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El Calafate

It took us 28 hours on the bus to get from Bariloche to El Calafate. Yes that’s right 28 hours!!! What a stunning journey down la Ruta Quarenta we had too…leaving behind the alpine like mountains and lakes and entering the deserted terrain and steppe of Patagonia. A few exercise routines at petrol stations and various singing games kept us entertained the whole way and it really was not that bad at all, apart from when we were asked to leave the bus (with our bags on board) at Rio Gallegos for twenty minutes while they cleaned the bus. Forty minutes later we were still waiting and starting to panic, especially since I was being attacked by dogs trying to eat my breakfast!

A sunny day welcomed us in El Calafate and we booked ourselves on to a mini trekking trip to the Perrito Moreno Glacier the next day. Luckily no one else shared our dorm and a good night’s sleep was had…or was it? Yes little did I know that whilst I was dreaming away, a swarm of bed bugs were attacking my body throughout the night!

The trek to Perrito Moreno was truly amazing, even in the awful weather conditions we had it was stunning. We spent the day with the awesome couple Mark and Dee, who were from Australia, and had a great day walking around and on the glacier, topped off with a lovely meal back in town.

Another trip from Calafate was our bus up to El Chalten to see the Fitzroy mountain (the next best thing to Tores Del Paine, which we were not going to be able to do). Again Mark and Dee accompanied us and we set off early on the three hour bus ride seeing a glacier and a condor on the way. Nothing would prepare us for the day ahead…
Arriving into town we were informed it was a short walk to the start of the hike. Forty minutes later and we had only just made it through town…why? WIND! Now having lived in Edinburgh for ten years I am very used to windy days, but I have never experienced anything like this in my life!

Struggling to even walk and getting literally lifted off the ground I unfortunately had to call it a day about and hour and a half in. I was absolutely shattered and pretty scared I was going to be blown off the mountain! I was reminded of ‘Barbara White…Storm Chaser’ who my class had loved on a video of hurricanes. How she does it, I have no idea.

Kate and Mark pressed on and saw an ice covered lake but the snow and sleet were too thick to be able to see the mountain. Hot chocolates all round and we were all toasty again. A very tiring day requiring and early night for the 5am get up the next morning…

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