Alternate titles for this post:
1) The moment I wished we´d gone to Hawaii
2) Why stairmaster is necessary
3) El Calafate, Perito Merino and a Honeymoon
So we´re in Patagonia and I´m blogging on my HONEYMOON. How disturbing I know, but we have some down time and I can´t stop myself from the computer. Seriously, it´s a sickness and really it´s made better by the fact that I get to drink a nice glass of ¨vino tinto¨(a new favorite- Gran Malbec´s Cavas de Santos - FABULOUS!) while checking to see the world outside Argentina.
First thing first: El Calafate. This is a town that is in the process of making itself a tourism location. Read: most people that come here are backpackers, serious adventurists, hostel residers. We are staying in the nicest place in town, built last year, obviously a place where middle'aged residents of South America come to holiday. It is quite impressive I might say, esp. architecture-wise. Most roads are gravel, although the main one to our hotel is an abandoned ariport runway strip, so it provides for a momentary break from the bumpy ride. Everyone here is very nice and helpful and it is pretty safe I must say. Very relaxed. I would say that 95% of the tousirsts that come here speak some form of Spanish, be it from Latin America or Spain or being smart travelers. Count Andrew and I in that 5% that spend our time fumbling through interactions, but like I said, people are very nice and helpful with us.
Yesterday we went Glacier trekking. I laugh at myself and my naivete. When we asked the concierge about the glacier excursions he said immediately ¨mini trekking¨? We are flipping through the catalopg of options and let me say one thing. I may poke fun of Andrew being a woman at times, but there are parts of his personality that are very not-female, and that part was the part evident when the word ¨mini-trekking¨came up. Mini-trekking will not due, instead Andrew decides on an all-day hike called ¨big icë trekking." BIG ICE versus mini'trekking. This is hilarious, because now I know that that is like deciding to run a marathon the day before it´s to begin. If you have not been doing the stairmaster for 3 hours a day for atleast 6 months, you are not prepared for this hike. I thought, cool we get to the glacier, strap on our grampones and harness, and off we go! When we got to the glacier there was this nice slowly rolling hill part where I saw groups slowly inching their way up in lines. These were the mini'trekkers. Knowing what I know now, that itself probably wasn´t INCREDIBLY easy, but it looked like a fun time. However, we are part of the BIG ICE group, the group within which there is not one person who is not traveling with the entire contents of their lives in a backpack. Except us of course. We´re Honeymooners!! So we don´t put on our grampones, no we need to do a 30 minute hike up into the mountains to do that. Lots of teeny trails up very steep mountains. But ok, I´m winded but I´m playing it off as well as I can. Then we get our harness and grampones (foot spike thingies). But we don´t put them on. No we need to hike another hour up the mountain, farther back into the glacier. So far we are seeing the glacier, but not actually getting on it, just moving parallel to it´s border. I want to get on the ice right? When do we get on the ice? By the way, this may seem ridiculously obvious, but it was a beautiful day, long sleeve shirts were cutting it, but on a glacier, it´s COLD. Like REALLY REALLY cold. Especially when the sun goes away and the wind picks up. I´m getting chilly at my core the further up we go into the mountains. But alas! The moment to step on the ice has come. We strap on our grampones. I´m tired, but the excitement of actually getting on the BIG ICE is pushing me at this moment. At first it seems great, we´re going up the glacier, relatively good pace, and it´s just a 40 degree angle up. I´m thinking YES! this is AWESOME! HAH! Then we get to the part I didn´t think they would let amateurs do. Because it turns out glaciers? Not really plains of ice. There are sink holes and fissures and laggoons and rushing water everywhere. i´m not normally afraid of heights, but when I´m stepping on a foot-wide piece of ice between 2 very deep cracks with rushing freezing water right below me, I get a bit nervous. My strategy becomes, don´t look down, just take the hand of the cute Argentinean guide and keep stepping. The harness by the way is used to throw you over, between 2 guides, when the cracks are too wide to merely jump across. It is slow going, mostly because it´s an up and down and I am slow to come to the realization that gingerly stepping when you´re unsure does not cut it. You have to make jamming steps in order for the grampones to work. After about 2 hours in we stop for lunch at this amazing blue lagoon in the middle of the glacier. Breath taking. If I had any breath left to take, it would have been taken then....
Have to stop, my time is up and I will post more when I get a chance - hopefully pictures. Consider this TO BE CONTINUED...
Hope everyone´s doing well! Miss you!