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Back to Argentina. Illegal meals and a full day of Spanish
Antarctica Voyage on Ocean Nova and Patagonia journey

Sunset in AntarcticaSunset in Antarctica (Sergey Semenchinskiy)
We left Puerto Natales by bus in the morning, and after half an hour reached the border between Chile and Argentina. We passed the Chilean checkpoint quickly, but the Argentinian side was not so easy. All our luggage was taken out and guards checked it with dogs. I thought they found drugs or explosives. The dog flagged one bag that was immediately opened and all its contents taken out and searched. In the end, there was nothing interesting found by the guards. The careful checking took about an hour. At last they finished and we entered into Argentina.

Our first target here was the Perito Moreno Glacier inside Los Glacieres National Park . It is in about 80 km from the town of El Calafate. We reached the town at about 1 pm, checked in to our hotel and asked for a taxi to glacier. While waiting, we took some food from our backpacks and sat to eat. We had fresh fruits, boiled potatoes, eggs and cheese. The hotel's owner asked us, where we had purchased it? We said, that we had bought all of it in Puerto Natales. ''That's impossible!'' said she. ''It is strongly forbidden to bring any foreign food into Argentina, especially fresh fruits!'' Because of her, we now understood what the dogs at the checkpoint were looking for!

The taxi had come, and we met our driver. He was a nice man, but didn't speak a word of English. However, in contrast to yesterday's ''English-speaking guide'', he really liked his work, his town and Patagonia. We realized that language is not a barrier if you have something to say and therefore were able to interpret a lot of information from him. He had got many books in his car including some in English about the glacier, wildlife, geography and history of Patagonia. He spoke to us the entire time in Spanish, but surprisingly we understood him.

We saw the glacier soon after our car entered the park. We were still far away from it, but even from a distance the blue wall across the large gray lake looked spectacular! At that time it was ten minutes before three, and he told us that there was a boat service to look at the glacier from the water, but it only ran until 3 pm. He recommended that we go to the pier first, and we arrived there at ten minutes past three. There was no one on the pier, but some activity on one of the ships gave us a hope. Our driver rushed out from the car, waved a hand at one officer, grabbed a ticket collector girl and returned with two tickets. Then we ran to the boat. It was an extra boat, rented by an excursion group, and the last boat for the day.

From the water the glacier looks mystically. It's edge is a vertical wall of pure ice. The color of the ice changed from opaque white on top to deep blue inside slots. The wall is 70 meters high and moves down by two meters per day. The moving causes a loud nose, and large chunks of ice fall every few minutes into the water. Usually they are crushed into small pieces, but some remain intact and float in water as icebergs.

Our driver met us after the boat trip and continued his tour. He was certainly sent to us by heaven! He showed us the glacier from different points, and in just two hours we saw more than we could see ourselves in an entire day.

We were in awe after viewing Perito Moreno Glacier and traveled in silence on the way back to town. Our driver looked sad, possibly because it was difficult for him not to be talking for such a long time. I tried to find a new subject to talk with him about but failed. Fortunately Natasha broke the silence, when she found a packet of contraband sweets. So we started to speak about Chilean sweets, after that about domestic life and we parted as best friends near our hotel.

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