This week, I had my first visitor! Ryan and I met at work and became friends when he started coaching me in tennis. He was just as excited about Patagonia as I was, so in late February, we started planning a trip together. We’d head almost directly to Patagonia with four other Remotes, and then spend a few days in Buenos Aires before he went back home…
Here are some highlights from his time in Buenos Aires:
- So much good food! Dinner at Calden, my first closed-door restaurant experience with Steaks by Luis (best steak of my life – seriously), lunch at Social Paraiso. (The closed-door restaurant is a new trend in Buenos Aires, which are reservation-only, family-style dinners held in rented spaces/homes. Very cool gourmet experience.)
- Bizarre nightlife: seeing lots of interesting characters at rock night at Makena, including a band that looked like the Beatles but, much to our dismay, did not play Beatles music, then going to Liquido club for a little dancing/observing of the younger crowd…
- Sending Ryan off to do walking tours of Recoleta and the City Center (which he missed but still got some good sights in)
- Introducing him to Johnson, one of the Remotes, and a fellow tennis fan – he played twice in the week he was here!
The piece de resistance, however, was Patagonia. It’s hard to describe in words what our experience was like (hence the videos below), but suffice it to say that Patagonia is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. We flew into El Calafate, which instantly reminded me of a cute ski resort town. Lots of log cabin-looking houses, chocolate stores, and just a really cute vibe. We had a great dinner at Mi Rancho, and got rest to prepare for our ice trek on Perito Moreno glacier the next day. We wore crampons on our shoes to walk ON A GLACIER, had a drink at the end of our tour WITH GLACIER ICE, and generally had a lot of fun.
That evening, we took a bus to El Chalten, which is a tiny town and one of the trekking meccas of the world. It is home to Cerro Fitz Roy, a stunning mountain landscape and trails starting literally from town – you can walk outside your hostel and hike.
The next morning, we set out to hike Fitz Roy and Laguna de los Tres, a 20km hike with the last 1km basically a vertical ascent to the best view of Fitz Roy mountain. As soon as we got to the trailhead, it started to snow… and kept snowing all day. It was so bad that we had to complete our hike without the Laguna de los Tres part, which was disappointing but definitely the right decision. It was still beautiful, stunningly so in some parts of the trail where the fall colors and the snow made it look like a mystical fairy tale, but we missed a lot of the vistas.
After consolation mulled wine, we decided to get dinner at this adorable restaurant called Cerveceria and ran into Johnson and a group his friends. They convinced Ryan and me to stay an extra day in El Chalten to try the Laguna de los Tres hike again the next day in better conditions.
We changed our bus back to Calafate, booked new flights, and geared up for another 20km. Best decision ever. Though my legs were screaming at me, and my mind kept telling me to turn back during the steepest, most challenging part of the hike (which was SO icy and treacherous from the snow the day before), WE MADE IT TO THE TOP.
Arriving at the top of the trail was probably one of the best feelings I’ve had. The culmination of the disappointment from the day before, the fear from the icy ascent to the top, and the awe that such beautiful places in the world exist resulted in such an emotional high.
I can’t wait to go back to Chalten one day and do it again, as well as the other hikes in the area.
Our final day in Patagonia, we walked around Calafate, including a bird reserve/beach of Lago Argentino. And we found horses in the street, because Patagonia.
(LOL at our discussion of what to do with the horse…)
I could not have asked for a better week. Everyone needs to experience Patagonia at some point in their lives!