Hello from a bus in Chile!
We are almost done with a bus ride from El Calafate Argentina to Puerto Natales Chile. At the moment we are waiting our turn at the Chile border.
Let’s start from the beginning. Tuesday we flew from Pittsburgh to Miami and then to Buenos Aires. It was uneventful as it should be. We landed in BA at around 9am. We are a couple hours ahead of Pittsburgh now. From the airport we found a bus to take us downtown and then a taxi to our hotel. We got there around 1pm I think.
We checked into Five hotel which was a small boutique hotel in the Palermo Viejo neighborhood. The guy at the front desk was very friendly and spoke English which we’ve learned many do. We also learned he worked at Cache Creek casino and lived in Woodland, CA for awhile. If you don’t know, that’s very close to Davis. Small world..
After checking in, showering and changing into shorts and a t-shirt, we headed out to exchange $$ and find lunch.
Argentina is interesting for exchanging US dollars. This is how I understand it.. Argentina has fixed the official exchange rate to about 8.5 pesos to 1 US dollar. Due to the fixing of the rate, their exists a Blue Market where you can get closer to 13 to 1. Dollars are very desirable and there isn’t a way to get them hence why this Blue Market exists. The only problem is it’s technically illegal so it’s best if you know someone. Without knowing someone the other option is Florida St which is a bustling downtown street with lots of people and shops. There are guys all over the place yelling ‘Cambio Cambio’. That means they want your US dollars. This would be where one would partake in this kind of activity. But it’s illegal.. So do at your own risk.
We found a restaurant for lunch that took our US dollars at a 12 to 1 exchange rate which was nice! A pretty good steak lunch to start our trip.
We also had to buy outlet converters as we forgot about that before coming.
Dinner that night was at La Cabrera, a very highly rated steakhouse. We were seated around midnight and the place was packed. I had a Filet that was amazing, Todd had the Rib Eye and we split a bottle of Malbec from Mendoza that our server recommended. It was very good as well. The portions here are huge! We are starting to learn that.
Thursday we woke up bright and early to catch our flight to El Calafate.
Once in El Calafate we took a bus to our hotel El Quijote. The hotel was very nice looking but it was empty, Todd says it gave off a Overlook Hotel from the Shining kind of vibe.
Once we settled we ate lunch at a restaurant nearby called Isabel Disco or something like that. Once again huge portions but delicious! Todd ordered a lamb dish that had a wine broth and some veggies and mushrooms with French fries on top. I ordered a steak that came with fries and sunny side up eggs on top of the fries. This steak was much more fatty.. I may stick with the fillets from now on. :). We really should’ve split Todd’s dish. It would’ve been plenty!
After that meal we napped for a couple of hours.. Apparently we were tired. The rest of the evening we did research as to what was next. Our late dinner consisted of pizza and beer. We ordered the German sausage pizza that I wish I took a picture of. It was cheese, lettuce, hot dog and whole olives with pits. Interesting, and the beer was just ok.
After dinner we walked back to the hotel as we had an early bus ride today. The bus left at 8:30am and it’s now 3:30pm.. Hopefully we are almost to Puerto Natales! :). We stopped twice where everyone had to get off the bus. Once to exit Argentina and then again to enter Chile and check our bags.
Alright, I’m seeing a town! Hope all is well back home. 🙂
Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine up next!