Marc & Nora ROUND THE WORLD 2005/2006 - Join us!

South America-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - July 2006  |  by marc and nora L.

ARGENTINA #2: El Calafate & The Glaciers

After not having slept due to the robbery, the extended police visit the previous night and an early flight departure we were rather exhausted when we arrived at the airport. Our "good luck" continued with a look out of the window - heavy fog!
As a natural consequence our flight was delayed! Great! In the most uncomfy seats at the departure gate we fell asleep due to exhaustion. A few hours later we boarded the flight.
Our aircraft was a "lovely" MD83 - my 1st aircraft as my career as a flight attendant. Our seats were the most hated by all passengers that flew with AUA on Charter flights! The infamous "Separé", a few seat rows squashed behind the galley - right next to the engines, which are attached to the aircraft on the back (not below the wings as they are nowadays).
Last seat row has no windows, one before has windows with view over the engines. We were the lucky ones to have the beautiful engine view! The noise was horrendous! In front of our seats were the wall of the galley, hence the legroom = 0!

After 4 hours squashed like sardines and the most windy landing I have ever experienced we arrived at the America del Sur Hostel in Calafate. Majo, one of the guys working there welcomed us with a big smile and asked how we were. I couldnt help it but i broke down and cried. The previous night was just too much and it seemed that the initial shock was replaced by sadness about the incident.
Majo was great. She gave us a dorm for ourselves which was exactly what I needed.

Traveler Tip: The America del Sur Hostel was the best hostel we have stayed in so far in South America. The design is really nice - it has underfloor heating, nice dorms with private bathrooms (toilet and shower separate), a rather small kitchen (only negative thing we could find) and a beautiful chill out area. The guys working there (Majo, Mateo, Cecilia etc) are great - their English is fantastic and their knowledge about South America amazing! Majo knows bus time tables and prices for the entire continent by heart!

The 1st day we spent walking around lago Argentino where we saw flamingos, birds of prey and other types of birds. It was a really sunny but freezing cold day!

Lake Argentina and a view of the Andes

Lake Argentina and a view of the Andes

The Bleakness of Patagonia

The Bleakness of Patagonia

The next day we did a 3 glacier tour with a boat into the "Los Glaciares Parque Nacional" to see Onelli Glacier, Spagazzini Glacier and Upsala Glacier. The national park was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981. We got up very early and saw the sunrise from the boat which was beautiful. A few days before our trip a 2km long section of the front of Upsala Glacier collapsed so the entire lake was full of massive icebergs which was an incredible sight! Apparently a few years ago something similar but on a larger scale happened and the lake of the National Park was inaccessible for an entire season. (we were quite surprised that this didnt happen whilst we were there)

Fact: Airforce pilots used to land on the Upsala glacier in preparation for trips to Antarctica...crazy!

We had a lunch break at a lakeside which was fed by 5 indepentent glaciers and enjoyed our sandwiches in this beautiful scenery. The lake was covered with ice bergs and the trees surrounding the lake were shaped by the heavy winds.

Early start on the lake

Early start on the lake

Glacier Spagazzini

Glacier Spagazzini

The face of Spagazzini

The face of Spagazzini

Pretty cold on the boat

Pretty cold on the boat

The icebergs of Glacier Upsala

The icebergs of Glacier Upsala

Blue bergs of Upsala

Blue bergs of Upsala

The distant face of Upsala Glacier (about 8km away)

The distant face of Upsala Glacier (about 8km away)

Icy Waters

Icy Waters

Lunch at the lakeside

Lunch at the lakeside

Freezing.....

Freezing.....

"No Trespassing"...????

"No Trespassing"...????

Trees at the lakeside

Trees at the lakeside

Amazing views down stream

Amazing views down stream

Sunset over El Calafate

Sunset over El Calafate

The main reason to come to El Calafate was however to see the magnificent PERITO MORENO glacier which we visited the following day. We rented a car with 2 guys from Middlesbrough (travel tip: renting a car is the cheapest option if there is 4 or 5 of you) and drove the 75 km to the glacier.
Perito Moreno is already a sight from far away. The close-up view however exceeded our expectations completely! We spent 4 hours sitting in front of the glacier and watching the sun changing the colours of it! Fascinating! You can constantly hear the ice creeking and breaking, it sounds like thunder! The glacier is moving at approx. 6m per day it isn´t actaully advancing. That means that its melting at the face at the same rate as it is growing at its point of origin 11km back up the valley. From time to time you see massive chunks of ice breaking off and crashing into the water. The chunks look small from where we stand and watch but they are massive as the noise you can hear when they fall into the water is tremendous. At 5km wide and over 60 metres tall at the face this thing cannot fail to impress.

When descending the steps and standing in front of the wall rather than looking down you realise how big this glacier is!
Perito Moreno was incredible - we both really recommend it! It is worth a flight even if you dont have time to spend in Patagonia!

Approaching Perito Moreno glacier

Approaching Perito Moreno glacier

Just Amazing!

Just Amazing!

Its just not possible to get a sense of scale...but it is MASSIVE

Its just not possible to get a sense of scale...but it is MASSIVE

So blue....so beautiful

So blue....so beautiful

Icy waters at the face

Icy waters at the face

We stood and watched this huge iceberg roll over and expose its amazingly blue ´bottom´

We stood and watched this huge iceberg roll over and expose its amazingly blue ´bottom´

Hi from Glacier Perito Moreno

Hi from Glacier Perito Moreno

Remains of the glaicier from 2004 when it had advanced as far as it could and made contact with land....shortly before a spectacular collapse

Remains of the glaicier from 2004 when it had advanced as far as it could and made contact with land....shortly before a spectacular collapse

© marc and nora L., 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Hello - 5 more days!!! On the 12th of September we are setting off! Our plan is to travel round the world for a period of 10 months. 1st stop: Thailand (1 month) and cambodia 2nd stop: Via Singapore (overland) to Australia where we plan to stay for approximately 4-5 months. 3rd stop: New Zealand (2 months) (north and south island) 4th stop: South America (approx. 3 months) (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and if time and money allows we might visit costa rica)
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 11 months
End of journey: Jul 31, 2006
Travelled countries: world-wide
United Kingdom
Thailand
Malaysia
Cambodia
Singapore
Australia
Australia & Pacific
New Zealand
South America
Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
Peru
Ecuador
Canada
The Author
 
marc and nora L. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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