|2013-11-28 click for more photo's|
Calafate Puerto – Natales
Calafate attracts many many tourists because it is the nearest town to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. It is much smaller then El Chalten and has a very different feel to it. It caters more for mass tourism than for serious mountaineers. Having said that, it is not for nothing that the Moreno glacier has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It's 5 km wide front rises 60 meters above the water and it is a spectacular sight and sound when great masses of ice crash into the lake. There are ramped walks so you can see the glacier from all angles and we spend a very relaxed and pleasant day. I wouldn't have missed it but neither Malc or I are very good at just sitting and looking at beautiful sites we would rather be doing something. Even though the Viedma glacier in El Chalten wasn't as big walking on it in crampons and crawling into the caves left a much bigger impression. Next stop will be Torres del Paine National Park where we hope to walk the 'W' a four or five day trek.
We decided after long deliberations to take the bus to Puerto Natales. The logistics of cycling into the park where just to complicated because you have to cross the border from Argentina to Chile. And Chile doesn't allow you to bring in any fresh food. Since buying food in the Parc is very limited and expensive it would be better to enter the Park from Puerto Natales which is in Chile. We also thought it would probably be easier to find somewhere to store our bikes and bags. We were so glad we went on the bus because it turned out to be the windiest day so far on the whole trip. It would have been totally impossible to cycle in this wind strength and we would have had to stay in Calafate until it died down. On top of that the Chilean border staff were on strike so there were long delays predicted. When we arrived in Puerto Natales much later then anticipated because of the strike it was cold and raining hard and as usual we had nothing booked and no idea where to go. But within minutes of leaving the bus station we were approached by a very kind man who invited us into his shop. He offered us coffee and rang around for a cheap hostal with space for bicycles. The owner was an ex trekking guide and was able to offer us all the information we needed regarding the trekking. We really landed on our feet in Puerto Natales.