Friday, December 21, 2007


Kyte surfing in Prea (just next to Jericoacoara)
Eating Acai

Traffic in Sao Paulo
Electricity shutdown in Jeri
Nightlife starts very late (normally 2.00 am in Jeri)

Places visited (& days): 21 days from 2nd Dec. till 22nd Dec. – Sao Paulo (3); Jericoacoara (16); Fortaleza (2)

Transport (time or distances): From Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo by air (2h3o); Sao Paulo to Fortaleza by air (3h00); Fortaleza to Jericoacoara by bus (7h00), Jericoacoara back to Fortaleza by van (6h00), Fortaleza to Lisbon by air (8h00)

1.00 EUR = 2,58 BRL (Brazil Reais)

Funny Experiences:

  • When I arrived in Sao Paulo on a Sunday it was the last day of the Brazilian championship (o Brazileirao). That day Corinthias lost their game and went to second division. I was really surprised since all the other supporters from Sao Paulo celabrated this fact as if they were winning the championship. At the end of the match there were even fireworks in the city

  • Motorbiking to avoid the traffic of Sao Paulo and to be sure that I could catch the flight to Fortaleza.
I had been in Brazil twice (2001 & 2002). At that time I visited Rio, Buzios, Angra dos Reis, Paraty and Florianopolis. This time, my goal was to visit some friends in Sao Paulo and to go Kytesurfing to Jericoacoara (Northest of Brasil), 300 km from Fortaleza.

In Sao Paulo, I stayed at Fernando’s house with his lovely family. I had met him & Rafael in New Zealand this year during my round the world trip. Since my visit was very short I was glad that Fernando's cousin (Allessandro) had a motorbike and we could easily visit the city - Parque Ibirapuera, Cathedral, Teatro Municipal, Market…


Teatro Municipal


One very good spot for having a drink was the Sky bar at Hotel Unique which gives awsome views from the city, mainly from the skylines of the Avenida Paulista. Here also some old friends form Portugal and Brazil join us for a great evening.

The Sky bar at the Hotel Unique

Isabela, Pedro, Nathalia and Fernando - Sky Bar

Alex, Bibiana, Pedro, Andrea & Domingos - Sky Bar

Arriving at the airport with a motorbike (the only way to avoid the heavy traffic)

Then I went to Jericoacoara (Jeri) where I spent 2 weeks, kyting almost everyday at Rancho do Peixe, in Prea, just 10 km from Jeri. The reason for going to Prea is because it is much better for kyting compared to Jeri which is more a windsurfing spot.


Windsurfing at Jericoacoara

Streets of Jeri (all of them with sand)

So everyday, during the morning I was picked up at Blue Jeri, my pousada, to go to Prea. The 20 min trip was amazing since we drove along the sea on the dunes.

Going to Prea from Jeri by jeep

We used to stop to say hello to some kids in Prea

Arriving in Prea we stayed at Rancho do Peixe where Mosquito and Vanessa have run their business for the last years. Very professional, good material to rent and to sell, a great team of international monitors and local boys and fantastic restaurant. Nothing was missing!

Rancho do Peixe - Prea

Kytesurfers team

The first 2 days since I hadn´t practised kyting for a long time, I decided for 2 private lessons with Celso. It was really helpfull since after that I could easily kyte on my own. Celso, is the multi task guy because during the day he teaches kyte, during the night works for the only japanese restaurant in Jeri (Kase) and also runs a the Pousada Ibirapuera!

The Tuga (Pedro) Kytesurfing

Celso & Pedro

I made a lot of friends during these 2 weeks. Some of them who where kyting with me, others at Jeri who were surfing and of course brazilians who were living there running some pousadas, or spending holidays, or just serving cocktails in the street.

With Renato y favourite barman of the main street

I used to kyte 3 times during the day, meaning I had two breaks. The first one was for lunch to take my favourite course for several days: Açai. It is a amazonian fruit which mixed with guarana gives a lot of energy (sometimes even called the Viagra of the Amazon!!!), therefore ideal for kytesurfers to be fit all the time. So day after day, as I came out of the water, Leonardo, Thiago who were working at Rancho do Peixe restaurant already knew what I wanted.

Enjoying a Açai (myself and all the others too!)

After finishing kyting and going back to Jeri, I normally spent some time at Club dos Ventos for some internet, and to enjoy the awsome sunsets.

Sunset at Club do Ventos

Then our meeting point before dinner was normally Mauricio's Pousada where we had our first beers. The difficulty then was not to find a restaurant but rather decide which one to pick with the amount of offers. My favourite ones were, Tempero da Terra (excelent fish – Pargo), Nomad (ideal for Pizzas), Café Brasil (for Pastas), Albert (for meat, honestly as good as the ones that I had in Argentina) and Kase (Japanese).

Misha, Cristina, Vincent, Maurad, Alberto, Ella & Pedro at Tempero da Terra

With Simone having dinner at Cafe Brasil

Nightlife is also hot here. The best days are Wednesday and Saturday normally for dancing the Forro. A good altenative place is Planeta Jeri. The only problem is that it starts just after 2h00 am. Normally people have dinner earlier, go to bed for a big rest of 4 hours and then show up at 1hoo. I couldn’ t do it!

Vincent, Pedro, Maurad & ... at Mauricio's

The most famous guy in Jeri: Bin Lata (can)

Coming to Jeri means coming to look for the wind for windsurfing and kyting. Apart from that, the main activities are renting bugee and horse for a drive on the dunes, or climb the dune just next to Jeri. One day I decided to not take the jeep to Prea and walk the 10 km to see the Pedra Furada (a rock with a hole) and enjoy the landscape in a more relaxed way.

The main Dune next to Jeri

The Pedro Furada

Leaving Jeri was very hard. It meant for me the end of 15 fantastic days, kyting, meeting a lot of people, having a great time but even more it was the end of my round the world trip!

The last dinner at Kase (Japanese) with Simone, Frederic, Lex, Ze Antonio, Fabrice, & Aude

The question that comes to my mind all the time now is when will I have the chance to do another trip like this one?

I am sending this post from the airport directly from the VIP lounge (do not think I traveled like that all the time but I thaught it would be nice to finish my trip this way since I collected so many miles). I ‘ll be catching my flight back to Portugal in 1 hour. It is Christmas time and I think it was the right place to be, after having been away from home for such a long time.

Doing this round the world tour alone was an incredible experience and sharing it with all of you as well. Thanks for all the e-mails that you sent me with your stories, tips, jokes, incentives, pictures. For these reasons I never felt alone!

I hope to be back soon with some more info to share with all of you.

I wish you all a good Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Pedro (The Tuga)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Argentina & Chile

  • Argentina Woman – Definitely the most beautiful and charming of my round the world trip
  • Empanadas - small ones and delicious in Argentina; bigger and served as a main course in Chile
  • No visa needed to cross the border. This was really good because I picked the best of both countries and therefore crossed the border more than 5 times!
  • Pantagonia - Perito Moreno (Argentina) & trekking at Torres del Paine (Chile)

  • Cross the border to Chile is a nightmare – All your stuff has to be checked and the procedure takes some time.
  • Distances and time estimation at Torres del Paine National Park – Sometimes too conservative, other times to optimistic.
  • Buses in San Pedro Atacama don’t operate each day (even when there is enough demand).

Places visited (& days): 24 days from 8 Nov. till 2nd Dec. – San Pedro Atacama (1) + Salta (2) + Mendoza (2) + Valparaiso (2) + Puerto Montt (1); Bariloche (3); El Calafate (3); Puerto Natales & Torres del Paine (6); Ushuaia (2); Buenos Aires (3)

Transport (time or distances): San Pedro Atacama to Salta hitchhiking by truck (15h30); Salta to Mendoza by bus (15h); Mendoza to Valparaiso by bus (7h); Valparaiso to Puerto Montt by bus (15h); Puerto Montt to Bariloche by boat (cruise during all the day); Bariloche to El Calafate by air (1h30); El Calafate to Puerto Natales by bus (5h); Puerto Natales to Ushuaia by bus (12h30); Ushuaia to Buenos Aires by air (3h30)

1.00 EUR = 4.55270 ARS (Argentina Pesos)
1.00 EUR = 735.899 CLP (Chile Pesos)

Funny Experiences:

“Haciendo Dedo” - Hitchhiking - To leave San Pedro Atacama to Salta I was told that the next days the buses were fully booked. It was really a problem since I was supposed to spend the weekend with some friends there. I checked all the alternatives and the only one was to go to the border to hitchick. So at 7.00 am, one hour before the border opening I asked all the trucks around if anyone would take me to Salta.
At 8.00 am I was leaving with Carlos for one of my best journeys. I didn’t know but during the trip we had to load the truck with some minerals (borax) and later on unloaded it.

Carlos´truck with whom I was hitchhiking

Crossing the Andes
So instead of a short trip (8h) to Salta it took me 15 hours to cross the Andes. We were caught by the police with extra weight but as usually in South American countries, a quick chat and some money solved the problem.

San Pedro Atacama
San Pedro Atacama is a lovely village but very tourist. It is known as the most expensive one in Chile since it is such a remote place and therefore locals take advantage of it. I would have loved to stay longer and explore the region around, but since I was already traveling through the desert in Bolivia I decide to keep going on my trip and see other sights and landscapes. Anyway. I still had time to enjoy a great dinner with a very quiet girl from Santiago (Luna), who almost made me change my mind.

Bicycle tour to Pukara - San Pedro Atacama

Dinner with Luna (empanadas and wine - of course!)
From San Pedro I went to Salta (Argentina). It seems to be an interesting city but the real reason to come here was to visit my friend Ricardo Roquette who married an Argentinean and is running a business there (very well by the way!)

Preparing asado with Ricardo
We did a quick tour to visit the city (the Cathedral, the San Francisco Church & Convento San Bernardo) because the best thing that you can do here as normally in almost all Argentina is eating the empanadas, go for an “asado”-barbecue and drink wine.

Cathedral - Salta

Then I went to Mendoza, the main city of the winery region. I spend two days heremainly trying several wines and doing some tours. One of them to the Flichman winery which is running by Luis Cabral Almeida (Portuguese).

Parque General San Martin

Valparaiso, was my next stop. It is considered the cultural capital of Chile and a Unesco World Heritage. The most interesting here is to walk around the city, climb the hills or take the "ascensors" which are spread all around the city.

Plaza Sotomayor - Valparaiso

Cerro Concepcion - Valparaiso

View from one of Neruda's house (la Sebastiana)- Valparaiso

Nearby (just 7 km away) Vina del Mar is also worth a visit. The city is just next to the sea and is a typical destination for Chileans of Santiago for their weekends and holidays.

From here I went directly to Puerto Montt and didn’t stop in Santiago. It was a pity since I had some friends there but it was a question of priorities (I visited Santiago 4 years ago) and my first ones were Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and the Lake District.

I was somehow disappointed with Puerto Montt. There was really nothing to see and the weather was horrible when I arrived (very windy and cold). There were two alternative routes from here. The first one, to take the Navimag ferry for a 3 day journey through Chile’s fjords till Puerto Natales. The other one, to cross the Lake District till Bariloche. I decide for the second one, since the ferry was leaving just on Mondays (it was Friday that time) and there was no way to stay more days in Puerto Montt.

Volcano Osorno - Lake District

So I booked the typical tour to cross the lakes. It was nice but comparing to other activities of my round the world trip this was really a tour that I could have skipped. On top of that it was very expensive (the only company who offer this service is Andina del Sud) and too long.

Lake Petrohue - Lake District

Just to give an idea, to cross the lakes we took 3 catamarans and 4 buses!!! The sights seen were the Volcan Capulco, Volcan Osorno, Volcan Puntiagudo, Waterfalls Petrohue, Lake de todos os Santos, Puerto Frias, Puerto Alegre, Puerto Best, Puerto Pamielo and finally Bariloche

Bariloche is a ski resort town but even during the summer there is a lot to do and see. It is also a hot destination for the Portenos (people from Buenos Aires)

During the cruise, I met some people. My favorite one was a Colombian couple (Dairo and his wife), who were in their honeymoon and who very kindly invited me to dinner.

Lake Nahuel Huapi - Bariloche

El Calafate was the starting point to explore the Patagonia.

El Calafate

The first day I did the glaciers cruise on the National Park Los Glaciares. The most impressive one were the Spegazzini and the Upsala. A very nice thing was also having lunch at the Onelli bay.

Upsala Glacier

The Tuga at Bay Onelli

But my favorite activity was the hiking day on the Perito Moreno.

Perito Moreno

Just by getting close to this glacier is a memorable experience, and trekking on it is paradise. Perito is 30km long, 5 km wide and 60 m high.

Trekking on Perito Moreno

Visiting a hole - Perito Moreno

For security reasons there is just a maximum of 20 people per day and we had to use harness and croupons. The group was as always very international and very friendly

Enjoying wisky after the trekking - Perito Moreno

From El Calafate I took a bus and once more crossed the border to Chile. I went to Puerto Natales which is the town to get to if you want to visit Torres del Paine National Park! To avoid the busy lodges of the park I decided to rent my own tent.

Torres del Paine

Torrence, who I met on my way to Puerto Natales, joined me and we did almost all the W circuit together (he just left the last day before visiting the Grey glacier). It was a fantastic experience trekking here. The landscape is fantastic and Torrence was the ideal mate since we had the same pace which is always very important when you are trekking with someone else.

Torrence & Pedro
Day 1 – Trekking from Hosteria Torres till the Torres del Paine. We slept at Camping Torres

Torres del Paine

Day 2 – Trekking from Camping Torres to Camping Los Cuernos and then till Camping Italiano where we stayed overnight.

Day 3 – We still climbed till the Camping Britanico to get another good view from the back of Torres del Paine. Then we walked till Camping Paine Grande were Torrence took the ferry back and where a slept.

Lake Nordenskjold - Torres del Paine
Day 4 – To complete the “W circuit” I trekked this day with two other Dutch friends (Marcel and Jordi) to visit the Grey Glaciar.

Grey Glacier - Torres del Paine
I would have loved to know how many kms we have been trekking but as I mentioned before the information was not very clear.

Arriving at Tierra del Fuego

To complete my trip in Patagonia I visited Tierra del Fuego (which is mainly Chilean) but I ended in to the southern most city in the World, Ushuaia in Argentina! To my surprise it was very warm during my visit.

Huge country...


The main activity here was to “climb” the glacier Martial. I did it with Umberto an Italian guy, and the views from the top are incredible with the Ushuaia city and Channel Beagle on the background. Anyway, after visiting Perito Morreno, Scalabicini, Grey all these glaciers are somehow ridiculous comparing to Martial one!

On top of the Glacier Martial

One funny thing in Ushuaia is their marketing. Each restaurant, bar, tour ... always use the slogan “… del fin del mundo”- … end of the world!

Last stop in Argentina was the Capital, Buenos Aires. From Ushuaia it is a 3h30 min flight (3000 km!). I stayed in Palermo Viejo. In fact the atmosphere was very nice with a lot of restaurants and bars around but also very difficult to find a hotel since all of them are very small and the demand is always very high.

During the day I walked around to visit the area (Palermo), Recoleta and its the cemetery, Plaza de Mayo and its cathedral, Teatro Colon, the Obelisco, San Telmo…

Plaza de Mayo - Buenos Aires

With some local friends (Filipe and Sofia) and a Portuguese (Eduardo) we had some great meals (Happening at Puerto Madero, Baez in Canitas, Osaka in Palermo) and also experienced the Buenos Aires’s nightlife (El Punto).

Felipe, Sofia, Pedro & Eduardo - Puerto Madero

The best activity, was to watch the semi-final of the Polo tournament (La Dolphina against Chapas Uno). Very interesting, the game and all the glamour around it!!! In fact Argentinians can proudly say that they have (probably) the most beautiful women in the world!

Watching a Polo Game