Blogs from Chile, South America

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South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Valle Nevado August 6th 2019

Let’s all be honest with ourselves here. Traveling just about anywhere with two young children, is not well, exactly enjoyable. Like, don’t get me wrong, it is fun (usually) once you get to wherever you are going, but the process of first preparing, and then doing the actual traveling to get to your destination can be an anxiety wracked process. It can feel like you are preparing to execute a major military operation (bags, rations, timetables, maps, contingency plans) and when you cross that startline and jump out the trenches, you sure as hell better be prepared for sh*t to hit the fan soldier! Consequently, we went on our first Chilean ski vacation up to the Andes a few weeks ago. It was random “Chilean holiday day off in the middle of the week” week (i.e. ... read more
Apres errr day
Ski bunny
Future rippers

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Vitacura May 2nd 2019

So April 23rd marks 8 full months that we have been in Chile…it is also probably 2-3 months longer than I think I have ever been away from Canada before, so the topic of homesickness is on my mind. My previous longest stretch was probably 6 months back in 2001, when I spent a semester abroad “studying” in Sweden (quotations author’s own)…admittedly, with this experience I am working harder, and probably drinking less, despite the more reasonable prices for alcohol in Chile vs Sweden, adjusted for inflation…actually, you may not even have to adjust for inflation. Anyhoo… I think I mentioned to someone that homesickness goes in waves. There can be days or weeks where I think nothing about it, and I have no issue with the fact that we are here, and life is different, ... read more
It's Fall right now...
Smielle

South America » Chile » Los Lagos » Chiloé Island March 24th 2019

When we first conceived this six week trip from Ushuaia to Mendoza I envisaged that we would be spending almost all our time in Argentina. As it turns out we will actually be travelling for over half our time in Chile. You see a difference as soon as you cross the border. In Chile the pavements/sidewalks are always in better shape and you can see from the infrastructure around you that its economy is stronger than Argentina’s. The prices in Chile are not far off those in the UK and apparently the distribution of wealth is far more extreme – the minimum wage is $400USD/month and the average $700USD. There is an openness and friendliness about all the people we have met. Take, for example, Gladys, our AirBnB landlady during our stay in Castro. She always ... read more
Curanto in Dalcahue
Interior of the church in Achao
On the ferry to Achao

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Zapallar March 22nd 2019

So, if you recall when you last joined us, our car was viciously attacked by some sheet metal on a Chilean highway. And so, since then we decided to jump headlong into the wild world of Chilean car insurance claims, and the car disappeared for about a month and after jumping through some hoops, actually many hoops, we got it back (not fixed of course)...and so hopefully someone got my reference to an 19 year old stoner comedy with Aston Kutcher and Stifler with the title of this blog. Ooof....although to be honest, is this at all worse than ICBC? So what has happened since my last entry...every day I think about so many little things to write about, and just wish I had the time to do so...including our current insurance situation (when we bring ... read more
Can you smell the Penguinos?
Visit from Grammy and Grampy
Upside down school year

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine March 6th 2019

It is a sad fact of life that as I have got older I have developed a greater fear of heights. I stood a few steps on to the narrow suspension bridge as it swung above the steep ravine. The cable sides look no more than knee high from my warped perspective. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on. I smiled as best I could for Jane to take a photo. I knew it was irrational and I had to cross this bridge to get the glacier ‘mirador’ on the other side. I bent my knees to keep lower and focused on the bridge ahead. Jane waited patiently at the end. Half way across I started to hum and the demons in my brain seem to start to dissipate. I moved on to the old ... read more
Walking back from Grey refugio
Paine Grande camping
Base of the Torres

South America » Chile » Aisén » Cerro Castillo March 5th 2019

Poet, novelist and travel writer William Graham holds a BA and MA in English and a MS in Communication from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He lives in Stowe, Vermont. His most recent travel book is Border Crossings: Travel Essays and Poems. “Patagonia.” The word conjures up images of jagged Andean peaks, fierce winds, gauchos and vast emptiness. The adventurer Bruce Chatwin put it best: “The word 'Patagonia', like Mandalay or Timbuctoo, has lodged itself in our imagination as a metaphor for The Ultimate, the point beyond which one could not go.” I followed the siren call of this stunning region of Chile on a recent trip to the Aysen region of Patagonia. The origin of the words “Aysen” and “Patagonia” are themselves worth mentioning. The best guess is that the word “Aysen,” a spar... read more
Glacier Flowing from the Chilean Ice Field
Hiking in Patagonia Park
Snow Capped Andes

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 28th 2019

Lunes cerrado/closed Mondays! What the ….? We had just driven 250km on dirt roads in our little rentacar to find that the only king penguin colony outside of the Antarctic was closed on Mondays and it was Monday! Jane was turning crimson and I started to laugh (which probably didn’t help). The place was deserted. There was no one to plead with. We had arrived at the end of Bahia Inutil/Useless Bay (sic) a great gash in the Western side of Terra del Fuego. What tempered our frustration was the picturesque surroundings and the blue sky sliced by waves of high cloud. In the distance the snow-capped mountains of the Darwin range were visible behind the closer peaks of Dawson island. The Magellan Straits, apparently up to a kilometre deep at this point, spread ... read more
rusting hulk on the shore of the Magellan Straits
Lava cliffs at Pali Aike
the elegant guanaco

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 28th 2019

Day 6&7, 26 & 27 February, Southern Patagonia FITZ ROY EXPEDITION, Carlos III Island - Aguila Bay: We began the dry, slightly overcast morning touring the Kaweskar National Park, on the island of Santa Ines, which has a beautiful fjord called Helado Sound. Whilst in the zodiacs, in its background we appreciated the imposing Sarmiento and Helado Glaciers We went on shore at the foot of the Heladoo Glacier to get some close-up photos and so that the photographers could use their tripods to catch the dept of the ice caves we were gazing upon. It was beautiful. Having the time to and look at all the shapes and patterns in the glacier was beautiful and very special. For morning tea on the shore, we were offered whisky or chocolate milk, another wonderful touch. On the ... read more
Tom & Pierre at Aguila Bay - Helado Glacier
Aguila Bay - Helado GlacierJPG  (2)
Guides Francesco and Luis at Carrera Bay (53)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 25th 2019

Day 5, 25 February, Southern Patagonia FITZ ROY EXPEDITION, Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound: We woke up anchored in the Barbara Channel, and after breakfast we sailed to the Shag Passage, in search of Humpback Whales. This is an area where they are feeding amongst birds and sea lions. What a day we had whale watching. All morning we spotted whales everywhere. Francesco, our main guide had worked with a researched over the past 10 years, had identified, numbered (by the whales’ flutes) and tracked their travels over these years. Every time we saw a flute, Francesco yelled their identification number. He had a book with all their photos and numbers of the whale’s tails. There was a mother with a new calf, so it hadn’t been numbered. Whales calve every 2nd year. There was also ... read more
Albatros in Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound  (2)
Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound  (10)
Whale #93 in Bárbara Channel – Helado Sound  (1)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 24th 2019

Day 4, 24 February, Southern Patagonia FITZ ROY EXPEDITION, Gabriel Channel - Caleta Dighton: Early in the morning we went out in the zodiacs to visit the Tucker Islands, the place of Magellanic Penguins, Skuas, Cormorants on the rocks and Imperial Cormorants, non flying Quetru ducks (Magellanic flightless steamer duck) and Kelp geese, among other birds, in addition we will observe One Hair Sea lions that use their rocks to rest. The Quetru ducks were difficult to photograph because they were so quick, zipping along the water. There were 2 small islands that acted as resting places for the sealions. They were very inquisitive of us and jumped off the rocks to see what we were. There were a number of pregnant sealions as well. It was good to observe the Magellanic Penguins because we had ... read more
Andean Condor (7)
Magallenic Penguins Tucker Island (3)
Dark-bellied Cinclodes




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