January 02, 2006 GMT

The reason for the existence of the tourist town of Calafate is the Perito Moreno glacier. So I spent two nights there and took the time to enjoy the glacier unhurriedly and wait for a greater piece breaking off - just to take some fotos of it. Some people spend days there with the camera ready to shoot but miss the crucial moment.

I waited for maybe an hour and then told a couple next to me that I was going to leave now and therefore of course something spectacular was about to happen (when I was gone). The glacier seems to have heard this, since fifteen minutes later a huge double break-up ocurred, with great chunks of ice crashing into the water, causing impressive noise, waves and spume, much more than you would expect. However I had outsmarted the glacier since I was still waiting with the camera in my hands, just on a different platform - so I succeeded in taking a series of nice action pics. You can see the best of them on my photo site. A few minutes before that event there was a tourist boat at some distance from the glacier and I had wondered why it stayed so far away from the glacier - now I do understand. Already 32 persons died while watching a break-up of Perito Moreno at too little distance.

I had lunch at the recommended Pasta restaurant "La Cocina" in Calafate and had a long talk with the restaurant's cashier, Erwin Walter, who despite his very german name does not speak a word of German. He had crossed South America - including the brazilian jungle - twice with different motorbikes (one of them a Honda Africa Twin) and now was planning to do the same on a tiny 250 cc bike. Obviously he loves challenges and motorbikes. And he was very helpful, recommending me the only motorcycle mechanic in town to repair my oil-leaking fork. Unfortunately Mono, the mechanic did not have the time to repair them but told me that there shouldn't be a problem to continue the journey without repair, just adding a little fork oil every once in a while. He even told me where to get some fork oil at a good price.

Since I had some time left in Calafate - and my lower neck had been very tense and steadily hurting after 16000 km of almost contiuous riding - I decided to get a massage. In a luxury hotel close to my own budget one I got a very good massage for a very good price (less than 20 EUR). It turned out to be a complete body massage, so I was happy that it was a man who did this, so I did not get too excited ;-) And it did really help. However it looks like I am getting old, with a hurting neck, blood circulation problems in one arm while driving, preferring a cosy hotel room to a tent ... let's see what comes next ;-)

Apart from the Perito Moreno the Glaciers National Park offers several other glaciers, some of which you can visit on an all-day boat trip which had been recommended to me. But don't all glaciers look the same? I had seen my first one a few years ago in Norway and was deeply impressed. Perito Moreno is also impressive but the effect was already not as deep as the first time. Any other glacier would just be any other glacier, I'm afraid.

Posted by Winne Lichtblau at January 02, 2006 10:15 PM GMT

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