Dress like an onion – El Calafate, Argentina

I arrived in El Calafate around 4, perfect for an afternoon stroll around the town. I enjoy arriving to a new city mid-afternoon giving me enough time to get a sense of my surroundings, check out the various restaurants and shops, and to figure out what I want to see and do in town. Since the weather forecast for the next three days looked pretty similar, I booked a tour with Hielo Y Aventura for a mini-trekking excursion on Glacier Perito Moreno the following day.

Glacier Perito Moreno is about 80 km from El Calafate. We all boarded the tour bus for our hour ride to the magnificent glacier. 15 minutes into the drive, it began to rain and I instantly knew it was going to be a cold day! When we arrived at the port, we boarded the boat that would take us to the glacier. I was so excited to see the glacier that I was the only crazy person standing on the deck in the pouring rain. At this point, the rain and I are besties and I now just embrace it! Once we got to the glacier, we strapped on our crampons and began our ascent up the ice. The glacier looked like a bunch of ice chips accumulated in a massive hill. Even with the rain pouring down and the clouds up above, the glacier was beautiful and incredibly mystical. We trekked along the ice for about an hour and a half occasionally stopping to admire the cracks, seracs, and pools of glacier water. At the end of the trek, we were all given whiskey on the rocks (the rocks being from the glacier)! Back in the refugio, we enjoyed are lunch while all huddled around the heater trying to defrost.

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After experiencing Glacier Perito Moreno from the inside, we headed to the boardwalks to get a sense of how big the glacier really was. Walking down to this beautiful monster, I was surprisingly taken aback by how incredibly stunning it was. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful natural sights I have ever seen. And it is the only glacier in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciers that show no signs of receding. It is considered stable as it is neither advancing nor retreating, a very rare phenomenon in these days of global warming. I sat there in awe and amazement watching the ice fall from the glacier into the water making a huge crashing sound. It is once again something very hard to describe in words and an experience you truly have to experience for yourself. If I hadn’t been so cold and uncomfortable I could have stayed there for hours watching the ice fall and admiring the beauty of this massive glacier.

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The next day I headed to the Glaciarium (Glacier Museum) with Emily, a girl that was in my dorm room. We learned various facts about glaciers and ice, the explorations, and how much most of them are receding each year. It is incredible to watch the time lapse of how much the glaciers are shrinking and causing water levels to rise. The museum also focused a lot about raising awareness about the impact of climate change and global warming. After flooding our brains with information about glaciers, we headed to the ice bar inside the Glaciarium for a drink. We were given parkas and gloves as we entered and our drinks were served in an ice glass, it was awesome! The two of us were the youngest in the bar by at least 20 years and therefore the bartender took a liking to us. He made us two shots of vodka with a splash of amaretto and just as we were about to leave pulled out a piece of paper with his name and number written on it. Emily and I couldn’t stop laughing outside. It was hilarious to think that he had readymade pieces of paper with his number on them in his pocket to give away to any tourist that came in! We headed back to the hostel to meet two of Emily’s friends that were arriving that day. After they were settled in, we took a walk to admire the milky-blue color of Lago Argentino. After fighting against the wind on the walk back, we decided to all cook in the hostel kitchen and call it a night. I needed my energy for the hiking I was about to embark on in El Chalten.

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