Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Un Viaje Inolvidable

Wow, what a trip. I just got back from a 10 day trip to Patagonia, and I don’t even know how to begin to describe what I experienced. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. We started out the trip by taking a plane from Mendoza to buenos aires and then to the very south of Argentina, a town called El Calafate . The thing we didn’t plan for, however, was the giant “paro” that happened the day before. Thursday was a “paro general”, which is a giant labor strike protesting the current state of affairs in argentine politics. So, all over the country, everything shuts down- businesses, restaurants, universities, and worst of all, public transportation. That’s right: no taxis, buses, nothing. We were actually lucky that we hadn’t planned on leaving on Thursday, because even the airlines stop running in protest! As it was, we had a 3 hour delay and thought we might miss our connecting flight, but everything turned out okay and we Finally arrived to El Calafate. It was quite a bit colder than Mendoza, and I felt a bit more like I was home in Wisconsin :) On Saturday we went to see the world famous glacier Perito Moreno. This thing absolutely blew me away. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, and I was awestruck. Not only is it a giant glacier that in itself is incredible, but you can literally watch pieces of ice break off and fall into the water and hear giant explosions as it slowly melts. We spent the day marveling at it and didn’t want to head back! After coming back, we went to an Ice Bar- everything, from the glasses to the chairs, was made of ice, and they kept it at -10 degrees Celsius! It was a really fun time, and we met some really cool Argentines in the process! Then, we took an early bus to El Chalten, known as “the trekking capital of the country”- needless to say, I was pretty pumped to explore it 😉 We spent 2 days there exploring beautiful Patagonian trails with spectacular views, and on another day we hiked the glacier Viedma. Again, this was unlike anything I had ever done before- we literally hiked on top of this frozen chunk of snow and ice!!! We put on crampons (shoes made for gripping into the ice for traction) and had to learn the proper hiking technique (you have to really stomp your feet into the ice to get good traction), but after a while we got the hang of it, and it was a blast. We even got to finish off the hike with a cup of Tia Maria on the rocks- glacier ice chunk rocks, that is. All in a day’s work, I guess 😉 After that, we took a 26 hour bus ride (you heard that right) to Bariloche, where we spent the last 4 days of our trip before taking an 18 hour bus back to Mendoza. The buses definitely weren’t my favorite, but we managed to entertain ourselves and have some fun on the way- anything can be a good time with good company! AfTer arriving in Bariloche, we decided to do La Ruta de Los Siete Lagos, a beautiful drive along the famous Argentine route 40 famous for its spectacular views and scenery of the Patagonian mountains. We rented a car and, seeing as I was the only one of the group that knew how to drive stick shift, I volunteered to take us (sorry mom and dad…). It was a beautiful trip, and we saw incredible sights of all kinds of things- waterfalls, incredible peaks, and a bunch of really pretty lakes. I’m also proud to say that I had no problems driving in Argentine roads with Argentine traffic- after that, NYC traffic will be a piece of cake! The next day, we took a full day hike to Cerro Catedral, bringing along delicious chocolate (for which Bariloche is famous) to share at the top. On Easter, we went to the center of the city to see the celebrations- Bariloche has the world’s largest chocolate egg, and on Easter morning they break it open and share it with everyone! It was a bit sad to be missing the Easter celebrations with my family, but after 10 straight days with these other students in my program, we’ve definitely formed our own kind of misfit family! I have to say, I’ve never been on a trip quite like this in my life, and it was by far one of the coolest I’ve taken. Now it’s back to Mendoza for a tiny bit of studying- I’m not sure how I’ll get back into student mode after such a trip! I guess I won’t have to go long, though- I’ll be returning to Córdoba this weekend to show my friends around and visit my host fam! No rest for the student abroad, I guess 😉





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