Monday, May 9, 2011

Patagonia: El Calafate y El Chalten

For my program's midsemester break this past week, I took a solo trip to Patagonia to visit the two cities (if you can call them cities) of El Calafate and El Chalten.  I ended up meeting up with other kids from my program and also making new hostel friends, so it didn't end up being entirely solo, which was nice.  Upon arrival at my first hostel in El Calafate, I was given a gift from the gods which took the form of FREE FOOD left in the kitchen for anyone to take.  One of the items was an unopened roll of my favorite Argentine cookies, so I obviously took/ate all the food.  The next day my friend and I minitrekked on the glacier, Perito Moreno, which consisted of putting on crampons and then walking around on the ice.  It was really cool and so beautiful and the tour ended with whiskey (on glacier ice) and alfajores!

The next day, I took a three hour bus to El Chalten, all the while having great epiphanies of why I love my life so much.  I then proceeded to get very emotional at the sight of the beautiful grandiose mountains and lake during our approach into El Chalten; I blame it on the slow 90's pop jams I was listening to at the time.  When I got to El Chalten, I met some really nice girls from London and spent the next three days hiking with them.  Our first hike was an 8-hour trek up to Lago de los Tres, near Fitz Roy.  It was really beautiful and rewarding, but after climbing a mountain and walking for 16 miles, I wanted to collapse dead as soon as I got back to my hostel.  The next day's hike was much easier, and just as beautiful.  During both days of hiking I had to keep stopping to look at my surroundings, just to make sure it was real, because it was all way too unbelievably, breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL.  None of it looked real, it was too amazing!!!

Fitz Roy and Lago de los Tres

second day's hike to Lago de Torre

Also, littlebabyEmily learned how to make pasta, because she had to fend for herself and cook in the hostel (I've been spoiled by the EQ cafeteria).  When I told my mother this (who is visiting in Buenos Aires right now!!!) she said, "cool, as in you made pasta from scratch?" to which I replied, " learned how to put pasta in boiling water..."

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