Patagonia 2017

 

To celebrate Julie's BIG birthday her choice of holiday was to visit Patagonia. Here is a selection of photos from the trip.

 

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Julie at Heathrow Airport

 

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We spent a day in Buenos Aires before our flight to El Calafate.

Amongst the places we visited was the mausoleum of San Martin, leader of the struggle for independence from Spain.

We also visited the old docklands.

 

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On our way to the Fitzroy National Park

 

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Our first view of the Andes and Lago Argentino

 

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From El Calafate to our first tour destination, El Chalten, is 3-hours by road. We broke the journey at a small (but popular) watering hole called La Leona. Butch Cassidy is still wanted around these parts!

 

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Finally, El Chalten and the Fitzroy massif. This was to be the clearest view we had in our three-days there: the weather turned rather inclement until the day we left. Surprise surprise

 

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The holiday was organised (to a high standard) by Ramblers. Our local guides, Santiago and Paco, were excellent (as was John, the Ramblers rep and support guide).

The first accommodation was Hosteria Poincenot: a basic hotel but certainly fit for purpose

 

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Not at all bad weather, but the famous peaks were all in cloud

 

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Clouds covered the high peaks, but the walking was still fabulous

 

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Our target for the day was this lake of glacial melt water. The waves give only a hint of how windy this spot was!

 

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The wind was ferocious!

 

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The wind did create crazy cloud shapes

 

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Our second walking day started by crossing the Rio Fitzroy. Still windy, but now also a hint of rain

 

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Off to find the gold

 

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The wind might have given me a 'swept back' hairstyle, but the Magellanic woodpeckers take the prize!

 

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The following day, our last full walking day at Fitzroy, started in thick cloud

 

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The clouds were not so low as to impede all views

 

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Not the perfect view we had hoped for, but still stunning all the same

 

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The return leg of the walk also gave us great views

 

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Finally, on the day of our departure, we saw Fitzroy!

 

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We romped up to a nearby viewpoint to enjoy the views

 

After taking in the view we headed off to El Calafate for two nights, the intention to visit Perito Moreno Glacier

 

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First view of the Perito Moreno Glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

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We took a boat trip to the glacier

 

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But the best views, in my opinion, are to be had from the land

 

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A substantial section of the face of the glacier has this excellent walkway. The total length of the walkway is ~1.5km and takes you through various levels to see the glacier from every angle

 

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There is no doubting the sheer splendour of this place!

 

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Crazy ice and clouds

 

After our two nights in El Calafate we set off to cross the border to Chile

 

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Guanaco, a subspecies of llama, are seen in large numbers in Chile

 

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Dawn on the first walking day at the Torres del Paine National Park.

Although clouds were forecast for our first day, the weather was predicted to improve

 

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Cabanas del Paine, on the banks of the river Serrano, a great place to stay with stunning views

 

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Our walk took us past Hotel Explora, frequented by the rich and famous, at $US2000 per night, and a minimum stay of four nights, we won't be staying there any time soon!

 

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Clouds over the Towers of Paine. But tomorrow's another day:)

 

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Clouds don't spoil glacial lakes

 

The following day the weather did indeed come good:

 

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Dawn from our hotel

 

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A little later: the full magnificence Torres del Paine!

 

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View from our drive to the trailhead

 

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Julie and gang powering away early in the walk to Torres del Paine

 

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Jose (our guide), Rob, Brian, Julie and Ron relaxing at the halfway point

 

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And then finally the reason for the walk, Torres del Paine: worth all the effort!

 

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Contented bunch of walkers

 

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Dream on

 

Back in Buenos Aires we had a day to explore the city. We did a rail trip, boat trip, and a walk around the city.

 

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This ingenious sculpture opens and closes with the sun:)

And the mausoleum is strangely, if somewhat morbidly, fascinating

 

And finally, some incidental photos from the trip:

 

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All told it was a fabulous trip. And we were so lucky with the weather: not many folk, it would appear, have seen the Torres del Paine in such good conditions!

 

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Last meal in Buenos Aires: Steak of course:)

 

 

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