Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Guest blogger: Patricia and her special place in the world

 Para leer esta entrada en español, hacer clic aquí.

view of the lakes and mountains from the top of Mt. Campanario, Bariloche.

Since many of those reading this blog have asked me in the past to post about Patagonia, I thought that there was no one better qualified to tell you about this distant and beautiful region of my country than my friend, Patricia Sgrignuoli.
Patricia, author of  Notas y relatos de viajes - viajando por Patagonia (in Spanish with English translation tool), lived all her life in the city of Buenos Aires, but ever since she was a little girl she had a dream: to live in PATAGONIA one day.
Currently, Patricia and her husband are preparing to move to their new home in one of the most beautiful corners of Patagonia, the  place that has always been *her* place in the whole wide world.
Here is the story of how she fell in love with this region of Argentina, and how her dream of one day living there, is now coming true.

Patagonia - My place in the world... 
by Patricia Sgrignuoli

Snow-shoeing in the forest in Tierra del Fuego.

I was very pleased when my friend Aledys invited me to write a post in her blog about one of the most beautiful,  magical and far-off parts of my country - Argentinean Patagonia  -  and the story of why I believe it is "my place in the world". It is not easy to express in words the emotions that this place always inspires in me, but I think that after reading these lines and looking at the photos you will understand how I feel.

This is my story:

I was twelve years old when my parents took me for the first time to Bariloche, a city at the foot of the Andes, during the summer holidays. I can still remember the view we had from our cottage window: the intense blue colour of the Nahuel Huapi lake, the mountains in the distance ... While trying to take in that breathtaking view of the surroundings, I remember thinking to myself how nice it would be one day to live in that place.

Riding on a sled pulled by huskies in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego
A few years later we came back, but this time during the winter. I had my first experience in the cold weather of the south and it was also the first time I got in contact with snow. I liked it so much that, right there and then, I decided that I wanted to live in Patagonia when I was older! Along the years I kept going back to the south again and again; and each time I would grow fonder of its landscapes, its wildlife, its people... and that is how my long-standing romance with Patagonia started.
Lago Caviahue, province of Neuquén.
Many years went by while I was studying and working, until finally, I managed to save enough money to make a dream of mine come true: going on a ski holiday to La Hoya, a resort near Esquel, in the northwest of the province of Chubut.
To get there I had to travel for 24 hours on a bus, making a total of 2,000 kilometres, which is the distance between the city of Buenos Aires and Esquel.
I went on practising ski for a number of years, and that is how I got to see places of the Patagonia like Chapelco (near San Martín de los Andes in the province of Neuquén) with its beautiful beech forests. I also visited the Atlantic coast of Patagonia: Puerto Madryn, a place with stunning beaches and skies so clear  that you can see the stars and spot satellites as well. There, the Valdés Península, is a natural marvel with an amazingly rich wildlife like there is not anywhere else on the planet. The highlight of my trip to this beautiful place was the sighting of whales out in the sea, who just a few metres from the shore, seemed to be following our walk along the beach with curiousity.

Images of Caviahue in the province of Neuquén.
A few years later, together with a friend, I decided to do something a bit more adventurous and we set out to travel across the vast Patagonian steppelike plains. After an entire day on a bus traversing the rough and desertic landscape of  Patagonia, we finally reahed our destination - the spectacular Perito Moreno glacier, situated in the province of Santa Cruz. This was an unforgettable experience!

After I got married, my husband and I travelled to a place that we had never heard of before - Villa Pehuenia, a small village on the shores of Aluminé lake and at the foot of an extinct volcano. Mt. Batea Mahuida has been inactive for millions of years and a deep blue lake with volcanic sandy beaches was formed in the dormant crater of the volcano. Also, a very peculiar tree, the araucaria or pehuén (as the original inhabitants of the region, the mapuches, call it) grows in this remote place of the northern Patagonia.

Mascardi lake near the city of Bariloche, Rio Negro.

We both fell in love with this place and as of that moment we started seriously considering the possibility of moving there in the near future. This was a big step and we had to think carefully if we really wanted to leave behind the big city and start a new and completely different life in Patagonia. There were too many aspects to take into account, since in Patagonia life is not altogether easy: in the winter there are constant power cuts and fuel shortage; and sometimes the heavy snowstorms leave whole towns completely cut off from civilization... Despite all these problems that are logical in such a remote place, we finally made up our minds and decided that we wanted to make a home in Patagonia.

images from Bariloche, in the province of Rio Negro.
We made one more trip after we decided to change our lifestyle and move away from the big city: we travelled to the end of the world, to the city of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the whole hemisphere. Ushuaia is ....

beautiful and majestic; mystical and unique; mysterious and magnificent; colourful and magical ... So many words can be used to describe this place, but to me it is simply where nature, adventure and legend come together at the end of the world...

When I wrote these words I had Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) in mind, but the description suits the whole region of Patagonia perfectly. In this remote part of the country, there are no (or very few) shopping centres, no huge lights or big cities; but also, there is neither violence nor pollution... just endless plains, green valleys, mountains and lakes; clear skies and pure deep blue waters; above all, there is silence and peace.

After so many years travelling across the Patagonia, the little girl who fell in love with those beautiful landscapes so long ago, will be hopefully celebrating her 50th birthday next year in her new home in Patagonia, just as she dreamed so long ago. Very soon, my husband and I will be starting our new life in a small town in the northwest of the province of Chubut: Lago Puelo - a place where Mother Nature is mistress of all and which , for my husband and me, will become our place in the world....


Presepio No Canal said...

Ok, now, you moved me! Patricia, what a story!! I wish you and your husband all the happiness in the world!
Congratulations to you and Aledys for this awesome post!
The photos are beautiful!
Beijinhos and stay well! ;-)

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks Sandra! I'm sure Patricia will read your comment when she gets home tonight and will reply to you!

JaPRA said...

Oh, congratulations to you and your husband, Patricia! Thank you for sharing your love of Patagonia with us. It is a place I always thought of being so far away... but you have brought it closer to me. Such beautiful photos of a stunning place.

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

JaPRA, I´m Patricia and I want to thank you for your beautiful words, and you are invited to know my place some day!!

Aledys, perdón pero le respondí a JaPRA en tu lugar!

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

Thanks for your wishes and your words!
Poor Aledys, she had to do a great job for the translation (My english is really poor!!!!)
As you said, beijinhos!!!!!!!!

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

Aledys, te ha dado trabajo seguramente arreglar mi horrible traducción al inglés!!! Pero te quedó excelente!!!!! GRACIAS!!!!!!!!!!

Ana O'Reilly said...

WOW!! Que fotos espectaculares! Que lindo que encontraste tu lugar en el mundo :)

Aledys Ver said...

Not at all, Patricia! :D THanks to you for accepting and sharing your passion for Patagonia.

Aledys Ver said...

Quién no soñó, al menos por un instante a ver esos tremendos paisajes en vivo y en directo, con irse a vivir allí? Patricia fue fiel a su sueño y lo está llevando a cabo, Ana! Saludos!!

Anita said...

My next trip to Argentina will dfinitely include Bariloche and - who knows ? - Ushuaia. Dreaming is for free.

Aledys Ver said...

Oh, definitely! You have to go there. Who knows, you might get to see Patricia, even! ;)

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

Patagonia is very beautiful, you saw it by the photos of your daughter, also Peru is pretty and with a lot of history!
About your question: my husband is a lawyer, and he is working there since April. I´m an architect, specially in air conditioning.
You and your wife will be welcome to my place!! Thank you for your words!!

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

Thank you for your words! I´m thinking to blog about Lago Puelo and the "Comarca Andina" (the zone near Lago Puelo, with very beautiful places), but in time!! I have a lot of photographs but I didn´t publish them in a blog. I will pass to your blog!!
If you don´t like pollution and noise, Patagonia is your place!!!! : )

Thelma said...


Definitely a really good story with a happy ending... and a region that deserves a visit!

Have a nice weekend.

Besitos :D

Orangesplaash said...

Patricia, you have made me fall in love with Patagonia too, with your description and these beautiful photos..Thanks for sharing this Aledys, I would love to go for a ski holiday here.

PinayinDutchland said...

What a beautiful story. This can only be told if you are so inlove with one place. It sure looks adorable especially riding the sleigh with the dogs pulling it. This can inspire any traveler to go to Argentina. Thanks for sharing this to us.

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

Thank you for your words! If you love skiing, Patagonia have very beautiful and good resorts in Bariloche (Catedral), San Martín de los Andes (Chapelco), Villa La Angostura (Bayo) y Caviahue (ski in the Copahue volcano).

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

All of you are invited to know this beatiful place of my country. You can fall in love with Patagonia too!!!

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks, Pinay! Argentinian Patagonia is a place that attracts lots of foreign tourists. It is really big and also varied in landscapes which also means that there's lots to do as well.

Aledys Ver said...

You like skiing? As Patricia says, there are many resorts in Patagonia, many of them host international competions. You should try to go, some day! :D

Aledys Ver said...

Olá, Thelma!
The happy ending is almost there!! Patricia will be moving there in Jan. 2011, I think!
Thanks for stopping by!

Aledys Ver said...

It is a stunning place! If you ever get the chance, you should go! ;)

melissa said...

What a beautiful post!

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

I´m Patricia. Thank you for interesting in my little story, and you´ll be welcome to Patagonia!