Monday, January 31, 2011

Chile and Argentina Trip Map

View Tiyulon in a larger map

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another trip comes to an end

Our final days in Santiago were spent relaxing, eating, drinking, shopping and just generally in vacation mode. We did finally go to the art museum that was closed during the strike, but it wasn't even worth the trip downtown. New Years was a party. And D's birthday ended the endless meals and celebrations. On the flight back to Mexico, Copa may have redeemed themselves with decent airplanes and edible food. And although we almost missed our delayed flight from Mexico City, Chili's was worth it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


It seems it may finally be over, but for 4 weeks now, almost every restaurant experience has been cursed. Luckily we did a lot of eating in. See for yourself:

Concon- grilled congrio fish served raw

Santiago- greasy couscous dropped on shirt and pants by waiter

Santiago- piece of sweater lint found in sandwich

Sky airlines- hair in pasta
(not counted- another airline meal we wouldn't touch even if nothing was wrong with it)

Puerto Varas- grilled salmon served raw

Puerto Varas- cake had moldy raspberries

Chiloe- dirty dishes, nasty food
(not counted- 3 attempts to eat lunch in locations 10 minutes after they closed)

Puerto Natales- raw french fries, greasy and cold
(not counted- a tasteless pizza)

El Calafate- orange juice served in cracked glass

Ratio cursed restaurant meals: 7/26
Of 18 restaurant meals not "cursed", number enjoyed: 6

We would call that a curse. Gratefully, as we started our way back north it seemed to have finally ended. Phew!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Puerto Natales

The return from Argentina made for another long day. The route from El Calafate to Puerto Natales is quite a bit longer than it could be- taking us east then south then back west. Despite a half-full bus and relatively quick drive, the elevation changes, lack of good rest stop, and accumulated tiredness from the trip was starting to take its toll. Nevertheless, we wanted to take advantage of one final day in Natales. We took ourselves on a little walking tour, down to the waterfront and around town. We had to find a couple lucky backpackers to take our leftover gas balloons, and we came across some good local ice cream. (Seemingly, the good karma took away D's curse- another post on that forthcoming). The remainder of our time we left for a bit of souvenier shopping and a thorough re-packing of our bags for the flight back to 21st century civilization the following day.

Puerto Natales waterfront

Puerto Natales from above

glaciers, view from plane

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

El Chalten

We left El Calafate in the early morning for the three hour drive to Argentina's trekking capital, El Chalten. As we arrived, the day was sunny and almost warm and apart from the cloudy peaks we could see most of the Torre and Fitz Roy mountains behind this teeny tiny relaxed town. After a short explanation about this national park from the park ranger, we were dropped off at the bus terminal and set off to find our hostel. Luckily M had made us a reservation because affordable and decent lodge is quite lacking (most are dorms or full service hotels). What we didn't realize until we started walking was that it was an incredibly windy day. Just going down the street to grab some bread was quite a feat and any visions we had of hitting up a trail were quickly lost. So we did what we could- had lunch and stayed in- as the winds only grew stronger and the rain picked up and became a full blown storm.
beautiful El Chalten , with Fitz Roy peak in the center
The next morning we awoke to a beautiful day and decided that it was perfect for a short walk. We decided to start with two miradores (viewpoints)- One on the whole mountain range and the other towards the lakes on the other side. These two trails were a perfect morning hike for D's still-sore-from-the-torres knees. The mountains were so crisp and clear against the blue sky, reminiscent of the torres landscape in that they were formed the same way, but somehow more majestic overlooking this little village. We were both enamored with this little place in the middle of no-where. We had booked an evening bus, but realized that time had left us with little options for completing another hike. So in a last minute judgement call, we changed our plans and hopped on the earlier bus back to El Calafate, with a long journey still ahead of us.

tiny El Chalten below
Fitz Roy on right, pointy Torre on left
in the area

Monday, January 3, 2011

El Calafate

The bus ride from Puerto Natales, Chile to El Calafate, Argentina, was all things considered, not too bad. After just over an hour drive we stopped at the Chilean border control where the workers quickly shuttled us through stamping our exit passports. Just a short drive later we were on the Argentinian side entering; this took a little while longer in the cramped booth, but mostly went off without a hitch. Another three and a half hours and we had made it to the quaint wooden houses of El Calafate on a beautifully sunny Christmas eve. Once accommodated in a hostel and well fed we quickly followed the crowds into the one and only supermarket in town, that was about to close. We gathered some snacks and lunch supplies for the following day in the ravaged market, and then went to the information office to figure out plans for the next couple of days. As everything closed for Christmas, we headed back to the hostel for a quiet evening and a well deserved laundry load.

Glaciar Perito Moreno
The next morning we had a bit of a mix up with breakfast and were accidentally delegated to the kitchen for bread and butter. By the time it was cleared up, we quickly grabbed some juice and cake for the road and were off to get good seats for our tour to Perito Moreno Glacier. We arrived at the park and had the whole day to view this impressive glacier from the many passarelas (walkways) on all sides. We stood and sat for hours staring at this immense chunk of ice, whose peices would come crashing down in intervals. The blue-ish brighttness extending as far as the eyes could see, kept us captivated until it was time to head back to town , slightly sunburned but very content. We ended the evening with a good pizza and good night's sleep, ready for another adventure.

breakage in action

passarelas from above

glacier, as far as the eye can see