19.01.2009 - 04.02.2009
Arrived in Santiago tired after 11 hour flight, with the time difference I got there 5 hours before i left Auckland which was a bit confusing. Got a shuttle to the wonderful La Casa Roja hostel, got a few hours kip and went looking for food in near Bario Brazil, went for an empanada which wasn't a good idea, had some gelato for dessert which was much better. No air conditioning in the dorm made it pretty sticky. Did some city sightseeing the next day to Parque Cera , climbed the big hill to see the holy statue, had a decent lunch in Bellevista. Had 2 days of Spanish lessons and managed to fit in some wine tasting also. Then met the group for the Patagonia trip in Santiago and we headed for Puerto Montt the following day. Did some sightseeing for 2days including a trek up to the top of a volcano and a trip to Chiloe island to sample some seafood and see some penguins.
Then it was 3 days on the Navimag ferry boat along the fjords of Patagonia. Pretty dramatic scenery even if the weather wasn't so good and it was a bit rocky on day two. Had a bingo night on the last night followed by a mega disco. Met lots of people on the boat and then kept bumping into them throughout Patagonia.
Arrived in Puerto Natales and got picked up by Sergio our tour guide for the hiking trip to Torres del Paine.
We set off with all our gear to the Park and started fro Las Torres where we dropped our stuff at the campsite. Did 19ks the first day and took in some valleys and the famous towers (Torres).
A lot of climbing involved getting to the towers but was well worth it. Day 2 involved getting a ferry to Grande Paine campsite and had a quick lunch before heading of on an 18k walk this brought us through french valley, three lakes and a climb up to the plateau for great views. Bumped into Lua a Galway college head which was totally random!
Day 3 was a short 11k walk, it was the clearest day so far so we got great views of the mountains and lakes and towards the end we could see glacier Grey.
Got to the Glacier Grey campsite which was the best campsite by far despite super cold showers but how bad. Did an extra hour walk to get closer to the glacier and saw some of it crumbling away and breaking off into the the lake, pretty loud when it does that. Celebrated our last night by having cheese and pisco sour (a brandy with lemon juice drink). Met some people from the Navimag boat at the campsite so we had a few drinks into the early hours. The last day was really easy, 11k was nothing after all we had walked. Headed back to Peurto Natales and then said goodbye to Sergio before taking our bus to Punta Arenas. Our last day in Chile was spent mostly sleeping and eating and recovering our sour muscles. Had fab seafood in La Luna for the last night with the group.