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IloveBariloche.com

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After Chalten we were off north to the the lake district, Bariloche. It is just on the top of Patigonia which meant a nice 30 hour buss ride north. Luckily we had been trekking so much that we were ok with sitting still for a while and just relax.

The busses in Argentina are really good quality, much better than Sweden, or Spain, where they dont even have a toilet onboard. They also kept on showing films, even non dubbed films, the whole way, so the trip went really quick in the end. Still we were happy to finally arrive in Bariloche and be able to strech our legs.

We got a hostel recommended called, La Bolsa del Deporte. Super cool hostel, where you felt like home...or better perhaps, as the staff kept making pancakes for us. Unfortunately we kept on postponing to take photos of the hostel, and in the end we missed it, but the website might give you a feel for the place www.labolsadeldeporte.com.ar ...they even had a wooden slide!

We really liked Bariloche and the sorroundings. Its basically a village the size of a city and it is located just next to a lake with moutains bihind it. After reviewing various trekking options, we decided to go for a three day trekk and stay over in the mountain refugios. The only pain is that this meant carrying around loads of food and stuff. I ended up filling my 65 liters backpack, though I did have two sleeping bags in there.

The walk was quite tough, climbing 700 meters the first day. We met the cutes little baby in the first refugio. She came over to us and started to steal our crisps. After that she just hanged out with us the rest of the night. I was impressed that her dad had managed to carry her all the way up. Laura simply just wanted to take the baby with her...
Laura made a small friend at one of the refugios we stayed over in.

Laura made a small friend at one of the refugios we stayed over in.

Second day was even harder as we had to get over two mountain ridges, in total 1400 meters up and 1400 down. Luckly it was only snowy and icy while we were climbing up, otherwise I am not sure we would have made it, as walking down 40 degrees in snow would not have worked without ropes.

This was my favourite trekk so far partily because it was a bit more adrenaline involved. One wrong slip and you might fall a long way. Also there was no real paths, it felt a bit like we were the first ones going there. Actually we did not see anyone else in the whole day. True wilderness.

Just before the second refugio there was an swamp area we had to cross over. I managed to avoid sinking down in the water/mudd, but Laura kept on messing up on the last step. Her boots were completely muddy, and as a grand final she managed to slip when we crossed the last river. She arrived with boots completely wet, but hey at least they were clean now..

For a moment we were the only ones in the refugio and we were very proud of our acomplishment. However, our glory was short as after a few minutes some hardcore trekking guys from Slovakia arrived and told us that they had walked here in only one day, where we took two days. Dag nabit!

Anyways, they were really funny guys and we hanged out a bit with them after the trekk as well. After a good night out in Bariloche we said farwell, but we are sure we will see them again as they are travelling the same direction as us.

Henrik happy to be up on the first peak!

Henrik happy to be up on the first peak!

Look for our bag...too small to spot it eh?

Look for our bag...too small to spot it eh?

From the top....the icy lake!

From the top....the icy lake!

Conquering my vertigo!

Conquering my vertigo!

Reaching one of the peaks (21OO meters) after a 600 meters climb.

Reaching one of the peaks (21OO meters) after a 600 meters climb.

Trekking in Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi

Trekking in Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi

Posted by hmontonen 19:33 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Some additional photos from Chalten...

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We did a short seven hour trekk to see Fitz Roy the day after our monster 12 hour trekk. Only had the small camera with us so the pictures are not in any way able to portrait the reality of this place. Simply amazing...

Just chilling out on a logg

Just chilling out on a logg

The mighty Fitz Roy

The mighty Fitz Roy

Admiring the Fitz Roy

Admiring the Fitz Roy

Posted by hmontonen 07:44 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Trekking Mecka El Chalten

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Off next to the trekking capital of Argentina, El Chalten. This little mountain village is built in some of the most amazing settings you could ever wish for.

Ana, the girl that I replaced, quit her job to make a change on her live and move on. After many adventures, she found in El Chalten all she was looking for and so she decided to settle... She even bought a hippie caravan!

Ana and her hippie caravan!

Ana and her hippie caravan!

I stayed in contact with her while I was living in Spain and I wrote to her just before starting our trip... I promised to go and visit her...and so we did! and how couldn't we? El Chaltén is such a lovely place!

It was snowing the first few days so we decided to just go for some short hikes to warm up and wait for better weather to come.

We visited El Chorrillo del Salto, a lovely spot with all you need to just sit down and dream away: a waterfall, colourful trees, the sound of the river... the perfect components to give you the desired intimacy with the nature...
We also went mountain biking one day. The area is really amazing: snowcovered peaks, curving rivers, even the trees are cool! Also since its low season, there are very few tourists around.

Biking El Chalten surroundings...

Biking El Chalten surroundings...


Monkey man in Chorrillo del Salto waterfall

Monkey man in Chorrillo del Salto waterfall

We wanted to do some ice trekking, but most guide companies had closed down for the season already. Luckly Ana knew some guides and we managed to organise a tour for a really good price.

Finally on the day of the ice trekking the sky cleared up. There was a 4 hour trek to get to the glacier, so we had a early 7am start. The pace was set high right from the beginning and we hardly stopped until we reached the glacier. After the sun came up we saw the Cerro Torre peak. Absoutely stunning! Cannot believe that people have actually managed to climb this peak...its nearly 1 km vertical mountain face. It is amazing how looking and admiring the nature can put you down to earth. How do we dare to damage the environment the way we do? they just offer beauty!!!

Anyway, once we reached the lake and the sun was fully up, it truly was heaven on earth... we continued two more hours and there it was the glacier...but, to our surprise, there had been snowing the last two days and the glacier was covered with snow. The "walking on ice" had become "walking on snow"! There would not be any ice climbing; we would get into the glacier but we would have to watch out for the crevasses as the snow had covered them!the scenario looked so cool! .
Can you imagine? We walked across the ice!

The day after, we had planned to do a two day trek, camping in the wild, but it was too cold and we were too tired after the walk we did (a 12 hours trek!). So we decided to Laguna Capri and Laguna Madre e Hija...a very nice walk...still a worthy 7 hours trek. It is funny how snow makes everything prettier, brighter...stands out all the colours and makes a really cool mix!

After all this, I confirm that one has to be cold to see the best places ever in the world. I have reached glory!

Posing in front of Cerro Torre

Posing in front of Cerro Torre

Laura crossing 0 degrees river

Laura crossing 0 degrees river

Just before reaching the glacier

Just before reaching the glacier

Cerro Torre

Cerro Torre

Saludos Cerro Torre

Saludos Cerro Torre

In the middle of the glacier

In the middle of the glacier

Living on the edge

Living on the edge

Posted by hmontonen 07:31 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

One big chunk of ice...Patagonia, El Calafate

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The city or village itself is not much to look at. It really only exists to accomodate travellers wishing to see the famous glacier, Perito Moreno. Luckily we managed to book a really nice hostel, a bit out of town, but with a great personal touch to it. The sourounding landscape is still nice though

El Calafate, Patagonia

El Calafate, Patagonia

The managers made an Argentinean Asado, BBQ, in the evening and everyone in the hostel joined the feast. Vegetables or side dishes are not really big here, its just mainly massive chunks of meat, we are talking 5-10 kilo chunks of meat. The meat is of great quality, but they insist on cooking it very well done unfortunately, but hey still tastes damn good.

It was also good chatting with some other backpackers. Starting to get worried about improving my spanish though as everyone speaks in English.

Next day we were ready to finally see the world famous glacier Perito Moreno. Two of the guys from the hostals join us for the trip. There were actually quite a few options to see the glacier, but in the end we decided to go with the cheapest, public bus. What I thought was strange though was that the bus arrived at 10am and would leave at 16pm, what would we do for 6 hours? Would we not get bored just starring at the ice?

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia


Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

However, nothing was further from the truth. In the end we could have stayed longer if possible. This glacier is really something else. What makes it so special is not the size, though 60 meters high, but more that it is a constant moving object. This glacier actually grows 7 meters per years, but in reallity much, much more as every day 1000s of tons of ice falls of the glacier front into the lake.

We were lucky to see three hugh chunks fall off into the water. Images cannot really show how cool this is in reality. The pieces look small, but these below might be weighting a few hundred tones. When these falls off it makes a sound like thunder, followed by a big splash noise. Increible!

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Glacier Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Posted by hmontonen 08:21 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Para expresarlo plenamente...en espanyol...

Los incios...las primeras sensaciones


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Una taza de plastico llena de te tras un largo paseo en bici. Me siento en la mesa del pequenyo hostalito Albergue Patagonia y miro por la ventana...veo tres colores en un solo elemento: se llama montanya...la veo marron, pero el verde tambien quiere estar ahi; luego el blanco de los glaciares....... esto es un paraiso y se llama el Chalten.
Ahora cuento con muchas horas para sentirme en el estado mas puro y tambien para compartirlo con vosotros.

Aun asi, creo que la literatura no sera honorosa de lo que siento aqui...solo sera una pincelada. AHhi voy:

Llegamos el dia 12 a Buenos Aires...es una ciudad de contrastes...algunos que alucinan pero la mayoria que despiertan rabia. Recuerdo el tercer dia que cogimos el tren desde la estacion Retiro hasta Palermo...reclino mi cabeza en la ventana del tren y a mi derecha veo cientos y cientos de barracas:lo llaman la Villa 31 y dicen que viven 30.000 personas en la extrema pobreza...la llaman las favelas de Buenos Aires...no pasan ni tres minutos que giro la cabeza hacia el lado izquierdo y lo que veo son mas de 50 pistas de tenis, y otras tantas de hipica. Creo que ni en las ciudades europeas mas avanzadas habia visto tantas pistas privadas seguidas...
El contraste asusta, indigna y crea en uno la impotencia tan grande. Y, uno piensa, que pasara por la cabeza del resto de viajeros argentinos con los que estoy compartiendo este trayecto?
Pero eso si...en Buenos Aires se respira tango, milongas y librerias en cada paso que uno transita...y se conoce a gente muy interesante.
Fue bonito encontrarnos con Ariel, amigo argentino de mi hermana; su perspectiva y sus inquietudes nos conmovieron...

El dia 17 cogimos el vuelo a Calafate...un lugar tranquilo que nos anunciaba que el monstruo del Perito Moreno nos haria espectadores de una gran accion: caidas de pedazos enormes del glaciar y el sonido crack crack crack del hielo que deshiela! es un espectaculo!
Estuvimos mas de seis horas a la espera de accion y Mr.Perito rompio vertebras!!!fascinante!!!sabeis lo que pensaba? la historia que le voy a contar a mis nietos (si tengo y si puedo) es que solo sentia calor a esos 3 grados y que los ojos me brillaban de la emocion!!!no tengo palabras...

Al dia siguiente llegamos a Chalten y encontramos a Anita!!!Di fe su felicidad desde el primer momento en que abrio la puerta de su roulotte colorida!
Pasamos el dia con ella...Anita esta lo que se dice aqui argentinizando a 1000 por hora integrada en la cultura y costumbres. Manyana iremos juntos a una excursion y escalada en hielo...estoy contando las horas

os seguire contando.
os echo de menos!

laura

Posted by hmontonen 13:53 Archived in Argentina Comments (3)

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