09.09.2012 - 25.09.2012
We thought hard about the best way to spend our time in Argentina, bearing in mind that it's now coming to the very end of the Southern Hemisphere winter season. The timings for our visit could lend itself to visiting Patagonia at the beginning of the tourist season (literally by a day), so we booked ourselves flights in and out of El Calafate from Buenos Aires to spend a week with the glaciars and mountains.
The view above is what we were lucky enough to see on our first trip to the Perito Moreno National Park, the glaciar itself standing 60 metres tall in all its impossibly blue glory. The backdrop of black rugged mountains frosted with snow made the blue and serrated glaciar look even more unreal. The length of it drawing back for miles looked as if it was the entrance to Antartica, seriously impressive. What made it even better was the creaks and groans of pieces of the glaciar cracking off in the sunshine. When we were lucky enough to see a portion fall off, the sound was like a firework and the sight was as if we were watching a huge chuck of ice fall in slow motion into the water, with a huge amount of water from the lake rising up in a tsunami of miniature proportions. It felt like we were in another world, such a contrast from the deserts, jungles, salt plains and seascapes we've enjoyed in South America so far.
We spent a few days in the El Calafate area, some easy days just enjoying the town and the landscape around, and some boat trips to the other glaciars in the lake as well as Dave going on an Ice Trek on the Perito Moreno glaciar itself. We then took a trip to the El Chalten area 3 hours north, and spent a few exhausting but gorgeous days hiking by the mountains in the area. The fact I was voluntarily walking for 7 hours in the cold meant it had to be worth it, but after being rewarded with views of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy as shown, it really was.
Unfortunately, at the very end of the trip to Patagonia, we had news of a death in the family, which is the worst news to get whilst travelling. We got back to Buenos Aires as soon as possible, so we could get Dave on a plane back to the UK as soon as possible for the funeral. It made the remainder of our time in Argentina really stressful and incredibly sad. Dave came back from the funeral a couple days ago, but the week we had planned to spend getting to know Buenos Aires and going out to see folk music and tango shows were spent just indulging in home comforts, recovering from the stress and just grieving. We figure, we've enjoyed Argentina so much that we'll save Buenos Aires for another time, when we can really enjoy it properly.
Tomorrow, we're flying off to Santiago Chile, for our last few days in South America. Hopefully, we'll be in a better place emotionally to enjoy the city, but either way, we're looking forward to being in Sydney and catching up with friends, so the social aspect of that trip should help.