Patagonia: El Calafate

Our flight went down down down, pausing briefly in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.  We debated spending time there, but beyond the charm of it being so far south there wasn’t a whole lot to do.  We arrived to our intended town of El Calafate where we checked into a decent hostel and made arrangements for grand adventures.  Here is a sub par photo of us landing in Patagonia.

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First, we walked around the town a bit.  Our map showed the shore of some big lake a whole lot closer than it actually was, so after walking a while we gave up and doubled back through town to do some eating instead.  We went to a restaurant where we got a delicious and filling glazed pineapple pizza.  This was an odd flavor, but was probably one of the best all around pizzas of the trip.  They also had some craft brews worth trying, but not twice.

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The next day we had an early bus that hauled us over to see the Perito Moreno Glacier National Park, which contained the chunk of ice by the same name.  The bus took its time getting over there, but once paid up we only had a little more road before arriving.  Along the way they tried to sell us on a boat tour, which we turned down and later felt fine with.

The park wasn’t that massive but it took no time at all to appreciate why it existed.  Situated before us was a stunning sheet of ice, several stories tall.  It would groan and boom thunderous claps as it shifted and cracked.  What makes this glacier so famous is that the observer can take in the whole of its 250 km² at once, and also the regularity of its calving.

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We had a nice time walking along the many pathways.  It was the surprising closeness from the viewing platforms that erased any potential regret about skipping the boat.  That is a 240 foot wall of ice.

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The way the the bus schedule was arranged meant that we had a whole lot of time to really look at the glacier and make sure we fulfilled our expectations.  For both of us, this box would be checked once we saw some calving.  We would throw our eyes in the direction of any sounds and eventually got what we were looking for.  The mammoth size of the glacier dwarfed the apparent crumbs breaking off, so the crash that came from them hitting the water surprised me every time.

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We eventually had our fill of staring at a large, inanimate object and went inside to the overpriced cafeteria for the remaining hour.  I got some stomach filling crackers, and Neil went with a very questionable piece of fruit.  Oh yummmm!

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That evening we were back in the town just hanging around the hostel when we figured to walk over to some book bar we had recommended to us.  It was a bar with a whole lot of books, where we could try some more craft beers…and read.  It was a new formula for me, so I was as excited about the solids as the liquids.  There was a guy going around doing some impressive card tricks.  Not long after we returned to get some much needed sleep before the next morning’s early departure.
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