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Published: October 10th 2018
Left our apartment on schedule at 8am walked with all our luggage for 30 minutes to the Los Heroes bus station. It was an easy walk, all flat, so was worth the effort as the bus fare for both of us was about $7 compared to about $63 for a direct transfer. There were people lining up for the bus when we arrived but not many of them had luggage so this was used by people working at the airport as well as travelers. Bus ride was about 35 minutes and we arrived at the airport around 9:20. We mis-read the boarding pass in Spanish and went to Gate 35, but luckily the correct gate 27 wasn’t far away, but there was a long line of passengers waiting to get on.
The flight was amazing. I figured on getting window seats on the left side as we were flying south and we had views of the snow-capped Andes and lakes almost the whole way except when we reached peak altitude and were obscured by clouds (reference to a Pink Floyd album there). Amazing work by mother nature.
Landed at Punta Arenas airport around 15:15 and we were met by
representatives of the Hotel Los Torres and met other travelers also staying at the hotel. We were taken to a van and driver had a bit of a problem with the exit card and we couldn’t get out, but eventually it was sorted and we were on our way. We were told it was a long drive of about 6 hours but we would stop for a break at a ranch house called Cerro Negro ranch after about 1.5 hours. It turned out to be about 2 hours but it was a nice stop. The initial landscape was very flat and desert like with no trees, just low shrubs and looking quite brown and dry even though we could plenty of water around. Eventually we started seeing trees but they were the weirdest looking trees as they looked completely black, even the leaves and they were all bent over leaning in one direction so it looked like the winds are always in the same direction.
The ranch is owned by the owners of the hotel and has cattle and sheep. The original homestead was built by Croatian immigrants who are quite common in this area of Chile. The house
was full of antique furniture and was filled with photos of the original family. It is now kept as a museum. A short walk away was a more modern building where we had afternoon tea with bread, fried bread, ham, cheese, jam, cakes and pastries. We all ate heartily as most of us hadn’t eaten since early morning.
We then continued our drive, passing a border crossing with Argentina and seeing our first mountains just as the sun was setting. It was 10pm by the time we got to the hotel and after checking in we had the option of having dinner and it turned out that only Daisy and I plus one other couple, Marta and Bob from Texas took the option. The food was delicious, we both had soup for entrée, I had Groper with quinoa mixed with some other stuff and Daisy had a shredded beef dish for mains and leche asada and fruit salad for dessert. It was very late but we ate it all so must have been quite hungry. Didn’t finish until 11:45pm so a late night. Luckily our full day excursion tomorrow doesn’t start until 9am.
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