After a frankly very cold and windy spell in Torres del Paine, and the trauma of losing yet another pair of glasses, we caught the bus back to Punta Arenas. It was even colder here than in the park. And we’d pretty much run out of clothes. And there was no laundry. Excellent.
Interesting note: I’ve never had to wear the same pair of socks for 5 days in a row before. Turns out, I don’t like it.
We were staying around 10km out of town in a log cabin called ‘Le Casa Escondida.’ It was LOVELY! Owned by an incredibly friendly Chilean family, we were treated like family- they cooked us amazing steak and we sat by a roaring fire all night. Exactly what we needed after all the hiking of the past 10 days. As content as we would have been to not leave the fire, we thought we should at least explore Punta Arenas so we got a lift from a friendly Chilean man who was driving in that direction and off we went.
I can’t lie- this wasn’t the most amazing place we’ve been to in Chile, but it did at least have a naval museum, so Sam was in heaven, as is shown by the many many many photos he took. I won’t bore you with them, just this one of my super happy husband:
It was then time for TRAVEL DAY. Not just any travel day either. The monster of all travel days! First it was a 4am start for a 5.30am flight to Puetro Montt- 11 hour layover (but we did get to see stuff like this:)
-2 hour layover in Santiago- 7 hour bus to La Serena. Phew, I’m tired just typing that! Needless to say, we were exhausted by the end of it, and slept so well when we got to the hostel! Finally, the heat was back. Shorts were allowed again! Flipflops came out of hiding! It feels so good to just wear one layer- how did we ever cope living in UK??
La Serena is a nice place- cute handicraft stalls and lovely roadside cafes. It was our 11 year anniversary whilst we were there and we celebrated with some live band watching, pisco drinking and a fairly decent Thai meal (so so sick of bread and anything that doesn’t involve it is a blessing now!)
On Sunday we left the town to explore the Elqui Valley, a place that had been recommended to us by the lovely owners of Campo Suizo down in the Lakes District. We decided to base ourselves in the small town of Vicuña. Hhhmm, but wait. Google maps is showing us something about 20 mins away from it- a tiny village in the middle of a valley. Excellent- more travelling!
The Elqui Valley is SPECTACULAR. Incredibly beautiful and chilled out. We took walks through villages and hired bikes to get to Pisco distilleries, microbreweries and an amazing solar restaurant, where they actually use the sun to cook everything!
In the valley, there’s an average rainfall of 5-6 times a year so a lot of structures aren’t exactly watertight either.
Today we’re heading back to La Serena, where we’ll wait for a few hours and then take a night bus upto San Pedro de Atacama, our final Chilean destination. We’re going to spend around 5 days there as we want to visit an observatory, see the salt plains and Valle de Luna, as well as some seriously big geysers. Goodbye budget!