By stranded i mean for a period of time we had no means of transport and by end of the world i am referring to Southern Patagonia, the area where expeditions to Antarctica take off! So how did we find ourselves in this worrying predicament yesterday? here?
Well the day started when we woke at the crack of dawn – said goodbye to new friends who were also up early to head of on a full day hike – and piled into a minibus that we would stay in for the next 7 hours (with a few short stops) as we traveled south then west then north to our next Patagonian destination – on the Chilean side! We crammed three more passengers in heading in a similar destination – cosy is a subtle way to describe the result – and I mainly just slept thanks to the motion sick tablets and the previous late night (chatting away to the friends we made at Los Nostros) but after several hours was abruptly awakened by a loud
The bursting of our tire… We piled out in the middle of nowhere where we stared blankly into the endless desert-like paddocks and watched a lone rider slowly traverse across the sparse area that surrounded us; as if we were in a dramatic old western movie where this rider was intended to symbolize how isolated and alone we really were
And we were soon on our way until we had to stop for ages at the Argentine border station to process papers and then AGAIN at the Chilean side. Then when we finished there and packed our bags back into the van (they had to be checked for illegal substances – fruit, vegetables – you know the REALLY bad stuff) we drove all of 20 meters until we had to put our bags and ourselves into ANOTHER van. As it turns out Argentineans , in general, REALLY dislike Chileans (and vice versa) to the point where they don’t want to drive an hour on their roads – despite already tediously passing through immigrations…I guess as Australia is a relatively isolated island we’ve never had to worry about fierce border rivalries – the closest we come is Rugby union vs New Zealand (don’t get me wrong, that gets pretty intense!) Anyways, I managed to stay awake for this part of the journey and am glad I did, as the area of Torres del Paine is STUNNING.
And I caught my first glimpse of guanacos!
The Torres del Paine National Park is a Chilean National Park encompassing stunning mountains, glaciers, multi-coloured lakes and rivers, and river-rich area in countries south. lies in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes and the highlight is the cluster of mountains which include the ‘Torres fel Paine – Paine Towers (we hiked 19km to these today but im afraid far too tired to complete a post about this tonight!) Anyways, after a LONG trip (about 9 hours in total) we arrived at the Explorer lodge ( it describes itself as “a way of traveling to remote places in South America, where the focus is on in-depth exploration of the surroundings and the luxury of the essential”) perched perfectly on the turqoise Pehoe lake looking towards to mountains – below is the view from my room!