Friends in Chile

To finish our trip, we left Argentina for Chile, crossing the border quite near Torres del Paine. We had time for one more night in Patagonia, in Punta Arenas, and then one night in Santiago as part of the overly complicated route I picked to come home.

There is not a lot to see in Punta Arenas, but we had time to visit a museum and the cemetery. The museum is a strange amalgamation of natural history, with galleries of stuffed local animals, cultural history, highlighting the geographic, scientific and socializing efforts of the Catholic missionaries, with a newer section dedicated to and, I’m sure, paid for by mining and drilling, which likely sustains the community these days.

In the taxidermy section we were able to put names to some of the birds we had seen during the drive from Calafate, including the ñandu, or lesser rhea (an emu-like bird), the cisne de cuello negro, or black-headed swan (a black-headed swan-like bird) and the flamenco chileno. which I didn’t know existed. In the religious section, we saw the sillón utilized pur el Papa Juan Pablo II en su visit a Magellenas el 4 de Abril de 1987. It was covered in plastic, like the furniture in Frank and Estelle Costanza’s house in Seinfeld.

However, my favourite feature was the small section on Shackleton’s Antarctic misadventures because it featured a plaque dedicated to Luis Pardo, the Chileno sailor who rescued the Ingleses from Isla Elefante. Where else would this man, without whom the expedition may well have ended in greater disaster, be recognized? [Read more…]

Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day

After the tranquility of Estancia Cristina, we returned to tourist reality the next day when we took a group tour to the Perito Moreno glacier. The early morning logistics in Calafate are very impressive. For 3 hours, starting at ~7am, the roads are filled with shuttle buses gathering pasajeros from the many hotels, hostels and B&B’s and taking them to their chosen daily activities.

At 9am we were among the last to get on the small tour bus heading for the Perito Moreno glacier headwall. On the way, we stopped by the roadside several times for views of Lago Argentina, and each time we realized what a sausage factory we were in. Every time, there were a half dozen or so other buses doing exactly the same thing.

Although it was a brisk but clear morning when we left Calafate, by the time we reached the first glacier viewpoint the clouds had moved in, the wind had picked up, and it had begun to rain. [Read more…]

Estancia Cristina

 

We spent an amazing two days at Estancia Cristina.  The Estancia was a working sheep ranch established in 1914, on leased land that was later incorporated into Los Glaciares National Park.  The family working the land was allowed to stay in perpetuity until 1998 when there were no more heirs.

It is now used as a base (after a 3 hour boat ride) for day trips and hikes to and around the Upsala Glacier, and as a small lodge.  We stayed one night, as did one other couple (a German taking a 6 month sabbatical and his Argentine companion).   After the day visitors left, it was just the 4 of us (and the very attentive staff).

We were driven on 4X4 trucks to the glacier, and hiked 14km back to the lodge.  We tried horseback riding!  And we relaxed and soaked up the vistas.

[Read more…]

Deep South

We’ve been in Patagonia since Sabadi afternoon, and it is awesome.  Haven’t posted any updates because we were off the grid at Estancia Cristina for two days: no phone, no TV and minimal WiFi.

More to come…


Go to the next post: Estancia Cristina

Demorado

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Arrived at AEP this morning for our flight to El Calafate in Patagonia, but it is delayed by ~3 hours. So we are airport-bound.


Go to the next post: Deep South