22:30 - Peter and Sue were leaving us today as they are off to Antartica for 10 days on a boat, so even though their pickup for the airport was much later, they got up and had breakfast with us so we could say our goodbyes. They are a lovely couple and have been great companions for the past 2 weeks. It's clear they love each other to bits and is so sweet after so many years together. We left for El Chalten on a minibus that seemed to have shrunk in the wash...and I can assure you it was not oversized before. I intrepid leader toby saw fit to reduce the size to make it fit tight as we were two less in the group. Luckily we only had about 3 hours on it. We drove on the famous route 40. It's the third longest road in the world as it spans some 6500 kilometres. About half way we stopped for a coffee break at a little ranch called La Leona that doubles as a hotel. In this place Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid for a month in February 1905 before moving on to Chile. Five years later they were killed in Bolivia. The good news about today is that the van didn't break down once! And didn't seem to have any broken windscreens...a first for this trip! I fell asleep for the rest of the drive and woke up as we were driving into El Chalten. We dropped our luggage at our new home and went for a quick lunch (pizza) before our afternoon walk towards the Cerro Torre. Leo the guide (the driver from yesterday), decided Mount Fitzroy was too clouded over and it might rain so we did a shorter walk in the opposite direction. The walk itself not really all that interesting but it did take us high enough to have 360 degree views over our surroundings. And eventually the sun pushed away most of the clouds to reveal Mount Fitzroy. As we walked back later we got split up and I tagged along with my favourite trio to a bar for a drink before going back to the Fitzroy Inn. We made our way back stopping at a couple of artisan gift shops and I even managed to find some penguin stamps. By the time I got back to the room it was nearly 7 so I spent the next half hour looking at my photographic work for the day...nothing to write home about. I met the others at 7.30 to go for dinner and we ate at the Ritual del Fuego. Excellent food but usual long wait for the actual food to arrive. I really do think that anything over an hour is excessive!
We are setting off at 8 tomorrow morning for a long day...21km of walking...