On our way to Patagonia!

Ok so we cheated a little today and caught a flight rather than the bus down to El Calafate and the Patagonia area. Too be fair budget wise we spent $40 more but saved two days!!
Either way the views from the plane on the way down were absolutely spectacular. Particularly the eastern coastline where the sea was a brilliant turquoise/blue. We didn’t see any whales but apparently this is where to see them.
In fact it was quite funny as the pilot was acting as a tour guide and telling us all what we could see out of the windows!! It was a bit alarming when half of the plane stood up to look out of the other side’s window!! The other lucky occurrence was that we sat in front of Saurabh and Arturo who were able to translate for us to keep us in the loop.
Arrival at El Calafate was really quite spectacular. I don’t think we saw any signs of habitation in the last hour of the flight. Couple that with the snow capped Andes on the right hand side and then a pretty desolate landscape which was covered in heath and had obviously been battered by the cold and wind. It really did feel as though we were traveling towards the port which leads to the end of the Earth. Which it is (so very excited)
The place itself has a ski resort feel to it and is actually fairly modern and could really be in any country in the world. But it is a destination where you see the Moreno Glacier and get the rest of your trip to this area sorted. So for us it’s hiking on the glacier tomorrow and after about four hours we managed to get a couple of busses booked and buy some trousers and gloves!!
I said before that you couldn’t tell which country you are in whilst here. You soon notice you are in Argentina because as soon as you try and pay for anything (card machines occasionally work but more often than not don’t) or try and take cash out (will only let you withdraw about $100 and charge you $8 for the privilege). So we end up negotiating to pay in US$ which in the end works out in our favour, although we are going to run out of this hard currency!
I wonder what will happen when the card machine doesn’t work and we have no cash and there are no ATMs?!
Anyway we finished our hectic day off with beers and pizzas with Saurabh and Arturo which was another great evening!! T

  
Not the best photo, but it really does shoe what most of the landscape looks like here.  The snow capped mountains in the background and then miles and miles of more or less flat heathland.

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