Hi everyone. I have an excuse as to why I didn’t write last week, I promise! It’s not a “the dog ate my homework” deal.
I went on the most amazing trip of my life. We had class like normal the week of the 26th, and actually, I took my first two exams then. Needless to say, I had been spending a good amount of time outside of class preparing for them, as due to the limited amount of tests, their weight in our overall grades are heavier. It was a good experience studying with other students. We all helped each other and bonded through it, and thankfully, in the end, we all did well.
Then, Wednesday came.
Wednesday was the day before my flight to El Calafate at 4:45am Thursday morning, which would officially mark the start of my spring break trip. A trip to see jaw-dropping glaciers, breath-taking mountains, and eye-boggling lakes. And that’s exactly what it was like.
Don’t get me wrong: I was completely intimidated and scared to be traveling alone–so much so that I was teased about it by the other kids at dinner on Wednesday night. They were great, though–they got me to laugh and filled me with all the confidence that was possible for me to hold at the time.
I called my cab to the airport, and so began my journey in which I would talk to Argentines, Israelis, Austrians, Australians, Japanese, and British individuals.
Now everybody tells you you’ll meet people easily when you travel, but that’s an easy assertion for them to make, right? They aren’t the ones wandering around alone! It’s true, though–rest assured. And in truth, I’m so glad I was alone. It gave me so much time to think, reflect, and actually interact with the people and environment around me.
Transmission between bus terminals and hostels, etc., was a lot easier than I expected it to be, thankfully, and remember this: the harder and more time you put into planning, the easier and smoother your actual trip will be. So, ha! All that obsessing I did over details paid off 🙂
Let me actually tell you where I went. Patagonia (Southern Argentina) is huge, but there are some main tourist spots: El Calafate (where you can see Glacier National Park), El Chalten (where you can hike famous Mt. Fitz Roy, along with other trails), and Bariloche (where you can go trekking through dozens of woods, lakes, and mountains–as well as eat some serious chocolate). So… are you ready to see some pictures?
Yes, it was really that beautiful. And the weather was perfect at that time of year. The air unpolluted and fresh. The people lovely and welcoming. The towns small and easy to navigate.
So far, this trip has been my favorite memory I have of studying abroad. No offense to Buenos Aires, but for us nature-lovers, the real gold lies outside of the city. Not to mention that one huge advantage Argentina has is that it’s so big. That means it encompasses a broad diversity of landscapes and settings. I won’t lie: this was a very pricy trip (about $650), but I highly recommend it to all who can manage such an expense.
My overall stay was about 8 days, and in those days, I literally took two days-worth of buses. The ride home was definitely bittersweet, as the memories I had were still fresh in my mind, but so was the reality that it was over.
I know it sounds cliche, but I really grew being on my own for that trip. Having to manage everything alone and depend on yourself to speak the language, etc., is definitely no small feat, and it just may not be for everybody, but for those who are interested, the experience surely is a gratifying one.
Well, I got home… and got to work! I had been gone so long that I had a ton of emails to write, people to get in contact with, homework to do, etc. One other thing I did–since it was Easter weekend–was go to the zoo on Saturday. This was no ordinary zoo, though… see for yourselves 🙂
Well, that concludes my report for now! See you in a week, approximately. Chao, chicos =]