El Calafate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEl Calafate reminds me of the tourist hubs in the alps. Busy, full of overpriced outdoor and souvenir shops and expensive eateries. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the view to go with those tourist hubs in the alps. El Calafate one and only reason to exist seems to be that it offers access to the Perito Moreno glacier. But, even though it is the closest city and actually is situated at the Lago Argentino, the lake into which the glacier grows, It is still 80km away from the actual glacier. You don’t see the mountains, the glacier and since it’s almost entirely flat, from most of the city you also don’t see the lake. (but the border of the lake is so pretty!)
penguinI had a reservation at Penguin Hostel, just 200m from the bus station. It’s a tiny house, built in the local style. Meaning roof all the way to the ground, in the hopes of with standing the rain and wind. The rooms are cramped full of beds. You’ll have to choose whether you want to open the lockers or have all beds accessible. Both are not an option and so a lot of shuffling ensues. But the people there are absolutely lovely, friendly and seemingly always happy. They’ll book you whatever, wherever you need and the joint area is very cozy, warmed by stove burning wood. It was very different from the huge hostel I’d been in in Buenos Aires,IMG_20170302_214903 I felt really at home. The hostel also advised me to try out the food at a local restaurant and I can say that this is the first time I truly had something I’d call an Argentinian dish, rather than just grilled meat on a slice of bread. It was absolutely delicious. A stew of lamb, some local mushrooms, peas and other, unidentifiable vegetables. (We only know about the mushrooms because they were mentioned explicitly on the menu)
El Calafate is located at the lake, so after arriving and dropping of my bags, I decided to go have a look at the lake. Even under clouds the look is beautiful, but with the sun coming out in the afternoon, it was stunning. The lagoon is populated by many birds. Most of which, to my surprise, where actually flamencos. I always assumed they like warm weather, but they felt quite at home in the cold glacier water.


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