Today we leave Chile. We take a bus 2.5 hrs to Punta Natales, have a 3 hr layover, then take another bus, 6 hrs, across the Andes, back into Argentina. We will stay in el Calafate for 8 days.
We were in Punta Arenas for 5 days. Greta is currently asleep on my lap, half an hour outside Natales.
The wind here is the noticeable theme. I had heard that, but as soon as we left the airport it sunk in. We had to hold our papers tight so they didn’t blow away. This morning we had to take an Uber from the house we’re staying in to the bus station. We turned our car in yesterday because the rental car agency doesn’t open soon enough to return it today (our bus left at 8:30.). But the Uber is only meant to hold 4 people, and the driver modified it to fit 5, himself plus 4 more (just barely). So I walked from the house to the bus station, about 4 km, my eyes burning the entire time from the wind. It is mid February here, Southern Hemisphere summer, and we are constantly in fleece with tearing eyes from the wind. All the trees, everywhere you look, grow at an angle to whatever the prominent wind direction is.
Arenas was such a lovely city. The history all around us was pronounced. Most of the buildings downtown are old, 1750 to early 1900 or so. Beautiful architecture. Many things named after Magellan: streets, buildings, plaques, etc. Many restaurants and stores in tribute to Shackleton, or Darwin, or the Beagle, or even Sir Frances Drake. Hubs and I had to refresh our memories in the various explorers that came through here and their various accomplishments. We did some history with the kids; turns out MJ didn’t yet know who Columbus was. Clearly the history being taught has changed since we were kids. We went to a museum with replicas of the HMS Beagle and the NAO Victoria (the only one of Magellan’s boats to complete the trip around the world. Only 18 of his crew of 270 made it, and Magellan wasn’t one of them.). Also Shackleton’s modified life raft that he added a sail to and sailed across the Southern Ocean, clearly in desperate circumstances.
We visited a penguin colony (Magellanic penguins- just another of Magellan’s many name sakes.). The sounds they make startled me. You’ll need to look at Instagram for that.
We had planned another road trip onto Tierra del Fuego while we were here, but decided it would be miserable with the kids. Since we have left the farm the level of fighting has gone up and the amount of listening has gone down. They now have no other outlets than us and each other. Patagonia with kids is a different ballgame than most of the travelers around us get to experience.
Instead we did some day trips to nature reserves. The kids have become decent little hikers, walking up to a couple miles easily. It has emboldened hubs and I that we can start to take them on longer journeys.
Our devotion to “school” has diminished a bit since leaving the farm. I’m hoping we do better in Uruguay.