Patagonia Part IV: El Calafate, Argentina

To be honest leaving Cerro Guido and saying goodbye to Torres Del Paine was hard. And even though we still had one more stop in El Calafate, I barely was interested in anything that was happening outside of the car windows on our way to the glaciers of Argentina. When you know you've lost your heart to a place, nothing else matters in that moment.

 
elcalafate1.jpg
 

When we arrived to our B&B, Hosteria Roble Sur, my mood was completely off. The B&B itself is charming and wonderful, the host amazing and food delicious, but the location... There was construction happening outside our room's window. That noise! OMG. And then we went to town to walk around and I couldn't believe how everything seemed unnatural to me, all these people, restaurants, shops, souvenirs. Suddenly it was a nightmare. I wanted to open my eyes and see the mountains of Torres Del Paine. Please, do not misunderstand me. El Calafate is a beautiful little town, located in a stunning location, surrounded by snowy mountains. But, after all that beautiful isolation in Chile, after all that silence, space and wind, El Calafate felt more like torture than pleasure. We went to sleep early. 

 
elcalafate2.jpg
 

The next morning we headed to the Los Glaciares National Park. One of the guests we met in Cerro Guido recommended we go early and drive to the end of the park without stops no matter how alluring these stops would be. He said, that the real deal was at the end of the park and it was nice to have it to yourself before the groups of tourists start arriving. We trusted that guy. Why wouldn't you trust someone who drives through Patagonia on a cool motorcycle?  

Los Glaciares National Park opens its doors at 8 am. We were there at 7 am. Alone. In a Parking lot. Waiting. Freezing. By 8 am there were 5 more cars. We all were in anticipation. Finally the staff of the park arrived. And here is a tip: do have local cash. It's the only way to pay the entrance fee.  

 
elcalafate3.jpg
 
elcalafate6.jpg
 
 

You wouldn't believe it, but we were the first ones to enter the park. As we planned, we decided not to stop anywhere and just drive to the end. Oh, that was hard. The morning light was gorgeous and was hitting the mountain peaks and was playing on the lake's still surface... But we trusted our guy. We kept going.   

 
elcalafate25.jpg
 

When we arrived to our final destination, my heart froze partly because of icy wind, partly because of the view. I've seen this place in photos many times, but when you are there and see it with your own eyes, it's indescribable. The glacier is immense, and it seems as though it's floating on the water, it's moving, and from time to time huge pieces of ice are falling into the water creating a sound similar to an exploding bomb. There was nobody (Robert drove very quickly to keep us ahead pack). Just us and this huge breathing wall of white and blue ice. We were witnessing a true magic of nature. And the thought that this ice is as old as 20,000 years couldn't fit into my small little head. Over 20,000 years ago all of Patagonia was covered in snow and ice, only around 12,000 years ago it began melting. What beauty still lays underneath, never seen by modern humans? We'll know in another 20,000 years, I guess.  

 
elcalafate4.jpg
 
elcalafate19.jpg
 
elcalafate7.jpg
 
elcalafate12.jpg
 
elcalafate23.jpg
 
elcalafate9.jpg
 
elcalafate20.jpg
 

By the time we decided to leave, the place was crowded with tourists and their iPhones and selfie sticks... People... Nature creates, people destroy. Paradox.  

The next day we headed back home to San Francisco. It was very painful to leave. I knew some piece of me got lost in the mountains of Torres Del Paine and, most likely, I will never be able to find that part of myself ever again, but I hope it continues to enjoy the wind, the sunshine, the moon, the rainbows. Sometimes I still feel it when I sleep or dream, it's when the tears show up in my eyes. There is so much more to life and I can't, I can't understand why me and all of us, all humanity continue to exchange the inner happiness for the outer illusion of happiness.  

Open up.

 
elcalafate16.jpg
 

P.S. More photos of Patagonia you can find on my Instagram @NadyaZim!