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Published: March 24th 2015
: I looked out of the window on Friday morning and we had a clear day! And the wind had dropped! Seeing the sun rise over the mountains out of our hotel window was a fantastic and welcome sight. Having done a pretty long walk (10 miles) the previous day in less than perfect conditions, we had planned to take it a bit easier. However, the sunshine and the views of the mountains were irresistible and so we set off on an 11 mile walk that was to take us to the base of the glacial lakes up in the mountains, Lake Torre.
The walk started with a punishing climb. However, after an hour or two, we were walking through the flat glacier valley floor with the snow-capped peaks ahead of us. It was really spectacular and made all the better by the fact that the sun was shining and I had feeling in my fingers and toes, which was a major improvement from the day before!
Once we got to the lake it was time to munch our lunch (as quickly as possible as you could now feel the cold wind coming off the glacier and the mountains
in front of us, and sitting still for any length of time was not much fun!). The sun came out even stronger on the way back and the layers were taken off as we warmed up again on our way back to town. When we got to the last mile or two, we were getting pretty weary, but still in good spirits after another amazing day. Also, we had set our sights on another meat and cheese board for dinner, so there was a lot to keep going for!
I'm writing this on the morning of my 30th birthday and I can't believe where I am and what I'm doing! We're having the best time and thank you for the birthday wishes.
Miss you all lots and will celebrate when I'm back! (Cont. 24 Mar 15)...
Yesterday, at about 2pm, we arrived at our hostel in Mendoza. We had left El Chalten at 10am the previous day and started our bus, plane, taxi, bus, taxi journey with the last big leg from Buenos Aires to Mendoza being a 15 hr overnight bus. We were a bit unprepared, mainly due to arriving at the bus station a little
later than we would have liked, after being stuck in traffic from the airport. Also, we were expecting the bus to be more or less the same as the buses we had picked up in Brazil. However, we'd chosen some cheap tickets and the saying 'you get what you pay for' rang true last night! An uncomfortable night was had by all (bus sounded liked a tin can, air con was blowing out hot air on and off, token passengers behind us liked to slam their footrest against the backs of our seats periodically, we hadn't brought enough food or water). Anyway, our mega journey was done and once we'd been to the supermarket and scoffed the wings from our hot chicken followed by a chicken mayo sarnie, all was forgotten!
Anyway, back to our last day in El Chalten... We had decided to chill out after the long walks of the previous days. The sun was shining brightly again so we decided to do shorter walk suggested by our guide map, accompanied and followed by some sun worship! Unfortunately, the guide map does not have any contour lines and it soon became clear that we were on a
steep route which took us up to the top of a hill above the town. Luckily, it was just a 30 minute ascent, but our legs were not entirely happy with us for taking it on! At the top we reached the 'Mirador de Los Condores' (Viewpoint of the Condors). It gave us another view of the mountains as well as lots of condor spotting through the binoculars - there were about 3 circling above at any one time! We had a little muse and a read at the top before heading back down (sorry shins and knees - I may have not felt much different turning 30 but my legs wanted to tell me all about it!).
After a bite of lunch we headed back to the waterfall that we had visited on the first day to see it in better conditions. We realised how lucky we were to see it when the weather was a bit crap as there was hardly anyone there that day and now the sun was out it was really busy. We ambled back playing our new game 'Hola or Nola' which pits you against your fellow walkers to see whether they give
you an 'hola' or not. What larkish fun.
We chose a recommended restaurant for dinner which was really cosy. I went for the Patagonian trout which is a bit of a speciality of the region. It was really flavoursome and a good way to round off our Patagonian adventure and my birthday. For Nick, a steak!
Last night we ate a homemade bean and chicken stew accompanied by free wine from the hostel. A proper bed was very welcome and there was only the odd interruption to our sleep of people coming and going, so a massive improvement on they previous night! We have a planning day ahead of us. Apparently the volcano in Chile that we were planning on visiting that last erupted in 1984 is showing signs of activity and led to evacuations the other week. To go, or not to go? We will see. Tomorrow, good old wine and bike tour of the local bodegas (wineries)!
Hope all is well. We had to save up all these blogs as internet down in Patagonia would not allow the upload of photos, so sorry to post all these in quick succession.
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