10 April 2017
On our morning of departure in beautiful El Chalten, the whole family went for an early morning run. We were quite a spectacle with our shorts and sleeveless shirts with beanies on our heads. Our seven kilometre run took us to a stunning waterfall. We admired it for a very brief moment before resuming our heat generating shuffle. Our fellow hostel guests keenly photographed us with an expression somewhere between disbelief and shocked admiration.
With very little time between breakfast and catching the bus, Jarik found himself peddling to the bank on a borrowed bike. Only cash accepted for accommodation upon checkout, which we only discovered at the very last moment, and the bank being on the opposite side of town to our hostel, left him with little choice. The rest of us stood ready to run, backpacks loaded. Because, ironically, the bus station is right next to the bank.
A pleasant bus ride through the countryside brought us back to El Calafate. The public park we chose for our late lunch picnic, between the bus stop and our accommodation, seems to be the local Sunday afternoon hangout spot. The town dogs are there too.
Our reunion with our hosts was a sweet, heart warming affair. It’s amazing how fond you can get of people in such a short space of time. Seeing little Malu’s gorgeous, friendly face and those chubby cheeks, which I just want to EAT – cuteness overload!!! Joaco speaks no English, but a handshake and hug is universal, so we connected regardless. Viqui is a great hostess and very happy to converse in English. She will forever be my friend who introduced me to the joy of Mate. This is the South American tea drinking ceremony. Very special!! I was very honoured to share mate with her and her brother around the kitchen table. This intimate experience is reserved for family and close friends.
We felt a little sad leaving our El Calafate home this morning. Many goodbye hugs later, we found ourselves stocking up on bread rolls at our favourite bakery for the last time. And off to the bus we go. Two substantial bus trips today will take us to Punta Arenas, from where we will be flying to Puerto Montt, the Chilean lake district.
Goodbye Argentina. It was good meeting you.
– Mariza –