Posts Tagged ‘Animals’

One of the animals I’d been dying to see were penguins, so we decided to head further south.  Here are some of our favorite shots from our trip to Isla Magdalena in Punta Arenas, Chile – Patagonia!  It was pretty cold & mostly because of the wind, but we managed to enjoy ourselves for our brief stay in Punta Arenas.

Isla Magdalena



penguin blues

strike a pose



the gang


We also got to see Tonina dolphins, as well as sea lions!


Tonina Dolphins – Photo courtesy of Bing (these cuties were too fast for me!)

Sea Lion Lookout

Sea Lion Lookout


We even got some footage of the sea lions making some crazy noises . . . but, we’re having issues uploading the video.  We couldn’t stop laughing at these funny critters!

mista sealion

It was dreary, windy & cold, but we’re really happy we traveled so far south to see these fun animals!

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Patagonia is the region that encompasses roughly the bottom third of the countries of Argentina & Chile. It is an area of the world that has attracted travelers & bandits alike for centuries. Butch Cassidy, the Sun Dance Kid and Etta Place spent time here trying to escape the law and make an honest life for themselves, as is documented in Bruce Chatwin’s (a fellow traveler) timeless classic “In Patagonia”. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t last too long. What attracted us, along with countless others, to Patagonia is the regions beautiful scenery. From snow-capped mountain peaks & glistening lakes to the towering plateaus & vast expanses of wind-blown desolateness, Patagonia is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and unpopulated places on the Earth.

 Bariloche View



Our first stop after leaving Susan, Dave, & Tiv in San Rafael was Bariloche, Argentina. Located on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and home to countless chocolate shops, Bariloche definitely had the feel of a town in the Swiss Alps. We had only planned to stay two nights in Bariloche, so we figured what better way to spend our one full day there than taking a nice hike. A woman working at the hostel that we were staying at recommended an “easier” three hour hike that would take us up and over one of the surrounding mountains to a smaller lake that would be warm enough to swim in.

Notice how happy we are at the beginning of the hike!

Notice how happy we are at the beginning of the hike!

What she neglected to tell us was that the map the hostel gave us was horrible and that the “trail” had zero signs that could give us even the slightest idea where to go. After several hours of hiking we reached what we assumed was the end of the trail. We could see the lake, but had no idea how to get down to it outside of summer-salting down the mountain.

Bariloche Hike

After 6 hours of hiking and attempts at 4 different side trails proved fruitless, we finally decided to abandon our mission and get off the mountain.

This is Kevin - who turned out to be a girl, but we'd already named her - she followed us for 4 of the 6 hours!

This is Kevin – who turned out to be a girl, but we’d already named her – she followed us for 4 hours!

This is probably around the 5 hour & 45 minute mark, when we finally had to throw in the towel!

This is probably around the 5 hour, 45 minute mark, when we finally had to throw in the towel!

Unfortunately, for me there were two ways off: hike 8 km back down the way we came or take the suspended cable car. Despite my debilitating fear of heights, Lisa finally talked me into taking the cable car down and we lived to talk about it!

Cable Car Drama

Bariloche was great and we wish we could have spent a little more time there, but we already made plans to head south to a small mountain town called Esquel, Argentina with plans to camp at the Parque Nacional de los Alerces.  As we all know, sometimes the best of plans can get dashed out. In our case rain was the main culprit.  After 3 days of straight rain we decided that it just wasn’t in the cards for us to camp in Esquel.  At this point we had two options, head south again or end our time in Argentina.  In the end we decided that El Calafate, Argentina, in the Southern third of Patagonia, was going to be our next destination.

Sepia geese


life aquatic II

Like pretty much everywhere else in Patagonia, El Calafate proved to be a really beautiful city. With a population of around 100,000, it plays host to many thousands more during the high tourist season of January & February. During this time prices are very high for food and lodging. Despite our best shopping around, every restaurant ranged from kind of expensive to really expensive. Nevertheless, we had a great time in El Calafate after we changed hostels to one that was a little farther our of town, but had a great atmosphere, where we met a handful of fun travels along with a great staff!

Blue Skies



After a few days of hanging out around town, we were finally able to get on a tour to El Calafate’s main attraction, the Perito Moreno Glacier. One of the world’s fastest moving glaciers, creeping along at a little more than 2 meters a day & dumping 4 story building size pieces of ice into Lake Argentina all day long, Perito Moreno stretches some 35 plus kilometers back through the mountains and across the Chilean border.

Glacier Perito Moreno

Scenery - Puerto Moreno Tour

Black chested eagle

Our tour took the back roads to the National Park allowing us to see falcons & eagles at close range as well as stopping at a large estancia (ranch) that was home to horses, cows, goats, and a milk hungry cat.

Bull Skull

According to Lisa, my photo skills are improving – I took this shot!


Glacier Perito Moreno - Cobalt

Lisa even had a good time, despite that fact that she was freezing!

Lisa even had a good time, despite the fact that she was freezing!

We admittedly had some reservations about spending money to see a giant block of ice, but it was one of the most impressive things that we’ve seen so far on the trip. All in all, El Calafate was one of our favorite places so far on this trip, despite it’s Wisconsin like cool/cold weather.

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As most of you already know, our first Workaway experience didn’t go as we had hoped. So when we heard back from Susan, a writer, & Dave, a former alternative radio host, documentarian, and lifelong musician in San Rafael, we were excited, but also a bit apprehensive. They were going to be fine with us staying as long or as short a time as we wanted, so we entered San Rafael knowing that if things didn’t quite work out we be able to get out. Fortunately, things with Susan, Dave, & their 13-year-old daughter Tivoli could not have worked out any better.

Tiv, Susan & Dave

Tiv, Susan & Dave

From the moment that we arrived till the moment that we left, we were treated like a new part of the family. We spent the days working and the nights getting to know one another, either at dinner or just hanging out on the patio talking about anything & everything. Susan & Dave could not have been more accommodating hosts and our living situation couldn’t have been more ideal (especially after our previous Workaway situation). We had our own house separate from theirs. It had two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a gigantic kitchen, and a sitting area where we could hang out, read or watch movies. (We apologize for the grainy images of our accommodation – our cheap point & shoot camera was acting up on our last day & the nice camera was charging.)


Our house

The kitchen

Our kitchen

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

Kind of like our last Workaway, Lisa & I had different responsibilities and expectations. I was needed to help Dave with the long list of outdoor projects that he was simply unable to keep up with given their vast amount of land. Lisa, on the other hand, was given the tough balancing act of being a teacher/friend to Tiv. During the mornings they did several fun projects from photography & blogging to bracelet making & painting. Tuesday & Thursday nights, Lisa & Tiv took to the kitchen to cook dinner for the 5 of us. At times it proved to be a bit of challenge for Lisa to keep Tiv focused, but all in all it was a good experience for the two of them.


Our Painting

Collaborative painting by Tiv, Susan & Lisa

Their pets, who we love almost as much as we love Norma & Silverstein!

Their pets, who we love almost as much as we love Norma Jean & Silverstein!

 I spent most of my time outside doing a number of different tasks. Dave and I started off doing most of our morning work together, cutting up logs for splitting & cutting/clearing out quick-growing saplings. As time went on, Dave kind of just let me do my own thing. Some days he had a specific task that he wanted me to get done, other days I was left to my own devices. I did everything from weed-whacking, cutting down trees, splitting wood, & hanging chicken wire (they had a bat problem in their cabana). I also cleared out all the weeds & silt build up in the small canal that ran across their property.


We usually worked until around 12:30 or 1:00. In summer it just gets too hot to be working outside & plus you would be disturbing your neighbors during siesta. In Argentina & South America as a whole, businesses and people pretty much shut down around 1:00PM to take a break from the day and relax. They don’t start up again until around 5:00PM. It is a bit of shock at first to go into a big city or small town for that matter and see no businesses open, but you eventually get used to it and come to expect it, especially when the afternoon temperatures are pushing 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


 Susan & Dave were also gracious enough to take us to almost all the social gatherings of their friends. On Friday evenings they had a few Expat friends over for a friendly, low stakes game of poker. It was a pot luck so everyone brought food. There wasn’t a bad cook among them so we ate some great food. Sunday afternoons, we did pretty much the same thing at a friend of theirs house. Expect the game on Sunday wasn’t poker, but Ba-Chi-Ball. Even though we didn’t have our AARP cards, they let us play. They also took us to a few others parties, including a New Year’s Eve party where was had a great Asado (Argentine BBQ) which included a goat roasting over an open fire and some great people.

Us, Malcolm & Sue At Poker Night

Us, Malcolm & Sue (British Expats) At Poker Night

The Circus - Yeah, that's right!

The Circus – Yeah, that’s right!

New Year's Eve 2013

New Year’s Eve 2013

White water rafting in Valle Grande

White water rafting in Valle Grande

Our time with Susan, Dave, & Tiv was outstanding. They couldn’t be nicer people & they defiantly couldn’t have treated us any better. Our time in San Rafael flew by, but we couldn’t stay there forever. We’ve left San Rafael, but we have more now than when we first arrived. We’ve added 3 new family members that we can’t wait to see again.

SR Family For now, it’s goodbye to San Rafael & hello to Bariloche, the gateway to Patagonia!

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Week 12 - Hopper - San Rafael, Argentina

Week 12 – Hopper – San Rafael, Argentina

Week 13 - Jacko - San Rafael, Argentina

Week 13 – Jacko – San Rafael, Argentina

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We just wanted to let all our readers know that we’ve been in San Rafael, Argentina for 15 days now, volunteering with a British-American family.  We’re having a blast & plan to stay until the end of January/beginning of February.  That being said, the internet comes & goes as it pleases, so we’ll post when we can!

Until then, here are some of our favorite photos from San Rafael:

SR GreenGiant

SR Tiv and Catorce



SR Blanco

SR Pandy


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Why Cats Don’t Fly

by: Corey

To begin with, we would both like to apologize for not writing this post much sooner.  As many of you already know, we landed in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday October 13th for our 2 week + stay visiting Lisa’s parents.  After a couple of days  in Raleigh, Lisa came down with a pretty bad cold.  As soon as she started feeling better, I started to feel kind of crappy.  I don’t know what if was, cold/flu, but it was definitely not very much fun. As you can see, our trip of a life time didn’t exactly start as we would have hoped. On the bright side, we are both feeling much better and we both know we will face much more daunting obstacles in the near future.  Before I proceed, I also want to apologize for the lack of color in this post which will not contain any pictures.  We hope this will not happen t0o frequently in our future posts.

As many of you are already aware of, Lisa and I (mostly Lisa) have done a great deal of research and planning to get ready for this trip.  This entailed many, many hours on the computer looking at reviews on clothing/equipment, reading every interesting travel blog on the internet, and many other random tasks to get ready for what lies ahead.  One of these random tasks was taking our cat, Norma Jean, on a number of car rides to get her acclimated to moving in a vehicle.  We had originally planned on driving to Raleigh, but after looking at the cost to rent a car for the time that we would need it, we found that it made more sense to fly.  Outside of one bathroom accident, Norma was outstanding in the car.  She didn’t whine/cry, she got out of her carrier to walk around, and generally seemed to be enjoying herself.  After that first “accident” we began bringing the litter box along with us, just in case, but she never needed it and was fine on every car ride leading up to our departure. However, Lisa still felt a bit of trepidation about our big travel day, I was confident that Norma would be fine.

Let’s turn to our day of departure, Saturday October 13th.  We left my parents house around 4:45 AM for our flight that left Milwaukee at 6:30AM for our connection in Chicago.  Packed in my parent’s truck was my dad, mom, brother, Lisa, myself, and Norma in her brand new cat carrier.  On a side note, in order to bring a cat on a plane, you need to have a carrier that meets specific specifications to fit in under to seat in front of us.  This is where you’d put your normal carry-on.  Despite this fact, the airlines still charge $125 for her to fly which to us was just ridiculous.  I digress.  Now, when Lisa and I drove, it was always nice out and we made a concerted effort to drive nice and smooth.  This was not the case on this morning. First, it was pouring rain which Norma has always had a hard time with – thunder & lighting are her Kryptonite.  Secondly, my dad (it’s not your fault Dad) didn’t exactly make it the smoothest ride in history.  Despite some fidgety behavior on her part, Norma was pretty good on the way to the airport.  However, as we approached the airport, she started making noise and moving around a bunch.  As I tried to calm her and see what her deal was, I found the reason for her discomfort. I don’t know if it was the weather, the driving, the stress, or the over the counter sedative we tried giving her before we left, but Norma had thrown up.

As soon as we pulled up to the airport, Lisa and I quickly got our bags from the back of the truck and made a B-line for the nearest  bathroom.  We were hoping for a family bathroom with no luck.  Lisa ran into the Women’s restroom a couple of times to wet paper towel with water & soap and clean up what she could as I held a struggling, scared Norma.  Lisa made quick work of cleaning the cat carrier , we forced Norma back in her carrier, and entered the ticketing line as quickly as possible.  Our plane was leaving in less than an hour so time wasn’t exactly on our side.  We were both a little shaking and nervous.  After about a minute in line, I started to smell something kind of foul.  At about that same time, I hear Norma start to squeaking and meowing, I turned to Lisa and said, “Do you smell that?”  I wasn’t the only one with a foul odor in my nose.  I lifted Norma’s carrier, turned it to side, and found the source of the stench.  It was a fresh, logged shaped cat poop.  By this point Norma was trying her best to scratch her way out of the carrier and I don’t blame her.  Lisa and I looked at each other and Lisa said, “It’s fine, we’re going to be fine!”  It must be said, that my wife was trying her hardest to remain calm, but it was a bit difficult considering the circumstance we found ourselves in!

We couldn’t get through that line fast enough. Fortunately, no one, including the United employee who checked us in, seemed to notice our plight.  If they did, they didn’t find it necessary to embarrass us.  Once we dropped our checked bags off, we wound my parents and brother.  Although there was supposed to be sadness because we were leaving, they found our problem pretty amusing.  We finally did find that Family Bathroom that we were looking for and again did our best to clean Norma and her carrier up. When we were done, we had just enough time to say goodbye to my parents and my brother.  We got through security without incident, found our gate, and got a few minutes to relax our nerves.  Norma settled down, although be were both waiting for her to complete the trifecta and pee all over her carrier.  Lucky for us, that didn’t happen.  Both of our flights, our lay over in Chicago, and our drive from the airport to Lisa’s parents went off without incident.

We have now been in Raleigh for the past 11 days.  Norma Jean acclimated herself to her new home pretty well.  She only scratches on her new scratching post, she is constantly acting like an idiot (chasing her tail or imaginary objects), and is very curious about the goings on in her grandparents room.  For us it has been nice, despite our illnesses, to relax and get everything prepared for our up coming journey.  It wasn’t optimal, but I think our cat flying experience was a good precursor to help us prepare for dealing with the unexpected situations that we’ll be facing in our upcoming months on the road.

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