Wake up at 6:15am.
Breakfast in the hotel. We take 2 taxis to go to the bus terminal.
The bus leaves at 7:30am to El Calafate, in Argentina.
El Calafate is only 80km away from the Glacier Perito Moreno, the reason of our brief (2-day) visit to Argentina.
The journey in bus takes 6 hours, including the 2 stops at the borders. First time is Argentina for all of us.
Same kind of (comfortable) bus as yesterday. We see Darwin’s rheas, large flightless birds (kind of ostriches but smaller). The scenery is nice, with snowed-cap summits in the background.
We arrive in El Calafate around 1:30pm. We walk to our hotel; it’s quite basic.
We get good news regarding dad’s surgery. I feel relieved.
We go and eat a salad. Then a nice ice cream for Jules, Florence and I.
We can see that the massive popularity of the Perito Moreno has encouraged the rapid growth of the town.
I go back to the bus terminal to get back my Lonely Planet guidebook on Peru, which I had forgotten in the bus… I’m glad to get it back.
We meet at the supermarket where we do some grocery shopping (pasta for tonight and bread, ham, cheese and salami for the sandwiches of tomorrow).
We go back to the hotel, just for 10′.
We indeed take to shuttle to go and visit the Glaciarum, the museum about the world of ice, focusing mainly on glaciers. It’s a nice and interesting museum. Kids are not convinced though.
We are the last visitors when it closes at 8pm.
We go back to town. I prepare pasta (not great) in the kitchen of the hotel.
I write until midnight.
We wake up at 7am. The bus to Perito Moreno Glacier comes to pick us up at 8am.
Just the time to dress warmly, to prepare sandwiches for the lunch and to eat a quick breakfast and we go.
The drive to the glacier takes 1h20.
The landscape is amazing; very typical from Patagonia: flat, dry (a bit of a desert) with bushes; steppelike plains. The sky is blue, without clouds. As per the guide, this kind of weather happens only once or twice a month. Unfortunately, the bus doesn’t stop on the way. I take pictures through the window…
We discover the Perito Moreno Glacier from the road. What a magic sight! The bus stops for pictures. Wow, what a spectacle!
We arrive around 10am in the Los Glaciares NP. It’s a UNESCO’s world heritage site and contains massive glaciers such as Perito Moreno, Upsal and Viedma.
We first spend a couple of hours on the viewing platforms of the Perito Moreno Glacier, which are very well done. We have many great different viewpoints on the glacier. We don’t have an impression of crowd (while there are quite a few people). We can witness large piece of ice collapsing in the lake as the glacier advances.
We are so lucky with the weather; there’s no single cloud. It’s so beautiful. It’s a majestic glacier, whose area is 300 km² (larger than Buenos Aires) and its length is 30 km.
After Antarctica and Greenland, the southern Andes lodge the largest area covers by ice in the world. Within this vast area, an ice field of 12,500 km² shared by Argentina and Chile stands out: the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, 370 km long (with an average width of 35km) and starting point of 48 major glaciers.
We already eat our picnic (it’s 11am only…).
The bus then drives us to the departure of the boat. We indeed take a boat to go and do a 1h30 walk on the glacier itself! We put the crampons and here we go. We are part of a group of 20 people with 2 guides. It’s easier than in NZ (there’s a kind of a track that we follow) but it’s as impressive. The small caves with water are blue. At the end of the tour, there’s even a “bar” where we receive a whisky with ice from the glacier of course. After removing the crampons, we go inside an impressive cave, “inside” the glacier.
It’s time to go back. Boat (20′) and then bus (1h30 during which we all fall asleep except Florence who is finishing Harry Potter #3). We arrive at the hotel at 6:30pm. We take our showers and we go to eat in a good meat restaurant. We are in Argentina for 2 days only so we won’t miss the opportunity to taste the Argentinian meat. We take T-bone steak, sirloin and lamb. It’s very good. We even allow Jules to “chew” the bones.
We are back in the hotel around 9pm. We go quickly to bed. Tomorrow, alarm clock at 6am for a 7am departure to Torres Del Paine NP. Back to Chile.
I write until 11pm while Isabelle reads in her bed (upstairs). She still reads the interesting book about the explorer Captain Cook.