Fireworks and sizzlers in El Calafate

Trip Start Dec 02, 2010
Trip End Mar 04, 2011

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

El Calafate and Perito Moreno

Having had a great time in Antarctica, we were looking forward to leaving Ushuaia and moving onto pastures new. Next stop was El Calafate, a few hours flight away from Ushuaia, in south west Patagonia.

We hadn't heard many great things about the place to be honest, but we ended up really enjoying our time there. The transfer from the airport involved a tarmac road circulating the southern tip of Lago Argentino which then joined onto an old disused military landing strip, before becoming a dirt track which ultimately led to our hostel, America del Sur. The hostel was excellent, really friendly staff, BBQ available every night and the double room was just fine. A nice gentle introduction to hosteling for Gwen :-).

We ate really well in El Calafate, having two of our best meals there. La Tablita was an upmarket Parrilla serving amazing lamb, steaks and blood sausage. The place was packed and people were still queuing at 11:30. Pura Vida had been recommended by our skiing friends, Malcolm and Luisa and what a great recommendation it was too. Huge portions of wholesome home cooked food. One main course was easily enough for two, but unsurprisingly we managed to get through ours just fine.

El Calafate was centred on a single main road which went through the heart of the town. It's layout was similar to so many of the towns in Patagonia. Outdoor equipment stores, typical tourist shops, a multitude of chocolate shops, bars, restaurants and the obligatory ice cream stores. It was all done in rather cute way with most of the buildings looking like Swiss chalets. The place was friendly, with street entertainment and buskers providing a nice backdrop while drinking a Submarino (a glass of hot milk with a bar of chocolate to drop into it). A nice place to spend a few days in-between hiking trips or a vista to Perito Moreno.

31st Dec
Our New Years Eve celebrations were spent at the hostel. Beer, a huge BBQ of beef, lamb, chicken and salads were enjoyed by all. Just before midnight, I went outside with an Australian guy who had purchased some dodgy fireworks in a local store. Everyone came out to join us and all was going swimmingly until one of the fireworks went AWOL and set the nearby desert grasses on fire. The fun was resumed five mins later once the fire extinguisher had been fully tested. Our hostel was in a prime position overlooking most of the town, so were were able to enjoy other peoples far more impressive firework displays for the next 30 mins or so. A great end to 2010 and an explosive way to see in 2011.
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