Day 2.... Cuave De Las Manyos (Cave of the Hands)
06.02.2007 - 06.02.2007 12 °C
We woke up early 6:30 am... freezing cold in our makeshift hostel, packed our bags and headed outside to where the mini-bus was to pick us up..... feckin Chalten travel!
We´d payed an extra $65 pesos for the side trip to the Cuave de las manyos and in Bariloche the girl had told us that this included entry and then we´d meet up with the original bus ready for the final part of our journey down to El Chalten.
The mini bus arrived and we all boarded minus our backpacks... these (we were assured) would be placed on the larger bus when we reboarded it later in the day...fine!
The mini bus then shot off along the dirt covered roads, winding up through the hills towards the caves.... obviously time was of the essence based on both the speed we were hurtling along the tracks and that we didn´t stop for anything, including three condors, sat in a field by the side of the road.... or the illusive Ruta Nacional 40 sign either ! We did ask.... however..... feckin Chalten travel!
We pulled up at the Caves some three bumpy hours later and were pointed in the direction of a little hut by the edge of the cliff. Here we were politely informed that there was an entry charge !!!!
OK.... the girl in Bariloche was now definately on my "hit" list! However, it turned out to be $15 pesos each (which isn´t too bad after all) and for this we got a guide (who´s broken English was enough to get by on) so I wasn´t that miffed..... feckin Chalten travel!
We walked down the cliff and the wind hit us.... damn this Patagonian Wind is Cold and Strong !!!
The Caves are impressive in that the Hand prints are easily visible and they´re on the exterior of the walls, so we were surpised that they´d managed to survive this long at all.... being that they ranged from 12 thousand to 2 thousand years old!
90% of the hands were Left hands and there were even prints of Nandu feet, South American Emu´s, (they must have asked the Nandu´s very nicely to stand on the wall!) and some hunting scenes and geometrical shapes also!
Pictures were taken and, now thoroughly frozen, we headed back to the minibus. The apparent Cafe, where we could get a coffee and something to eat (none of which any of us had had that day) was in the process of being "rebuilt"... i.e. CLOSED..... feckin Chalten travel!
The minibus rattled along for another hour or two and then pulled up in a small estancia, literally, in the middle of nowhere! Here we got some food.... at the usual extortionate "Exoticos" prices.
An El Chalten bus pulled up and people started to get off.... however... we didn´t recognise many of them..... maybe it was the bus going North we thought.
Nope.... some 20 Israeli´s had (apparently) suddenly arrived in Perito Moreno.... and now would be travelling on our bus? Which begged the questions... where did all these Israeli´s come from and more importantly... how were we getting to El Chalten?
By Minibus.... but of course..... feckin Chalten travel!
We hopped back on the minibus and started down the remainder of the RN40. We stopped off At an estancia (again in the middle of nowhere... which... coincidentally.... we were informed was owned by the family of the bus driver.... and since the minibus arrived last by the time we got to the food counter... nothing was really left ! Steph had an Apple and I, a small sandwich..... feckin Chalten travel!
The final leg of the journey was relatively uneventful... apart from the mini bus driver missing the petrol station and the clutch almost burning out... however... we finally pulled in (ahead of the main bus) in El Chalten.... at the "Luxurious" Rancho Grande..... hmmmmmm
Our driver was in a rush.... so dropped us off.... pointed us in the direction of the desk in the rancho grande and drove off !!! Half an hour later... the main bus (with our backpacks on) pulled up at the hostel!
An Australian couple travelling with us were put in a dorm (when they´d payed extra for a double), four or five others were given tickets for "alternative" hostels where they would be staying.... However, they weren´t given a map of how to find them... etc. etc...
The Usual Chalten "feckin" travel debacle!
I hope you´re getting the jist of how we feel about Chalten Travel by now....
Steph and I, however, had prebooked our accomadation and walked the ten minutes down the road to the Albergue Patagonia Hostel, where we were greeted with a welcome, a big smile and a lovely hostel!
Ahhh....How good we felt to be in a nice warm bed in a gorgeous hostel that night !
Ahhh.... How good we felt to have planned at least this part of the trip in advance !
Ahhh.... How good we felt to no longer be under the control of .....
Feckin Chalten travel !!!!!