Patagonia Days 1 & 2: Getting There

The first days of our Patagonia trek weren’t supposed to be too eventful… an overnight United flight to Buenos Aires, followed by a short day in BA with maybe a tango show and a flight with LAN airlines onto El Calafate the following morning.  Simple right?  Well we got on the United flight at 9 PM and started to watch a movie while we waited for takeoff.  There were some delays… more announcements… we watched almost the whole movie, then finally the announcer came on telling us the flight was completely CANCELLED since a fuel pump was out and the replacement time would put the crew over the limits.  They said, come back in 24 hours.  What?!  We had a consecutive flight to catch and a very tight schedule!!  We shuttled off the plane and like everyone else, got in line to speak to a representative.  In the meantime, I called the 1K line and got a representative to book us on a the earliest flight possible to BA: 6 AM with American Air through Miami.  It took 2 hours to talk to a representative in person so that we could get our bags transferred and get some vouchers for the night.  At this point, it was 2 AM, so we power walked to the hotel airport, slept 2 hours, then got up and caught the 6 AM flight that morning.  We were zombies.

We were pretty excited to finally set foot in BA.  Until we went to get our bags.  I got mine, but then we waited and waited, and waited, and David’s never showed.  We sat in line for another hour (it’s midnight by now) and filled out a lost luggage claim for David, trying to explain which Southern Patagonia city and hotel to deliver it too.  (Long story short, United claimed ZERO responsibility for the bag, and American could not locate it for some time.  We got it 4 days later!).  We caught a cab to our hotel, slept 6 hours, then boarded a flight the following morning to El Calafate – we had officially arrived to Patagonia!!

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When we got off the plane, we noticed – whoa! – the wind is really strong!  We had a bus scheduled to take us on the 2-hour trip to El Chalten, but had a little time to kill beforehand and grabbed a salad and sandwich at the airport cafe and watched some Gaucho dancers.  I was excited for fresh food!  I like that they served it with oil, vinegary & apple cider vinegar packs (which I stole to add to my water later).

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The 2-hr bus ride went quickly with a short stop at a store in the middle of nowhere for some homemade banana bread. 

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Upon arrival to El Chalten we checked in at the lovely Hosteria Kaulem (highly recommended!), where the host Martin greeted us and promptly helped us with our lost luggage issue.  We then headed to Walk Patagonia’s office (the tour operator) to see what gear we could rent/borrow. 

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{ Arrival success!  Hosteria Kaulem had a beautiful vibe; and David borrowing my coat }

David ended up borrowing an old pair of boots, and we rented gloves and a jacket from a rental outfitter nearby.  Happy with finding some gear, we took a windy walk to the Ahonikenk restaurant were we waited outside the small restaurant that was full of hungry hikers.

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It was worth the chilly wait; we sat down and ordered some much needed drinks after our long travels: a local “artisanal” beer for David (two thumbs up for Jerome) and a red wine for me.  We were immediately served a variety of breads and a lentil-olive oil-onion vinaigrette that was stellar.  I’ve never seen a lentil dip like this, but it was very good.

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We were both craving pasta and ordered Penne Arrabiatta; a family favorite of mine.  It wasn’t as spicy as I would have liked, but pretty yummy nonetheless.

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{ All I need is pasta & beer says David! }

Needless to say we went to bed really early and slept like rocks!  Next up: Laguna des los Tres hike.

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2 thoughts on “Patagonia Days 1 & 2: Getting There

  1. Hey Brittany – great post! I just came across your website.
    Any chance you could email me (blutie202@gmail.com)?
    Just had a few questions about your trip to Patagonia and was planning to plan the same for a 2-week time frame. Thanks, I’m sure you’re busy!

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