Day 6 – Saturday 13th October 2018
By plane – 0
By foot – 21.5kms/13.37miles
By public transport – 0
Steps taken -32,024
So today was our ‘rest’ day. This was one of the extra days we had to build in to keep our choices open for going to the glacier. So due to us going yesterday we had today to explore El Calafate.
Some of the streets in El Calafate
Now we were going to explore by bike…but today we got to experience the Patagonian wind!
Corrugated Iron Houses, like in La Boca??
The local girl in our hostel told us “ah it is ok, it is very mild wind”….so off we went into ‘the very mild wind’. I needed to fill my pockets with rocks to stop me feeling like that other Mary who’s name ends in Poppins!!!
My goodness, it was hard going as we walked against it. This place is very desert like so you can imagine the dust and sand and small stones hitting against your face!! Windswept that’s all I’m going to say!!
View up to where our hostel was
As I walked though I must admit I did start to think…imagine carrying a heavy rucksack in this, up a mountain and winds like that happening….AND….if this is what she classes as mild, what the heck is a medium to strong wind!!!!
Now coming from Scotland let me tell you I have witnessed strong winds, this is on another level….and did I tell you it was MILD!
Weather in Patagonia in general is unpredictable and can change very rapidly….so watch this space!
Check out the structure/ shape of the roof on some of the houses, I know why now after today!
We met a couple today who had been travelling for 2 months across South America, they had trekked the Bolivian Dessert, climbed Machu Picchu in Peru, came through Chile doing several hikes then hit the Fitz Roy mountain range in Argentina, both said it was the hardest climb they had ever done, due to the terrain and elements and it was only a day climb, 9-10 hrs…maybe we should look to change our itinerary as that’s where we’re heading next!!
View from our hostel over town
So back to our mild windy walk! On leaving our accomodation we immediately felt like the Pied Piper. We were followed for approximately 8 miles with two of the local stray dogs…then they attracted every other stray dog in town who followed us on our travels all over town…I laugh now but not at the time. The sight must have been comical!
These were the first 2 culprits
We visited the National Park Office which told you about local Patagonian history/wildlife/trees/plants etc….and we got to meet the famous Francisco Moreno himself – remember this is the guy who discovered yesterday’s amazing glacier!
So Francisco was a scholar who spent years studying in Patagonia from 1852-1919.
He contributed greatly to the development of science in Argentina and his brainchild – a science museum was opened. This was referred to as ‘the first museum to follow the theory of evolution’.
He was also a prominent figure in Argentina’s defence towards keeping their region of Patagonia during border disputes against Chile. He helped in reaching peaceful solutions.
We then headed to a nature reserve, home to flamingos but there were no flamingos here today, I think the wind blew them over to Cuba!
After doing the ‘promenade walk’, which was the best idea we ever had, given the wind and the promenade sitting wide open alongside Lago Argentino, we were now completely wind blasted. We then headed back towards the ‘main street’ which is full of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Check out the trees ‘mildly’ blowing in the wind.
Lago Argentino is the biggest fresh water lake and reservoir in Argentina, this was the same lake that the glacier sat on yesterday. Various glaciers calve in the water and today we even saw an iceberg that had travelled all the way here.
So after another full on day it’s time to be heading once more to somewhere new.
This time a house made of brick
Tomorrow we leave El Calafate, but we will return for sure!
Could this be Andy in the photograph, check out the skills of the photographer though!
Well actually we literally will be because we need to come back here in five days time and once more again after that to catch buses to different destinations.
But before we go we felt it only right to raise a glass (or two) for all things ICE, especially the amazing Perito Morena Glacier…and there’s nowhere better to raise that glass than here in El Calafate.
Cheers! Or as they say here….Salud!
Perito Morena Glacier
Ow and here’s just a few things/pictures from yesterday that I forgot to put in as it was so full on and I could not talk about anything other than that stunning piece of ice:-
We got to see two Andean Condor soaring above the glaciers and mountains. With its three metres of wingspan, this big soaring bird uses rising air currents to fly without flapping its wings, stunning to watch.
Can you see them in the picture?
On this one they are on the right of the picture, one very top right and one bottom right, across from mountain between this and the cloud above
We also saw what they call ‘Barba de Virgo – Old Man’s Beard’, this grows in areas with no air pollution….looks similar to what we would call lichen I think?
Lastly, I may be off line for the next 5 days as we head to El Chalten. I’ve heard that in El Chaltén there is limited internet….who knows what awaits but I’m excited to see!
Night time view across the town