A Patagonian Adventure – Days 1 & 2 – El Calafate

So I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately, mainly because I went on holiday! 6 wonderful nights travelling Patagonia in the south of Argentina… So the next few days will be a round up of my trip.

 

Day 1

We left Buenos Aires on a 4.45am flights for El Calafate. Flying out over Buenos Aires gave the most beautiful view across the whole city, glowing at night.

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We landed in El Calafate about 8am to be picked up by our driver and then taken to the ‘city’. The 22km drive was stunning, along a completely open road, weaving through the somewhat harsh landscape, surrounded by mountains capped in snow, and with a view of the blue lake ahead. The air felt so fresh and I just got this sensation of being so free.

After a relaxed morning we spent the afternoon horseback riding, about a 20 minute drive out of El Calafate along the lake – so beautiful to watch. The group was just the three of us and our guide/leader. I had a lovely horse named (something like!) Tobia, although it was very hard to make him go fast (/I’m not very good) – we did get a few trots in though!

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The scenery was just breathtaking and the lady leading us was great. I was asking her about horse competitions in the area, she was saying that polo is more in Buenos Aires, as they don’t have the terrain nor electricity (generator run) for sprinklers to help make the ground smooth. But show jumping (I think, my Spanish riding knowledge isn’t perfect!) and endurance races are more common (she often competes in the latter). It was so so nice to see someone so calm in living out their life as dreamed. I was also impressed with the whole experience as we felt so welcomed and everything was on our terms – we were asked when we wanted to be picked up to go, if we wanted drinks, etc. it was perfect!

That day it really started to hit home how big Argentina truly is – something I have always struggled to comprehend from the Buenos Aires bubble – being dwarfed by the mountains, lake and the shear beauty of it all. I felt very small.

 

Day 2

A glacier adventure! A bus came and picked us up bright and early from our hostel to take us into the national park. The drive there was just stunning. Total purity. No fear. No politics. None of the harsh realities of the modern world. Just nature in its purest form.

First up was a stop off at the ‘glacier (Perito Moreno) viewing point’. The bus guide was great in giving us all sorts of facts about the glacier, including that it is one of the most stable in the world – it shrinks and grows but annually it tends to stay the same size.

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We then got a bus across the water to go glacier trekking! This was my second time walking on a glacier – the first being Franz Josef in New Zealand four years ago – and was a very different experience, definitely a more relaxed ‘tourist style’ walk over the glacier, rather than the climbing through the nooks and crannies like the first time round. Still beautiful nonetheless.

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To top it all off, we rounded the last corner on the ice to be greeted by a minibar of whiskey and fresh glacier ice! Perfection. We ended the day with a delicious dinner of red wine and Patagonian lamb with a local style sauce in a stunning restaurant overlooking El Calafate. Oh. My. God. Best meal I’ve had in a VERY long time!

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