Wrapping up the trip

This post is a continuation of my earlier one covering my last few days spent in Buenos Aires.

Dino museum

I had originally considered exploring the dino bone dig sites at Neuquén, Patagonia. But it was too far away from Bariloche to fit into my schedule.

According to tripadvisor this museum was apparently well stocked with Patagonian prehistoric bones. It covered remains from as far back as the Jurassic to as most recent as the ice age and the gigantic mammals that the original Patagonian people would have encountered.

The museum was a comfortable walk from the hotel and we arrived in the afternoon after a long walkabout the city-centre. The admission price was paid and checked-in our backpacks with the guard.

musuem facade

The building itself was a huge white & red-brick building which looked like an academic institution with a late 19th century architecture.

Some ice age beasts fight it out at the entrance

one of the aquatic exhibits on display

The areas which housed the dinosaur skeletons had a very high ceiling which the largest sauropod being presented.

Various fossils and a collection of stuffed animals made up the remainder of the reasonably large collection.

The musuem also had some activity areas for children so this was a well organized educational musuem.

By late afternoon we had our fill of dinosaur bones and we decided to move onto craving of a sweeter kind.

The heladaria

Ice cream is a serious passion in the city and you’d be hard pressed to find a barrio lacking one. The ice cream culture here seems to follow that of the Italian gelato probably brought in by Italian immigrants and encouraged by the abundance of dairy products in this country. Dulce de leche is a popular breakfast spread in Argentina and the ice cream flavour is such as potent in the sugar punch.

We picked a heladaria we encountered when walking down a barrio in-between our hotel and the natural history museum.

ice cream

I forget the flavours that I picked but I recall dulce de leche & mint being among them. They were of good quality and this proved the lonely planet evaluation to be correct.

We had dinner near the hotel before retiring to the hotel as darkness fell. This had been a busy day in terms of travelling about but necessary given the checkout the following morning. Our flight was at 9pm but we had to kill time after checkout at 10am till 6pm when the airline counters opened.

In hindsight perhaps an extra day booked at a hotel with its access to a shower and toilet would have made our return trip a more pleasant one. And boarding a 33 hour flight feeling fresh and clean would probably have been worth the extra cost (EZE airport did not have any lounges (which accepted priority pass) or public showers to ease the trip either. My only hope was the lounge showers at Dubai airport where would spend a 4 hour transit.

In any case we spent the last evening and following morning repacking our luggage for the long flight back to Singapore. After completing our packing we considered if we wanted to explore some of the other barrios of the city before heading off to the airport but given we had no shower options and the prospect of a long cramped flight back dampened our mood for sweating it out with a long walk.

Furthermore I’d covered the main points of interest in the city and felt any further travel unnecessary.

A memento

My co-traveller wanted to get a maté gourd with a silver bombadillo. Although yerba maté wasn’t easily available in Singapore, ground tea leaves would work just as well in this simple device. The bombadillo seemed standard enough though a gourd which seemed authentic yet hygienic enough to drink from was harder to find.

A wooden ‘gourd’ was decided upon rather that the hollowed out gourd that was the traditional choice ( the bottom of the hollowed gourd looked too unprocessed to be useable).

lack of savory snacks

We loitered about the airport cafes and waiting areas until the boarding gate opened. We looked about for snacks to bring back but found nothing notably unique apart from alfajores.

Credits: Victoria Carman/Courtesy of Guolis

Which were very sweet. Unlike Peru which was known for its variety of savory corn snacks , Argentina was closer to western snacks which were easily available in Singapore and not worth the hassle of bringing back. In hindsight peru should have been a good snack shopping option but then again with strict food checks coming into Chile or Argentina we couldn’t rule our complications in smuggling such snacks through.

Homeward bound

The route was essentially the reverse of my trip-in a month back

Trivia: The argentine flag in the background was actually made of LEGO

We finally boarded our flight and took off without incident albeit being cramped in with no spare seats about to stretch out unlike the flight in.

The stop in Dubai was a stressful one in terms of the sea of humanity that passes through the slow moving security checks but was relaxing once we checked into the lounge (which accepted PriorityPass).

After a good buffet and fresh shower (which required me to use the public shower as the lounge showers were crowded) we were ready to continue on the final leg to Singapore.


And that about sums it up. A month of some of the most exhausting travel I’ve ever done (and probably will ever attempt), but all in just as fulfilling as I’d hope it would be in the months of planning I’d spent on it. Some might say a month to cover so vast an area is insufficient and you should trim down the itinerary.

My travel route

But a month is what I had available and given south america is as far as you can travel from Singapore I doubted very much that I’d be making a return trip in future so I decided to go all out for it with a very ambitious itinerary which spanned the 4 countries (5 if you include my short foray into Brazil), numerous border crossing and a lot of flights and bone-shaking bus rides. I’d covered an area from the frigid south of Patagonia to the deserts of the Altiplano to the sacred valley of the andes.

In hindsight a lot of time was spent at or getting to airports due to flight delays , bad roads and the various buffers you need to add in countries lacking in infrastructure. Im not sure if any of this time could be saved by alternative travel by bus or car but travellers to this region need to factor these in on their planning. 3 months would probably have made the trip less strenuous (less anxious rushes to airports to fears that a delay on one part of travel would trigger a cascade of delays elsewhere) and possibly cheaper.

Experienced quite a wide variety of climates on this trip

However, I feel satisfied with my trip and think it a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I probably wont feel the urge in re-attempting in either scale or duration. And with that I finally conclude my sabbatical series of blog posts. Thanks for the read :)