South America Post 12 Whistlestop SW Patagonia
Landing in remote Ushuaia, we were greeted with….Fog. Bad news because we had a 90 minute internal flight at 10.45 to El Calafate. We had just one afternoon there, and so we were being met by a taxi who was driving us 90 minutes to see the Perito Moreno glacier. Cutting the story short, we landed at 4pm, 4 hours late and had given up all hope of the glacier. But we had underestimated Nico, our driver. “Of course we go to glacier” he said, and we roared off across the Patagonian desert! He also gave us a running commentary on nature, geography, history and glaciation!! We drove alongside stunningly blue Lake Argentina, 500 metres deep and 80 miles long!!
For us, it was one of the highest high spots in a high spot filled trip.
The glacier covers 35 square miles, is 3 miles wide, and is 240 feet high. It is advancing, which is good, but losing density, which is bad. It created, groaned and fractured, making us jump with sounds like rifle shots. It calved, with huge splashes creating large waves, and I could have watched it all night.
We left at 7pm for the return drive. When we tried to thank Nico, he answered “No. I should Thank You. I haven’t been here in the evening for a long time, and I had forgotten how beautiful it is”. How lovely was that!
Back in El calafate we stayed at La Cantera hotel which was cosy and warm! Out for supper to a traditional Disco restaurant. Nothing to do with 70’s dancing! A disco is a casserole dish, and the pan cooked dishes are made to share. Our beef disco was delicious!
Then a bus trip 250kms across the border into Chile, and a tour of the stunning Torres Del Paine national park. The low cloud meant we didn’t see the really high peaks, but this amazingly remote place is so beautiful.
The waterfalls were wonderful,
We saw lots of guanaco. Related to Llama, they are fascinating. You often see single guanaco on hilltops.
They are older males who can no longer reproduce, and who taking on the role of sentinels, warning of predators. You also come across large piles of poo, because the whole group choose, and use, 1 toilet area so that they don’t contaminate the grass. We also saw rheas, and this lovely red fox, who seemed bemused by us.
We stayed in the national park, and had a final morning trip and walk in this super landscape.
before catching 2 buses to travel 300km back to Punta Arenas. We stayed at our lovely Air bnb again, and were greeted with hugs, like old friends! Next day, a flight north to Santiago, and on to Lima, Peru for the last part of our adventure!