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Published: January 29th 2009
Day 649 (7.01.09)
After our night on the luxury cama bus we had to change to a semi-cama bus for the next big part of our journey. We passed the day with reading and some terrible films and arrived in Rio Gallegos in the evening not sure whether we'd be able to get a bus over to El Calafate that night or whether we'd have to stay in town and leave the next day. We found a bus with seats that left an hour later and although loathe to spend another 5 or so hours sat on a bus after our already mammoth journey we thought it best to get it all over and done with in one go and booked them up.
Finally in El Calafate after 30 hours on various buses we checked into our hostel and went to bed. Why is sitting on a bus so tiring?!
Day 650 (8.01.09)
When we woke we found that the hostel was full for the night so we'd have to move. By the time we'd found somewhere else to stay and checked out our options for visiting the Perito Moreno glacier, the town's major drawcard, it was
too late to head out that day. We discovered that with us, Kate and Henry, the cheapest way to get out to the glacier was to hire a car so we booked that up for the following day and set out to explore town. Basically a base for glacier visits there's not a lot to see other than the usual touristy shops but we pottered around, booked our onward bus tickets and accomodation for our next destination (we're not used to all this forward planning but it's busy season down here!) and then headed back to the hostel for dinner.
Day 651 (9.01.09)
We set off early in our little car and travelled out to the glacier about 70km from El Calafate. The weather was much greyer than it had been the day before but we were sure the views would still be amazing. As we neared the parking area we began to see first small icebergs floating past us on the lake to our left and then a view of the glacier itself looming in the distance.
We parked up and caught the shuttle up to the viewing area and as the day began to brighten
got a quick glimpse of a rainbow hovering over the ice. We walked onto the extensive platform and walkway system to get our first close-up views of the glacier. At 30km long and with a terminal face of 60m in height and 4km in length it makes for an absolutely spectacular sight with the compacted ice seeming to glow in different shades of blue. It's a fast mover advancing at almost 2m per day and the creaks and groans and thunderous rumblings from deep within the glacier are pretty impressive. As we marvelled at a truly stunning view you could almost feel the collective will of the spectators yearning for a huge section of ice to fall off into the lake and, although a big chunk did not calve off, we were lucky to see a few smaller sections slip off with a splash to begin life as little icebergs!
As the viewing area began to fill up with hundreds of other people we deemed it an appropriate time to leave and made for a picnic at a viewpoint further down the valley. After lunch we treated ourselves to a boat trip that would take us up the lake
to the face of the glacier.
Out on deck, dwarfed by blue ice peaks that looked lit from within as the sun shone onto the glacier, we felt it was a fitting place to welcome our new niece Miranda. Congratulations Graeme and Katy - thanks for giving us such a beautiful niece, we can't wait to meet her!
After the boat trip we headed back to town, picked up our stuff and Mark dropped us all off at the bus station to wait with the bags whilst he took the car back. Just a short 3 hour bus journey took us to El Chalten where we found our little apartment, the only place we'd been able to book for the 4 of us. Named an 'apartmentito' by its owner on the phone we soon found out why. It was pretty tiny but had a little room for the four of us, a bathroom and a kitchen/dining area so would be a cool place to spend a couple of nights.
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