I forgot to mention that before heading off to Chile and the Torres del Paine Nationalpark I had an overwhelming encounter with ice. No, not ice cream (I’ll get back to that in another post), but ice in its purest form: glacier ice!
The Perito Moreno Glacier is the no. 1 tourist attraction in Argentinian Patagonia although it is tiny compared to all the other glaciers in Patagonia! But it’s the only glacier that you can easily get this close to. And seriously, tiny is not a word you’d use to describe it. From the so called balconies on the mountainside opposite the glacier it looks huge! I could have spend more than just 2,5h looking at its beautiful blue colours, the blue being lighter or stronger depending on the thickness of the ice, and listening to the creaking sound of the ice moving or the thundering roar when parts broke off.
Of course I didn’t leave it at that. I had to walk onto the glacier! A popular way to explore the glacier up close is by way of a mini ice trekking.
You’ll be equipped with crampons and two knowledgeable guides then take a group of twenty people for a different glacier experience, one that takes you over little crevasses, some of which are filled with water, and up and down the characteristic glacier towers. It was more strenuous than I had imagined, for the steel crampons are heavy and walking up and, especially, down is harder than expected (bloody knees!). But I highly recommend it! At the end you’ll even be rewarded with a glas of Whisky, on the rocks of course (taken directly from the glacier).
There is also a big ice trekking that takes you further up onto the glacier for several hours. Depending on the crampons they use for this trek it might be worth doing, but if you have troubles with your knees it might not be advisable…
A little hostel side story from El Calafate: in Argentina and Chile hostels mostly have mixed dorms, but in that particular hostel we’ve been four girls in my room on the first night. One moved out and the next eve the rest of us disbelievingly looked at the new suitcase in our room that had the size of a wardrobe!! As it turned out it belonged to a 22 year old Brasilien guy… when asked why in the world he was travelling with such a huge suitcase (on a 5 day vacation!) he replied “cause not all my shoes fit into the smaller one”!!! We almost cried laughing!