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Julien & Phil | february 2023

From the Sugar Loaf to the gates of the blue sky

We contacted Chris and Mari about six months in advance to plan our trip to South America. Initially, the focus was on Patagonia, but as the planning phase progressed, other stops on the South American continent were added rather spontaneously.

We hadn't really looked into the destinations and simply trusted the recommendations from Aventura Austral. So we took off from Stuttgart in spring 2023, braved the cold winter in Germany and landed in Rio de Janeiro just in time for Carnival. Between tanned samba dancers and countless street stalls selling caipirinha and beer, we had arrived at the biggest party in the world. The mood and atmosphere cannot be put into words and we both immediately fell in love with this city. Our highlights definitely include the blocos (carnival parades) through the streets of the city, our trip to the Maracana, the caipirinhas on the Copacabana and the wonderful people of this city.

The tips for excursions, restaurants and other highlights of the city were very helpful for us. Chris had already planned everything in detail before we left Germany and created an itinerary for each day.

From Rio, we continued on to the Iguazú Falls on the border with Argentina. Here, too, we were simply speechless from the tremendous impressions of this natural spectacle. We spent the night in a very cool hostel, where we were able to end the day with other guests in a great atmosphere, cooking typical Argentinian empanadas and drinking Fernet together.

From Iguazu, we continued by plane to Buenos Aires. Due to the high inflation and the favorable exchange rate for Europeans, we lived far above our standard for backpackers. Rib-eye steaks, IPA beer and gin and tonic quickly became the norm and we felt like we were in paradise. Once again, we were impressed by the flair and hospitality of the people in this city. The Boca Juniors soccer match was another absolute highlight.

From the bustling cities, we headed into the untouched wilderness of Patagonia. Our first stop was El Calafate. The absolute highlight there was, of course, the Perito Moreno Glacier with its shimmering blue color. We continued on to el Chalten, the heart of Patagonia with its landmark - the Fitz Roy. The first longer hikes were a bit of a challenge, as the carnival in Rio and the party nights in Buenos Aires were still in my bones. However, the best antidote was the Patagonian mountain air and fresh glacier water. Every effort was rewarded with a breathtaking view and a feeling of satisfaction and connection with nature.

Our next stop was in Bariloche with Maru and Chris. Relaxing with a beer in the hammock and watching the condors circling has become our new favorite pastime there. We explored the surrounding area in a rental car. The highlights were the route of the seven lakes and a trip to San Martin de los Andes to the Lanin volcano. We had forgotten a jacket in a hostel there, which we only noticed the next day back in Bariloche. However, thanks to his contacts at the hostel, Chris was able to find a way to get the jacket back to us.