It's the end of the world as we know it!

Trip Start Dec 22, 2009
Trip End Jun 22, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Friday, April 23, 2010

Laura and I have had our targets on the deep south of Argentina for some madcap adventures with ice for many years now. With thoughts of glaciers swimming in my head, I sat pinned in some propeller plane death trap while some German guy kept bumping my right nipple with his elbow. Deep breaths, you will touch down soon. Just after I scarfed down a stale box lunch a la Aerolineas Argentinas, the German made a pass at some small talk. 1 hour later, Stephan Hieke, part-time lawyer, part-time classical singer would be a friend for life. After getting the digits we touched down in one of the most desolate, beautiful places in the world.

Patagonia wasn't what I expected. I had imagined expansive snowfields, penguins and polar bears. Well, I was extremely incorrect. First, there are no polar bears south of the equator (thank you trivial pursuit… a.k.a. Laura Kallmann). Second, there are ice fields but they are on the top of mountains or massive glaciers that dot the distant landscape. Patagonia is really more of a surreal desert . Hues of purple, pink, beige and blue are highlighted with the bright red, orange and yellow of Fall leaves. Rock strewn light brown sand stretches far and wide. Desert plain scrubs grip to the ground in defiance of the strong cold wind that pours down from the omnipresent mountains. 

After securing a ticket on the airport minibus, we were off to possibly the most quaint and personal hostel to date. Hostel Ruhkahue was owned by a small family of ex pat portenos with a matriarch who was ready to please. After dropping our bags off and some sincere hellos, we headed out to explore the city of Calafate. Since our hostel was on an opposing gravel hill we trekked down a steep hill to the paved road below and made our way over a small bridge to a the fall clad city below. Calafate was small and quant. It reminded me of a warmer Breckenridge with a slight Hispanic flare; plus hundreds of friendly stray dogs.

Once we passed the main thoroughfare, we made our way to the city's beautiful lagoon that bordered the massive Lago Argentina. The smaller lagoon was cast in a hue of translucent turquoise and the boarding desert altiplano brushed in brown, yellow and purple. The whole area was nothing short of a cinematic orchestra album cover. Just as we started on the 5K track, a pack of wild stallions ran into the pasture for one of the most tranquil, beautiful moments of the trip to date. After walking past flocks of pink flamingos that matched the crimson sunset hanging low over the purple mountains, we called it a night and walked back into town. With all of the main strip pizzerias looking sad and subpar, we opted for goat cheese and tomato sandwiches back in the room (scrumcious!) 
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Laura S on

I love reading your reports. You're both very entertaining and eloquent, often even poetic. I like! :)

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