The scenery of Patagonia
Sometimes having a biologist wife is a pain in the neck. Getting up to watch a sunrise over a volcano during a national holiday in Indonesia springs to mind! Other times it’s a blessing to have the opportunity to share in something as magical as Patagonia with someone so considerate about life, diversity and enjoying both equally.
There’s not much to do in El Calafate, but what there is to do is actually awesome! Having got to the airport with 6 hours to spare I hunted down a burger van I read about on Wikitravel (Not there!) Took off hungry and tired and thought to myself this is a poor start to this adventure. As soon as we landed in El Calafate everything changed, the serene nature of the place grabs hold and Argentina becomes, yet again, another country.
The young (Yes, I’m saying that now about people a few years younger than me) flock to Patagonia during peak season to work in the various hostels, hotels and tourist industries and we were met by a girl from Quilmes at our hostel. The world may be a grand size but no matter where you go it always seems much smaller through coincidences like this.
Next up; El Chaltén!
When I was younger I had a good friend Alastair whose sister was friends with my own. All these years later Caroline and her husband Rodge have come to Latin America to do some NGO work during their honeymoon. BA was their landing point and I was lucky enough to grab the newly-weds and celebrate their bond in a bar in San Telmo. It’s so odd to think of my 15 year old self visiting her parents home and asking for Alastair and all these years later we’re each married and exploring the globe (Second time for Caroline in Latin America too!).
I’ve never thought about it before but it’s weird seeing your culture be portrayed by generations later from it’s emigrants. The people of Scottish descent in Capital were very respectful of their heritage and made sure all of Scotland, from the Shetlands to the lowlands were represented and celebrated (We even had Roman and English invaders present). Effie met with distant cousins who share her name and I even got a nip out of it!
I don’t think Utilikilts will be making a breakout any time soon in Argentina and their céilidh moves are a little too tame for my tastes but it’s safe to say that Alba is well remembered in Argentina and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Thankfully it was a bus which got me to this point. I wouldn’t normally condone a road up a mountain but this is a main thoroughfare between Argentina an Chile. Some lovely stops along the way and then a half hour hike to this point. In Winter this is meant to be prime skiing country.
Sometimes adventuring doesn’t work out as well as one might hope. This was the case in Maipú. Effie, George and myself decided to go for the cycling option of touring the region over an organised car trip. It’s a bit too industrial for that these days I’ve observed – I don’t see the biking industry lasting unless they add bicycle lanes 😦
Effie and George had adventures of their own (But at least got a beer!) I however went for the 30 km trip to my favourite wine’s home; Aberdeen Angus malbec by Finca Flichman. Sadly my ambition was bested by the sun, the gradient and not setting out early enough. A real shame as I love that wine with a passion and wanted a spiritual retreat to thank the makers personally.
Still; adventure, friendship and another fine day in Argentina. Horses again because it was either that or silly puns about My Poo being bad which I felt would be disrespectful just because my eyes are bigger than my belly.
Effie, George and myself made our way to ‘The Gaucho Experience‘ for some sunset trekking on the Andes. I even got to gallop (Exhilarating!!!!). There was a lovely asado afterwards and we got speaking to people from all over the world including many porteños . We met a happy family with a mother who supported Boca, a father who supported River and their son who was torn to supporting both.
Mendoza is a very fulfilling city, the pace and rhythm is completely different from anywhere I’ve been and the locals have been very helpful with everything. If you visit Argentina you must visit here to catch the laid back, but effective, approach to living.