Bariloche to El Calafate, Argentina
Jan 26, 2014
|Saturday 25th January 2014
Bariloche to Perito Moreno Town, Argentina (860km)
Today is a long driving day further south into Argentina. Left the campsite at 6am, dark but dry. It was a noisy campsite so everyone was feeling tired, so it was quiet on the truck for the first few hours with most people asleep. We travelled through mostly bleak looking landscapes with low hummocky bushes. We saw quite a few guanacos (like llamas or alpacas only bigger) and even some rhea – an emu like bird that we’ve never seen before. We had lunch at a warm spot on the side of the road. It was our group’s turn to prepare lunch so we cut and prepared for the rest of the group. After lunch we set off again across the bleak (although sunny) windswept plains of Patagonia, very empty of towns or people, just some estancias (ranches) off the road. The road is fenced all the way so someone obviously owns the land but there is little or no sign of habitation. We finally arrived at the town of Perito Moreno and found the municipal camping ground – our home for the night. It was very challenging putting the tents up as the winds were gale force! Once the tents were in place and the bags inside to hold them down, we had to find our own dinner, choosing from one of the three restaurants in town. We had a beautiful Argentinian steak with chips and beer followed up by ice cream for dessert. It was such a treat after “one pot meal” truck food for the past few days. Then we went back to the campsite where we had a better sleep because it wasn’t so cold – 14-15C instead of 7-9C inside the tent.
Sunday 26th January 2014 (Australia Day)
Perito Moreno Town to El Calafate, Argentina (680km)
A lie in today as we didn’t have to be on the road until 7am so it was light when we packed up. Looxury!! Our preparation was even quicker because there was no water in the bathrooms….breakfast was just cold cereal and a banana, no time to get a coffee. Thinking of Australia Day today and all the fun we usually have…hope you all had a good day. Continued south across similar landscape as yesterday, but the hummocks are flatter and it looks a lot drier – more guanacos sighted and some rhea. Stopped at a windy spot with a small hotel and service station at around 9am for snacks, toilets and coffee and then continued south across the dry plains. Lunch today was prepared inside the truck because it was so windy – after lunch we continued south and arrived at El Calafate at around 7pm, but not before the truck had a problem which had to be fixed and some of us had to make a windbreak from a tarp stretched out off the side of the truck. Once we arrived at the hostel, we went out to the supermarket then to dinner and had very nice steaks and chips. Home to the hostel (about 1km walk from the town). El Calafate is a tourist town and has only the Perito Moreno Glacier and the Glaciers National Park nearby.
Monday 27th January 2014
Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina
Our trip to the glacier was supposed to commence at around 9am, but it was first postponed till 10am, then we finally left for the bus station at about 12:15pm to catch the bus at the bus station at 1:00pm. It was about a 1½ hour bus ride out to the glacier. We had about ¾ of an hour to have a preliminary look before our boat ride out to near the face of the glacier. Perito Moreno is one of the only glaciers in the world that is not receding. It is very impressive with the face being about 60 metres high and about 1 km across and there are always bits calving off and there are quite a few icebergs in the lake (Lago Argentino). After the boat ride and many photos, we returned to the dock and the bus took us back up to the boardwalks. We were able to walk around for a couple more hours before we caught the bus back to El Calafate where we had another pleasant dinner and then home to bed at around 11:30-12:00. Weather was fine and cool today, very cold out near the glacier – it’s a bit like standing in front of an open freezer door with a cold fan on high. It was a really good day today after a few false starts.