Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Gardel the duck, Valdivia

From Pucon we caught a bus south to Valdivia.  It is another fairly small town, but we feel that it is right to see some of the smaller places as well as the big cities, as it gives you a better overall impression of the country that you are in.  Much as I like cities, I don't think you could really say you have got any idea of what England is like if you just went to London, Manchester and Liverpool.  We know we don't see even nearly enough of any country that we visit despite being here for so long, but at least we can add in a few Whitstables, Brightons and so forth along the way.

Sea lions at the fishmarket, Valdivia

We stayed in a good hostel here that was pleased to advertise its apparently very socialable duck called Gardel.

Sea lions at the fishmarket, Valdivia

Sea lions at the fishmarket, Valdivia

Valdivia has some nice parks, but Nic was feeling a bit under the weather with a cold and as we are heading to the frozen lakes of Patagonia, it seemed best to give him a chance to kick that, rather that look at more trees and lakes, even if these didn't require a few hours of hiking to get there.  Similarly - and I realise that this may be a shock for some of you - we decided not to visit the local Kunstmann Brewery.

Sea lions at the fishmarket, Valdivia

We did take a look around the town.  The highlight, aside from the smell, was the local fish market on the riverside, where it is not only the cormorants and other birds that are on the lookout for scraps.  They are also visited by a number of huge black sealions, who sit up on the concrete edge of the market and wait for handouts.  When we were there there were often four or five on the ledges and more in the water.

Nic with girly drink, Valdivia

The other thing that Valdivia specialises in, like a number of places in this area, is chocolate. We didn't sampple the chocolates themselves, but did stop for hot chocolate and cakes in one of the cafes. Nic as ever ordered the most girly looking drink on the menu, while I had a rather larger than expected piece of chocolate and mint cake, but it was all very tasty.

In the evening we found a bar that was quite good, if crowded with people whose average age must have been somewhat younger than ours, where they actually make you pay up front because they have problems with people running off without paying. It took us by surprise as we have got so used to paying afterwards.  We were amused to see that at a certain point in the evening many people who had previously been drinking beers etc, suddenly moved on to having a float.  We have subsequently seen that apparently beer and ice cream is common around here, so we assume it was a beer float.  Maybe next time!

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