Got our tickets yesterday for 8 am bus to Calafate, 1/2 full, spitting rain as we walk to terminal (which is only 1 year old). altho cloudy, once out of El Chalten and away from mtns in valley, the rain stops and we see panoramic views of lake, distant mtns, plains in fore ground...difficult to describe. Plants/trees prolific near water ways, near mtns but thin out further away to sagebrush-like stuff other than right close to the road. Along the sides of the road artemesia-like white leafed plants, mounding,yellow flowering, deep green leafed plants, wht & pink mounding phlox, and bunch grasses. Mari sees a condor, plus we see geese, ducks, flamingo, rabbits but very rarely. For the expansiveness of it all I guess I expected alot more 'wildlife'. Maybe the harshness of the seasons - cold, wind, etc. Of course, it is just mid-May (MT terms) here, but still we hear and see much more in MT! Really, I again feel so lucky to live in Montana! We think about Jake alot, wondering how his Patagonia 'off track' adventure is going on the Austral!
Driving S. paralleling Lago Viedma the land gets progressively more barren but rolling hills, brown/tan color and steep bluffs w/ striped layers from the ancient sea, as we follow Rio Condor. Did I mention the wind?! Still out there, it doesn't go away. Amazing, I just saw a patagonian skunk ckecking stuff out along the highway! Crossing Rio La Leona and begin to parallel Lago Argentina, getting closer to El Calafate. We've seen perhaps 10 to 12 cyclo-tourist braving the wind in various groups of 2 to 6. A short detour to the airport where some passengers get out and then we arr 11 am.
We ck on tours to Perito Moreno Glacier...total price is $80 US!! Had to think on it awhile so we ckd into hostel nearby, Hospedaje Flores del Sur. Room for 3, shared bath and the usual breakfast of tea/coffee, bread/butter/jam, this time a small piece of lemon pie!
Finally, we did what we always do - "Well, we're not coming back this way again, so might as well shell out the $$! After all what did we come all this way for anyway!"
Tried to get tickets for tomor bus to Rio Gallegos but bus company we wanted to go by had closed. Waited in line for another bus company but they had computer problems so after half an hour wait, we had to leave for our glacier tour at 1:45. While in line waiting we bumped into a couple, Shaun and Helen, who we last say in MX!!! Amazingly small tourist world, especially over long distances this sort or thing seems to happen much more than I'd expect!
Glacier was terrific! Never seen anything like it...weather was cold and drizzling but still saw calving and heard big booms as the huge chunks of ice fell off and plunged into the lake. Waited in cafe until it closed two hours before our bus returned to take us back. Due to the cold and lateness in the day the glacier had stopped performing, ha@! Had a fine chat w/ a woman (knee and hip surgeon) and her daughter (6 mo exchg student in B.A.) from Germany. Did not get back until past 10 and bus office for tickets tomor was closed, their computers were still down so gal said to return tomor am early, and yes seats were still available to Rio Gallegos.