Presidential Palace, B.A. (Philip Dorfman)
We were scheduled for a mid-day, 1.5 hour internal flight to El Calafate, in the Andes. We spent the morning looking for souvenirs in various Ushuaia shops. At one of the cafes at the far end of San Martin we had a 2nd, late morning substantial breakfast, to get us through the rest of the day. One of the other bi-lingual guides from Canal, picked us up at the Linares at noon, for the short ride to the airport. We had a smooth flight to El Calafate. After picking up our bags, we found our taxi driver. The drive to El Galpon Del Glaciar was 40 minutes, passing downtown El Calafate and around the unpopulated shore of Argentino Lake, the largest lake in Argentina. We can’t say enough about El Galpon Del Glaciar, an awesome sheep ranch. The setting is absolutely beautiful, with the lake and the surrounding snow covered Andes mountains. Although the area is known for fierce winds, we experienced only light winds.The staff is friendly, accommodating and well versed in English. Upon arrival, Frederick, the host, covered the activities with us. Our tour voucher entitled us to a welcome drink, 1 hour of horseback riding (unexpected), box lunches for the next day’s excursion and an invitation to join the outside guests coming to the evening program at 6 pm and dinner the next evening. The rustic rooms are nicely decorated and contain either a separate sitting area in the front or an extra tiny bedroom. Our room had the 2nd bedroom. We were the only guests staying over at the ranch the first night. The wonderful evening program consisted of an English Tea, with generous cake, cookie and pastry items, followed by a guided bi-lingual 2 mile hike to the lake and back, a sheep herding demonstration, sheep shearing in the shed, a 3 course Patagonian barbeque dinner and a Tango show. The others partaking in the evening activities were an older British-Argentine woman and two native Argentine couples who spoke no English. Luckily, Nina speaks some Spanish and was able to converse with the guests. And, The British lady helped translate.
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