What a great little city El Calafate is. When we first arrived, Chase and I walked around the town for a few hours, getting the feel of the place and exploring. While we walked around the city, we noticed that everything was closed or emptied out! A local girl had recommended a little restaurant called Isabel, and upon our arrival, it too was closed. I never imagined city-wide naptime to be a reality, but by golly it is!! That was pretty cool to see, until we realized that nothing would open again until 5 pm! We had 3 long hours on empty stomachs ahead of us, so we took that opportunity to walk all of the side streets and going up to every eatery we could find. As I expected, EVERYTHING was closed. Pobre mio… 😉 We finally found a restaurant that opened at 4 pm and raced in. It wasn’t the best food in the world, but I was so hungry that it tasted like heaven.
Yesterday, we went to a place called Glaciobar. It is exactly what it sounds like and equally as amazing. Before we could enter, we hot giant heat trapping parkas and mittens to throw over our clothes. Then we got 25 minutes with an open bar and good music. It was incredible! All of the furniture was made of ice. There were thrones, a long wall couch, tables, and sculptures (a saber tooth tiger and an eagle). The entire bar was made of ice, with ice cups and shelves for the bottles of alcohol. There isn’t much space, so it gets pretty packed full of people. That combined with disco lights that changed the walls of ice color to color made the environment intoxicatingly joyful. Everyone was laughing and talking and dancing. We had so much fun! The ride back to town was full of buzzed people telling jokes, laughing, and talking so fast I could barely follow their conversations. When they figured out that Chase and I speak Spanish and understood their jokes, everyone would laugh a second time at the joke and tell us another. It was the best van ride I have ever had. These people are great!
Since we are on a budget, we get most of our food at the local supermarket. In a hostel, the easiest thing to cook is usually pasta with sauce and any meat we can cut up and throw in. For those who know me well, they know I always say that my favorite food group is carbs. So, packing sandwiches and cooking pasta is the most awesome end to every day I could ask for. However, I have heard all of these rumors about how Argentina has the world’s best beef. So, for the sake of settling this rumor, we bought some steaks last night. They are cheaper than in the states and the quality was amazing! After Chase cooked it up, is was the most tender, juicy steak I have had in quite a long time. So far, I am very impressed with Argentinian beef. BUT! For the sake of making it a solid opinion, I better keep eating more beef to make sure… 😉
Today started with no plans at all, and ended that way as well. It was glorious! We walked downtown looking at prices for bus tickets tomorrow, and found that going directly to the bus station is worth the extra effort. In the hostels, the price went up about $10 per ticket! I was surprised since the hostel we are at usually has great advice and deals. However, as a word of advice to future travellers, buy your beer at the market and bus tickets at the bus station! The beer went from 16 pesos at the grocery store ($2 for a 740mL bottle) to 40 pesos ($5) at the hostel. Granted, these are small jumps in price. But when travelling on a budget, every penny matters. When walking through the streets of El Calafate, I noticed that there are stray dogs everywhere. I am a dog lover, and the fact that they are cute, fat strays made them irresistible. Chase said not to pet them, and I soon did so anyways only to have 4 dogs following us everywhere we went! Next time I should listen to Chase, but in reality, having a pack of cuteness following me around didn’t bother me one bit! After town, we walked the loop along the lake and outskirts, which gave us a perspective on the locals and where they live too. What an amazing experience. Now, we finally got home to our final night in this hostel before an early bus ride to Puerto Natales tomorrow. This was the perfect place to start our few days in Argentina!