DAYS 27-29; El Calafate, Che Legarto Hostel

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South America » Argentina
March 28th 2011
Published: April 6th 2011
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From the boat I headed straight to the airport. I was heading to south Argentina, to El Calafate, to the cold and to hike the Glaciers- something I´ve wanted to do for years. My flight wasn´t leaving until 5am so there wasnt much point heading into town and spending money on a night of accommodation for the sake of 9 I made friends with the airport floor again.

I got on my flight and fell straight asleep, only managed 2 hours on the airport floor. When I arrived at the hostel at 10am, they said I couldn´t check until 2pm so I went for a wander to the supermarket and the main town to see what´s what. El Calafate is how I imagine Switzerland; wooden log cabins, little chocolate shops, gift shops, a nice bay, quite cold. It´s cosy in its own way. I decided I might as well start as I mean to go on and order my first didn´t disappoint. It was like a burger but when you bit into it, the meat just came away- there was no struggle with fatty bits...I´m not even one for red meat but it was amazing.

Once I could check in I had a little nap and got up to make a batch of the old favourite- spag bol. This would be my tea for the next 3 nights. I also booked my Glacier trek and got stuff in to make packed lunches. On heading back to the hostel I got chatting to a girl called Rachel from Manchester and some other girls from Northern Ireland. We headed out and went for some drinks...bearing in my mind I´d hardly slept for 2 days, I did reasonably well and turned in at about midnight.

I was up and out at 8am the next morning to head to the Perito Moreno glaciers. I wrapped my 3 layers on, my 5 pound Sports Direct walking shoes (you can tell I´m new to all this, didn´t want to invest) and headed out. We arrived to the bay near the Glaciers to board our boat that would take us across. It was freezing. By this point it had also started raining and I was wondering how I´d manage given I had absolutely nothing that was waterproof on. We met our guide who rummaged in the back and found me an XXXXL sized bright yellow waterproof. Beggars can´t be choosers so I put it on and was just grateful that it worked. We got to camp where we were given spikes for the bottoms of our shoes which are used to cut into the ice.

Just as we were about to start the trek we saw parts of the glacier fall off. The sound came crashing down but it was such an incredible thing to see. The glaciers themselves are so impressive, I doubt my pictures will do them justice. We were told that the blue hue from them is just an optical illusion, they are actually white but the ice is compressed and due to the way the light reflects, they look blue. There were pools of water and crevices all through the glaciers but the hiking itself was brilliant. The spikes and the oversized coat made it hard work though...I was lunging rather than walking and after half an hour of trekking, snow started to come down quite heavily. It was hard to take pictures because I had to take off my huge fat Thinsulate gloves then try and work my camera with my frozen pink hands, but I managed a couple. After 2 hours of trekking we stopped and were treated to a glass of whiskey to warm us. By this point I was frozen to the bone and my bargain shoes actually let in water so my toes and socks were soaking wet... I half expected something to fall off.

When I got in I had a red hot shower, ate my spag bol then crawled into bed with my book. I dont think I actually stopped shivering until 9pm that night...but it was such an experience so I can´t complain.

The next day I had a lie in and wandered round having amaretto coffees, taking pictures, reading and updating this blog. I was just grateful to be warm. The flight back to Buenos Aires was booked for the morning but I´m not hanging around there (I´m coming back in a few weeks to spend some time properly). From my flight I´ll be heading straight to Santiago, Chile on yet another long bus ride- 21 hours.

I´m meeting up with Jenny who I met in Uruguay and I´m very much looking forward to replacing my jeans, wet socks and thermals for shorts and sun cream!

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


Broken bits of glacierBroken bits of glacier
Broken bits of glacier

Apparently this glacier is the only one growing though...
Shoes now ready?Shoes now ready?
Shoes now ready?

Spot the holes...
Other hikersOther hikers
Other hikers

...but doing what I was doing
Freezing coldFreezing cold
Freezing cold

And hoping my nose wouldn´t drop off!

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