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December 24, 2015

After walking about 30 miles in the last two days, we considered an easy day of hiking today, especially given the crummy weather. We certainly weren’t going to be able to spot any tall granite peaks in the dreary, overcast skies, so we found some short hikes to enjoy just outside of town in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

Our morning hike took us to Mirador de los Cóndores and Mirador de las Aguilas. Both began at the same trailhead at the south part of town by the park office. We followed the trail up rolling hills with some flowers. As light drizzle fell, we heard a noise in the grass to the right of a trail. We were surprised to see an armadillo! Frightened, it scurried down the path and dug a hole in seconds.

We reached a split in the trail. We opted to go to Mirador de las Aguilas first as it was farther…a whopping two km one way. As we continued with the wind gusting behind us, we found a pond to our right tucked behind the trees. We sat at the water’s edge as we watched a variety of ducks paddle around.

We continued on to the look out where we enjoyed the view of Lago Viedma. Getting chilled quickly, we turned back toward the trail split with the wind in our face blowing driving rain and sleet. Snow visited at times as well. In fact, it has snowed every day so far! Mirador de los Cóndores provided a view of the town and Rio de las Vueltas.

The cold day called for lunch at La Cerveceria. I wanted the local dish, Locro, again. David ordered is veggie sandwich again. This place was definitely our favorite. Each time we walked through town to our spot, I felt like I noticed something different. Most of the mailboxes were set in concrete columns (probably so they wouldn’t blow over). The trash bins were cute, most were metal baskets on top of a tall pole, but we also spotted some wood bins.

The weather improved this afternoon. We decided to walk to El Chorrillo del Salto, a waterfall located four km from town. Much of the walk took us along the main, gravel road that led us Hostería El Pilar yesterday. Fortunately, the view along the road is quite nice with the river to the east and Glacier Huemul in the distance to the north.

The trail to the waterfall was located on the left of the road. I got a kick out of some of the signs that we hadn’t seen in other parts of the park. Perhaps since people can easily drive, park, and take a short walk to the waterfall the signs requesting smokers to put their butts in the provided canister instead of tossing them in the woods were warranted. We followed the dirt path through the trees to a lovely, large waterfall.

Amazingly, after choosing to have an easy day of hiking, we ended up walking 12 miles! To see David’s map and corresponding pictures, click here: map of our hike

After visiting the waterfall, we thought we’d treat ourselves to a nice dinner for Christmas Eve. We planned on going to a restaurant recommended by Fodor’s. It was closed. Then we stopped by another restaurant that looked popular over the last few days…it was closed. We quickly learned that most places in this part of the world close from Christmas Eve until Christmas afternoon.

Since our hotel has to remain open, I suggested we see if they have a dinner. We lucked out! We got the last table, as all of the others were reserved. They served a traditional Christmas meal. The appetizer, Vitel Toné, is actually an Italian tradition that is served for Christmas or New Year’s in Argentina. A cut of meat is smothered in a mayonnaise, anchovy and tuna sauce. It was quite good.

Entrecôte was served as our main course. I have to say our meat was quite tough…it was more like eating a Teva. Some of David’s meal flew off the plate as he was trying to cut it! While our main course may not have been amazing, the dessert made up for it. We dug in before I remembered to take a picture of the berries and the brownie. The brownie was better, but the best was the berries added to the brownie. Dinner also included a glass of champagne, and we also decided to order a traditional pisco sour. Overall, it was nice experience.

The hotel left a wrapped up pastry as either a Christmas Eve treat or a parting gift (I’m not sure which). We packed up our gear and prepared for our bus ride to El Calafate in the morning. ETB

IMG_3584 pastry

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