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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate
November 17th 2005
Published: November 25th 2005
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We arrived in Bariloche after spending two days camping across the Lake in Villa La Angostura. We stayed in a nice bungalow a few miles up the Lake from the center of town.
We enjoyed the great weather and enjoyed walking the steets, taking in the views, and feeling like tourists. A few relaxing days later, we decided to tackle the drive to El Calafate.
We headed to El Bolson where we had lunch by a lake which straddled the Argentine- Chile border. El Bolson is located in a beautiful valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains. There are much fewer tourists here and the town is humble and muy tranquillo. From there, we drove to Esquel where we camped at a small campground outside of town. That evening we invited a young German Doctor and his wife to our site where Mike and Julio prepared an asado of steak and chorizos for us.
The following morning, we were ready (or so we thought) to take on the long stretches of dirt and rock road that lay between us and El Calafate. The first few hundred kilometers of "ripio" were brutal. When we were 100 miles north of Perito Moreno, our 2nd car sprung a leak in it's fuel filter. When we stopped to check it out, we noticed that our rear wheel was losing air. After changing the tire, we attemted to make it to Perito Moreno before we lost all of our gas.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when we rolled into a gas station outside of Perito Moreno,
with our second car powered by the the last drops of gas in the tank.
The following morning, Julio and Louis went off to a station where they replaced the fuel filter and had the tire fixed. At that point we decided that our cars did not have enough clearance for the rocky dirt roads. We chose to stick to the pavement and head East to the Atlantic Coast where we'd then swing South. This would add over a thousand kilometers to the trip but we'd get to see more of Patagonia in the process and would avoid the wear and tear of the rocks.
Our first evening on the Atlantic Coast was spent in the quiet town of Puerto San Julian.
The next day we made it into Rio Gallegos where we celebrated Noah's birthday with Argentine pizza. Just as soon as we sat down in the restaurant, we were approached by a group of Argentine High School students who asked if they could interview and film us as part of a school project. We were happy to oblige them and afterwards, they joined us on our walk and tour of the Malvinas War Museum a few blocks away. This was a perfect birthday event for Noah who is fascinated by all aspects of modern military history.
We decided to hit the road after the museum and to head for El Calafate about 300 kilometers to the Northwest. We arrived in El Calafate around 10 PM. We decided to head out to the Perito Moreno Glacier with the intention of finding a decent camping spot near the glacier. We ended up driving out toward the glacier since the full moon was rising and we hoped to see the glacier illuminated by the moonlight. We were not disappointed when we
rounded the bend in the road to see the glacier as the moonlight crept across the vast expanse of ice. At this point, we stopped our cars and pulled out Noah's birthday pastrycake. It wasn't easy getting the candle to light since the wind was blowing so hard. Renewed and in a festive spirit, we decided drive the rest of the way to the glacier. There, we ended up spending the night in the cars so we could view the glacier in the morning without having to drive back and forth to the glacier the following day. Some of us slept pretty well that night and some of us didn't. The sounds of chunks of ice breaking off and plunging into the lake could ocassionally be heard throughout the night.







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