A Travellerspoint blog

Valparaiso

Graffiti and Drums..........

sunny 24 °C
View south america on becs and terry's travel map.

So we leave Pucon: after 10 nights it was like leaving home!! But we weren't alone as James and Tim were also going Valpo so we decided to not only get the bus with them but be room mates with them too.. Better the devil you know then the devil you dont as they say.

First morning James gets us walking around the city... it was like a free city tour, but very fast pace so youd had to keep up to make sure we had time to take some pics !!
Becs, Tim and James..
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Valparaíso is a World Heritage Site built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Its streets are like mazes, with cobblestone alleyways and rich, colourful buildings most covered in clever graffiti.....
James took us to a lift and at the top some wonderful views of the city..
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As we wandered the labyrinth of streets we came accross..

Colourful houses..
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Distinctive art works...
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And graffiti everywhere...
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A hostel over the road from ours..
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That afternoon we lost James and Tim as they were meeting James Parents... just as we thuught we had time for a rest and some time alone - we bumped into some other guys we met on the Navimag and Pucon .. so ended up going together with them to the drum festival...

The drum festival was crazy. It went on all weekend but today was the main day. There must have been around 40 different groups of drummers, drumming and dancing along the seafront for about 5 hours.... their energy was electric...

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In the hot sun we decided a beer whilst watching the festival was well overdue... so we climbed up the hillside to an off liscence, got some beers and continued enjoying the festivities from the top...
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Terry and Mike enjoying a beer..
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After all that dancing and to much beer on an empty stomach we joined the guys for dinner, washed down by a few tradional pisco sours.

Next day we went down to the docks, for a little boat ride around the habour and navy vessels....
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Its quite obvious that the town is great for seafood..... and the sea lions were only too aware of this!!

And strolled around the markets and different parts of the town.
One strange street we saw some burned dolls and old shoes tied over the electricity cable.... eary...
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After 2 nights in Valpo we caught a bus to our final destination in South America - Santiago......

Posted by becs and terry 15:16 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Pucon

Hostel El Refugio = adventure and party...... no time for resting!!!

all seasons in one day 15 °C
View south america on becs and terry's travel map.

Pucan: The Villarrica Volcano..
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We arrive in Pucon at about 8pm get off the bus and one the opposite side of the road we see a BBQ party getting started in a hostel..... turns out it was our hostel!! Result... for about £8 each we had unlimited meat, wine and beer. The BBQ drinking continued to a bar... and we very quickly made friends with everyone staying in the hostel, including James worked at the hostel and his friend Tim who was visiting. Amoungst those staying in the hostel were some really cool guys Shawn, Andrew and Robbo, and girls Jan and Bec. In true Terry style, he bought a few pitchers and started filling up any empty glasses bar - including locals people we had never met. Terry got me a Terremoto: ("Earthquake"):
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A typical Chilean drink that consists in a mix of pineapple ice cream with pipeño (like white wine) and grenadine in a pint glass - this on top of the wine finished me off.. and i ended up wrestling in the road with one of the ski instructors from the local tour agency. NOT COOL!!!

Next morning we were both in a bad way and managed to get up at 1pm, making a very bad impression on our newbut hostel mates! Still drunk we agreed to go hydrospeeding with everyone.... hydro speeding for those like me who had never heard of it is like river rafting but without the raft!...

We meet or hydrospeeding guides.. and realised that they were the men that Terry had been filling their glasses with beer the night before - so they probably felt as bad as we did!

So 8 of us, plus 3 guides set off in the minivan heading towards the river after getting dressed into our 2 wet suits.... no-one quite realising what we let ourselves in for the bus was silent.....
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We get given instructions of how to float down the river and how to get back on the float when you fall off!
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The weather was miserable, grey and raining, the water so cold...... as the water is melted ice from the volcanoes. Terry and I just looked at each others as if to say what the hell are we doing!!!
However, if you could forget for 5 minutes that you were freezing, floating and hitting the rapids on a float was great fun..
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and a brilliant hang over cure!!!

We took it easy that night to ensure we were fit for skiing the next day...

We headed up the Villarrica Volcano.....
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Terry gave me some lessons and instructions which i didnt really understand, but after 4 hours of skiing down and walking up a stretch of snow good about 20 meters long i managed to learn how to stop and turn.
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Still not being ready to do the big slopes I let Terry go off with the other guys for some proper skiing!!
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After a good day on the slopes of the volcano, we had a drink and then out to a club (Mamas and Tapas). Again too much alcohol.... and getting in sometime early next morning.... the next day was a right off.... pretty much the whole hostel sat around recovering and watching films the next day!!

We got an early night ready to climb the active volcano next morning!
An early start, up at 6 and at the tour agency for 6.45 we gear up in our snow boots and waterproofs. Becs not liking the cold, is wearing 4 pairs of trousers and pretty much the entire contents of her bag on top.... and just in case she wasn't warm enough Feet and Hand warmers!!!

We get to the base of the volcano. Its pretty windy. The guides are not sure whether or not we will be able to reach the top..... we decide to try!
We start off on our 5 hour trek. The snow is deep, there is fresh powder and the wind is chilly.
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Half way up we put on our crampons, its still really windy but the guides dont seem too bothered! The hiking is tough going - especially with the weight of the crampons on our feet.
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We start to take off layers and the sun is out and we are working up a sweat. As we reach the glacier the wind drops and we can enjoy the views without snow blowing in our faces!!
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After about 5-6 hours we reach the summit. We were not lucky enough to see lava as thats only in the summer months but there was smoke coming from the top.
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Quite amazing and to have hiked to the top of an active volcano. You immediately forget how tough the trek was because the view from the top was stunning - felt quite an achievement.
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Some crazy people had carried their ski's and snowboards all the way up to ski or snowboard down.... I cant imagine how much more diffiuclt that would be... for the rest of us it was sledging down!!!
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Sledging was lots of fun!!! Slightly sore on the behind!

Then we had to walk the last bit knee deep in the snow...
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Of course we celebrated our success of reaching the summit with a few drinks that evening...
Few drinks in the hostel gerden...
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Next day we took a smaller, less demanding 3 hour trek to Salto el Claro, with Andrew another english guy from the hostel.
The Salto el Claro is a beautiful waterfall 85 meters tall. To reach it we followed a map provided bu the hostel.
Treking uphill for 1 hour...
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Jumping barriers and fences and descending a steep path to the bottom of the waterfall...
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Definately worth the walk...
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That night we changed hostel for 1 night whilst the owners vanihed the floor and did some repairs. The hostel was run by some crazy man called Benny who encourgaed us to play a mad drinking game but spinning a wheel. This game lated hours and we ended up in bed once again in the early hours of the morning
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Next day we joined James and Tim for a little bike ride around Lago Caburhua.......... Well 'little' in James's opinion..... 55km and at almost half of this uphill.
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First stop to some waterfalls....
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Anything for a photo we decided to climb to the top of the waterfall.... Bad idea... Becs fell in to her waist!!
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Then after a long and uphill ride we cylced to the lake (Becs with very wet feet), where we stopped for some well deserved lunch and beer on playa Blanca. Legs were burning and Becs was so out of puff needed an asthma pump!
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beer..
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playa blanco
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On the way back James and Tim fled off ahead whilst we struggled the last part of the journey... but eventually made it back to Pucan.. with very sore behinds!!
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Back to hostel El Refugio James arranged some wine tasting.... a much more civilised evening with more expensive wines and nibbles. Then of course out for a sneaky drink afterwards.
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Next day the weather was gloriuos so we (with Tim and Andrew) chilled at the local lake and beech. We spotted some Kayaks on the lake, which inspired our next days activities.....
James and Tim said they would join us for a Kayaking trip to a more beautiful lake. In the end 7 of us headed by bus to Lake Calafquen where we hired Kayaks.
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Terry and I were not exactly experts and it took us a long time to get a good rhythm and be able to go in a straight line!!
The lake was beautiful. The sun reflecting in the water, you could see the snowy volcanoes in the background and we felt like we were the only 2 people on the lake. Would have been very romantic if we were not accompanied and also concentrating so hard not to fall in!!
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James, after partying hard and his non-stop adventure attitude finally got the better of him on the way back...
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Arriving back in Pucon we took advantage of 2 x 1 beers in Lattitude 39 and had a bite to eat. The burgers and Fish Tacos were amazing.
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So friday night our last night in Pucon... the Hostel organised another BBQ. James was leaving with Tim for a few days and felt a BBQ would be a good send off!!!
Tim wearing his googles to protect his eyes from the onions...
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The BBQ was sooo good.... meat and wine...
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Started of very civilised...
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Until we played some drinking games and went to the club...
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Terry with Teo my wrestling partner from the first night... a ringer for Laurent Blanc..
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Food after ...
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before i had to put the boys to bed at 6am!!!
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Next day - again very hung over... we hung out in Lattitude 39 for the best burger in the whole of south america, before getting the night bus to Valpariso.

Our 3 nights in Pucan turned into 10 days of adventure and good times drinking.... the Hostel and people we met were brilliant and Pucan its self has lots to offer. Definately a MUST when visiting Chile!!

Posted by becs and terry 14:14 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Valdivia

Sealions, Beer Tasting and Sight seeing

semi-overcast 15 °C
View south america on becs and terry's travel map.

We spent a night in Puerto Montt after the Navimag. Our Hostel was like a ladies house and we didnt really feel comfortable relaxing in the lounge. Next morning the weather was awful, continuous rain and grey skys... so we decided not to go to the Chiloe Islands but get on a Coach to Valdivia.

We get to Valdivia and have no idea where we are staying. Its hammering down with rain, so we get in a taxi and make it stop at the first hostal. Unfortunately our spanish is not up to scratch and we misunderstand the fact that there is no room in the hostel but they have cabins - so we end up in this 2 bedroom apartment for double the price of a hostel...... not good for the budget....ooops.
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So the next morning we check out of our luxery cabin and into a more affordale hostel - Airesbuenos. The hostel had a book with ideas for visiting so we basically followed this book for 4 days!!

First up the Fish Market.
Valdivia is most known for the fish market because it attracts male sealions who beg for scraps of fish.....
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Its madness and its not just the sea lions wanting food .... lots of birds and storks too...
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The sea lions were sooooo huge... and not frightened of humans at all - they just relaxed along the river bank and apparently sometimes they take a walk through the town!!
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Sealions were not aggressive to people but quite aggressive towards each other...
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The next day we went sight seeing and caught a bus to Niebla - a small town a and about a 30 minute bus ride away..

er a stroll around Niebla we took a ferry taxi to Corral....
Captain Becs... get you life jackets ready!!!
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Was really strange as the locals obviously use the ferry taxi to get accross the sea to work and school!!

At Corral we walked around an old Fort... there was not too much else on this little island!
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On the way back to Valdivia we stopped at Kunstmann Brewery for a self directed Beer Tasting session!
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We couldnt see any signs for tours and the museum looked pretty boring. As our spanish is terrible we couldnt ask for the tasting platter so the only thing we could do is just try each different beer by ourselves!!
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After lots of beer - food was in order...
CurryWurst..... yum yum

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We ran out of money so we had to return the next day to make sure we had tasted all the different beers!!!
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Our scoring system....
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The Meil (Honey) beer was delicious.. and a favourite of both of us!!

Day 2 of testing we sampled some local cheesy empanadas...
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And obviously we didnt care that we looked liked tourist wollys after a few beers..
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Our last day in Valdivia we decided to visit a little nature reserve on the coast...

Punta Curiñanco is a natural reserve located 40 km from Valdivia and covers an area that includes different types of Valdivian temperate rain forest as well as coastal shrublands, wetlands and sea-side rocks.
The bus journey there was a bit sketchy - the bus didnt sound like it was made for steep hills and we also got stuck in a whole in the road!!
Once we got there a man let us through a gate into the nature reserve... and we followed a path that took us around the whole park....
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The coast was a little chilly and the waves were really strong...
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Waiting for the bus Terry learnt how to cartwheel..
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Valdivia was a nice city with a few bits to do and see - but for me the Sea lions make it a worthwhile visit!!

Posted by becs and terry 12:51 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Navimag Ferry - Peurto Natalies to Puerto Montt

4 nights / 3 days on a cargo ship!!

sunny 5 °C
View south america on becs and terry's travel map.

so eventually after lots of messing about - cancellations, delays etc etc we boarded the NaviMag Ferry. This trip had been reccomended to us by good and usually reliable friends (yes you know who you are Mr & Mrs Leeks) so had high expectations despite the hassle at the start.
The boat sets sail at 6am so you have to sleep onboard the night before and then the journey between peurto natales and peurto montt takes 3 days. All our meals were included... and were actually pretty good.
The route...
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Unfortunately the 'Proper' NaviMag was still in Peurto Montt having the motor repaired. So we boarded a slightly smaller and less passenger friendly ship - with no casino or bar. In fact no nothing... and even a no-alcohol policy onboard - so all i had for entertainment was Terry and a few French and Swiss guys...
Our Ferry...
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Boarding..
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The ferry is a cargo ship, carrying goods including livestock between the two towns.
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Cows - became a little smelly on day 3!
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There were only about 25 passegners onboard, 10 of which were tourists. We shared a cabin with a newly married swiss german couple on their honeymoon... Our cabin with window view...
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We went to bed whilst the boat is docked.. so when we awake in the morning we get a glipse of our first views... truely amazing...
snow topped mountians, hundreds of little islands and the weather is glorious - the nicest its been all week (sunny, clear skys, calm water but still bloody cold)!!!
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And we squeezed through some tight spaces...
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Because the weather was so good the captain decided to go a different route - through the glaciers... amazing....
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As the trip goes on we explore the boat...
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It got a bit chilly at times...
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And also a little cloudy - really low cloud..
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We saw some beautiful sunsets..
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During the our time at sea we also saw a shipwreck and were overtaken by navy vessells...
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The captain allowed passengers in the bridge - which is where they control the boat - it was nice and warm in here so I spent a lot of time not understanding the conversation of the crew... Hey Guys cold out there...?
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As the trip went on and we headed up North - the landscape and weather started to change, the wind became less chilly, the snow caps dissappeared and the land became greener.

Another few snaps of our journey..
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Apart from the stunning scenery, there was little else to do on the boat. Terry watched a few films - in spanish with the locals whilst i braved the cold and sat in the captains box.

At night time us tourists made our own entertainment... party on the boat.... luckily our fellow tourists notice as we did to the non alcohol policy - so we had plenty of drink to go around!!! JD Anna and Saline
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and playing silly games...
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Antony couldnt guess Rambo - despite being the spiiting image!!!
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So our time at sea came to an end... we could sea peurto montt...
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Also along the we saw a few penguins and dolphins - but no whales :(

The Navimag was a good experience and we saw some stunning views.... our only disspointment was that we werent on the boat we were promised... but thats how the cookie crumbles!

Posted by becs and terry 10:45 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Puerto Natales

Torres Del Paine

rain 8 °C
View south america on becs and terry's travel map.

So we headed down south for two reasons the Navimag Ferry experience and Torres Del Paine....nothing else to say about Puerto Natales other than it was bloody freezing and very windy until the last day!!
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So lets begin with our Torres Del Paine National Parque one day photo shoot tour.
First stop some sort of cave: well it was just a massive hole in a mountain that they charge you 3000 peso to look at and wonder around. Wort hit I hear you cry? my answer to that is NO. I see why its Optional - because its pointless!! So if your heading there don't bother - look at some of these pics and you will see why......
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Bearing in mind it was raining and with 100 kph winds ( No joking it really was ) I'm (Terry) inequipt for rain and wind so was starting to wonder what I was doing on this bus.
Before we enter the National Park we of course had to pay another entrance fee 8000 for foreingers like me and 3000 for locals if we were back at home we would never get discount for being local. As we drive up the path we had to stop for a monment to let the wind passed or it might blow the bus over and you could actually feel the bus moving sidde to side stationary.
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The national park was lovely with nice sencery different colour lakes, waterfalls bridges snow capped mountains and loads of burnt trees.
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puerto natales

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Apparently they have had about 50 fires in the national park and you could see where.... lots of dead burnt trees :(

We snuggled here in this shelter to have a very breezy picnic..
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But unfortunantly for us the moment to get the best snap of torres del paine, the weather was so foggy - so here are our best efforts.
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So disappointing!!!

But if you wanted another look at torres del paine look at the chilean 1000 note
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After our hard day 'not trekking' and jumping out of the bus every few miles for a snap I was wonderful company..
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Now for the main reason we came to this wind and rain swept town.. The NaviMag Ferry.. unfortunately for us we had to wait days in puerto natales as our orginal ferry was cancelled and the replacement was delayed!!!! we both are now expects at cards and uno!!

Posted by becs and terry 10:08 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

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