Saturday, February 01, 2014

Patagonia, Part 9: Back to Bariloche and onwards to Mendoza...or, I Live On a Long Distance Bus

When I left you, dear readers, I was holding on for dear life in the brutal Patagonian wind, looking for a place to spend the night. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad. But it was pretty bad.

Anyway I got to the bus station in El Chalten after the bus out of town had already boarded and I had to ask the bus driver to find me the ticket seller so I could get on! Predictably, she was taking a break, but luckily it was a break with the bus driver. Anyhoo I got a ticket and had a couple hours to relax and thaw out on the way back to Calafate. It is kind of nice, when traveling, to get to a city that is even the slightest bit familiar. Apparently the downside of that is that I didn't take a single picture this time. Oops. Even though I only spent 2 nights in Calafate I knew the main street and was able to find my new hotel easily. Did you notice I said hotel? Not hostel? Well I decided it was time to splurge a little bit and I sure did enjoy the luxury of not only my own room but also my own bathroom. Ahhhh. Although I had to venture out and eat, I mostly reveled in having all this space to myself. And had them do my laundry. Fellow travelers know that can be a big deal. And actually, they had hostel rooms as well, but I can't speak to the quality of those.

After my night of rest and solitude, I took a good long run in the morning, and then I was back at the bus station for the 30-hour trip back up to Bariloche! And I pretty much did nothing there as it rained the whole. entire. time. I was there. But I met some really great people at the hostel I stayed at, and continued drinking great Patagonia beer, just like the first time I was there. But it was a good chance to just rest. Then I got on ANOTHER long bus ride (this one "only" 14 hours!) to head to Mendoza. This company was way better. We actually played a whole-bus bingo game. And there was wine with dinner. This is where a normal person would put the name of the bus line so someone else could use this information. But I can't remember it. =( Sorry, fellow nomads.

STAY (Calafate)
This time I stayed at a place called Albergue & Hostal del Glacier Libertador. It was a little confusing because it's two separate places about a block apart, and I didn't know which one I was booking when I booked online. I believe I stayed in the Albergue site.
PROS-the private room was nice, clean, and reasonably spacious. It was also a pretty good deal. The location is good too, you're just outside of the town area and it's an easy walk to the main street or bus station. Wifi was so-so, and better in the common room. Breakfast was also average, which is to say not that great, but I've had worse. They also book a lot of tours-but I didn't use them so can't evaluate them! They have a full kitchen for guests, which is nice with a regular hotel room. It was crowded and not stocked especially well, and you had to pay a deposit for silverware. But at least it was SOMETHING, to avoid going out for a meal.
CONS-I was happy with my stay here. The common areas aren't great, although they do have a little TV room. If I was staying longer than a night I probably would have gotten bored as it seemed it would be hard to meet people.

For my other recommendations about El Calafate, you can click here.

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