The Most Gorgeous Glacier - Perito Moreno.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
402Trip End Dec 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
This stunning blue-hued glacier is quite unique in that it is accessible without climbing mountains, is moving at the snappy pace (for a glacier!) of two metres per day, and most visitors get to see a calving, a more hit and miss affair with other glaciers. To be told or read that the glacier face is 60 metres high does not prepare you for the sight of such massive and gorgeous jagged peaks of solid ice facing off to the pale blue iceberg strewn lake below. It is truly one of those "wow" moments!
We had arrived at El Calafate, a town of around 20,000 people, at 1.00am and went from the heated bus into the freezing cold night. Not the best hour to be trying to find the hostel we had booked, that on a map seemed an easy walk from the bus station! Once found, however, the Che Lagarto proved to be a wonderful choice and we were quickly checked in, showered, and soon disappearing under a warm feather quilt.
The day after our late night arrival, was spent enjoying the charming town on foot, albeit in a howling and cold wind, eating a gourmet lunch in a typical Argentinean restaurant warmed by a wood fire, getting quotes on hire cars, buses and booking a trip (through the hostel) out to the glacier the next day. Also one of our tasks as always is to find the supermarket. We don't eat out all the time, so need food supplies (and always water) and it is a delight to see other countries supermarkets . What do the locals eat? (In Argentina it is meat, meat, more meat and of spectacular quality!) What are the locals buying? It is always an education and we spend much more time than is needed to buy our few supplies of fruit, nuts, long life cheese, crackers, muesli, packet soup, green tea or whatever. Most hostels we stay at provide a breakfast of sorts but rarely does it contain any wholegrain foods or fruit. Usual fare is cornflakes, milk, white bread rolls, jam and coffee so we supplement with some of our own breakfast cereal, fruit and some green tea to start our day
One more task for the day was to replace a pair of trousers for Avan or get a new zip in his old ones. Our hostel came up trumps by giving us the address of a craft shop that did sewing repairs and for around $9( we achieved a much better quality replacement zip.
So, with great excitement the following day, we boarded a little bus with four others and headed off for the 80 km journey to Pargue Nacional Los Glaciares. The wind had dropped off but the day was still very cold and we were grateful for our heavy duty coats. Our fellow passengers were two young girls from Israel, (young Israelis travel a lot, typically straight after they do their army service), a Mexican girl, and a Spanish boy. We had a charming guide, Barbara, who explained everything in Spanish and English and had a real passion for her job as tour guide. We took a one hour boat ride right up to the face of the Glacier and then traversed a series of board walks. There were 4 kms in all of these – amazing and new infrastructure) with spectacular views of the glacier at different heights and angles
The glacier became more active after we had eaten our packed lunch, and each KABOOM! made us quickly look in the direction for a calving, until - yes it happened! We both were lucky enough to see a massive piece of blue ice drop into the lake below causing the lake water to rear up with a roar and then the newly created iceberg to bob back up, a separate chunk now released from the glacier. Quite an unforgettable moment!
Our bus trip back followed the course of the lake for a time and huge icebergs that once belonged to the glacier could be seen floating in the lake. Back at the wonderful Che Lagarto Hostel, (even under floor heating do you mind!) they had a value food night on offer of schnitzel and a vino for equivalent of Aussie $10 each which we availed ourselves of, and it was excellent. Reception staff also gave us a 20% discount card for future hostels in their group, and allowed us to stay the next day for as long as we wanted after check out (our next bus was not until 4pm) using free WIFI and facilities. Onto the next adventure…
Footnote: Los Glaciares, Argentina is a UNESCO World Heritage site.