Friday, February 3, 2012

El Calafate

I arrived in el Calafate around 11pm, which was basically a five hour bus ride including an hour for immigration. I got to my hostel late after walking the wrong way. El calafate isn't that big so I wasn't worried about walking around late at night, but what should have been a five minute walk ended up being about 15. Idiot.

The next morning I booked my bus ticket to the Moreno glacier for the afternoon. I had a wander around the town and went down to the lake. My hostel is up the hill and the view is this.

I walked around the town, which is quite pretty. You can tell its set up for the snow and skiing in winter. I imagine its pretty nice if that's your thing.

Tim's fountain.

Watching the street dogs here is interesting. They all run everywhere. They must be too cold to walk.

I found a supermarket and stocked up fruit a tomato and avocado so I could make lunch for this afternoon. Then I went back to the hostel and watched the last half hour of the Aussie Open. I wanted Nadal to win. He didn't.

Then it was time to make my sandwich and head off to the bus station. The bus to the glacier takes about an hour or so. It then drops you off at the boat if you want to take that. Yes please! It's the best way to get to up close to the ice. But not too close cos ice does fall off and can travel a fair few metres. Apparently 32 people have died from falling ice over the past 20 years according to a sign.

This glacier is amazing to look at. I've never seen anything like it. It's very, very cool.

We did get to see some big chunks fall off and that was also very cool. It is really loud and causes quite a wave to form. I can see how tsunamis occur. It really doesn't take much.

After the boat ride finished, the bus picked us up again and took us to the lookout area. This was really cool. The glacier is massive! I think it joins up to some other glaciers up the back and is 30km long. Apparently it is in increasing by 2m a day, which I don't understand since it's summer and bits are falling off in front of you, plus climate change is having a good crack at destroying all glaciers.

Apparently the 90% if the ice is under the water like most icebergs. But the bits you can see are 30-60m high. That is huge! This thing is incredible.

Thankfully they created paths all around the lookout area. Elevated grated paths with ergonomically correct height steps are so much nicer to walk on than dirt and rocks. Plus it stops erosion so good for the environment too. Like las Torres, they tell you to take all your rubbish with you. Once again, people seem to respect this which is good.

The bus took us back to el Calafate at 7.30pm so I had time for a beer and finished book number 4. Hooray. I love having time to read on holidays. Tv gets in the way at home. Thankfully I'm not reading those terrible Twilight books this time. They were so shit. I can't believe I read all of them all in Asia. That's time I'm never getting back.

After getting back to town I headed into the main street for dinner. There is one veggie restaurant here, Casa de te Kau Kaleshen, that I was looking forward to going to but it was shut. Dammit. Not happy, cos it gets some good reviews and its meant to be open today. So I trawled the main street looking for something and found a tourist restaurant with a vegetarian menu and got a lentil veggie salad that wasn't very exciting. If I can make something better then it's not restaurant quality in my opinion. But the wine was good. I haven't had any bad red wine in Chile or Argentina (I did have some shit Peruvian red wine. Best to stick to beers or pisco sours there). The upside of it being fucking freezing down here in Patagonia is it's perfect for drinking reds. I'd better drink up though because tomorrow it's back to Buenos Aires. As much as I have loved Patagonia--it is a beautiful untouched part of the world and I hope it stays this way--this weather is not for me. I'm so glad I don't live in the UK anymore. Patagonia reminds me of shit Aberdeen summers. You can take the girl out of Queensland, but you can't take Queensland out of the girl.