Buenos Aires – January 2020 – Palacio Barolo

The Palacio Barolo is actually a misnomer, it is not a palace in the sense of the others in the city, it is an office building.

Not just any office building, the structure was built in reference to the Divine Comedy by Dante. The building is 100 meters high, one for each canto.




Our tour guide Isabella was helpful in provided many of the design details of the building.




The building’s 22 floors are divided into three sections. The basement and ground floor are ‘hell’, floors 1-14 are ‘purgatory’, and finally 15-22 are ‘heaven’.





It is truly a unique design throughout.





















In addition there is a plethora of representation throughout the building, such as the letter A in the Ascensor (elevator) being the Mason’s symbol.

































There are great views of Buenos Aires from the upper floors.

























The Palacio Barolo – one unique building.











Buenos Aires – January 2020 – Teatro Colon

The Teatro Colon is considered by many as one of the best opera houses in the world.





The theater was completed in 1908, with a four year restoration finishing in 2010.





The entry hall and initial rooms have many artistic details.
























































The main hall has room for over 3000, including standing room. The acoustics in the hall are legendary, so perfect you can hear people on the stage having a normal conversation from anywhere in the hall.





















El Calafate, Argentina – January 2020 – Flying Away in Southern Pategonia

You have seen the Patagonia jackets, but how many people know where it is? Well, it is in the far south of Argentina, and El Calafate is in southern Pategonia – not that far from Antarctica.





With a few hours to spare before our flight, we stopped by the Laguna Nimez Nature Preserve. It is a beautiful area along the shores of Lago Argentino, with grasses, flowers, and birds.















































































La Leona, Argentina – January 2020 – Three for the Price of One

In our travels across North America we have visited the Badlands in South Dakota, seen fossils in Arizona, and dinosaur bones in Colorado. In Southern Patagonia we had the chance to do this all in one place, La Leona.

And because it happens to be on a 30,000 acre ranch owned by one person, it is very restricted as to who can go there. We arranged a tour through one of the agencies in El Calafate, and were very pleased the next morning to see a mini van come to pick us up. Our group had 7 people, a driver and the guide!

The area is about 1.5 hours north of El Calafate – the scenery was fantastic along the way.











After a long drive up a bumpy dirt road, we got out and took off through the badlands.









It wasn’t long before we came upon the first dinosaur bone. They have been removing nearly full dinosaur skeletons from here for more than 20 years, so what is left are the ‘scraps’.

Still very impressive, they welcome you to touch them, hold them, and examine them – just leave them. They even gave us instructions on how to tell bone from rock – lick them. Or rather, lick your finger and press it against the object. If it sticks it is bone, otherwise it is rock.













There is even interesting vegetation throughout.





Our hike through the badlands continued with our guide Roci, until we reached the ‘petrified forest’. Roci was very knowledgeable and gave an excellent overview of what we were seeing, and how it got to be that way.





It is amazing how heavy small fragments of the petrified wood weighs.





We spent about 3 hours wandering around the badlands, finding plenty of petrified wood, and the occasional dinosaur bone.

What an amazing place, and fantastic day. To be able to see and touch these wonders of nature was great – and with such a small group at that.







































































Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina – January 2020 – Cruising for Ice

One of the more popular activities at Los Glaciares National Park is to take a 5 hour cruise to see the glaciers beyond Perito Moreno.





The cruise left the port and headed north across Lago Argnetino.





It wasn’t long before we saw icebergs.









































The cruise took us past a number of dramatic glaciers including Spegazzini – the largest in the park. All were impressive in their own way.

























































With one last look at Perito Moreno Glacier we headed back to port, and ended our ice adventures.





The entire crew, especially the hostess Victoria, provided great service with an education on the glaciers.





A Gourmet Glacier Cruise – Muy Bien.







Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina – January 2020 – Hiking on a Glacier

Los Glaciares provided a chance to do something I had never done – gone hiking on a glacier.

To get there we took a short boat ride across the lake in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier, and ‘docked’ – which was really a stop along rocks shaped somewhat into steps.





We headed across the rocks and beach toward the huts to get prepared – the huts looked tiny compared to where we were headed.





As we were standing on the beach getting some background on how glaciers work a 70 meter (210 foot) high wall of ice came falling down (aka calving). It was very cool – but I do not have room for the 30 or so photos I managed to take in burst mode!













Finally we reached the hut and received our crampons.





The wall of ice was daunting – but we were headed for a more gradual rise.




We were broken up into English speakers and Spanish speakers, then further into groups of 15. Our leader was Ceffi.





And we were off…





Before long we were in the middle of the ice going up, down and over obstacles.













The staff was very helpful, making sure we didn’t fall into crevasses.





The views were fantastic.





























Near the end of our 2 hours on the ice we celebrated with a whiskey on ice – straight from the glacier. Ceffi and the rest of the staff were excellent – fun, informative and foremost making sure everything was done safely.





And with that we returned to the starting point where we could reflect on how awesome the hike had been – on top of this massive glacier.







Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina – January 2020 – Walkway to Glacier Heaven

If you thought Buenos Aires was far south, you haven’t seen anything yet. We made a 3 hour flight further south to El Calafate.




Which my phone said was here




We have come to far southern Patagonia in Argentina to see Los Glaciares National Park for a few days. It is home to the 3rd largest ice fields in the world (after Antarctica and Greenland).

To my amazement though the surroundings are desert, so the drive out felt more like Southern California than what I think of as glacial areas like Alaska.







With our mid day arrival, and an hour and a half drive to the park we only had time on this day to do the walkways.

We had our first glimpses on the drive into the park.



This was well worth the trip out for the afternoon, as the walkways are well built paths that take you to various levels very close to the snout of the glacier Perito Moreno.








































The walkways was an excellent way to start our visit to the park, but there is much more to see in subsequent postings.