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Published: February 25th 2010
Well, I find myself back in Santiago now, so I have a lot of catching up to do with blogs on our last week in Argentina. I thought it would be best to go in order, since our adventures last ended in Puerto Natales after an adventurous hike in Torres del Paine and some amazing penguin viewing.
We arranged to do a tour with an operator out of Puerto Natales to the Glacier Perito Moreno in El Calafete and to have them drop us off in El Calafete on the way home since it was easier than taking the bus ourselves. So, we woke up early on our last day in the beautiful country of Chile, for a while at least, and scrambled to get on the transfer at 7:00 am in the morning. I am not much for early wake up calls, as you all know and I think we were getting lazier and lazier as the time went on with our time off in Puerto Natales, so it was very difficult to get up...
We got in a van with about 6 other people and threw our luggage in the back. The transfer to the border crossing
was only a couple of hours and I am fairly certain that most of the van slept the whole way there. There were some beautiful views out the window of the mountains and torres del paine on the way out, really a gorgeous day. We had enjoyed a fabulous day in Puerto Natales the day before, and were amazed at how much you cold see with decent weather.
The border crossing was pretty uneventful, except that when we got out of the van, we heard someone say "Rita, Paige!". We knew this could only be a handful of people to be in the middle of nowhere in Chile that early in the morning...so we turned around and there was Andrew from our MBA program standing there looking surprised! Amazing, we had ended up in the middle of nowhere on two separate van tours to the same place in Argentina...weird. We all went inside, got our passports stamped for an exit from Chile and then proceeded on to the Argentina border control. Entering Argentina is a lot easier than going to Chile as far as food regulations go, but also we were at a very small border crossing so they
didn't care much at all.
By going through the border crossing from Chile and then flying into a municipal airport in Buenos Aires, we completely avoided the new fee regulation that they have imposed on US Citizens coming to the country. I think its like a $140 fee, so we were really happy not to have to pay that.
After crossing the border it was another few hours before we had arrived in El Calafete. It was a really cute town, mountain town with good tourist infrastructure, kind of reminds you of Pucon, Chile in a way. We went straight up to the national park which has the famous glacier which was another 45 min out of town with the van. Be wary of the road once you enter the park, I never get car sick, but the constant weaving back and forth at major speeds almost made me ill. It was all worth it though when you came around the last few bends and you could see an absolutely amazing and large glacier sprawling out in front of you. We had seen many glaciers in the last few weeks, some larger than this one, but this one
was spectacular and finally we were given a nice day of weather to enjoy it the best way possible.
We were suckered in to taking a hour long boat trip for 50 pesos (like 12ish dollars) and told we wouldn't be able to walk up to the glacier, but that was a lie. We went on the boat anyways and actually quite enjoyed being really close up to the glacier and getting a different view than we had before. We got some wonderful photos and enjoyed the fact that when we got cold we could run inside for a moment to warm up. After our boat ride we were driven up to another lookout point where we could walk along many of the walkways that had been built out of metal so that tourists could view the glacier from every angle possible. While we were standing there taking photos and catching up with Andrew we all witnessed a HUGE piece of ice break off of the glacier and crash into the water. I took a whole succession of photos, I will add a couple here, but they will all be on my picasa album if you want to take
a look, amazing, absolutely amazing.
So after all the excitement we were dropped off back in town to go find our hostel. Andrew decided to come stay at our place, Che Lagarto, which was absolutely fabulous. The hostel is brand new, close to the center of the nice area of town and just really well done. We decided to have the bbq at the hostel for a cheap price that night and our friend Chris that we met on the Navimag Ferry decided to join us as well as he had just arrived in El Calafete. Amazing the people you meet as you travel.
We walked around the town a bit and did a little tourist shopping before the skies decided to open up with a little more rain again. So we went back to the hostel to enjoy our unlimited bbq and brazilian live band. We all stayed and played cards for a long time, even meeting another girl from Israel who noticed we were playing one of her favorite games, title omited as its not appropriate for my friends and family blog, which Chris had taught us on the boat.
The next day we took
a leasurely morning and then decided to wander around town for a while. We had an afternoon flight to Buenos Aires, and getting to the airport was pretty simple, about 20 minutes and 50 pesos. It was a pretty small airport, but one thing to remember is they charge an airport take of something around 30 pesos each on the way out. Good to have some extra money along.
So it was off to Buenos Aires...more to come from our adventures there soon...
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