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marge & ian’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 07 Jan 2006

Location: *El Calafate - PATAGONIA*, Argentina

Map*El Calafate - PATAGONIA* (07/01/06 - 09/01/06)

Went to the bus station to say bye to Helen and Paul and also to try and book bus, boat, airplane, anything out North. After searching high and low Ian managed to find a flight back to Bariloche, we could cover what had taken us 4 days in the bus in just 2 hours. It was Saturday though and the first flight out was Monday. We booked it.

Decided to make the most of our time in El Calafate so I went to the internet cafe all day to update this website while Ian went horse riding, I will hand you over to him....

Marge is frightened of horses so I did this trip on my own. It was $30 for the half day horse riding trip 15k outside of town. Pretty expensive by Argentine standards ! I hoped it was worth it ....and it was. Firstly, this was western style riding, totally different to how we do it in England....but the gaucho (cowboy) gave no instruction and just showed my to my horse...and we were off!!
Basically, I just used my left hand to ride as I needed my best had for working my lassoo (I think that is how you spell it!) Anyway, to cut a long story short we climbed 2000M up a mountain, stopping to have some mate (the local herb brew) in a woodcutters shelter (see photo). When we got to the top the view was great so I had another photo taken for you with me riding my wild stallion!! (actually it was a little mare.) My riding balance has improved but my teacher back in England will not be happy with the cowboy riding habits I picked up. It was great but still seemed expensive for $30 until I got down. Me and the other riders were treated to loads of red wine (as much as you could drink) and loads of fresh lamb. I was stuffed.....and then they brought out the most beautifully cooked chicken ...a waffer thin mint sir!!! All for 22 quid. Bargain.

Arrived at the very tiny little airport at El Calafate after hanging around for most of the day (our flight was only at 5.00pm). Our plane was first landing at Bariloche and then onto Buenor Aires. We were happily chatting away drinking our wine. Plane stopped. People started getting off, Ian told me wait as usual because there was no point in rushing only to wait for the bags at the turnstile. So we are sitting there, then Ian noticed that most of the people on the plane were showing no signs of getting off. It was only then that we remembered that the plane was going B.A. next and so were we - almost!

Again faced with the same problem with accomodation in Bariloche, totally packed out with tourists, no room anywhere. Ended up camping 5k out of town. When we first arrived we were told that there was no room, nearly shat ourselves. Fortuantely they managed to sqeeze us in behind the toilets! - phew. Went for a drink and some food in the camp bar, where w were served by the most boggle poppy out eyed man I have ever seen in my life, it was totally unnatural, Ian called him Marti Feldman, but I have no idea who he is. (Tina, Sara, he looked like the woman, even though he was a man, off the guiness book of records, that can pop her eye out of her head - freaky!).