Thursday, 27 February 2014

P...p...p... Pecked by a Penguin


As some if you back home may remember, a huge highlight of this trip for me was the potential to find some penguins!! Due to my incessant chatter on the subject me and The Photographer decided to head from Bariloche to Peurto Madryn and hunt some down! 

Peurto Madryn is a big seaside town on the east coast of Argentina. It is a huge wildlife mecca, with different animals arriving throughout the year to make babies!! Unfortunately we were a few months out for whale watching season but there were still lots of animal delights the area had to offer... Including penguins!! 

Welsh in Patagonia

As we arrived super early after another overnight bus (much more comfortable this time - I think I will do a little bus review at some point) we decided I make the most of the full day and head to Gaiman. Just incase you cant recall the the full history of Patagonia, a number of Welsh people emigrated here in the mid 1800s, Gaiman is one of the towns they founded. The place was very sleepy (though we did arrive during siesta) with a few old buildings and a couple of tiny museums. The real highlight of visiting are the 'welsh' afternoon teas that you can get at a few cute caf├ęs around the town! We indulged at a place called Te Gales, which was surrounded by big trees and looked closed. Once we ventured inside the place was decked out with tea sets on nice wooden tables, welsh memorabilia everywhere. It was all very quaint and possibly a bit cheesey, but I loved it!! The food was pretty good too - we got a huge plate of bread and scones with butter and jam; and another with cakes, which despite looking a bit dodgy were tasty and not overly sweet (as much of the food is here).

Beach selfie, Peurto Piramides, Peninsular Valdes

We were lucky enough to be staying at an awesome hostel (Hi Patagonia) whose owner organised all our animal based adventures while we were out at tea. So the next day we set out on out first trip to Peninsular Valdes, famous for whale watching and orcas. Unfortunately, we saw neither, but we were treated to: elephant seals, sea lions, aardvarks, chioques (small ostriches), guanacos (wild llamas) and of course my first glimpse of penguins (albeit from a bit of a distance). However, the best was yet to come...

Give way to Penguins at Punta Tombo
Penguins chilling with the Chioques at Punta Tombo.

On our final day in Peurto Madryn (with the impending doom of another 20 hour bus journey that night) we headed out to Punta Tombo. The place was penguin mayhem, the breeding location for around 400,000 magellanic penguins, with walkways throughout the nests. There were penguins everywhere and you could get incredibly close. I'm afraid to say that I didn't manage to fulfil my goal of picking up a penguin. This was in part because it seemed a little mean to traumatise a poor little penguin in such a manner... But mostly it's because the one time I got even a little bit close to one of them it came at me screaming and snapping... I was terrified!! Who knew something so cute wouldn't want a cuddle? 

Despite not fulfilling my challenge I had an awesome day out and I boarded the night bus that evening with lots of jolly penguin based memories!

Coming up next, Beunos Aries and a token country visit - any guesses which one?! 

Sleepy baby penguin


Location: Peurto Madryn

Highlights: Penguins!!! 

Mission accomplished: No, penguins are more viscous than anticipated! 

Profile pictures: The photographer has an awesome one - see below! 

Well hello there Mr Penguino!!

Epiphany's: 0, but I did learn a valuable lesson about getting close to wild animals! 

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