Day 11 (8-12-05)

Transfer day, that is flying down to Calafate. Before we did this we watched some parade of police and army in the town square. Not sure what that was all about, the day was some sort of public holiday.
And than off to Calafate, rough take-off and rough descent, otherwise ok. The bus to take us to the Kalken Hotel was waiting. On the way to town our plans for the two days were changed. Our ESG (Roxana) suggested that we do the larger tour to the Upsala glacier on Friday and the Morena glacier on Saturday. That set us back A$240 per person, for me that was times three. It ate a big hole into my holiday money, but it was worth it.
Calafate looks different, it's a new town, set up purely as an access point for tourists to the glacier. This being so then why was it built 100km from the nearest glacier and tourist attraction?

Day 12 (9-12-05)

Calafate02.jpg, 63183 bytesThe bus picked us up very early, 7h30, and delivered us to the harbour, some 80 km up the road. By boat we went up the lake through a narrow piece called 'Bocadel Diablo' into Brazo Norte.
Soon we were surrounded by beautiful blue icebergs. Going up Brazo Upsala we first got to a 'dry' glacier, I call it dry because it doesn't push all the way into the lake and melts off before it gets there. And around the corner we came to the Upsala glacier, a glacier that pushes into the lake and breaks off from time to time. All the icebergs in the lake originate from this glacier.
We were than dropped off at Brazo Onelli, here we could stretch our legs and walk through some forest to the Onelli glazier. This is Calafate02.jpg, 63183 bytespart of the National Park with its rules and one must stay on the path. Jim was immediately was in the pickle when he stepped off the path to see a bird. So we decided we don't like this place. But it was beautiful with lumps of ice floating in the river and two glaciers feeding it. I liked the forest and the vegetation in general which took Jim and me on a path into the forest. When the path petered out we thought its time to get back to the beach in a straight line. We emerged at a point that was way beyond the 'go no further sign' .
We were waved in by the people at the sign and to the credit of the ranger on duty he didn't say a word. I appreciated that since it shows that rangers are also just people.
From here back to the harbour and home by about 20h30. Dinner we had in the hotel restaurant, our family ordered steaks and were very happy with the choice. Others ordered other nice sounding dishes and I could hear some subdued moans, some of them were obviously not so happy. In general I found Argentinean cooking very bland und uninteresting.

Day 13 (10-12-05)

This is the departure day of the girls, but first we must do the tour of the Moremi glacier. So back into the bus and off to the glacier, another beautiful experience. The Glaciar Perito Moreno is a very active glacier, pieces breaking off at all times.
First we took a ride in a boat to the east side. What was interesting is that the glacier comes in from the side and blocks the lake such that the east side rises above the level of the west end. Every couple of years a breakthrough occurs, which is very dramatic.
The girls had a plane to catch and left us behind. Eric, Tiens, Eleni and Christopher would only leave the next day. And there was apparently a problem with the tickets to be sorted out, Christopher was going south and I was flying back to BA.
Supper we had in the buffet restaurant with Gabriel and Rosa. The three of us (Jim, Frans and I) moved out of the hotel into the local campsite. Here we were talking to a fellow hiker from Israel with him commenting on our age and what we are doing is so admirable. He has a dad who is younger than we are and he just sits in front of the TV and does nothing. So there you are, we are heroes.

Buenos Aires Iguazu
Bariloche Calafate
Torres del Paine Ushuaia

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