We arrived in Mendoza, Argentina, the wine capital of South America, excited to be there for Denny’s birthday. We had booked a winery tour far in advance and couldn’t wait to try some of the region’s wine at the source.
If you know us well, you know all about our undying love of hearty breakfasts. Here’s Denny’s birthday breakfast, lovingly prepared by Sarah. One of the downsides to traveling in South America is the severe lack of bacon. For this meal Sarah took a block of pancetta and sliced it into bacon-like strips and fried it. It was delicious but more like pork belly than bacon.
After our time in Mendoza we took a 24 hour bus ride to Puerto Madryn, a small town on the East coast of Argentine Patagonia. The town itself is dusty and dull, but it’s famous for the wildlife in the area. We wanted to rent a car to drive to the nearby elephant seal and penguin colonies, but it’s nearly impossible to find an automatic car in Argentina and neither of us have ever learned to drive stick. Since we weren’t able to find a car, we did two day trips with a local tour company.
Our second stop was the colony of Magellan penguins in Punta Tombo. This colony is the largest in all of South America, home to more than 1,000,000 penguins at its peak in January. While we were there, the colony size was estimated at 600,000.
The penguins were incessantly walking to and from the water. Our guide pointed out how slim the ones walking towards the water were, compared to the ones walking back from the water which were plump with bellies full of fish.
On our second tour we passed by the Isla de los Pajaros. As the story goes, Antoine de Saint-Exupery flew over the island and its curious shape was the inspiration for the drawing of the snake that had eaten an elephant in the beginning of Little Prince.
We ended our second tour at Puerto Piramides, a small town famous for its incredible whale watching. During the high season, it’s possible to see whales just yards from the beach. Unfortunately the peak of the season had passed and we were told it was very possible the boats going out would see no whales. In light of this, we opted for a beer and some time to read while the rest of our group went out on the boat.
Up next: Snow-capped Christmas
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Yours in adventure,
Sarah & Denny