Perito Moreno Glacier
Crossing the Patagonian steppe to El Calafate finally yielded the snow covered peaks we were looking for. Although not the same charm and vibe that Bariloche had, it was a cool enough little town of less than 10000 people. And it was the 80km gateway to the Moreno Glacier. We checked into the huge Hostelling International Hostel (which we try to avoid because they are usually quite expensive for doubles and geared more towards the dorm rats), but after chasing our first choice and having three alternatives called for us, we settled on the HI as it was the last room available when another couple turned it down in front of us.
Cool enough though with under floor heating and the requisite bidet that seems to come standard in all Argentine rooms. Only this one had not been piped in yet. No wonder the water wouldn´t come out!
Without much delay we signed up for a Moreno Glacier tour the next day and headed out for another amazing display of Argentine grille work with three 200 gram tenderloins slapped down on our plates, cooked to perfection. Combine that with salad, beers and monster homemade ice creams all for less than one tenderloin at home.
With a partly cloudy sky, we headed off on a 2 hour ride to the Parque Nacional Los Glacieres which contained the Moreno Glacier. By the time we arrived, any signs of a nice day had disappeared, as the clouds dropped, the wind picked up and the rain started to fall. What can you do? So we decided to take a boat ride to the north face of the glacier to hopefully see some calving of the glacier as it keeps advancing daily.
Cold as hell, we went from one end of the glacier, back and forth for one hour in the rain, taking pictures and even managed to catch 2 huge pieces of ice falling to the lake below. Thankfully for only an hour on the boat, but then we spent the next hour walking along the panoramic walkways, in the steady rain, overlooking the glacier from different heights. A few more crashes of ice and we legged it back to the van to eat our lunch and wait for the rest of our group to return. Just too damn cold and wet to stand out there despite the majestic panoramic views. Unfortunately, we were not gifted with the killer views on the postcards in town. But well worth the trip and a spectacular sight to see considering they call it one of the most accessible and vast glaciers in the world.
After returning to town, the weather cleared, the stars shined brightly and the temperature dropped well below 0C again. Below 0C and maybe 15C maximum is going to be the norm for the rest of our journey considering we are nearing the end of the world (El Fin del Mundo) as we move into Tierra del Fuego.
Trying to take all things in, we decided to catch an early morning bus, 4 hours north to El Chalten to hopefully hike and view the 3000m+ Fitz Roy range.