As our plane came to a halt on the runway of El Calafate, the cabin crew warned us to take extra care when descending as there is a 160km/h wind sweeping through the airport. In fact the wind was so strong that we could only walk leaning 45 degrees against it. Some ice tours to the Perito Moreno glacier – the major attraction of the city – were even shut down for that day.
Luckily enough the next day was super calm and we headed for the big blue monster, named after Perito Moreno, an Argentine explorer who, paradoxically never reached to see it in person. We paid the rather expensive trip to not only view the glacier from the front, but also to climb on top of it, with some cramps on our feet. The experience was well worth it. What is not visible on the pictures, that the monstrous ice is alive! It advances around 1.5 meters per day, and as it does so, it makes all kinds of squeaking noises and occasionally a big piece of it crumbles down into the water. This makes it dangerous to approach the glacier, as during the rupture heavy ice projectiles can easily kill anyone.
The trip on the top of the ice is less dangerous and more amazing. The glacier water is crystal clear and very refreshing to drink. The ice we walk on is 400 years old, and as we walk we catch a glimpse of the only animal that is adapted to live in such an environment. When I ask him, Jose, the tour guide says it’s diet includes bacteria and Hungarian tourists. Chistoso:)
At the end of the tour, we have been offered a glass of bad whiskey on 400-year-old ice rocks. Would have been nice to have a 400-year-old whiskey with brand new ice instead:)