02.23.2013 - 02.26.2013 73 °F
Travelling in Argentina has been a humbling experience. It stretches you outside of your typical comfort zone. There's nothing like dropping in somewhere you don't know with a language you also don't understand. Every day I'm on my toes, which honestly was part of the lure of travelling for me.
I've met so many people from all parts of the world on this trip and it's really interesting to hear about their travels, how long they're travelling, and where they're from. Surprisingly, I have one of the shortest trips of anyone I've met so far. Some are even travelling for six months, a year, or even longer! One new friend from Canada has been biking his way from Alaska all the way down through the Americas and is very close to his final destination! There are people out in the world today who still have a real adventurer's spirit. As far as nationalities, I've met folks from Holland, Sweden, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, South Africa, Australia, Canada, and the US. It's amazing to me how many people from all over the world know where Minnesota is.
I had a wonderful visit with a couple from South Africa a few days ago on an excursion to Mount Tronodor, which is one of the taller mountains in the area and is an extinct volcano. The guide explained that Argentina and Chile determined their border based on the highest mountain peaks. This particular mountain is one of those, with half falling in Argentina and the other in Chile. There are huge glaciers on the mountaintop and in the adjoining valley. In the pictures below, you can see the glacier melt run-off from the mountaintop glaciers of Mount Tronodor - just dozens of waterfalls.
Glacial Melt Waterfalls
The pictures below show the "black" glacier in the valley. The color of the water is unusual due to the sediment coming from the glacier. In the long range picture, I wanted to note that the glacier used to be at my feet in the early 1940's, and has receded that much in about 70 years!
Can You Spot the Glacier? (it's in the middle-left)
Close-up of the Glacial Melt Pool
Long Range Shot of the Glacier
Later in my trip, I'll show you another glacier (Perito Moreno); one of the few that currently is not receding. It is near my next stop El Calafate.
A couple of days ago, I did a day hike with another new friend from Kansas City up one of the shorter mountains (more of a large hill really), but has a great view at the top with lakes and mountains all the way around. Apparently this view has been featured by National Geographic. There is a large, fancy hotel (Llao Llao) out in the middle of that picturesque scenery that everyone talks about here. I tried to get a close-up, but it's barely visible. It costs big bucks to stay there.
View from One Vantage Point
View from Another Angle
Hotel Llao Llao (circled)
On the flip side, I've been enjoying my cozy hostel.
Living Room Vantage One
Living Room Vantage Two
Patio with a View
It would be great if the US had hostels as they're really an affordable way to travel and you meet people from all over. Perhaps we do, and I'm just not aware.
In the morning, I will hop the bus to El Calafate. It's a long trip - about 28 hours, but the seating is similar to first class in an airplane. Hopefully a good way to see the countryside. I probably won't post again for a few days. Wishing you all well back at home!