18.02.2009 - 04.04.2009
Wow, Wow, WOW! These being the main three words used on this trip gives you a bit of an insight of what we thought.
We flew into Sangiago and was welcomed by the sun. Nice weather is good for the soul, it going to be such a shocker comming back to England in winter!! We found the city of Santiago just beautiful, a great vibe to it. There is lots of "green" areas to escape the hussle and bussle of the busier areas, the architecture quite stunning with sculpture dotted around. You could expect the unexpected around most corners here, one charming little area was an artists square surrounded by lovely monumental type buildings and in the centre, undercover were lots of people playing chess on the permanant area set out for them. A good atmosphere to catch a gimpse of the locals. The government here protect all the dogs on the street here, quite incredible how many of them there are - most of them in good condition, lots of cute little characters. One of our highlights in the city was going up Cerro San Lucia (which our hotel overlooked). This is a delightful area where we passed many hours away. A mount full of tiny pathways that lead you past incredible old buildings, huge trees, pretty landscaped areas, cobbled walls, and eventually up very steep steps to the tower where at every day (except Sunday) a cannon goes off about two meters below your feet! This is to signify it is midday to all the surrounding areas, as far as the Andes, which you can see in the far distance. A tradition that they have been doing for years, and can come quite unexpectidly if your not aware of it!!
We flew to Puerto Montt, a fishing port with lots of character once again. The Chilian people are amazing. Spending quite a bit of time in Angelmo at the port there. Passing many side street shops, well more little huts with lots of interesting stuff - dishevilled stacks of woolen clothing, wood carvings, and trinkets etc. The port at the end of the street sellers and local artists had a great fish market (smell not so good!) we just got so absorbed there watching all the locals and their ways, they would chop a head off of a fish - toss it to one side on the concrete ground and a dog would come along grab it and run off to have a nibble. All this listening to the sounds of the locals playing music for fun at the quay! So much to see and fill your sences with.
We caught a cargo ferry which decided it can make a bit of money out of travellers who want to get to the south and converted a deck or two into cabins. The 4 day "cruise" became quite monotonous and we was glad to get off and walk around for more than 10 minutes. Having beautiful scenery and some good people on the same trip was our only sanctuary! We did pass some wonderful areas you wouldnt get to see otherwise, the Cotopaxio shipwreck, the Narrow Englis Canal, small islets, sea lions, and Pio XI Glacier. This beast is a stunning 1270sq km and 15km long, 5km at the front of the waters edge which we could not believe. We thought we was quite close to it until the crew got a life boat and went off in to the distance closer to it to get some fresh glacier ice for the pisco sours and they became tiny dots!! One night the waters were very turbulent - entertaining trying to watch people walk! tiresome if youe trying to sleep, being rocked to sleep is 1 thing but come on!!
Docking in Puerto Natales was a pleasant relief.
You cant get a sence of the grandness of Patagonia until your actually there. Seeing pictures of Torres Del Pianes (torres meaning towers) gives you an apperciation of it beauty but being there makes you feel humble. A place of such beauty that literally does tower above you. we completed part of the W circuit camping in the grounds of hostels with those views was fantastic. We covered 60km in 4 days Auch! We think it was harder than the Inca trail, double Auch! I cannot really begin to describe the scenery here - You and I have got things to be getting on with, id be here forever!! We trecked the base of Las Torres 1 day, ferried around to the otherside and trecked the other the next and saw the French Glacier, trecked up to the Grey Glacier the next and back the next. The treck up to the Grey Glacier was our favourite - the most incredible sights weve experianced so far - the 3 hour climb to the top was mindblowing, such huge grins on our faces - our first glimpse of the glacier! We was meant to camp in a tent at the base of the glacier but once we saw the tents had no reat protection from the cold air basically just a mosqi\uito net we wimped out and stayed in the refuge with the open fire! Glorious and layed in a real bed still with excellent views of the valley. We hope to explore a glacier in a later part of our world tour, but for now being at the base of one was spectacular.
This was an incredible part of our journey that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.