• Dreams of exploration in Punta Arenas

    Stepping off the bus at Punta Arenas and into the frozen Chilean dusk, my first impression of the super skinny South American country was “wow, it’s a bit chilly in Chile”. Sorry… But when you’re almost as far south as it’s possible to go before you reach Antarctica, in a country that juts out into the stormy Drake Passage, you would expect the weather to be a little on the cold side. I ended up in Punta Arenas kind of by mistake thanks to a misunderstanding around bus schedules. However, I did half expect to be staying here at some point during my journey through South America – partly because…

  • Welsh Patagonia: The pampas grass of home?

      I’ve always struggled with homesickness. You may think that’s strange for someone who willingly chose to leave behind all that’s familiar in the pursuit of strangeness, but both of my long trips overseas were blighted by what we Welsh call “hiraeth” or a longing for home. I’d had a tough time in Buenos Aires so I was looking forward to escaping to Argentina’s vast open spaces. My next port of call was Welsh Patagonia. Would spending time here cure my homesickness – or make it worse? My introduction to Welsh Patagonia didn’t come from history lessons or an article in a travel magazine. It came from a spoof noir…

  • Penguin spotting on Peninsula Valdes

    My rough route around Argentina was already taking me in the vicinity of Peninsula Valdes, although I was completely unaware of its existence until I started planning things in more detail. The peninsula – a few hours drive from the coastal town of Puerto Madryn – is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its importance as a nature reserve. If you visit between May and December, you can go whale watching but you’re likely to see all sorts of incredible animals year-round. Although I wasn’t there at the right time of year to see whales, I was hoping I’d be just in time to see something I’d never seen…