Friday, 30 January 2015

Day 1 & 2 - Jan28th to 29th - Dublin to Buenos Aire

"Ladies and gentleman we apologise for the delay but due to an engineering fault your flight will be delayed"...we have a transfer to catch in London so this is not a good start... 15 minutes later "ladies and gentlemen your flight is now ready to board"! At last we're off…well not quite…"due to falling snow we will have check the plane for ice"…what? Are you kidding? We haven't even left Dublin!

Sure enough, outside the snow was falling. They de-ice the plane and finally we were off…1 hour behind schedule but we have a 3 hour stopover in Heathrow so plenty of time!

We depart Heathrow on schedule at 10.30pm and begin our long trans Atlantic flight of 13 hours 45 minutes to Buenos Aires…our journey south is really beginning now!

It's 8.45 and we touchdown in Buenos Aires! Hello Argentina. This is our first port of call on the adventure and will be home for the next two days. Bags gathered we make our way through customs and out into arrivals. It's a busy, slightly chaotic airport with everyone jostling about. We soon meet up with our guide Alfredo and are off to downtown Buenos Aires to check in to our hotel.

En-route Alfredo enlightens us with some facts about Buenos Aires. The downtown Buenos Aires area is home to approx. 4 million people, the city as a whole about 14 million…"the population of a small country" he says! I guess that says a lot about the size of Argentina and South America.

On arrival, our hotel rooms aren't quite ready so time for some refreshments while another important job has to be taken care of…money! Argentina has a coloured history when it comes to economics and it seems that the situation at the moment is no different.

Official exchange rates for the peso at ATM's and hotels is approximately 8 pesos to 1 US dollar…however there is a thriving black market in currency trading with a standard rate of…wait for it…12 pesos to 1 US dollar…50% better?...we'll have some of that!

So Alfredo and I head off with bags of cash to avail of some black market currency trading!

Black market trading complete we head back to the hotel and divide the spoils! A quick freshen up and we're off out to see some of the city. It's a beautiful day with clear blue skies and temperatures heading into the high-twenties…a lot better than the weather back home!

After some lunch and a glass or two of the local vino some of us made our way to Puerto Madero which is rejuvenated dock area close to our hotel. 

The M/V Uruguay anchored in the port is a corvette style ship and dates from the late 19th century. It was used previously on a search mission to Antarctica in 1903.

Nice to get on board and have a look around. Although slightly bigger and a different design to Shackleton's ship "Endurance" it was of the same era so definitely brought a sense of what it would have been like.

Back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to dinner…not a bad first day in Buenos Aires!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

We'll arrive into Ushuaia on the 31st, getting closer all the time to our final destination of Antarctica. Not quite yet though, we still have a lot to see here at the base of Patagonia.

Ushuaia is a busy port and adventure hub. It's comprised of steep streets and jumbled buildings below the snow-capped Martial Range. Here the Andes meet the Beagle Channel which runs out into southern ocean, which will be our next route of transport.

On the morning of the February 1st, our ship will be waiting in the harbour for us but we still have to visit the Parque Nacional del Tierra del Fuego, 155,676 of national park. It's comprised of system of trails along the rivers or through dense native forests. Plenty of wildlife to see with a back drop of some stunning mountains.

Later that afternoon we'll make our way to the ship and begin our voyage to the Great White Continent!

We'll be keeping you updated daily as our adventure unfolds so make sure to check in each day!

Monday, 19 January 2015

On January 28th, 2015 we will embark on our adventure flying to the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, the birthplace of the tango and, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive and bustling with excited energy. Atmospheric old neighbourhoods are rife with romantic restaurants and nightlife. Buenos Aires' European heritage is evident in its architecture, boulevards and parks.

We arrive on the morning of the January 29th and will be spending some time here taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of this exotic city before we then continue our journey south to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, the gateway to Antarctica!