El Chalten – the mountain smokes…

18 Jun

After seeing the awesome glacier headed to El Chalten with Lieke and Bern, my dutch and ozzie mates, to do some trekking in the Fitz Roy range. It was super cool travelling with Lieke and Bern. Lieke made me sandwiches and even delivered them to me on the early morning bus from El Calafate to El Chalten. She then became known as “mum”.

The bus to El Chalten is quite funny. The driver stops to let you take photos on route..can’t imagine this happening on a “normal” bus at home, man they don’t usually even give you change on buses at home.

Beauty personified - Cerro Fitz Roy

Beauty personified - Cerro Fitz Roy

Then, more novel, when you arrive at El Chalten they whisk you off the bus and into the park ranger´s office where you are given an ultra fast speed talk about the area, and importantly how to limit environmental damage, and a map so you can plan your hikes. Brilliant!

Decided to save some cash so we picked the cheapest hostel we could which was adjoined to a restaurant..this cost 25 pesos or 4 pound 38 pence…seemed fine..until we met Pablo and a guy he was trekking with…the guy said he had just bought a camera at our hostel as he had lost his…he said our hostel offered a  great selection of cameras..man, the mind boggles….

Did some wonderful hikes in El Chalten. What is fab about the place is that the hikes start from your doorstep.  You are literally surrounded by beautiful mountains and wonderful hikes.

Hiking in El Chalten

Hiking in El Chalten

It was cool too as Bern is a chef so he cooked for us in the ultra tiny kitchen of the hostel. It was delicious and that is when I decided to call Bern “dad” so I was travelling with mum and dad to look after me! Perfect!

"Mum" - Lieke

"Mum" - Lieke

"Dad" - Bern

"Dad" - Bern

Fitzroy - the Smoking Mountain

Fitzroy - the Smoking Mountain

They call Fitzroy the smoking mountain because of the clouds which surround it at almost all times.  It is quite simply totally stunning.

El Chalten is pretty cool too.  It seems to be under development at the moment so if you want to see it in its unspoiled state head there super fast.  It has only recently got a cash point but, according to some French folk I met in the hostel (who were having a “quiet night” with a bottle of whistle, some beers and a few bottles of wine between about 3 of them) they had a crazy night out there and were taken to a local’s birthday party and then onto a strip joint..all seems rather hard to believe in the butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth El Chalten I saw!!! The same French people wanted me to go to El Bolson with them and share a tent but I decided to decline!!! The morning after the “quiet night” they taught me the French for hangover while describing how they felt!!!!

El Chalten was also the beginning of my obsession with the many uses for mini caravans in Argentina.  Having had a lifetime of caravan holidays as a child and then being the owner of a motorhome (man I sound so uncool) I loved the cute uses they put these tiny little caravans to..

A mini caravan as a work of art

A mini caravan as a work of art

A mini caravan as a mini and cute shop

A mini caravan as a mini and cute shop

And lastly this one was not in El Chalten but was so super cute I just had to include it beside its caravan friends.  This one was in Tafi del Valle in the Tucuman Province of Argentina, that is, further North…

A mini cinema

A mini cinema

This was a little mini cinema that they took around to country areas to show the kids movies..how cute..it was at the ruins of Quilmes (again further North when I took this piccie) maybe I should have done that with my motorhome rather than walk up all those silly Scottish hills with no view at the top!!!!! Might have been more satisfying….

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