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Published: August 11th 2013
Another wise decision of buying a plane tickect WELL in advance paid off. Only an hour on the plane to El Calafate from Ushuaia compared to over 24 hours on a bus.
The main draw to El Calafate is to the see the Perito Moreno Glacier. However, other things that made it special was the view from the hostel. The hostel was perched on top of a hill with a panoramic view of the lake and snowpeaked mountains. The lovely town also had its very own...´McDaniels´which made us chuckle. With a value meal one could have a pint of beer! what would Ronald say?
So we took a day tour to the glacier and en route saw the Argentinian planes, which are very dry lands, and then moved towards the mountains to where the glacier was hiding behind. After lots of ´almost´seeing it as we curved around the moutain it was suddenly in full view. The glacier is 30km long and comes across the Chilian and Argentinian andes and is 60metres high. We viewed it from both a boat and also from the various ´balcony´views which are opposite the glacier on a hill. It is VERY impressive and l
highly recommend seeing it, this is definelty, so far, one of the best things we have seen. As it is not the tourist season instead of there being around 2,000 tourists at the glacier everyday there are around 200, so we had it too ourselves. We took our pack lunch and there was just me, Craig and the glacier which was really lovely and definitely not possible if it had been the tourist time.
Its very quite and every now and then you hear the ice crack, or fall, into the surrounding water with a very loud SPLASH, and there is a constant sound of dripping (like a large tap hasnt been turned off properly somewhere). Parts of the glacier reminded us of boiled sweets with stripes through it. The colours of the ice changes as the sun comes out and back behind the clouds. Luckily for us the clouds disappeared and the blue sky was out which made for a great view. There are lots of icebergs around which are ice blocks which have come off the glacier and the wind has blown up the lake, which for me was cool as l'd never seen one before and
again the colours were very pretty when the sun came out.
It was a fantastic experience and l could have stayed there and watched it all day.
We spent a couple of nights in El Calafate and decided to carry on moving up the continent. Due to it being winter a lot of tours are not running due to the snow so there wasnt too much to hang around for (apart from the amazing STEAK restaurant we went to!!!MMMMMMMM! had the niceset BIGGEST steak for about 10pound!).
No more plane journeys have been booked and we are now ´proper´traveling - i.e 28 hour bus journey up to Bariloche for our next stop.
Survival pack for the bus included:
6) Earplugs/sleeping tablets/eye mask
The bus went without too many hitches - watched some films including The Dictator twice. I was absolutely boiling as l was sat next to the heater, however l realised l had my thermal vest on so once that was whipped off things were good again. Spent a lot of time watching the scenery out of the
window which included the dry planes, which at times were covered with lots of snow, to the snowy mountains and then forests leading up to Bariloche.
Bariloche is predominantly a skiing town which is set around a large lagoon. We had hoped to do some hiking, but unfortunately the whether had other ideas. It snowed/sleighted/rained for the whole time we were there. So we hung around the town, treated ourselves to a yummy mexican feast and did some hostel swapping (our first hostel choice was not a good one! - cats and stale smoke were ingrained in the walls and sheets, and at first light after spending one night shallow breathing we moved to a lovely little hostel around the corner!). Typically the weather is clear on the day we leave..but we had time for a small walk around the town which is very nice. We were humoured by the trees having their very own crochet outfits to keep them warm and some St Bernard dogs we saw called Pedro and Brenda!
Argentina has been a little more expensive than we first thought it would be so we have decided to hop skip it up to Bolivia where
it is super cheap, from Bolivia we have booked our ticket to Costa Rica which is in a months time, so thats very exciting! Its a long way up to Bolivia, and we are climbing onto our third long distance bus journey of 36 hours to San Salvador de Jujuy. See you on the other side!
Things we have learnt from El Calafte and Bariloche:
1) DO NOT wear a thermal vest on a bus journey
2) There are good hostels, and very bad hostels, and its OK to leave the bad ones
3) ALWAYS take a survival pack on a long distance bus journey
4) The Perito Moreno Glacier is beautiful and definietly worth returning for
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