We benefitted a bit more from the strike after leaving Torres del Paine, because the road was empty. Near Cerro Castillo there was a road block.
We met 3 Chilean bullies who organized the strike, and they wanted to stall us for a few minutes before letting us pass. After talking with them for a few minutes, we found out that they didn´t know what they wanted, except cancel the raise of the gas price. We offered them a few realistic alternatives, such as proposing actual demands including budget for house insulation and alternative energy production (wind and sun) which are not found at all in Chilean Patagonia. They told us to go straight to the border without stopping to shop in town, but we didn´t listen.
Pampa and Wind
After 20 km of strong back wind (40 km/h), we arrived to Tapi Aike police station where we kindly asked to camp. It is a bit strange to camp at the garden of the police station, but apparently it is quite common - we saw a camping truck parking there! There is not much to say about the continuation of the way to El Calafate, except that there was nothing around us, only some bushes, a lot of dust, and strong wind.
We camped 44 km before El Calafate, in Rio Bote, right on the river. There we met a british couple, Jonathan and Emma (tandemthings.blogspot.com), on a tandem bicycle. The last 30 km to the town were exceptionally hard because of the very strong face wind.
We spent a few nights in the very touristic town of El Calafate. Because the prices were so high, we spend most of our time cooking, eating, and chatting with different campers. We talked with a German guy, Florian, who traveled with Dafna. He told us she left to El Chalted a few days ago, so we might catch up with her there. We spent an afternoon on walking around the coastal reserve, taking pictures of birds, and picking Calafate berries, we enjoyed at breakfast.
Our special dishes for these days were pancakes with apple confiture, pasta and Israeli peas soup.
We enjoyed very much Emma and Jonathan´s Chili sin Carne.
Meeting Amit´s Uncle and Aunt
Gino and Rita are traveling around Argentina in a guided tour of 2 weeks with a group of Italians. We were supposed to meet them on the day of their arrival, but their flight was delayed by 4 hours. We spent with them the day after, walking in town and dining in their hotel with the Italian group. Everybody ordered the same dishes - pumpkin soup and a steak. Surprisingly, most of them finished the 300 gr steak they ordered. All the people on our table were in a good mood, and were very curious about us and about our trip, as all people are. The day after, we bought food for the next 2 weeks, because we don´t expect to find a real supermarket. Then we went with Gino and Rita for a windy walk on the nice promenade on the lake, where you can see many types of birds.
More photos here.