South America – Part Six (Eruption)

We’d booked our penguin tour the next day, which meant a day trip out with other people. Those people turned out to be Jon and Sophie and to be honest, I tried to rack my brains about the notes I’d written and I don’t remember much, I remember them being nice and I remember being squashed in a car with them. We went to the penguin sanctuary, first in the penguin museum then to see them in the flesh. What I liked most was how many penguins there were, there were literally 1000s of them and we could walk right up them I could reach out and touch one (but we weren’t allowed 😦 )

So close…

we watched them for ages they were so entertaining. Then we made our way back to the car after a few hours. Jon and Sophie followed us back shortly after. What made this trip even better was the knowledge that our driver had, he knew all about animals and birds and all sorts. On the way back to Puerto Madryn we stopped and looked at some elephant seals unfortunately the big ones were at sea but we still got up close and personal with some very lazy seals and it was still all very fun.

Sleeping or Dead?
Sleeping or dead?

We got back had a beer with Jon and Sophie then went to bed as we had yet another coach journey in the morning this time for a stop in Bariloche.

Bariloche was our last stop in Argentina, at least for about a weeks time when we went back in Argentina. Anyway we wasn’t there long we had intentions to do a bit of a hike in Bariloche but we didn’t. Bariloche is very German, that’s the best way to describe it it’s almost like an alpine Bavarian village.

Our hostel was like a war zone, first we spoke to a establishment hating Asian man, who in different circumstances would probably not be allowed to walk the streets, to give you a back story Bariloche harboured a number of Nazi’s who fled Germany during the end of the World War 2 and this guy may well have been fleeing some sort of war as well. His views were questionable at best and he was from North London. Nuff said.

As if we hadn’t had enough questionable views the lady who worked at our hostel Mira had Ill feelings towards isrealis. When I say Ill feelings it was prompted by Jack and I, who asked who the worst people to host are, she ranted for 10-15 minutes about how rude a lot of isrealis are when they come to the hostel she would say it was easier to put them in a room by themselves than make them share with other non isrealis, very strong views for someone who lives in Bariloche.

That night we went out for a drink in a local establishment we got very drunk despite having another coach journey the next day . During the night we got speaking to Miguel the Argentinian.

Here’s Miguel

What do two englishmen and an argie talk about when we get drunk….the Falklands. Obviously we weren’t born but we know enough about it to hold a conversation but what we didn’t know is how to have that conversation in Spanish and what Miguel didn’t know was to have that conversation in English. What ensued was a very broken English/Spanish conversation about a war we weren’t alive for. It all ended amicably and it turned out to be a great night. We woke up the next day and then made our way to Chile.

Our first stop in Chile was the Adventure capital Pucon, it was like Cuffley Camp on steroids, think of an extreme sport and they offer it here. Jack’s reason for stopping here was to climb a Volcano (Villarrica Volcano) I was less inclined to do this but after listening in to the salesperson I was sold, Jack and I the next morning were going to climb a Volcano.

This is one of my favourite pictures from the whole trip. Credit to Jack for taking it

We got an early night as we had an early start. Climbing this Volcano was not straight forward, if the weather turns you can’t do it, if you get to base camp and the weather turns you have to turn back of the Volcano goes off…..well I’ll explain that in a bit. Jack and I set off to the meeting point where there were two guides, a lady of 61 (Patricia) and a couple of other younger dudes. I had not signed up for a Hike, I had not come dressed for a hike but we were going on a hike! We even had back packs and ice shoes, I’ve never felt more cool. The drive from the town was about twenty minutes and on the minibus there was a tangible air of excitement. We arrived at our destination and got kitted up, Ross “bare grills” Tunnicliffe was ready for action. Our two guides talked us through the ascent it sounded ok and we had Patricia with us if anyone was going to give up surely it would be Patricia.

The first task was to get on the chair lift, no bar across your lap and no safety harness to stop you dropping 20 metres on to a Rocky mountainside but…this is the adventure capital of Chile so who needed that. After the chair lift they reckoned it was a few hours hike from here…..I should have learned, I was already knocking off the minutes thinking We’d do it in an hour or so. After an hour we stopped the guides told us that we were halfway. This was not so bad, but this is where we had to change to the ice boots. It was going to get a lot steeper and a lot more difficult from here, I scoffed, Patricia hadn’t even broken a sweat. We had our midway break then began, slowly my buoyant mood started to dissolve each step burned my legs, one of the guides had taken the burden of Patricia’s back pack and the only talk was to warn one another of the cascading rocks which would occasionally fall from above.

When they were only half way up they were neither up nor down.

The guides would occasionally ask Patricia if she wanted a break, she stubbornly refused, my legs were screaming (it was at this point that I realised this must be what Edmund Hillary felt like when he scaled Everest) we had a number of scheduled breaks and then we were at the top, I wanted to cry but we made it. According to the guides we had a fantastic day for it there was barely a cloud in the sky and the Volcano was bubbling away despite being high up a snow capped mountain the heat when looking over the top was nigh on unbearable. For a guy who initially didn’t want to do this excursion I had to eat my hat, one of the best experiences of the whole trip despite all the hard work it took of getting to the top.

We there were up they were up.

Now the fun bit, the sledge to the bottom ….we’d each been given a bumsledge and the instruction to follow the person in front, despite being no end of fun this was arguably more dangerous than the hike, there was no way of controlling the sledge and the only advice you were given was of you lose control whack your ice pick in the snow and try to hold on. This did not work but that kind of made it more fun and no one died on the way to the bottom hooray. We went down and had booked ourselves in for a sauna later that night, we deserved it.

Walking around the town you would occasionally hear a siren so at the hostel we asked what it represented and it was a three way warning alarm to warn of dangers in the town here is what we were told “one siren, this means a small emergency, maybe a small fire, two sirens and this more serious and you need to be aware of where you are, three sirens and you need to evacuate to high ground, but the whole of pucon is evacuating and smoke and lava will move faster than your traffic so if three sirens go off, you sit round the table with your family open your best bottle of red and wait” I stayed awake that whole night listening for the three sirens.

It was a short trip in Pucon but a diversion I’m hugely glad we took, after Pucon we made our to Santiago for a couple of nights. I thought it was a great city, we took in some rap battles, a massive football match which lead to a city wide party, karaoke and in our hostel there was a guy who didn’t stop playing Grand Theft Auto so you could say it was a mixed bag but good none the less. I was going to go in to a bit more detail of the city wide tour we took but I’m further behind than I need to be so I won’t. One of the nights out found us in a bar talking to two Yanks and a Brit, standard conversation the two yanks hated trump and the Brit was a remainer. The Brit had a very bad habit of mentioning his girlfriend more than was neccessary and coupled with his extremely camp approach lead Jack and I to come to the conclusion that he was Gay, not that this was in any way a problem just an observation that he may well have been over compensating.

After Santiago we made a short trip to Valparaiso a hilly coastal town in Chile. Despite being incredibly difficult to walk around the town itself was very quaint. Again I’m going to avoid detail here but aside from some mindfulness on the beach, my highlight was when a lady (let’s say of Patricia’s age) took a shining to Jack in a bar they were most forthcoming and her and her friend sat with us. We had a conversation in Spanish, I literally had no idea was going on I could tell they were being vulgar because occasionally a loud cigarette fuelled laugh would fill the air….that wasn’t the highlight….I know I know you’re thinking how can that not be the highlight, well the highlight cane when a homeless man started talking to Jack and I, one of the women kindly told the man that we didn’t speak good Spanish, the man then took offence and proceeded to SPIT at the woman and with that the waiter came out the bar and kicked the man up the bum and half way up the street, the man got up and started walking towards the waiter and a fight broke out which the waiter clearly won…..then minutes later the homeless man came running back down the street shouting what I can only imagine were obscenities…..so that was the highlight.

Santiago from above

Ohh also, sleeping or dead?

Sad, cruel life 😦

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South America – Part Five (Hiking and Biking)

We woke up the next morning, early so we could catch the coach and it was decided that there was nothing in El Chalten for us apart from Mount Fitztoy, serious hikers we are not, we would only stay a night then get a coach back the next day to give ourselves an extra day in Calafate to give Jack a chance to find someone to fix his phone. That was the plan

Whilst waiting for our coach, Chinese Rob, I told you he would make another appearance, appeared talking to people who were clearly too polite to tell him to go away he was helpfully giving people money saving tips and generally talking about subjects that people don’t want to discuss with total strangers at 7 o clock in the morning, as fate would have it he was on our coach. Oh and by the way it was Jacks birthday, the way he acted you’d never have known it.

We arrived in El Chalten where “all their water is drinkable” that’s literally the strapline and I took that literally so if I saw water….. I drank it, streams, rivers, taps, whatever, if it was wet it went down my throat. Anyway due to time constraints we had to climb Mount Fitz roy that day. To give you a picture The summit of Mount Fitz Roy can be reached by many different routes of varying lengths and difficulty some of which even include camping over night (do I need to say this is not the route we chose) Jack and I decided to take the mid length day route which meant taking a car for about 30-45 mins to a random path in the middle of nowhere and a driver pointing to path leading in to thick bushes.

Before I take you on the trek with us there was a noteworthy spot whilst driving through the rugged wilderness. Do you all remember Rob of two paragraphs ago, well his penny pinching ways had lead to what I can only imagine he was now seeing as a very bad idea, about 30 minutes out of town BY CAR and still 15-20 minutes away from any form of navigateable path leading to the summit Rob was there marching through the undergrowth alone. I wish I could help picture how arid and rugged deserted this area was, here is a picture to help but I have to stress the complete remoteness of this location


Imagine Rob strolling through this

There was a route from the town to the peak of the trek…..this was not it. Surprisingly this was the last we ever saw of Rob, I do hope he made it but I cannot confirm. Maybe in years to come there will be rumours of weary travellers bumping in to a wise old oriental man on the path to Mount Fitz Roy who fills you with knowledge of money saving coupons and energy saving tips I’ll keep my eyes open for stories.

Anyway jumping back to the beginning of the route and the one person wide path leading in to the forest with no map no signal no camping equipment, and the only guidance I had was Jack telling where to point my camara as he had no phone we embarked on our first Hike, appropriately dressed.

So Jack and I had become real travellers we were on a hike, first of what turned out to be a few. The plan was to climb (walk but I’m using hiking terms) 1200 metres to take a peek at the peak of Mount Fitzroy, it was about 2 in the afternoon a good time for trekking. It was a clear day and we had about 6 or seven hours of sunlight remaining.

The start of the trek was flat and ran alongside a fast rushing river, that you’ll now …was drinkable so there was no fear of dehydration. A little while in to the walk, the path became a bit steeper but nothing to put us off, our path took us higher up than the river and it was now about twenty metres below off the side of the cliff. This was our first picture break, remembering that I was camara man due to jacks phone issues. Jack, as it turns out is a diva when it comes to pictures. Waiting for the right lighting, photos with wind breaker on, the wind breaker off, leg up on a log then the leg off the log….literally all sorts until I captured the right one. I hate the think what it would have been like should it have been sunset…..I might still be there snapping away.

I photoshopped him in to these pictures

We went a little further and our route plateu’d somewhat which by then was a bit of relief and this is when we first started seeing other people each of whom looked far more prepared for a hike than Jack and I that being said Jack and I continued unperturbed by our obvious misjudgement in cloice of clothes. A few water breaks and picture breaks we finally got our first glimpses of the glaciers (on this walk) and they were well worth the walk. The first one we saw wasn’t the one we were on route to see. A quick aside from the narrative, these glaciers were different from the other one I describe these are smaller but feed in to lake and are impressive for a different reason.

We carried on following the path as was our only choice and were running in to more and more people they would say things like “nearly there” “only two hours left” “the clouds are coming over” or the equivalent in Spanish. Jack and I had both noticed the clouds neither of us had decided to admit it though. See with Fitz Roy you climb to a viewing point then LOOK at the peak, I mean there are Edmund hillarys amongst us who will climb to the peak but I was happy to leave that the the professionals, and there was a chance that if the clouds come over then the peak of Fitz Roy would not be able to seen from the viewing platform. With every passing minute the chance of bad weather stopping play became an ever more realistic possibility….we stepped up the pace and hit “base camp” this is basically a semi permanent tented village where the residents only ever stay for a day or two, maybe to make one with nature, I don’t know, but this is a village where Jack and I would be shunned, no wind breakers, clothes that aren’t from north face, don’t own a compass and haven’t drunk our piss from a water purifier so we hurried through tent town avoiding any contact with anyone….come to think of it ….most of my trip to South America was based around avoiding people…..anyway we made it through there was a small break out area. We rested up, then the saga walking tour come bounding down a particularly steep hill, picture it now there were Nordic walking sticks, massive camaras, denchers but they passed by with only one or two looking like tonight could be their last.

Whilst waiting for the over 80s walking brigade to pass I noticed a sign 1km left (approximate time 1 hour) “one hour” I scoffed, confidently I said to Jack “Jack we are for young men, you saw those people that walked past, this sign is obviously meant for people like them….one kilometre will not take us one hour” I am going to spoil the cliffhanger but that sign was wrong, we smashed it, 54 minutes. 400 metre climb. Kudos to the heavens waiting room collective how they even got up there to this day I will not know. I was half expecting to see a queue for a stanna stair lift half way up.

We made it, we were at the top the clouds had come over but we got 5/10 minutes before the peak was completely covered but that didn’t matter too much as there was so much else to see. Blue water, bluer than anything I’ve ever seen, massive waterfalls lovely landscapes I loved it. And I had done it all in chuck bass sweater a pair of sparkly trainers and leg warmers. Jack was off risking his life for the perfect shot whilst I got the pleasure of picturing it. We stayed around for about an hour then started our descent it took around two hours to get back to the town.

As I mentioned it was Jacks birthday so we had a beer ready to sleep and get an early bus back to El Calafete to give us an extra day to sort Jacks phone out. The withdrawal symptoms started showing, I would sometimes see him staring endlessly at his phone, just the black screen, plugging the charger in and taking it out again He was a man lost.

When we got back to El Calafete we checked back in to a different hostel, one more central. Then we set about trying to fix Jacks phone. None of the phone shops were open….so Jack set about on his ritual of charging his phone and then “the apple logo” just appeared, he was visibly shaking his phone come to life, notifications came flooding in and It so much weight come off his shoulders I swear for a second he floated in mid air.

Buoyed by this good news Jack skipped to the bus station to book our trip to Puerto Madryn. We knew this was going to be a long coach journey it would take mental preparation. The trip would consist of a journey to the city of Rio Gallegos then waiting around for an hour or so then 18 hours to Puerto Madryn all in all long.

At the bus station there was a man also trying to book a trip, this man of around 50-60 looked like the guy from Curb your Enthusiasm he had a baseball cap on and was clearly disgruntled at the service he was receiving, not helped by the obvious language barrier. He would speak in slow loud English and the woman would reply in Spanish. Rather than get involved and help, Jack decided he would watch. Eventually after the conversion went back and forth and not making any progress the man revealed he could speak Spanish “DONDE ESTA EL HOMBRE” he wanted to speak to the boss and his basic understanding of the lingo allowed him to ask for “the man” sexist undertones aside this was just ridiculous and there was audible laughter from both Jack and I. We didn’t stick around to listen to the conclusion because angry American was one wrong response away from declaring war on Argentino autobuses.

We were booked on to our journey, we had good seats at least and Jacks phone was working, which was a good thing because he was quoted as saying “I’ll die if I have to do that journey without a phone”. The journey began and all that is to be said from the journey is that there is a whole lot of NOTHING in central Argentina, commonly referred to as the most remote places in the world…..I’m surprised we didn’t see Rob strolling through the plains for Argentina. I felt like I was on a film set passing the same slide over and over but eventually we arrived in Puerto Madryn…..we’d done some landscape viewing and now we were going to see some wildlife.

Jack and I arrived in Puerto Madryn and took a long hot walk through the town to find our hostel, it was perfect weather the warmest we’ve been for a while, we were going to drop our stuff off and then head down to the beach. The first part we successfully did, our stuff was dropped off in a lovely private room which consisted of a weird shaped bunk bed. The hostel itself gave you everything a traveller could want a sun trap garden, hammocks, garden furniture and an abundance of beer stealing French people, but we will get to that. Anyway, we dropped the stuff of and walked to the beach but it was as if the weather gods themselves were looking down on us, Jack and I approached the beach and as we the clouds gathered above just like at the summit of the Mouth Fitz Roy trek and the closer we got to the sands of Puerto Madryn the darker those clouds got. By the time we stepped foot on the golden canvass we felt the first drop of rain, and that was that we marched back to the hostel to take cover and wait for the rain to pass by. Unfortunately the rain didn’t stop until the next day but that didn’t mean our day was wasted. Puerto Madryn is famous for lots of different reasons but it’s a great place to view wildlife so Jack I decided what animals we’d like to see most.

It was a tactical decision but the plan was that after a nights sleep we would rent bikes in the morning, to go visit some sea lions then the following day take an organised trip to walk amongst Penguins and elephant seals. When we woke the following morning we had our normal breakfast of bread and butter, then went to rent some bikes. Neither of us are Lance Armstrong and so we knew it would a struggle I mean we barely even knew the way, but we just had to “follow the coast” which it turns out is harder than it sounds. More challenging than the hills, was the terrain it turns out that mountain bikes might be good for mountains they are not good for gravel, every pedal stroke would get you about 1 metre it wasn’t very efficient but what we found much more efficient was cycling on the road which was about 10 metres on our right which we finally discovered after choosing the wrong track for an undesirable amount of time. We arrived at the Sea Lion viewing point a few hours after leaving the town. We viewed those Sea Lions he’d and which it turns out are much louder than I expected, I imagine they were huge as well but we were fairly far away.

Here are the very noisy sea lions

I think what’s good to point out now is, effectively the sea lions were half way (because we had to return) and we had drunk more than half our water…..problem…..our resolution…..drive faster home. We rode hard but it was so hot and the route was baron to say the least so on the journey back I became so dehydrated and there was zero shade, like seriously none. I mean picture the Sahara desert, now picture it drier and being yourself being on a bike, that was the situation we were in. By the time we got back to the town I had a banging headache we had to stop at a bar, a beer and a Coke did the trick I was back to being alive. I’m not sure Jack had ever done that much exercise but he was fairing up better than me. On the way back to the hostel we picked up a few bits to eat and a couple of beers which we stored in the communal fridge until later than evening.

Later than evening we went to get the beers walking through a group of French guys and girls, I opened the fridge and Jacks drinks were there almost freezing to touch and looking almost as appetising as that drink earlier after the bike ride so I looked in the fridge in eager anticipation and then I was brought crashing down when my bottle was gone, I was lower than the sea lions belly to the floor and then I heard over the giggling and frenchness “x cues meh ees diss urs” he was holding my bottle, open, the cool condensation dripping on the his thieving French hand. He apologised and thought that offering his warm unfridged beer would compensate for the crushing disappointment I suffered when I discovered that the beer I had been looking forward to for a couple of hours was being enjoyed by someone else not least this greasy frog. Needless to say I took his beer and then enjoyed a somewhat warmer than I’d hoped for beer.

South America – Part Four (Dancing on Ice)

If you remember, we’d come home from our day trip Uruguay on the last update.

After sleeping off the Uruguayian in us the next day we woke up excited for the day we had planned. Our good friend Cristian was going to take us on a tour of the wonderful metropolis of Buenos Aires. What struck me about BA was the size of the city, I’m so used to London being a relatively small city and being able to walk round it within a day and this was nothing like that. BA is so big, even with a full day Cristian was only able to show us a few things. Our first stop was the Area of Boca home of famous football team Boca Juniors. Boca as an area is quite eccentric multi-coloured houses and many people dressed up in traditional tango outfits. After an empanada, we decided that we would tour the stadium, not before a local forced Cristian in to paying him to “watch” his car. Cristian later told us if he didn’t pay the guy probably would have just bashed up his car anyway, with that knowledge we decided to split the bill with Cristian then made our way to the stadium “the chocolate box” or to us Spanish speakers “La Bombonera”

I was excited it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do, it would have been better had there been a game on but nonetheless i wanted to see the ground and the museum and just take it all in. The football ground didn’t disappoint, as to be expected it was decked out with blue and yellow everywhere, very bold. The ground itself is old with a lot of the structure still wooden but we had a guide take us round, visited the home and away changing rooms the home one having all the modern conveniences fridges jacuzzi comfortable seats in vast contrast to the away changing room which would not be out of place down the brookdene. The visit to the stadium was playing havoc with one of our group. Cristian is a fan of a different (lesser known) BA team…..San Lorenzo. Anyone would have thought Cristian would burst in to flames if he touched anything in the stadium judging by the way he cautiously walked around. -footnote: Cristian asked me to make it clear to anyone reading this that he did NOT enjoy the tour he is still loyal to San Lorenzo.

After the tour we exited the stadium on to a street with a lovely restaurant where Leo Messi was their mascot so the boys all had a picture with the mascot pretending it was me….all very funny modern day comedians!

That is NOT me in the Argentina top

We returned to the car to find it in good condition not smashed windows or missing tyres, Cristian pointed out an area we shouldn’t go to, you know, just to fill you with confidence about the city he then took us to a busier more like the cities of Europe we know and love, we took in the sights palaces, parliament, nice buildings just checking boxes ensuring we really were tourists. Had some traditional Argentinian lunch then said our goodbyes to Cristian but it wasn’t the end of our budding friendship as him and his girlfriend at the time Sabrina were planning on taking us out that night and we couldn’t wait.

We went to a tango dance class in a bar, most of us were up for getting involved one person chose to sit out and look like a misery, however he had the last laugh by the end of the night. The first task was to learn the first seven steps of the tango, for me, the most coordinated person in the group this was easy for the others it was not between Alex and Jack there were 4 left feet. Due to poor performance no one else wanted to partner them so they ended up partnering each other and come to think of it that was probably all part of the plan. The dancing ceased and we sat down to have a drink with Sabrina, Cristian, Jon, Alex and Jack the tipple of choice was a fantastic Chilean red, so delicious that it would be sacrilege to spill but a drop…..the conversation turned to Marvel films and at this point most non fans would know to shut up but not Alex he voiced his dislike of the films and that was it, I’d had it. I picked up a glass and threw the red wine all over Alex, staining his white cotton shirt “take that back” I screamed, holding back tears. Alex bold as anything said “you ruined my shirt” like that matters in the grand scheme of things. Alex only looked like he’d been stabbed in the heart but his heinous opinions actually stabbed me in the heart. It was the only time on any of the trip I considered my friendships with any of my comrades unlike Jon who likely questions it every day.

The night was not finished after tango though and Jon Alex and I headed off to another bar, a very odd bar, so odd that I can’t remember why it was so odd but let it be known that there is an odd bar in recoleta and I think other people enjoyed it more than me and my friends.

The next morning it was time to bid farewell to Jon and to Alex which we did in a manly way.

We went to the airport got on our three hour flight down to Patagonia where Jack and I finally became backpackers…..for a while then went back to being holiday makers.

Due to my notes not being as thorough as I’d like I’m probably going to mention now that Alex and Jack both got the back pack back just in time wear clean clothes for the final night in Buenos Aires.

To sum up the holiday with the guys it was really good to have them there despite them tempting to spend much more money than I’d hoped for in the same time but it was still well worth it even though no one would come to see Harry Potter with me at the cinema and at the time of writing I still haven’t seen it, so I’ll forever hold a grudge about that.

The numbers of participants on the trip had largely reduced we’d started with five and now we were two, we’d been on three hour flight and arrived in calafate.

We took a taxi to our hostel and were shown to our room. At first it looked like good news, we were alone in a six person dorm, then all of a sudden a French woman walked in, not only was she dirty looking she smelt as bad as she looked. Jack and I were not impressed but as all good travellers do we got on with it. In calafate the main attraction is the “Perito Moreno” glacier the fastest moving glacier in the world. We booked our trip for the following day and decided we wouldn’t socialise with the other hostel dwellers. The main reason for this was we were off the “gringo trail” these people here were proper travellers think Ben from Inbetweeners 2, Jack and I would have been treated as second class citizens because we hadn’t spent a week in a tent with nothing but a bottle of water and a stick, in fact we were the opposite of these people we didn’t even have hiking boots. After a joint effort in the kitchen Jack and I put together a wonderful meal finished it off and went to bed. Frenchie was not in the room at this point deciding instead to party on downstairs at around one o clock in the morning she barged in the room, and in her defence didn’t turn the light on like some people do, she then proceeded to get naked and get in her bed completely oblivious to the fact that she just woke us up. We woke up in the morning and to our relief she was covered by her blanket but the blanket was not smell proof, the lady kept us up most the night with a chorus of snoring, burping and farting. She can do what she pleases in reality but I’m just doing these updates to tell you my experience, and this experience was the faint smell of a French person whilst eating my breakfast. Glad to be leaving for the day we got on the coach to go the glacier, not only do we have to pay for bus but also to get in to the national park. Perhaps my scepticism gets the better of me here but it felt like the people only stopped the coaches and cars were getting through no problem so my advice if anyone goes is get four of you together and rent a car and go up there I have a feeling that you might get in for free.

Taking the bad experience of Patagonia so far in to account, seeing this Glacier was worth it. I would have even shared the room with Frenchie for a week just to see it. I was always under the impression that glaciers would be cold, obviously the glacier itself is cold but We were pleasantly surprised when we were walking round in glorious 20 degree heat. The glacier is massive and we got a lot closer to it that I thought we would. We watching it on the balcony for ages joining in with the plethora of “oooohs” and “Ahhhh” and cheering when chunks of Ice bigger than buses were crashing in the water from 30-40 metres high sending a wave of icy water to the shore it was most impressive and definitely one of my favourite excursions of the trip. You can walk round kilometres of balcony taking in different angles of the lake and glacier and get loads of cool pictures, loved it.

It really was a sight to behold! I loved it

Honestly I can’t do this glacier enough justice, if you find yourself in South America go to this place!

Camp, leg up, just to make sure my shoes were in the picture

I went back to the hostel that night very content, and not even a unwashed French Lady could dampen my spirits. I’d like to put a bit of a disclaimer here – the French lady was nice and pleasant just had seemingly bad hygiene issues which in close quarters with people you don’t know isn’t a great way to behave in my opinion but someone from France might see it differently who knows.

The next day we went to the bus shelter and booked our ticket to El Chalten this is where would embark on our trek up Mount Fitzroy we had two nights planned there, at the bus station there was a man who was clearly Chinese but had learnt English with an American tutor he was also booking a ticket to El Chalten and was willing to tell anyone about it, it turns out his name was Robert…..this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Robert. Later that day whilst sitting in the hostel after booking our coach Jack decided his phone was broke, it wouldn’t charge it wouldn’t turn on so like a backpacker from the early 2000’s Jack took to hostels desktop and stayed there for the rest of the night, I thought he was pulling an all nighter on Msn, but in all honesty I would have been the same anything to get out of interacting with Frenchie!