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At the end of the world.....(well almost)

Written on: Sunday July 26th, 2009

A journal entry from: Central and South America

This is the end of the road my friend....well it was for us anyway. We aborted our mission to get all the way to Ushuaia, the official worlds most southern city, stopping instead at El Calafate. Cut a long story short, it would've cost us a fortune in VISA fees to get through Chile and back into Argentina as it seems the customs officals don't really like emergency passports, so we decided to cancel that plan and put it into the 'next time basket'.

But El Calafate....in short incredible! For those unfamiliar, it's 'base camp' for the 'Parque de los Glaciers', boasting over 7* massive glaciers with the show stopper being Perito Moreno...some 14 kilometres long, 60 metres high (and that's just above the water) and the only glacier in the world that's growing. Not a bad reason to stop by!

We hooked up here with Dom and Alex, another pair of writers for hosteltrail, from Brighton. We all got a hire car, woke up at some ungodly hour of 5am (remember it doesnt get light here until 9am) to drive the 90 mins dirt road to the national park before 8am so we didnt have to pay the entry fees. I know, I know....scabs you're saying!!! But our bank balances are nearing zero these days so you do what you can.

After sleeping for 2 hours in the car as we were so god damn early and it was pitch black, we headed out in the freezing cold to get a glimpse of what all the glacier hype is about. Oh my god. Amazing...huge, brilliant...you get the drift. Prior to even seeing the chunk of ice you could here the creeking of it´s movements.There's multiple viewing platforms so we ran around them like little kids taking 100's of pics and only stopping to watching the massive shards of ice falling off, making unbelievably huge crash noises that echos for seconds after the ice hits the water. Pretty darn cool. As we were there so early, we had the place to ourselves. Later on the sun came out and with it, the hordes of tour buses. The sun made for better pics but the glacier grew more quiet after that and so getting there was defintely worth it (oh yeah, as was saving $60!).

We also went on a giant 4 x 4 snow mobile adventure which was pretty random but fun. It took us to the moutains behind El Calafate where got some amazing views and generally froze our arse off but it was fun.

Moving onto Puerto Madryn...a famous place for Southern Right Whales who come here and seem to basically just chill out and make out! We headed out EARLY morning to this beach to catch high tide and were there were about 7 of them just playing literally 15 metres off shore. Incredible! We see whales at home occasionally as they head south but its just a spurt here and there a couple of kms out to sea.....but these were so close you could touch them!

But meeting Dom and Alex has been our demise. They're a very social pair and James and I never need much encouragment so together the 4 of us have shared far too many bottles of wine and have many hours unaccounted for. Our hostel in PM has a climbing wall (the owner is some rock climbing fanatic) so we spent the last random night halfway up the wall seeing who was best. Check the pics. Thank god for the mattresses at the bottom!

But at just a little over 3 weeks left we're heading to Gaucho country (i.e. cowboy country) to chill with some real life cowboys before beginning our final assult on BA.

* figure totally made up but there's a lot!


From BC on Aug 2nd, 2009


From Chetnam on Aug 15th, 2009

That photo at the end with you guys all up the wall... I was on the floor. It lots like some crazy abstract artwork and you all look like you're in training to be tryhard superheroes. Nice climbing spidey.