Our Family Blog

Alta Gracia

April 30th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 14-Argentina | UNESCO World Heritage Sites - (0 Comments)

The most complicated World Heritage site/listing we have visited to-date. Although called Alta Gracia (we think) it forms part of the wider heritage listing under Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba.  There are several buildings (as indicated below) spread throughout Córdoba and none of their names match those listed on the World Heritage website – all very confusing.  We are going by the name on the entrance plaque, but those have been wrong on occasions too.

According to our pamphlet, the Jesuit Block in Córdoba, is the heart of the former Jesuit Province of Paraguay and contains the core buildings of the Jesuit system: the university, the church and residence of the Society of Jesus, and the college. Along with the five estancias, or farming estates, they contain religious and secular buildings, which illustrate the unique religious, social, and economic experiment carried out in the world for a period of over 150 years in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Cordoba 011

Cordoba 070

Cordoba 022

Cordoba 067

Cordoba 024

Cordoba 028

Cordoba 041

Cordoba 046

Cordoba 048

Cordoba 063

Cordoba 049

Cordoba 050

Cordoba 051

Cordoba 055

Cordoba 058

Cordoba 053

Cordoba 059

A typical bus journey…

April 29th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 14-Argentina - (1 Comments)

A real quick post so we can show you a typical bus journey between destinations, 13 hours was the longest so far but they average 8–10.  Films in Spanish and with Spanish subtitles, nice.  Unfortunately this bus had no wireless.

Without our podcats and books the journeys would be almost unbearable. 

Great scenic views, eh!

Cordoba 002

Cordoba 004

Cordoba 005

Cordoba 007

Cordoba 008

Cordoba 009


April 28th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 14-Argentina - (0 Comments)

Not the most exciting stop on our itinerary (in our opinion) but one of the Andes busiest highway crossings from Chile to Argentina.  Its biggest attraction, literally, is the formidable Andean Range – symbolised by the southern hemisphere’s highest mountain, Cerro Aconcagua.

We didn’t do the Andes tour, the wine tour, horse riding, hiking, rafting or biking – we done absolutely nothing but chill out with a bottle of vino and catch up on some admin.  There was trekking in abundance, but on this occasion we said no, just some time to ourselves.  We can so all these activities later in Chile and Bolivia where they will be somewhat cheaper.

Stupidly, we booked a night bus from Chile to Argentina, travelling the Andes cross at dark.  We thought if we booked a night bus we could save on a night’s accommodation, but it wasn’t until having done some reading did we realise our mistake.  We tried to change the tickets but couldn’t.  All is not lost, we will get to see the Andean range later on our way back from Rio De Janeiro.

Some random photos of the town centre and us chilling in the park etc. – crap photos we know!

Valparaiso 225

Valparaiso 223

Valparaiso 228

Valparaiso 236

Valparaiso 237

Valparaiso 239

Wi-Fi in abundance

April 27th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 13-Chile - (1 Comments)

We really have been so impressed with wireless access (Wi-Fi) in SA that it warranted a post.  Since the day we arrived in Chili we have been connected.  Shops restaurants, cafes and of course hostels and hotels all have free Wi-Fi and provide the access key without question.  Most connections are at least 2mbps.

Here’s the best one – they even have Wi-Fi on the buses!  I couldn’t believe it, I was stunned when I seen the man next to us surfing the web, checked on my iPhone and sure enough there it was.  I had a conversation with my brother Clive on Skype or Facebook (can’t remember) for most of one journey.  I think the UK, Ireland and the wider world could learn a thing or two.

Most tourists give out about the state of the technology here as internet cafe’s have computers running Windows 95 or 98 at best.  If, like us, you have your own devices you are laughing.

Australia and New Zealand had Wi-Fi but charged between $6–9 in the campsites, cheaper in the internet cafes of course.  A damn ripoff and a disgrace in my book.

Ironically, I listened to a great RTE podcast yesterday (Today with Pat Kenny), interviewing Martin Murphy, the Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Ireland.  The focus was the state of the Irish economy but also touched on the subject of intellectual property.  He, and the government, believes that Ireland’s future is in intellectual property but they need to invest in technology in order to do so.  He believes that every school, home and business should have free access to a 21st century communications infrastructure, thus creating a smart workforce and intern a smart economy.  Couldn’t agree more. It was simply inspirational.

That impressed, I sent my CV into HP.


Our second and last day in Valparaiso so we though we would upload some more photos with an emphasis on buildings and the city as opposed to the heritage area. 

Sam dragged me around the old quarter again in search of weird and wonderful doors (above all things) so she could collate a collage/montage at some point.  There were no shortage and we (well, she) did manage to get some crackers – I’m sure she will give you a peek once finished. 

We should have taken a few pictures of our hostel as it was a very cosy and friendly establishment and the German and Chilean proprietors were top class.  They encourage guests to eat and social together – we never have a problem there – but we did anyway and ended up drinking wine until the early hours.  There is a lot to be said for travelling but it’s the people and places you stay at that really make the experience.

I’ve just noticed, having just selected these photos, that I’m in the majority of them (ah well) – that’s because Sam was on her door mission and I didn’t get a look in all day – sorry about that.

Valparaiso 111

Valparaiso 110

Valparaiso 075

Valparaiso 073

Valparaiso 101

Valparaiso 076

Valparaiso 043

Valparaiso 064

Valparaiso 050

Valparaiso 051

Valparaiso 067

Valparaiso 082

Valparaiso 086

Valparaiso 090

Valparaiso 092

Valparaiso 093

Valparaiso 123

Valparaiso 127

Valparaiso 166

Valparaiso 210