Close encounters with penguins and Argentinean police

Tuesday morning at 3.30 am our alarm clock wakes us up: time to leave Buenos Aires behind and move down south. The whales and penguins at Peninsula Valdes are waiting for us! We have a flight at 6 am that takes us to Trelew. When we arrive we pick up a car at the airport and start our drive through the Patagonian no-man’s-land, straight towards Punta Tombo. This reserve is said to host the largest penguin colony in the world, offering a breeding space to close to 1 million penguins.

Driving goes very smoothly and soon we are driving on the ‘ripio’ or gravel roads that bring us to the reserve. At the entrance we meet a park ranger, who is very proud of his English and gives us some good advice for the visit. Skies are clear, but strong winds coming from the Atlantic make us put on our sweater. The ranger tells us to wear a hat and sunscreen. Our sunscreen is however somewhere deep in our bags, buried in the trunk of the car. We are stupid enough to think our skin has already adapted to the Southern American sun and go for the hike without sun protection.

Punta Tombo is amazing: the penguins are all around, walking next to you, their nests just one foot away from where you are walking, … We don’t need to walk up to them, all you have to do is sit down and they come take a look at you instead. We take loads and loads of pictures and walk around the reserve for a while.

Back in the car, sheltered from the wind, our faces feel extremely warm and start aching. A quick look in the mirror tells us that our skin hasn’t yet adapted to the sun and that we are now two talking tomatoes. If only we had gone for the sunscreen…

No worries though, we are free birds driving around Argentina in our Ford Ka and we decide to go look for Gaiman. Gaiman is an old town that still looks a lot like when it was founded by the Welsh. “You have to try the tea”, people keep saying. An hour driving later we are in Trelew, completely lost and instead of discovering an old Welsh town, we seem to have found the ghetto of Trelew. We try to find our way out of town and as we take a right turn we suddenly realize we’re on a one-way road, the wrong one-way of course. To make matters worse, the first car we approach turns out to be a police car… What did we do to deserve such bad karma?

We put our “I’m so sorry officer, we’re just two stupid tourist who don’t know any better”-faces on and luckily they drive over and tell us it’s ok. They will escort us to the next crossing street where we can get out. I think our burned faces might have encouraged this nice act of sympathy…

We finally make it out of Trelew and decide the Welsh can keep their town. We go drop off our car and the office clerk offers us a ride to the bus station. The nice guy helps us buy our bus tickets and.
We should let our faces get sun burned more often, we begin to think…

Categories: Argentina | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Close encounters with penguins and Argentinean police

  1. lynnemie20

    Wauw cool!!
    Nu ben ik toch wel een klein beetje jaloers 🙂

  2. impressively!

  3. Hilde ('Ilda' ;))

    WAUW een eerste post, zoals er ongetwijfeld nog veel zullen volgen, waarvan ik denk ‘zot man, ik wou dat ik het ook kon meemaken’, wat de pinguins betreft he, want intussen heb ik al wel genoeg ervaring met het uithangen van de domme tomaat-/kreefttoerist, blij dat ik niet de enige ben 🙂 een gouden raad: op super-zonnige dagen ben je hoog in het andesgebergte nooit veilig voor dit fenomeen, ookal zit je er al een tijdje, zonnecreme steeds in de aanslag houden!

  4. Lise

    have fun! het ziet er super uit :)!

  5. conny

    ja , dat is wel om jaloers op te zijn he, geniet er maar van

  6. Sanne

    Blij te horen dat de argentijnse politie ietwat toeristvriendlijker is dan de cambodjaanse. Toen zij ons in de mot kregen, mochten we diep in onze zakken tasten om van hen af te zijn :s. Goed dat jullie het er zo smooth vanaf hebben gebracht! Wat de fotootjes betreft: pinguÏns zijn supercuties, maar dat wist ik al. Wat ik nog niet weet, is hoe grappig jullie eruit zien zo helemaal verbrand…maar daar hebben jullie strategisch geen fotootje van op het net gezet hé? hihi. Veel plezier nog!!!! &keepusposted!

    • Geen foto’s van verbrande neuzen 😛 Als het nog is zover is trekken we er eentje speciaal voor jullie!!

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