We eventually arrived in Patagonia after our 2 day delay in Buenos Aires, a domestic flight to Bariloche and a gruelling 30 hour bus ride to El Calafate!
On our first day we headed to El Calafate's tourist hot spot - Perito Moreno Glacier which is located in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. After seeing the spectacular frozen landscape I can understand why the glacier is one of Argentina's biggest tourist attraction, described as one of the world's natural wonders.
We got a boat ride that took us up to Perito Moreno's southern face where we could clearly see the huge mass of ice in all it's glory. Walking around the footbridges that surround the glacier you constantly hear the loud and eery echoing of the glacier creaking and cracking before the pressure succumbs and glacial chunks fall and crash into the icy depths below. Luckily, we got to witness a few of these ruptures which was an incredible experience.
Once you have seen the glacier there isn't a great deal left to do in El Calafate so we excitedly headed 2 hours north to Argentina's hiking capital - El Chaltén.
Driving along side the snow covered spires of Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre we arrived in the quaint, rural town which is located within the national park with numerous hikes on your doorstep.
According to the locals we chose the best season to enjoy Patagonia's beautiful and colourful scenery - autumn leafs have changed to a warm shade of red and orange, the mountain tips are covered in crisp white snow and the sky is bright and blue.
We completed several of the recommended hikes, some more strenuous than others. All of Patagonia's landscape is truly breathtaking, filled with turquoise lakes, glaciers and stunning view points with the Andes backdrop but the highlight of our 7 days in El Chaltén was our hike to Monte Fitz Roy.
The most difficult part of the 9 hour walk was the steep and uneven 750m ascent to the top. The narrow path was covered in snow and ice, winding up and around the mountain with a treacherous vertical drop to the side of you. I, unfortunately, only made it half way up before turning back, as my legs quivered like Bambi on ice! Nick braved it and got to see the stunning summit of Fitzroy and Laguna de Los Tres.
In order to rejuvenate our aching and tired limbs after days of hiking we have sampled quite a lot of the local and ridiculously cheap carne! Always washed down with a bottle (sometimes several) of Malbec!
During the 7 days we were also lucky enough to go to a traditional Argentinian rodeo show which took place over the Easter bank holiday. It was an authentic and entertaining afternoon, watching the competitive gauchos being thrown around by their horses in order to win the title of rodeo champion. It was like watching a live game of buckaroo! Nick got some interesting videos which we will try to upload to the blog website but I wouldn't recommended showing these to PETA...
Nick went glacier walking and ice climbing on the last day which he thoroughly enjoyed and I walked to Chorillo del Salto waterfall.
After taking full advantage of what Patagonia has to offer we are now on our way "up north" to the Argentine Lake District, back to Bariloche to enjoy some bike riding and camping.
Hope all is well back home and speak soon!
Love Laura & Nick x