Day 105: Chile, No Its FFreezing!

Mon. 26th November 2012

Sky not looking promisingToday we are heading even further south through Chile, 240km to Punta Arenas, the furthest south we are ever likely to go. The temperature gauge on the bus falls by 8 C over the journey. The route is as shown on the map – flat and straight for miles. The mountains are much smaller than two days ago and we travel through boring heathland with hardly another vehicle in sight. The bus is buffeted in the windy conditions and then the rain starts! Where are we going? (and why?)

We have arrivedPunta Arenas is the capital city of Magallanes y Antartica Chilena region located on parallel 53 South and it is mainly a port with a little tourist trade. We did however find the Tourist Office very helpful with a decent map and advice on what to see and how to get to see penguins which is the main reason we are here.

Yet another statue -- Bernardo O'Higgins (yes really)The first tourist office tried to sell us a day long boat trip to Isla Magdalena – in this weather, I think not. The next office had closed down, but we struck lucky in the third. Although the group trip was full for tomorrow we opted for a private trip on Wednesday morning with a drop off at the airport for our afternoon flight to save booking a separate transfer. This did not cost much more than the group trip so seems a good deal.

Down at Punta Arenas PortThe rain eased off as the afternoon progressed so we walked to the harbour, wrapped up warm and wearing most of our limited wardrobe to fight off the cold and the biting wind. The sun was out by the evening and it is still odd to be light late into the evening. Bad choice for supper overcooked salmon, overpriced and rubbish service. No idea why the place was full, but you cannot get it right every time.

Our guesthouse still seems to be being renovated with boxes everywhere. The walls are so thin that you can hear talking in the next room . Earplugs required! However we did manage a good nights sleep, with a brief interruption at 6:30am as our neighbours watched TV and banged about whilst getting up! Punta Arenas still has a bit to learn about customer service and giving the punter what they want.

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