Today's just one of those repositioning days. After packing, we left our bags at the hosteria and walked over to the national park visitor center, looking at some of the exhibits. While I find some aspects of Argentina to be disappointingly tedious--steep ATM withdrawal fees, the 3 1/2 hour midday breaks, unhelpful shop staff, the unfunctional credit-card machines--Argentina National Parks are wonderful and the park areas we've been to have been very well kept up, they're doing a great job.
Behind the visitor center are a pair of overlooks, so we scrambled up the hillside for a nice overview of the town under the Fitz Roy range.
It was pretty windy, with blowing dust, so we decided cake and coffee would be much better than another hour of windy walking, so scooted on back down and huddled in a cute little bakery.
Our bus left at 1pm for the 3+ hour ride back to El Calafate, and that ride was unexceptional; I think I just edited pictures the whole way. After a brief stop at the bus station for return tickets back to Natales (yay, the 8:30am bus tomorrow!), we checked into our new 'design hotel' overlooking the town, and it was already looking a bit tatty with carpet runs and stains and chipped tiles and buzzing electrical sockets, but it was a pleasant view. The longer I stay here in Argentina the more depressed I get; things have just been slowly falling apart, people don't particularly seem to care because why bother, there's nothing they can do. That passionate Argentine stereotype has quite a bit of melancholic anger underneath.
We wandered down into town--what to do? I wanted to see flamingos, and there's a nature reserve run by the city down at the lake, so we walked the signed 800 meters (it was really 1400 meters) to a ramshackle shack that wanted $8 US for us foreigners to visit. Uh, while I want to support you all, paying $16 feels like a ripoff for a 2km walk around the wetlands, especially when locals are charged almost nothing. That discrimination is tacky; we said no gracias.
Walking back up to town, we just decided to get dinner, eating at the fancy place next to the brewery (really enjoyable lamb ravioli for me) then popped in a bakery a few doors down for treats. Damn, the alfajores there were great. We picked up some sandwiches for our glacier walk tomorrow, and called it an early night.