In the second post from Patagonia, we will slowly leave Argentina and find ourselves in Chile. If you ever travel between those two countries, remember it is forbidden to have any fruits or open dairy products with you. Closed are fine, don´t ask me why.
So, here are the next three highlights.
Dining in El Chalten
We already mentioned El Chalten as a relaxed friendly town. Really good food can also be found there. One evening we were just walking on the main road looking for a place to have dinner. Then a terrace full of young and happy people caught our attention. It turned out to be a kind of fast food restaurant with really great burgers called B&B Burger Joint. We were lucky to find two places outside on the terrace and chatted with to Dutch girls we shared the table with. We had some fabulous burgers with a lot of avocado on top, which Michal loves.
Another evening we developed a taste for some good Argentinian meat. We discovered El Muro at the end of the main road. We had one of the best steaks in Patagonia accompanied with a perfectly equilibrated red wine.
Torres, Torres del Paine
From El Chalten we took a long drive to Chile, passing one night in Puerto Natales and arriving in the National Park Torres del Paine.
After a long discussion about pros and cons of the two possible circuits, we chose to walk the W trail in 5 days (including the one day of getting back to our car). We set off in the late afternoon from Torres Central and passed the night at Refugio El Chileno. From there it takes roughly 2 hours to the Torres lookout. Most people start early in the dark to be there for the sunrise. We weren´t that lucky as it was raining heavily at 4am. But at 6:30 the clouds were already disappearing, giving way to the sun. The strenuous climb is very well worth it. The peaks of Torres tower above the blue lagoon and when they catch the morning sun (doesn´t have to be the sunrise really) it looks stunning.
Los Cuernos and Glaciar Frances, Torres del Paine
On the second day, when we returned from Torres back to El Chileno, we cooked our lunch and continued the walk. That day the path offered views of the Lago Nordenskjöld. It is beautiful, but all the same and we soon grew a bit tired of it.
Also given the fact that the path is rather narrow and encountering other hikers all the time is not that pleasant after a few hours. We enjoyed it nevertheless, but were really happy to finally come to our destination for that day, which was Los Cuernos area. We booked all of our accommodation 2,5 month in advance, but it was almost sold out by that time, and so the only option left in Los Cuernos was a private cottage for 2. As it was the evening before St. Valentin, it was the perfect romantic setup. The cottage had a fireplace where we cooked our meal, a small terrace where we enjoyed our wine, all accompanied with a view of the mountains and a waterfall next to the cottage.
We almost didn´t want to leave the cottage in the morning, but other adventures were waiting ahead. Two hours later we left our backpacks at the Italiano campground and started climbing to the Francés Valley. It was a very beatiful sunny day and from the lookout we admired the Frances Glaciar, sitting there for half an hour and watching the pieces of ice fall off.