We started our time in El Calafate. The first day was pretty much a write off as I was so tired from no sleep the night before due to the foo fighters then our early flight. I can’t handle all nighters like I used to! El Calafate was pretty though and we found a reasonable dinner (savoury waffles – the most imaginative thing I’ve seen yet on the menu here!) and managed to book our trip to the Perito Merino Glacier for a few days time. We also enjoyed a nice sunset. It gets dark really late here, as in midnight where I am at the moment so we’ve been spoiled by long evenings in the sun.
And here are some dogs. They are everywhere.
The next day we headed to El Chalten, a tiny village further south, which is the base for hiking in the Fitzroy national park. I’m going to include a bit of detail about the logistics here as I found it hard to get much info before I came! You can buy the bus tickets for around 300 pesos each way from the tour operators in town or walk up the stairs located halfway down the street to the bus station and buy them yourself for slightly less at 255 pesos each way. The bus leaves at 8am, 1pm and 8.30pm. We went for the 1pm to give ourselves some extra time in bed. The bus was unexpectedly great. It had seats that reclined about 45 degrees! I know I already talked about how great the buses are here but we weren’t expecting so much comfort on the relatively short 3 hour trip. The views on the way are also amazing and made the time pass very quickly.
We spent the first afternoon orienting ourselves and checking into our hotel. Serious joy at finally having a room to ourselves, and a nice room at that, quickly gave way to “arrrghhh” when we realised that due to the charming log cabin feel and beautifully clean tiles floors we could hear literally everything from the corridor and the room above. Unfortunately the floor was insanely creaky and the couple above not quiet. It was like having them in our room! We’ve moved to another room tonight which still has the corridor problem but no one above us so fingers crossed for some decent sleep.
Today was mostly spent on our first trek to Laguna Torre. I could describe it but the pictures do a better job!
The signs said 7 hours there and back walk but we finished in 4 and a half ish. We aren’t mega fast and it was straightforward so definitely very doable.
Tonight we’re heading back to the same restaurant we went to last night. Everything I’d read about El Chalten suggested it was hideously overpriced but we’ve found it fine. Prices are more or less the same as in El Calafate and we found a place we really liked called La Senyera on Lago del Desierto where you can get decent portions and a drink for less than 150 pesos (about £10, the crazy inflation here means the price in pesos will go up very quickly). There are also some great cafes with cheaper tea than I’ve seen elsewhere so obviously I’m thrilled with the place. At La Senyera they also have a respectable vegetarian selection, including quinoa! Its the first time I’ve seen it in Argentina so top marks for keeping up with current food trends.
My goal for tonight is to stay up late enough to see the sunset and hopefully tire myself out so I can sleep through the noisy corridor walkers. We’ll see!