vol_ba_calafate So, we flew from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, the hub of Argentinian Patagonia, on December 29th. As you can see on the map (don't hesitate to click on it to see a bigger and more readable version), it's a very long distance. A bit over 2000km actually. Which is why we did that leg of the trip by plane. But once in El Calafate, we were met by our very friendly and competent bus driver, who would take care of us until the end of the workshop. He was driving a full size bus, making it possible for us to have quite a bit of gear with us, as opposed to in the trunk. That would prove handy for when one of us would ask that we stop to photograph something.

20101229_184939.JPG And would you know it, that's what's just happened as Thom, our teacher, has spotted an armadillo next to the road. And so, we all get off the bus and start shooting the poor animal who tries to run away from us.

Not an easy task, however, when you've got so many of these scary shooters around you:


Sadly, that was our only armadillo in the whole trip, but we did see a fair bit of wildlife, as you'll find out in future posts.

20101229_164722.JPG To recover from our emotions, we made a stop in what is apparently a must for everybody going through this area, a little cafe and shop named La Leona. A friendly atmosphere and good tasting cakes made for an enjoyable break before continuing our drive to the estancia, even though Thom was disappointed by the lemon pie. You see, on previous trips to Patagonia he had every single time stopped by La Leona to eat a piece of the best lemon pie he had ever tasted and this time it was apparently only ok. And I say apparently because, not being a great fan of lemon, I had chosen another, apple-based, cake. Anyway, it was all good enough to prepare us for what was coming next.

20101229_175958.JPG Along the road, we also got our first glimpses of the amazing clouds that can be seen in Patagonia. Some, known as lenticular clouds, are eerily reminding of flying saucers. But others are even crazier as you'll see in a future post, where I'll be showing Fitz Roy at sunset.

But I can hear you asking what is Fitz Roy. Well, it's a famous peak in the area that ou can see on this map:


But why make do with a map when we can have the real one instead?


And that's the kind of scenery you get here. Not too bad, heh? Note the iceberg. There's a huge ice field on this continent and we'll see quite a few icebergs during those two weeks.

20101229_194738.JPGBut what's that I see over there? Isn't it the estancia?

Why, yes it is! And something tells me we're welcome ;)

20101229_203135.JPG 20101229_201256.JPG

Well, just give me that kind of view and I'll feel welcome

: helsingfors.jpg

Of course, the fact that Helsingfors is so cozy doesn't hurt either.

20101230_125953.thumb.jpgOk, that was a long day. And our first in Patagonia. Time to get some rest. And next time, we'll get to see horses.