Well we just got back to Ushuaia after our little road-trip. The drive up there was, well, hard--to say the least. God bless Argentina for paving its highways in Patagonia... once we got to the Chilean border (there were 4 border crossings during this excursion), the roads were bumpy, rocky and full of pebbles--not the ideal driving conditions for our little Silver Bullet, a 2-door Volkswagen Gol (stick shift, of course).
But after a ferry ride across the Strait of Magellan, a night stopover in Rio Gallegos (weird town, don't ever go there), a complete inability to move the car in reverse and about 45 stallouts trying to shift into first gear, we made it to El Calafate. Sweet, sweet success! The town was nestled right on a turquoise lake at the foothills of the Andes where the Patagonian steppe meets the forrests--just beautiful.
Lake Argentina, the county's biggest (and prettiest) lake runs right into Glacier National Park, so we headed there for a few days of boating around icebergs and glacier watching. To the right you have us in front of an iceberg the size of our apartment building. The ice itself is crystal clear (they served us whiskey on the boat with ice cubes chipped off from a berg), but every berg looks bright blue--some light refraction trick that we couldn't quite grasp in Spanish (see below, right)
After a while, we came to a bay where we hiked through a forrest to a lake bordered by 4 glaciers. Icebergs were floating all over this misty lake. One of the more surreal things we've ever seen. A picnic during a light sunshower made it a highlight of our trip. Pics below.
The following day we took a bus to another side of the park to see the Perito Moreno glacier. Not as big as a few of the ones we saw the day before, but this one has a tendency to calve in daily. We got as close to this glacier as the park would permit--about 300 meters away in a boat. To give you some idea of the massive size of this thing--the north face is about the height of a 40-story building (see below left for boat/glacier contrast). Seeing huge chunks fall into the water left us speechless. I caught one of the calvings on video and will post it when we get to a faster connection.
That night back in the hostel, we met two American girls traveling through South America. One was from Dallas and the other was from Park Slope, Brooklyn. The craziest thing was that I had met her last summer on the beach in Ecuador... it really is a small world after all. The drive back to Ushuaia was a lot easier--we did it in one day. About an hour before arriving, we were hit with a snow storm. It felt like driving through a black and white movie from the 40s... I hope the picture at the right captures it.
We're uploading two albums of pictures--the rest of Chile and thus far of Argentina. Should be ready in a dew days, so check back soon.