Our second last night in Santiago was spent in a restaurant called Casa de la Lune Azul (House of the Blue Moon), sitting in tattered but comfortable lounging chairs sipping Pisco Sours (like a whisky sour) and Terremottos (literally translated to “Earthquake”, because after you drink this wine, pineapple ice cream, and grenadine concoction, you literally feel like your legs are shaking). I know, it was as awesome as it sounds. We met a great guy named Dennis from Germany who tagged along for a couple drinks and we spent about 3 hours at the bar exploring the drink menu and essentially solving all of the worlds problems, move aside Trump, we got this.
The next morning we arose early to attack Cerro san Cristobal, a somewhat out of place mountain(ish) in the middle of Santiago. Very similar to Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh if a comparison helps to visualize the situation. We started at about 9:30 and were making lunch at the top around 11:30. The hike is not very difficult or long, we were just exploring and seeing all the sites in the hill. The Cerro comes with its very own funicular which costs 150% more than the ones in Valparaiso (so only 1500$ but still!). We took the funicular down because why not? That afternoon we walked around local markets, while Becca tried her hardest to haggle with someone she can’t communicate with, which quite honestly could be an Olympic sport. We also had our first empanadas of the trip and were not disappointed. It’s hard to hate a crust stuffed with delicious cheese and mushrooms.
With our flight at 6:10am the following morning the rest of the day was spent around the hostel getting repacked and organized. We also spent a couple hours chatting with a great British (almost Australian) couple. We even suggested that they come down and explore southern Chile in the van with us, so they bought a ticket and we’re hopefully going to meet up with them in a couple days.
Our morning of the 8th started poorly with Becca stepping in a rather large pile of dog excrement… the cab driver and hostel employee both helped her get cleaned up before the cabbie would let her in his car. Took about 20 minutes and then we zoomed off to the airport to begin one of the most uncomfortable flights of our lives. We sat in the last row with no recline option, so trying to sleep while sitting straight up or with our heads propped against the seat in front of us was ugly. Luckily the flight was cheap and only 3 hours long.
After landing in Punta Arenas, Kyle (the master planner) thought it would be possible to grab a bus directly from the airport to Puerto Natales. We found out that was not the case after a couple choppy conversations with employees and cab drivers at the airport. We ended up grabbing a cab that drove us right to one of the bus stations in Punta Arenas and we hopped on a bus 15 minutes later. At this point (about 11am), neither of us had had anything to eat since 5pm the night before, and more importantly, Becca had yet to have a sip of coffee… So the 3 hour and 15 minute bus to Puerto Natales was fairly silent. The minute we got to town we bought a can of Chilean pringles to distract the hunger monster that was raging in both of us. Kyle also left the Spanish English phrasebook on the bus so we’re flying blind now (in terms of communication).
Puerto Natales is a beautifully worn in but energetic town bustling with travellers keen on getting to Torres del Paine, and more likely one of the main treks (the W or the O). The main streets are a mix of stores, selling everything from local goods, to $250 Soloman shoes. Our hostel (The Singing Lamb) is an quaint modern building about 8 blocks from the main intersection in town and has been lovely. The beds have to be some of the nicest hostel beds out there, covered in thick duvets and so inviting after a day spent running around this amazing area. The water temperature and pressure in the showers is great as well, makes it hard to leave!
Now sitting inside the hostel with a nice rainfall outside has made for a nice day to do some planning for the coming road trip and catch up on this blog! Becca is downloading Friends in Spanish, hoping that since she can already quote the whole show in English, she’ll be fluent in no time!