El Calafate to Perito Moreno glacier

I set off at 7.30 and by 8.30 I reached the entrance to the national park where I paid my fee and was given instructions.

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Driving out of the El Calafate oasis I soon hit the barren wilderness again with hardly a soul to be seen. Then gradually the terrain changed. Shrubs appeared and then trees as I neared the mountain range. By the time I had reached the  national park I was in semi forest which survives because of the convectional rainfall from the mountains.

Another thirty minutes and I spot the glacier, miles away, but visible due to its sheer size. Monumental!! Compare the glacier in the distance to the boats in the foreground.

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I am used to European glaciers that fade to nothing at their end point but this is totally  different …a great wall of blue tinged ice rising to over 70 metres.

El Calafate

I had been looking forward to getting to Patagonia for the first time. But again when I arrived at the airport from BA no transfer bus to meet me. The hostel sorted me out and I arrived to discover this time it was my fault. Booked for the following day !!

imageEl Calafate is not what I had expected or imagined. After flying over parched wasteland with heavy soil erosion due to the lack of trees I arrived at a small but modern airport situated on a desolate moonscape alongside Lago Argentino, the colour of which could be described as turquoise or radioactive! Very strange colour.

What I did not expect was to arrive in a town full of trees and greenery. A veritable oasis. Most of the buildings are colourful and single story. The main drag reminds me of a USA ski resort and a Californian couple I met agreed that it reminded them of Lake Tahoe. Everything of course helped by sunshine and a very clean and easy hostel.

I made an investigatory tour, found a supermarket and an ATM and then set off to pick up my rental car…luck provided me an upgrade. So all set for an early morning get away to the Perito Moreno glacier.

Back to food. Online reviews suggested La Zaina a good place so I headed down and found a packed restaurant.

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No room at the inn but I was offered a seat at a communal table near the bar. Ideal. Soon joined by Sachiko, a lovely Japanese radio astronomer based in Santiago, and working on a global astronomy project collecting data from some of the Chilean international dark sky observatories.

She was delightful company and it was a great meal.