Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
1
6
23
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Patagonia! It's freezing here! Whatīs worse I hear that the weather back in London is hot, so jealous! Nothing beats a nice hot day in a London park.... When I came traveling I imagined being in shorts and a t-shirts the whole time, swimming, sun bathing etc. The average temperature here is 4 degrees! Itīs to be expected though, as itīs not far from Antarctica.
What brings people here? To see amazing Glaciers, landscapes and lakes. Hiking is the main activity, with plenty of options. The most famous of all, the "W Trek", located in "Torres Del Paine National Park" in Chile. Of course we were going to give it a go!

We flew from Buenos Aires to El Calafate. El Calafete is a small town with a handfull of hotels and hostels and an airport. There's not much to do here, the main attraction lies 40km away in "Los Glaciares National Park", the famous "Perito Moreno Glacier". Whatīs famous about this glacier is that itīs one of the few glaciers in the world that is growing.
Weīve come to Patagonia just out of season. Winter is arriving and everything is shutting down. On the plus side, thereīs less people around and rates are slightly cheaper. On our first night we arrived at our hostel only to be told that they were closing down for the winter, luckily we were transferred to a posh hotel down the road for the same price! The next morning we woke up at 9 and made our way to the bus station to get a bus to see the glacier, only to find that buses only leave at 8 in the morning (because itīs low season). We had no choice but to get in a taxi, which in the end worked out cheaper between the four of us, yay!
The glacier was amazing! A huge sheet of ice, with an average height of 74m high and 5 km wide. Every few minutes, massive chunks of ice break off the glacier into the lake below making loud roaring noises. A spectacular sight! (Check out the photos)

The next day we took a coach to Puerto Natales. This is where everyone organizes their trip to "Torres Del Paine" national park. None of us are experienced hikers but we still decided that we were going to give it a go anyway. The trek we decided to do is the most common one, the 5 day "W trek". Itīs called this because if you look at it on a map itīs shaped like a W (how original!). It consists of hiking through all kinds of terrain. Along the way are refugios where you can sleep and have a meal. The whole trek can be done by staying at these refugios but this works out to be very exspensive. The cheaper option is to hire a tent, stove and to bring your own food and camp at various campsites along the trail. Of course we went for the cheaper option. The only downside was that we each had to carry a huge backback with tent, sleeping bag and food provisions for 5 days! it wasnīt easy. We walked on average 18km a day. At night we didnīt get much sleep as temperatures plummeted below freezing levels. Whatīs worse we walked through gale force winds and heavy rain in the day. The great thing about Torres Del Pain is that it can be raining heavily for a few hours, then all of a sudden the sun will come out and youīre presented with the most beautiful landscapes. Unfortunately, my camera broke on the second day. Luckily the others got some good pictures for me to post on the blog. Gutted though, Iīll have to buy a new one...
The walks were tiring, but there was always food to look forward to. We had noodles for breakfast, cereal bars for lunch and pasta with plain tomato sauce for dinner. Yum yum! 
The overall goal of the trek was to see the "Torres" (towers made of rock) at the end of the trek. It was the most difficult place to get to, situated high up in the mountains. When we got there we couldnīt believe our eyes. They were incredible! And seeing them made the whole trek worth while.
On the last day we were so relieved to be going home. I did enjoy trekking and the whole thing was an experience, but I much prefer a nice cozy bed to a sleeping bag in a freezing tent!

Itīs too cold here so were going to up head north asap! We want to get to Mendoza in Argentina where we can relax and sip wine in the sun. Itīs going to take 5 coach journeys, one of them being a 36 hour non-stop coach.... Iīm dreading it!

Take care everyone, enjoy the photos!
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Comments

dadandliz on

V impressive dave!!! Looks fab but tough. How much weight have you lost? We just back from trekking on the Isle of Wight!!! But no bacpacks for us and a stop or two at a beachside cafe made it bearable.

Keep in touch. Love xx

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