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Stormy Night and Glaciarium in El Calafate

I will never forget last night. The wind down here in Patagonia can be very strong. Last night we camped in an area which wasn’t really protected thus there were no large bushes or trees which could have slowed down the speed of the wind. In the middle of the night a storm came up which had such a power that some picks of my tent got pulled out by it. I needed to get up maybe 5-6 times in the middle of the night to put the picks back in. I also put stones on top of the picks hoping the additional weight would avoid the wind to pull them out easily but unfortunately it had little effect.

When I woke up in the morning parts of the tent were again fallen down on me. It wasn’t really a pleasure to get up in the dark with lots of wind and the risk everything simply gets blown away when I remove my body weight from the tent. And this is actually what happened. I opened the tent which due to the wind was sticking very close to my body and as soon as I got my mattress out it got blown away. Unfortunately I couldn’t run after it since this would have resulted in my tent and sleeping bag getting blown away as well. Diann, a fellow traveler from Australia, saw my challenge and came to help me packing my tent and sleeping bag. I couldn’t really do so since the bag, I store the covers for my tent, mattress and sleeping bag in, was blown away too. This must have happened earlier since I usually keep it between the flysheet of the tent and the inner tent so the wind must have blown it away from there.

I started to get frustrated about the situation and just crabbed my tent and sleeping bag and put it loosely on a seat in the truck. Then I went out again to look for my mattress, the covers and the bag holding them. A handful of people helped me searching and luckily we found everything in the small bushes except for the bag which was the smallest loss. This saved my day since it would have been a real kerfuffle to have no covers anymore to keep my camping gear and to sleep on the cold ground without the soft and isolating layer of a mattress.

Due to the strong wind we couldn’t prepare and eat breakfast outside why we cancelled it and just hopped onto the truck and started driving. Later on we stopped at a service station where everybody could fill their belly with a hot coffee and a sandwich.

The remaining drive to El Calafate wasn’t too long. We arrived around 2pm and had the afternoon to do whatever we like. I wanted to go and see the brand-new Glaciarium since the Lonely Planet was recommending it. The Glaciarium is a museum specialized in glaciers and I wanted to learn more about this natural wonder since we saw a few glaciers here in Patagonia. My fellow travelers Jurie from Japan and Canning from Canada joined me.  We needed to drive there by taxi since for whatever reason the museum is situated outside of town in the middle of nowhere.

The building of the museum had an interesting shape symbolizing ice blocks of a glacier. Also from the inside the museum had lots to offer. It was very well structured and had many interactive components. One of the highlights was a 3D movie especially featuring the Moreno Glacier this area is known for.

Another special feature of the museum was an ice bar. For an additional entrance fee you could spent 20min in the bar and consume as much booze as you like. Before going into the bar you had to put on a special silver coat to protect your body from the cold and gloves so you are able to hold the drinking glasses which are carved out of ice. Also the whole interior of the bar was carved out of ice and you had ice tables, ice sofas and the ice bar itself. The atmosphere in the bar wasn’t frozen since people had quite some booze and enjoyed the loud dance music and the ice walls shining in all kinds of colors.

Back in town Jurie, Canning and I went to a Barbeque place and sampled some Patagonian lamb. Although I don’t really like lamb I gave it a try and it was actually quite nice without the strong taste other types of lamb usually have.

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