Until The End Of The World

Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
Trip End Jun 15, 2005

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sunday 20th March 2005
I need to stop cutting the time to catch flights so fine - nearly missed my flight to Puntas Arenas. I´ve bought a Lanchile pass, which you can only buy outside the country, which gives me three flights for $270 US - given Chile is 4000km long, something you need!

Landed at Punta Arenas, with the intention of going there, but as the bus to Puerto Natales was just waiting there, I jumped on that instead - just three hours from Puntas Arenas.

Its a lot colder here - this is why I´ve been carrying my ski jacket all these months!

Drive through the bleak Patagonian landscape - kilometre after kilometre of nothing - pretty landscape, but monotonous, and no signs of life.

Reach Puerto Natales, which kind of reminds me of Port Stanley (not that I´ve ever been there!) - bleak low rise buildings, perched down to the shore, with windswept hills behind.

Make use of one of the touts, and go to a relatively downmarket and quiet hostal - but its cheap, and the people are nice (even if they dont speak a word of English!)

Monday 21st March 2005
After an all inclusive breakfast...OK a roll and coffee, catch my tour bus to Parque Torres Del Paine, said to be the foremost national park in the Americas, appx 188km to the north.

Off from the surprisingly good quality roads, to gravel bumpy roads, and firstly reach the Mildoon caves, a huge cave, where a huge bearlike creature used to live - 10000 years ago. The Daily Express sent an expedition in 1900 to recover one of the creatures, after a find of skin, which looked new due to its preservation in the ice.

Lots, and lots of wildlife here - Condors, Guanacos (relatives of the Llama) by the dozen, Nandu´s (relatives of the Ostrich), plus one solitary fox.

Carry on along the drive, and reach the majestic Torres del Paine - snow capped mountains, with three peaks, soaring out of the flat landscape - so amazing it almost looks as if they have been painted there.

Did go a little wild with my camera - about 90 photo´s today, of pretty much the same thing.

Onto Lago Gray - so called as the lake looks gray (as opposed to blue / turqoiuse / emerald lakes on the way). The lake is fed by Glacier grey, and I walked to the shore of the lake, where there were icebergs just floating around, a spectacular white/blue colour, with the glacier in the distance.

Fearsome 80km winds made walking hard work, but I wish I had had longer here - you can do 3-4 day treks...maybe next time

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