Glacier-tastic!

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
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Trip End Dec 20, 2007


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Monday, December 3, 2007

Wow I've had a stressful couple of days! Its been fun but I've had to do so much organising and planning to try and cram as much stuff as possible into my last week in Patagonia! But I believe its now all sorted so I can sit back, chill out, and write at leisure :o) a challenge is always fun anyway!

I got to El Calafate, a little tourist town in the south of Parque los Glaciares, on friday, with Judith the dutch girl I met in Puerto Madryn. We were pretty tired as the whole bus ride took 24 hours! Yikes :oS we went to a big hostel here and its really nice, the staff are lovely and its got all the usual hostel-y stuff. We went for a late lunch and had the most enormous pizza ever, plus made the mistake of each ordering a salad on the side so had far too much food! It was really tasty though :o) unfortunately not bolivian prices any more, its really expensive here, almost as much as europe for restaurants :oS my $20 a day isnt going very far! Oh well, just as well im only here for a few days! Other than that we spent friday wandering around lots of tour operators both trying to work out where to go next and how! Its so complicated! Anyways, more on that in the "what to look forward to next week" below, i like to keep things in order!

Yesterday was super cool! In the cold and the awesome sense. We went to see the Perito Moreno glacier - the fastest advancing glacier in the world. Its moving down its valley at a rate of 2 metres a day into the side of Lago Argentina, however because its centre has hit the opposite bank of the lake, the sides can't advance either so huge chunks of ice fall off into the water either side every half hour or so. Its amazing! And every couple of years the "dam" created by the glacier across the lake breaks comes under so much pressure that it caves in causing a massive rupture - hot tip for the next one is 14th March 2008! Anyway, before we got to the glacier we went for a walk further down the Lago Argentina (which btw is the second biggest mass of water in south america, after Lake Titicaca - much smaller but 900m deep!). Its a really beautiful shade of turquoise as its made from glacial melt so is full of minerals. Our guide was really good and told us all about the glacier as well as plants, birds etc in the area. And then we went to the glaciar! the first view of it as we came round a bend in the road was incredible! Its so huge and bright white from a distance, will show the pics! We stopped for photos then went closer. Above the point where the glacier hits the cliff there are a serios of walkways and balconies to look down on the glacier and it gets more amazing the closer you get. Its so bright that I was wearing sunglasses (even when it started to rain), although close up it is more blue than white (light absorbtion stuff, i wont explain, if you care you prob know already...). Its like a massive wall of ice stretching back to the horizon between snow topped mountains. And every so often there is a really loud cracking noise as something moves.... Its not always possible to see the movement, but when its close to the edge huge chunks of ice break away and crash into the lake below, its incredible! Its like an avalanche of ice and snow! We watched it for about an hour and a half, its mesmorising :o) then we had a boat tour on the lake so we could look up at the glacier from ground level. More photos!

When we got back we went travel agent hopping again, and I had an imaginative (cheap!) meal of bread and pate, exactly what I had for breakfast and lunch... the food might be good here but I can't afford it! Shared a bottle of wine with Judith and a french couple in our dorm, have to say I havent yet had an amazing bottle of argentinian red, but i will keep looking!

Today I went horse riding, although it was more what i would call pony trekking... A group of mainly beginners, walkimg nose to tail for 2 and a half hours. The scenery was stunning but not the most exciting ride ever! On the plus side we got a really good lunch afterwards, masses of BBQ steak and chicken with roasted veg. Yum! I stocked up on meat :o)

And then when I got back I booked the rest of my trip! Yay! the reason its so complicated is that I want to go to Torres del Paine in Chile, but I needed to hire tents, and make sure my buses coordinated with the boats in the park, and try and see as much as poss in only 3 days without killing myself! Still might be walking 25km in a day but will prob be fine :o)

So, tomorrow im going Supertrekking in El Chalten! Woo, hope I get a Supertrekker t-shirt :o) its hiking for a day, camping overnight, then on Tuesday I go walking on a glacier and ice climbing with picks and crampons! Should be amazing .o)

Get back from that late on Tues, then leave for Torres del Paine very early on Weds. im there til Friday, then back here late fri night, and I have a bus to Ushuaia at 3am saturday morning. Yikes! 20 odd hours on a bus then im at the end of the world :o)

So might not be online for a while as im so busy, but rest assured I will be having an awesome time, hehe!

Less than 3 weeks til home, yikes! looking forward to christmas and seeing you all!

Lots of love xxxxx
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