Ever since I first set up this website, there has been an entry "Viaje en los Andes - still dreaming". For one reason or another this trip has kept on being postponed, but at last that dream is about to be realised. The fair Nello and I leave for South America in the middle of March.

I was fortunate enough to make several short visits to Argentina just prior to finishing my pre-trekking career and this part of the world, with its fascinating landscapes and warm, friendly people, has not been far from my thoughts since; in particular the Andes, that 6000 km long chain of mountains that, for me, defines this continent. And so we head off to explore them, their snowy-capped peaks, smoking volcanoes, shimmering lakes, deserts, jungles, glaciers and rich culture of civilisations past and present.

A first glimpse of the Andes - July 2000

We land in Buenos Aires, and head quickly across to the lakes district of Bariloche to get our first taste of trekking in the Andes. From there we cross into Chile, where we spend most of April undertaking an intensive Spanish course in a land of beech forests between lake and volcano. Hopefully armed with a working knowledge of Spanish, we head north fairly quickly to reach Bolivia and Peru for the winter trekking season. During May and June, we plan to do several longish treks and trips in the deserts of the Altiplano, around Lake Titicaca, in the Inca heartland of Cuzco and Machu Picchu, up to 5000m in the high Cordilleras, down the eastern slopes of the Andes to the jungles of the Amazonian basin, westward to trek though canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and north to the beautiful Cordillera Blanca. We then cross into Ecuador to spend July-August as volunteer English teachers in a small coastal fishing village (a change of pace and a change from the mountains). Of all our activities, this is the one which gives the greatest trepidation, yet offers the greatest rewards.

Near Aconcagua - July 2000

Here the planning stops - September and October have been deliberately left as a void to be filled on site, as we slowly drift back down the Andean chain again. Our goal will be to reach Patagonia in time for the trekking season there in late spring and early summer; the national Parks of Torres del Paine, Los Glaciares and the mysterious Tierra del Fuego await. Finally, we will reach Ushuaia, the southernmost point - only two places to go from here; Antarctica and home.

As always, I write this photodiary largely for our own memories, but if you would like to join us on this exploration - welcome!

El viaje en los Andes comienza!!