Saturday, 4 December 2010

Carlos Pellegrini

OK so i need to get on with these if i want to get all the places we visited done by Christmas! Our next stop in Argentina took me on the longest bus journey I hope to ever experience, 23 hours odd i think it took.

We passed through odd little dusty towns that looked like they were stuck in the 70s.
3 coaches and one 4 hour off road bus journey later we arrived in the wetlands in the tiny village of  Carlos Pellegrini.
Carlos Pellegrini is built next to the wetlands reserve, 4 hours from anything by dirt road and about 8 blocks by 8 blocks with one house to each block.

 It took us a while to figure out the map as it told us on certain blocks there was a horse ranch, a restaurant and a hostel...an we discovered that one house catered for all of these needs.

Even on the bus we had seen ridiculous amounts of wildlife, storks, vultures, capybaras, possible cayman, little owls. So on the first day we decided to hit the lake with a guide to see what we could spot.

The animals luckily weren't shy!

It was confirmed that we did indeed see caymans on our way there.

The first of hundreds of capybaras.

This amazing little blue kingfisher gave us a show, from here on in i got my 10 year old geeky birdwatching side going. We saw these amazing birds called Guida Cuckoos that looked like dinosaurs but unfortunately they moved quicker than my camera.

Proof of my geekery. I'm looking at a hawk sitting on the post.

All the roads looked like this, wide and unending and like they go to nowhere.

Pretty magical to feel truly like you are in the middle of nowhere after living in London for so long.

These little grey foxes weren't too fussed by us.

This little cat is called "Geoffreys cat" and rubbed itself up against the people working in the reserve an tried to get into their office, they had to keep pushing it out again so it doesn't become tame.

I'm not sure the capybaras even knew we existed.

We happened to be here for one of Argentina's world cup games and got into the spirit.

It was amazing being in such a little place for such a big event. These kids were running up and down waving flags.

On our final trip into the reserve we had one animal we had heard about but were yet to spot.

Okay i promise that brown blur in the middle of the leaves is a howler monkey. There was a family of them we managed to find but they were hard to spot an even harder to photograph.

We packed alot in in our few days in this little spot. I used to horseride when i was younger but it was nothing like this. You sit with your legs quite far out, now I know why cowboys walk so strange. You sit on a sheepskin over a saddle and you only hold on with one hand. Considering the last time i was on a horse i injured myself it was a little nerve racking at times. But our guide was great, he kept us talking and laughing and showed us around the outskirts of the village.

I think we both fell in love with the place a little bit by our last day.

With its strange epic open ness.
Unfortunately we both suffered a pretty horrible case of illness probably due to the water and instead of moving straight on to Buenos Aires so decided to spend a night in the nearest town, Mercedes.

Luckily we had passed through Mercedes on our way to Carlos Pellegrini in order to sort out getting the little bus and our hostels with the fantastic Graciella. She told us where the hostel she ran was and we decided to recover there. She cooked our dinner and checked on us, she was the mother figure we needed. Mercedes is actually pretty cool,

It's full of cowboys or "gauchos" who walk with their legs spread out at the knees from being on  their horses all day and wear these amazing hats that look like normal cowboy hats but worn sideways and flattened.
We wandered around trying to spot them amongst the other locals,


In the square we made friends with some turtles

After a night (and a couple of sleepy days) we caught the next bus to Buenos Aires.







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