut all of the curtains and sprayed like a wee insence around we were like oooo how fancy. We got all snuggled in and then boom like actually as loud as thunder this guy starts snoring right next to us. The only one seat near us that was taken had a guy snoring like a walrus. It was so horrible honestly. After 5 minutes Conor and I moved. As I went past him I nudged him to shut up but it only worked for a few minutes. We got in our new seats all comfy oh and also sometimes on the night busses we take a wee ‘travellers little helper’ a wee sleeping tablet that was starting to kick in. Then we realised all around us people were asleep but had their speakers blasting with the random movie that was playing. I had to creap around leaning right over them to turn them all down without waking anyone up hahah the last woman I leaned over woke up and just stared at me with the biggest eyes ever like she internally was screaming hahaha. But it was a great sleep and we all came off it feeling great. Wiggles said he could hear the guy snoring through his noise cancelling headphones and also the podcast he was listening to! Haha I said to him he should have moved but he said he just kept chucking water on him and that shut him up hahaha
Another unnecessarily annoying thing about being in South America is their netflix and Disney plus ect have like no good shows on them. Why does it matter where you are why can’t you just have it all? Or like do people in South America not like the simpsons? Or never heard of the kardashians? Its really weird. I’m really gutted I can’t watch the next season of happy Valley. I absolutely love it and I’m worried about spoilers but at least my phone is broken so I won’t see one on social media… Haha its so much worse not having a phone. No online banking, no access to the Internet to plan anything, NO WATCHING CRAP ON BUSSES! I’ve read a book like every 3 days. I’m like forcefeeding Conor episodes of Ozark so he will catch up and we can have something to watch together. Oh yeah that’s 100% the worst part. Having to like beg Conor to use his phone to do anything. I am not the kind of woman who likes to be reliant on no man! Haha
We went to the seaside town of valparaiso and got showered and straight out since we were feeling good. The thing that got us out of the door quickly was actually that they had an Indian!!!!! a real good looking Indian restaurant! And wow was it amazing. We were making SO much noise mmmmmm, aaaaa, wowwww, amazing, hahaha they must have been like how weird are they but we missed curry so much. Sabzi didn’t join because she doesn’t like curry. But she did when we went back every day we were there hahaha! It was magical
The city as a whole wasn’t great looking but they had one part where you go up a kind of cart escalator to the top and wander around. It was full of cool bars and amazing graffiti everywhere. We had a lovely wee day wandering and eating and drinking soaking in the heat and sea air. The next day we went to the same Indian again of course and then saw some more of the city and we realised this was Sabzis last day with us and also that we had to get a move on!! Because the buses haven’t really been on our side we’ve lost quite a few days in the last month. So we need to power through 3 more stops in 11 days and hundreds of miles! We celebrated Sabzi leaving in very weird ways like her putting on every piece of clothing she could to see if she could wear loads of clothes and loose a bag if she had to, playing charades and eating sushi. Guess what we did the next day… You guessed it! Indian then ice cream and the beach. The many moany beach haters I’m with all voted to sit on the grass off the beach like weirdos of course. But it did turn out to be a prime spot actually. We say two guys come over with like a bit of pipe, stick it into like a sewer access kind of thing and water came spouting out and they had a full on shower. Washed their hair and everything right there in the park. It was so random and then a busker appeared doing the best pupped show I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen anything like it he was absolutely a puppet master I’ve never loved a street show so much. Who knew I was into puppets. Not me. Also in amongst all of this Oliver said ‘guys!’ and we turned round and he said ‘do you think this is alright?’ and it was just him standing in the middle of the park with his trousers halfway down just at his knees… We were like well no.. THAT’S not alright. Its hot so you can take your trousers off but either have them on or off but standing with them half down is soooooo not acceptable hahaha. It was hilarious. Oh we also went to a museum and saw one of the big statues from Easter Island that had been brought there which was cool but also we did think about going to Easter Island. It’s one of the most difficult to get to and rural islands in the world and the number one thing to do was to see these big statues. I am now glad we didn’t spend like 1000 quid to get there to look at statues as cool as they are.
We left Sabzi at the bus station in amongst a panic that we were at the wrong station and then a panic we weren’t going to get on the bus. Quite fitting I think haha! I think she must have been desperate to get rid of us, and by us I mean Conor and Oliver.
Oliver been working on his website the last few months and it’s finally launched! If you think our photos have been amazing they have nothing on his – http://www.ollieoptics.art brighten up your house with some south American colour 🧡💛💚💙💜