El Calafate: The Touristy, Yet Sweet Mountain Town
El Calafate is one of those places that could be terrible, but manages to be lovely. The wooden stalls with grassy roofs could be cliché, but manage to be rustic. The pedestrian streets of shops selling “El Calafate” emblazoned souvenirs could be tacky, but manage to be quaint. And the view of mountains reflected in the lake… well, that’s just awesome.
Our first stop was the marketplace, to browse through stalls of pretty woollen garments and handcrafted jewellery. The next street was a collection of souvenir shops, in charming wooden huts. Heading away from the town centre, we walked along the lake, before the cold got the better of us and we retreated to a restobar for some mate, a strong Argentine tea, traditionally served in a hollow gourd with a metal straw, and shared around the table. It´s definitely an acquired taste, one which I don´t think I´ve quite got the hang of yet.
After a quick stop by our hostel to pick up our luggage, we headed to Pura Vida, a quirky restaurant with vegetarian options beyond pizza and pasta! We then spent the rest of the evening in Libro Bar, a popular bar specialising in whiskey, with books lining every wall. The bus to our next destination wasn’t leaving until three am, but we had no problem passing the time with wine and picture books of Patagonia.