On the way to the bus terminal, I stopped suddenly. I felt sick. I looked at John, trying not to cry and heard myself say ‘I’ve lost my camera!’. I could remember exactly where I left it – hanging over the back of chair at the brewery we’d eaten in the night before. We didn’t know what to do. We eventually decided to leave as planned and leave it to fate, as the chances of them still having the camera were so small, given it’s a big and popular brewery open until 2am in the morning. Luckily we still had John’s camera and thank goodness we had all our photos backed up. A very sad start to the day.
After another beautiful 6-hour bus ride through the Patagonian countryside, we arrived in El Calafate. We were here for just one thing – to visit the impressive Perito Moreno Glacier in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the world’s only glaciers still advancing. As we entered the park, we readied ourselves for another day of terrible weather. The rainbows the only upside to the rain and cold.
Just like Iguazu, the National Park has amazing walkways, allowing you to get up close to the ice from below, as well as look over the glacier from above. The sheer size and expanse of the bright blue glacier, against the milky green glacial waters below was stunning. It’s hard to believe the glacier is 5kms wide and 74m high above the surface of Lake Argentino.
The best thing about glaciers is waiting to see parts of the glacier carve off into the water below. Like lightening comes before the thunder, you need to keep your eyes open, as the crashing noise echoes around you only once the ice has already fallen into the water. It was such a shame it wasn’t a nicer day, as we could have sat and watched the glacier for hours.
We tried to withstand the weather, but the rain was soon pouring down and the metal walkways became too slippery to walk on, so we had to head back to the park cafe. Soaking wet and cold, it was 11am and we had 5 hours to kill before our bus came to pick us up. Time we’d planned on spending wandering, watching and listening to the glacier, now being spent in an over-priced cafeteria with all the other tourists hiding from the rain.
I’d bought my computer along just incase we had bad weather, so had plenty of time to catch up on emails. John was less fortunate and spent a good portion of the day looking out of the window, while eating overpriced and terrible food. Luckily, one skill you build up while traveling is patience, with so much waiting around. At least they made a good hot chocolate with a shot of whiskey.
Eventually the day ended and we made it back to the hostel. I would have given anything for a nice warm bath that night. But we had a fantastic warm meal at the hostel, which was almost as good. We had our first locro – a typical Argentinean peasant style stew made from lentils and meat. It was delicious.
Just as we finished dinner, a power cut hit town. Heading outside, the sky looked magical, filled with the most stars we’d seen in a very long time. It was a strange feeling, being so far from home but looking up and seeing the same stars.
When we visited: 2 nights end of March 2014.
How we got here: 6 hour bus from Puerto Natales
Where we stayed: Las Cabanitas. Highly recommended family run hostel.
Food & Drink recommendations: We had a fantastic homemade meal at the hostel mentioned above.