Day 25- 15 February 2017

Spanish word of the day: Hielo - Ice

Wow, it’s been a long day. Our flight to El Calafate left Buenos Aires at 4.20am. So the run up to the airport involved avoiding sleep completely by getting rid of the 30kg bag and decanting the essentials into a new smaller suitcases weighing 16kg! Thank you Richard from Luxembourg you saviour for putting my big mama of a suitcase up for the next 6 weeks!

Then we went for dinner and drinks at the coolest and most trendy bar/restaurant I have yet to go to in Buenos Aires (more details to follow in a later blog that will outline all the hotspots and bars for you to write down in your little black books in time for YOUR trip in Buenos Aires).

And then we went home, showered, got ready and left. 30 minutes too early I believe but now as I have a new traveller in the picture (Hiii Arlette!) I have to compromise. Even though arriving and waiting for a flight to start checking people in is not how I usually would do it. Yes, as in, they were putting up the ropes to direct lines while passengers stood by the entrance in a crowded bundle as the staff were arriving an hour and 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure. Just an FYI ;). When in Argentina, don’t rush to the airport.

We arrive on the aircraft- and I want to collapse from exhaustion. That sick early morning feeling with no sleep, you know that one? Mental note “Megan scan the plane for 3 empty seats in a row. After take off, pounce!”. Spotted! Buenas noches all!

Upon waking up we had arrived in el Calafate and we had the whole day ahead of us – it was 7.15am. We arrived at our hotel, a dreamy, cosy, dark wood haven with red and green textured pillows and throws. A cabin like hotel. We were greeted by the most helpful and proactive staff and the next minute with a cup of tea in our hands we had booked a tour for the day. To go see the Perito Moreno Glacier. The tourist attraction responsible for so many flocking here.

On the bus (well I cant remember the majority of the bus ride as I was out cold for 90 minutes, against the window for the duration of the hour and half journey ☺). But when I did wake up, with the steamy window next to me, the lady leading the tour was talking and after ‘coming to’ and realising where I was, I started to listen….

The Perito Moreno glacier was named after Francisco Moreno because of the work he did for the Argentinian government in defending the area during the conflict for territory. He was an explorer and responsible for defining the division between Chile and Argentina. The national park was created because he was given a piece of land that he accepted on the premise that it be preserved for all generations. And so this national park and his namesake were established.

There is a part of the road as you turn a corner called the whisper. The is the first panoramic view of the glacier. 250 square kilometres of ice on its surface. As you drive around the corner the dark blue mountains start displaying white fluffy spots sitting on top of their peaks. And the air around you (even in the bus) gets colder as you approach this overwhelming piece of icy nature.

All I could notice was the distinction in colour between the silver lakes. The dark blue mountains and the green trees. The contrast so distinct it looks as if it’s been artificially edited with Instagram or a photo editing filter. But it’s not! I’m looking at this scene with my own eyes. Nothing digital about it. Every effect from sharpen, brighten, details, saturation play out before my very eyes. It’s all completely real.

We walked around to look at it from every angle. To watch the white and blue ice sculpture, and take in it’s beauty. There are several balconies to view it from, and each view is different.

What is special about this glacier- it is completely in balance. It constantly loses and gains the same amount of ice. Sometimes the front advances and retreats for meters going over the peninsula to obstruct the walkway. This causes the level of the lake to rise generating pressure, resulting in the ice roaring, exploding, cracking and falling. Yet the exact same amount of ice is added to it again. To keep it in balance. And today I saw it unfold before my very eyes. And now yours too…

How often can we say “I have never seen anything like this before”? Not figuratively but literally. I often say this after coming back from an amazing night out, an off the charts event, an exquisite beach and a house or hotel built and decorated to perfection. But this was the first time in a really long time I could literally say- I have never ever seen this before. My first time meeting a glacier. Seeing something so awesome. Feeling so small in the natural enormity of it all.

So after I shared this on my family’s whatsapp group, my oldest sister said “Meg that’s the best way to see life. As we lose something. We open ourselves up to something else”.

This specific glacier exists with a lesson to learn. It creates space to gain something else. Balance. How fitting for this adventure?! For this personal life lesson. Nicci you genius!

I let go of so much that was a part of my life, and in turn made space to take in all this new. It’s unbelievable how much living I have allowed in by letting go of the safe and familiar that was keeping me stuck. I have realised that all the secrets to living life, and all the lessons we need to learn are actually written for us in nature. This is the first check in on the natural adventure portion of the journey. It has morphed from tango and restaurants, a built up and bustling city and crazy fun to the simple things. The stuff before everything became complicated. Simply nature and adventure. Water and earth. Quiet and calm.

I can’t wait to see and share what else this universe has to teach me. With mother nature leading by her distinct example.