Tag Archives: mountains

Patagonian Aventure

I was extremely lucky and fortunate to have two of my favorite friends from high school visit me in Chile these last two weeks. The first week we spent in Santiago and had an amazing time. We went to the market, ate Peruvian food, went to Subterraneo, basically just had a ball.

Then, last Sunday we headed off to Punta Arenas for an end of the world adventure. To be honest, none of us had really done a lot of research so we had to sort of go with the flow.

We arrived in Punta Arenas around 3pm, but had to kill about 3 hours till the next bus to Puerto Natales (we took Bus Fernandez). So….of course….we got pizza and drank beer. What could be better.

We arrived tired and cold into Puerto Natales and went right to our hostel, the Erratic Rock. This place was so great! Very warm and cozy, with a helpful staff and awesome breakfast. They even have a place next door where they give daily information meetings about the park at 3pm, and provide equipment for rent like tents, sleeping bags, etc and all at a good price. We spent Monday figuring out what we wanted to actually do in the park, getting groceries, eating dinner, and exploring.

We had a delicious dinner  at a place called El Maritimo which specialized in seafood. My paila marina was a little weird, but Elizabeth´s sea bass stew was awesome.

We finally decided we wanted to do two nights and three days in the park. Doing three days is a little complicated. The most common route is to do the 5 day 4 night W trail, but we just didn’t have the time and honestly were not really prepared for that. So, we decided to do the first day up to the Torres, then spend the night in a refugio. The next day, we would take the 9am bus to Lago Grey and stay a night at that regufio, then come home the third day. BUT. That´s not really how it went down. To be honest, the whole thing is really difficult because buses only run once a day at specific times, and you can´t just camp anywhere…so this is what happened.

Day One: We woke up early for the only bus into the park at 7:30. We arrive at the park, pay the fee, then head over to Torres Refugio and begin our journey at around 11am. This was a rough climb, but the weather was gorgeous. It took us 3 and a half hours of straight up hill climbing to finally get to the Torres, and our bags were heavy. But, the views were breath taking and we were in good spirits. But by the time we reached the Torres, Claire´s previously broken foot (a month ago) was killing her and my back was really in pain from climbing. Plus, it was already 5pm! It would be a challenge to do the 3 or more hour trek back to base camp before dark. We made the executive decision, after much ado, to finally just camp at the campamiento las torres (refugio Chileno was CLOSED…not helpful) and from then on the plan sorta fell apart…but in a good way.

Day Two:

We woke up around 8am, and it had rained and was still sprinkling. Cold and sore from sleeping on roots and rocks, we packed up our things and headed for the bottom of the mountain. This was not a fun hike. It was mostly downhill, in pouring rain. Claire´s foot was hurting, my back was spasming….just wasn’t working. We barely made it to the refugio, limping and cold and wet. That…was the end of it. We decided to stay in the refugio that night, which was actually delightful. We had a delicious chicken and mashed sweet potato dinner and hung out by the fire. Plus, the views were stunning! Overall, we were happy.

Day  Three: We headed back to Erratic Rock and went out for a spectacular burger and wings dinner at Baguales. Delicious. As you can see, hardcore camping went out the window….but we had a great time and to be honest, it might have been a bit ambitious in the winter season to try what we did without much experience….ah well.

We also really wanted to see penguins, but first, it costs like 100 dollars each, and also, apparently penguin season just ended! Sigh.

But, besides a few obstacles, the trip was amazing, the views gorgeous, and all of us had a great time together. Worth every minute!



Filed under Uncategorized

TGIF: Barros Luco and some needed relaxation

Aaaaahhh friday. Gotta love it. Best day of the week, hands down.

Today was a slow going, relaxing day. I got to sleep in, made some coffee, did a little translation work for extra money and took a long shower. It was beautiful and sunny today so I took a walk down to Providencia and decided to treat myself to lunch.

Mountains peeking out from behind the city.The colder is gets, the snowier the mountains. They are truly stunning. They almost look like a fake backdrop behind the city.

It’s Fall here in Santiago and the leaves are stunning, especially in Nuñoa where I live. It’s weird to have Fall twice is a row…

I strolled down Providencia looking for a little Chilean cafe to grab my first barros luco (or basically a Chilean a grilled cheese  sandwich with beef). I’d been meaning to try one and hadn’t got around to it. The thing with Chilean restaurants is they never give you menus! They always come to me and ask, “¿Que quieres?” and I’m like uh…..I dunno. So, I found a place that had barros luco on the outside menu and went for it.

The only thing that makes this special is they marinate the beef with olive, cumin, some red vine vinegar, garlic, and chilies which give it a little kick (not much). The sandwich takes it name from former Chilean President Rámon Barros Luco who always ordered this sandwich. FASCINATING 😉

It wasn’t bad! Not too special, but definitely a reliable choice. The sister sandwich to this is is barros jarpa which is a grilled cheese with ham (Jarpa was Luco’s cousin…apparently).

After my lunch I read a little of my book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which Amanda loaned to me by the fountain. It’s a good book! I’m been reading a lot because my life is now akin to a traveling salesmen. I go from house to house teaching English and take coffee breaks between where I read. I just finished The Best American Short Stories (2010) edited by Richard Russo which was one of the best books I’ve read. My only criticism is the lack of….let’s say….cultural balance. Many writers  writing about white people (tongue twister!). Could use some more flavor…but still. Incredible book/collection.

After a relaxing walk home, I crashed on the couch to watch Machuca (2004). I’d seen part of it in one of my spanish classes, but never finished it. Excellent movie set in Santiago during the takeover of Pinochet in the 70’s. I watched it all in spanish and understood about 85 percent! Not bad. It helps that I’ve learned some chilean slang.

Beautiful smog induced sunset post film viewing…

Happy Friday!

stayed tuned for humitas…coming soon!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized