Lupins, asphalt, dirt, concrete & own bus shelters

Trip Start Dec 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 14, 2011

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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thirteen of us plus gear piled into 4 taxis to transfer to the depot in order to catch the 8 am bus to Puerto Natales. My recollection of the 5 hour trip will be the expanse of the windblown estepa or grassland landscape without too much human intervention. This seems bleak and a harsh environment to make a living. Even the few live stock were far between.

In Argentina the road surface was asphalt. We turned onto a dirt or unpaved side road to get to the border crossing with Chile. All out and a simple passport stamp in Argentina but entering into Chile we had to remove all gear for x-ray. Guess who forgot that they had an apple in the bottom of their day pack!

These 2 border crossings seem to take an hour as in both countries only 2 windows were open to process our full bus load of passengers.

It was cold and windy and the shelter of the warm souvenir shop / food shop by the Chilean border provided much relief.

Once into Chile the hour’s drive to Puerto Natales, the road surface changed to concrete with yellow lines to marked both the centre line plus road edge. Then by each ranch entrance they had their own bus shelter.

For the last few days the tall colourful lupins reminded me of the Central Otago region. Today they seem to be growing wild along the road side.

Puerto Natales (pop 20,000) is to me a bleak cold wind swept town similar to some of Southlands smaller farming communities but somehow I found some colourful images on my walk into town to get some Chilean pesos. No doubt the people are very much warm hearted. Have to say that as our tour leader Pedro now lives in Puerto Natales.

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