Showing posts from March 28, 2010

Me Gusta El Calafate

Anyone who has ever watched the movie 'Titanic' thinks of icebergs as fierce-some - the first iceberg I saw was yesterday on Lake Argentino and it was a beautiful sky blue, in the shape of an anvil at one end - and it was awesome. Soon we would see bigger and more interesting icebergs - including a huge blockade at the mouth of the section of lake near the Uppsala Glacier which is no longer accessible by water. And we would wait and watch at the Spegazzini and Perito Moreno Glaciers for them to calve and send huge blocks of ice into the lake, but the first iceberg is still special! Lake Argentino is a huge expanse of water and the glacial fields have only been on the tourist trail for about 10 years. We took the only boat that cruises the lake overnight and takes only a few passengers. It was the perfect way to explore the lake, to visit a number of glaciers, take a walk through the National Park in the late afternoon and watch as the curious Andean condors circled overhead

Flamingoes and a Glacial ice-field

We set off for Patagonia and El Calafate this morning beginning the day, as we did yesterday in an airport queue. This time is was Aeroparque in Buenos Aires and it seemed that half of BA was setting out on holiday by air - the queues stretched for metres and the check-in was ponderously slow. El Calafate is 3 hours by plane from BA but due to the inefficiencies of the airport and the airline it took a couple of hours longer to arrive at our destination in Calafate, the Alto Calafate Patagonico. The hotel is perched on a barren hill above the township of Calafate, a town which has quintupled its population in 7 years - and has around 22,000 residents, mostly it seems in the tourist trade. A very comfortable hotel it reminded me of some of the old style hotels where I have stayed in the snowfields. We took the hotel bus into the township and after lunch (we're already getting a bit tired of ham and cheese!) we walked through the township to the glacial park in search of a flaming

Arriving in Buenos Aires

So here we are again - and here am I writing an online diary of the trip! We arrived in Buenos Aires today - crossing the International Date Line and arriving on the same day earlier than when we left Sydney! I always find this bamboozling - and my body clock is not coping as well with it this time as it did a couple of weeks ago when I went to L.A. perhaps because this time we arrived in the morning - in L.A. it was early evening. A warm ,sunny, cloudless day - temperature around 30 degrees at midday. The city feels so much more prosperous than it did 7 years ago, just after the financial crisis, and the airport has been renovated and extended. Australians must now pay a $100US entry (reciprocity) tax - thus named because it is in retaliation for the Australian government charging Argentinians to enter Oz. We changed our US dollars to pesos at the airport at the National Bank which had the best exchange rate of 3.8 pesos and transferred to our hotel - the 725 Continental. Chosen by