|We caught a scenic bus across the border into Argentina past vast open expanses of untouched glittering snow, just crying out for footprints. Even the roads were dusted in white and there were no cars or people to be seen for miles. We were headed to El Calafate, a pretty town of wooden A-frame and ski chalet type houses based around a frozen lake which was carved up by ice skaters.
We booked a local bus the following day up to see the star attraction, the Moreno Glacier. As we were about to clamber aboard the bus, the driver managed to get his arm wedged in the automatic door. He desperately waved his hand which still clutched the the clipboard of passenger names, calling out for help as he stood pinned awkwardly to the side of the bus. Finally after much prying from many woolly gloved helpers we managed to free the driver. He poured himself a reviving cup of hot mate tea from his thermos and we began our freezing cold drive through the snow to the glacier.
I have seen photos of the glacier but there is something amazing about the sheer size of it in person. The ice is so blue and the jagged pattern goes back to the mountains as far as the eye can see. Then there is the eerie sound of ice splitting which echoes throughout the valley. With an almighty crack, chunks of ice carve off and thunder towards the water creating an impressive powerful splash and a mini tidal wave of boat sized ripples.
There is a small restaurant at the base of the glacier to take refuge in and warm up with a cup of chocolate caliente. But other than that it is just a network of paths with various lookouts over the glacier. So we were grateful for the warming sunshine which finally crawled out from its blanket of cloud. It allowed us to sit comfortably for a few hours, mesmerised by the view until the bus driver returned to take us back to town.
Back at our hostel the Italian guy we met on the Navimag boat cooked us up a bowl of pasta "like the Italians make it". Tasted just like tuna pasta to me but with a bottle of fine Argentine wine it hit the spot nonetheless. We had another Italian couple in our dorm room that night and the guy snored louder than anyone I've ever heard, like a cross between a foghorn on the Navimag and grizzly bear with chronic sinus. When we finally couldn't bare it anymore we flashed him with our torch but remarkably he just rolled over and continued snoring on his side. Looking forward to that nice quiet private room back in Puerto Natales.