Crossing The Andes By Frog

Yesterday was another stunning day here in Patagonia. We had an early start for a 3hr bus journey to El Chalten at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy. I’d planned to have a snooze on the bus but the indescribably beautiful scenery soon put a stop to that. We passed crystal clear rivers and lakes fed by the melting glaciers, and in which ice bergs floated down stream on route to the Atlantic! At El Chalten we discovered that we had our own private guide for our day’s walking! Brilliant! The guide, Marcerrio (who I constantly called Martin) was a guy of about 30yrs old from Buenos Aires who had moved here 10 years ago. He spent 7 months of the year guiding and then took 5 months off because as he said “Winter is for skiing not working!” What a great life! I could do that! And what a nice chilled out person he was (and why not with that lifestyle??). We only walked for 6 miles, but the first 3 miles was uphill to a lake with a brilliant view of the mountains and glaciers. Stunning. Unfortunately the clouds were covering the top of Mt Fitz Roy, but we still spent an hour at lunch at the lake just gazing at the mountains and hearing the distant rumblings of the glaciers. I need to live here!
While being in the Andes, I can’t get out of my head the old Ripping Yarns story, “Crossing The Andes By Frog” with Michael Palin. For those of you who don’t know it, here is the iMDB summary – “Explorer Walter Snetterton and his party travel to the Andes to prove his theory that frogs are able to climb mountains. Due to the Cup Final the only person willing to act as guide is an elderly – but extremely agile – old lady and as Snetterton prepares to strike camp all his men desert him for the charms of the local ladies. Snetterton is never found but the frogs manage to escape and make it to Mexico City,thus proving his theory to be right.” Not sure if it’s true or not….

Amazingly, and amusingly, the sleeping Japanese man was also at this lake (150 miles from where we saw him yesterday!). He too was waiting for the clouds to clear to take photos. I really hope that he fell asleep just as the clouds parted….. [we keep seeing the same people time after time, in completely different places, which leads me to suspect that I’m under surveillance from an international team. I’m not sure what I’ve done, but I think I know who’s arranged it. Never mind, carry on, Bob’s your uncle etc etc]
We saw a huge black bodied, bright red headed woodpecker doing his wood pecking! Superb!
Back in the village we found a brilliant bar which could have been straight out of a french ski resort (only far friendlier) and I had a huge bowl of Patagonian stew which was perfect. We both really want to spend at least a week here, so maybe we’ll have to come back! In fact, a great trip would be to drive from the southern tip of Patagonia all the way up the Ruta 40, 5,500km! Next year……..
We’re back to BA later today for a couple of days. Tomorrow we’ve lots of admin to sort out (parcel to collect, camera to collect) and unfortunately another dentist to find as my tooth has broken again!!! Bloody Brazilian dentist Cowboys!!!
Amusing story last night just to keep you in the loop – we got back to our hotel about 10ish, and Cha went to make a cup of tea in reception while I had a beer and a cig in the back garden. When I came back in, no sign of Charlotte?? Her tea was there but not her lovely self. Anyway, I sat down and waited a bit, until eventually I got a Whats App message from Charlotte, simply saying “Urgent poo crisis!!!” Thank god we’d made it back to the hotel!!!!!
Also, Charlotte “lost” a fleece, which needed replacing with one 4 times the original value. A more cynical person than me might have suspicions about this…..



A long way from home!


Beautiful blue glacier


Our lunchtime view!


Where’s my other 30cm3 gone??????


The bar had kept a seat free for Linda…..


A free aperitif of vegetable soup with our beers!


Perfect trekking food!


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