After returning our wet and muddy, hired gear of the glacier trek, we ate a hamburguesa at a cute, local bar in El Calafate center. We noticed a Nelson Mandela quote written on a Amarula board on the wall…. “La mayor gloria no es nunca caer, sino levantarse siempre.”(the greatest glory is not never falling, but always getting back up.). I doubt Madiba said this in Spanish though, but it made us miss South Africa! The hambuerguesa with tomato sauce was the closest we could get to a “braaied boerewors roll” which we were actually in the mood for.
We took a bus firstly from El Calafate to Rio Gallegos with Taqsa Company. Our hostel booked the tickets for us. Taqsa didn’t have great reviews on the internet but for our trip they were fine. On the map it looks like Rio Gallegos is even further south than Calafate! Ha,ha in our travel book it says ‘Rio Gallegos is a grim and inevitable stop for travelers.’ They have a comfortable bus station though and after a 4 hour stop-over we then travelled with Andesmar bus company on an overnight trip up the east coast of Argentina to Puerto Madryn. Dinner was served after 11pm and included wine!
We spent two nights in Puerto Madryn at La Tosca Hostel which is translated as “the Rough Hostel.” It was hardly rough though. Our room was clean and comfortable and the guys in charge were really friendly. We decided to go for a leisurely cycle along the beach but that turned out to be more strenuous than what we anticipated! We cycled the 17km with our hired bicycles to Punta Loma where you can see sea-lions. It was a struggle, especially for me. It felt like the howling wind was trying to push us off our bicycles. Once we got to Punta Loma we had to pay 50 Pesos to enter the park to see the sea-lions…so we decided to rather spend the money on ice cream and beer and cycled the 17km back to town. Marc and I shared a whole tub with four different flavours of delicious gourmet ice-cream! (It was the same price as 2 cones.)
There are quite a lot of gyms in town and just as many “panaderias”(bakeries) selling all sorts of sweet pastries. (I suppose that’s a good combination.) In the afternoon it seems like it’s the in thing to get together to drink some mate on the beach front.
Tourists visit Puerta Madryn to go whale watching, but because it’s now November we were told that we will only see whales if we do a specific whale tour by boat which costs more than what our glacier trekking cost! So we decided to skip the whales… But then, while we were walking on the Main Beach yesterday afternoon, there they were!! The whales decided to show up in November! They were splashing about, making deep rumbling noises and seemed to be waving at us!
We have just arrived at our hostel in Buenos Aires after an eighteen hour overnight bus ride. It’s really hot here, the bus station is huge, there are millions of people everywhere and many big buildings – pretty much what we expected of a capital city.