Gaucho and Yerba Mate

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If you have been to Argentina, Paraguay or Uruguay you must have heard of yerba mate. It is typical for this region beverage, prepared by steeping dry leaves of mate plant in hot (but not boiling) water. It is very common to drink it with friends from shared, special cup (in spanish called mate) through metal straw (bombilla). To those who are not used to it, yerba mate might have very bitter taste. Also by now I have already learned that argentines are very sensitive with the whole ritual of drinking it. You certainly should not play and move around the straw, because it stirs the mate too much and causes the straw to clog. I’ve done it once and been told off by a loca personl!

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet up with the real argentine gaucho (south american cowboy) and drink the best yerba mate I had so far, prepared by him. Mayo (named after the month May he was born in) spends his life here in Patagonia on taking care of one of the estancias and animals living on it. I was very impressed by his way of living, especially when he showed me the skin of puma that he killed the night before in order to protect the other animals. Even though it was very difficult at times to understand him, due to the very strong patagonian accent that he has, I had a great time talking and listening to him and promised to give him one of the photos that I took during the visit.

El Bolsón

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Last few days I spent in El Bolsón, in the southern lake District of Argentina, doing…absolutely nothing:) Nothing as far as the touristy things go. I used the time mostly for sorting out my photos and finding out the best way to get to southern Argentina. Both sorted. Tomorrow I am leaving for el Calafate to see the Perito Moreno glacier which was from the start on the top of my ‘to do’ list!

Below few pics of the town.

Santiago – Mendoza route

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Travelling: one moment I am in Santiago walking through the city in a tank top. 2 hours later I am in a bus crossing the argentine border, through the snow in the mountains.

Santiago

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Chile is the 28th biggest country in the world, but has the population of only 18 mln. 1/3 of that population has decided, that despite of all the beautiful places to choose from in Chile, it is going to live in Santiago – the capital. This certainly doesn’t help to the fact that Santiago (because of its location) is already one of the most polluted cities in the world. I spent few days in there and must admit that it was nice, after 6 months of travelling through less developed countries, to find yourself in a very european like setting. Apart from the pollution.

Death Road

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Two days ago I biked down what’s called the world’s most dangerous road. In spanish it is called El Camino de la Muerte and in english Death Road. On the day I did it it was very foggy and raining heavily. Despite the bad weather I managed to finish first…and survive!

Little bolivian girl

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While waiting for the boat back from Isla del Sol to Copacabana we sat down in little restaurant and played cards. The little daughter of the restaurant owner watched us playing and was giving us the cutest looks. That’s one of them!

Santa Cruz trek

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On my last day of trek through the Huascaran National Park in Peru I had to wait for couple of hours for my transport back to Huaraz. In the meantime I played with the local kids!