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PatagoniaArgentina & Chile Photos

On 21 February 2008 from Reuver, Netherlands | comments closed

As I promised to let you know, the best photos of Argentina and Chile are online now. I already put the best ones of Antarctica online a few weeks ago. In 6 weeks time I made about 900 photos, and 25% of them are online now. (If you actually do the math and check it out, you will notice that more photos are actually online, but some of them were copied from others because they were just too good to withhold you.)

Below is the complete route of my travels in Patagonia and Antarctica. Ideally this map would be visible from the Patagonia & Antarctica 2007-2008 album, but an unknown issue is currently preventing this.

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PatagoniaBack Home & Antarctica Photos

On 27 January 2008 from Reuver, Netherlands | comments closed

Travelling back home somehow seems more telling of the distance than travelling away from home. Maybe it has to do with not seeing any new things anymore, making time go slower (although some psychologists actually argue that time goes faster when you do not have new experiences). In any case, it took me some 20 hours to get from Santiago to home, flying 13 hours to Madrid and another 2 hours to Amsterdam. I arrived home Tuesday late afternoon.

All in all, it was a trip with many experiences. Of course Antarctica stands out most: the pristine white landscape, thousands of penguins, many seals and whales, cruising between huge icebergs with strange shapes, and imagining the hardship of the early overwinterers. When it comes to physical activities Antarctica does not top the list (aside for a quick run away from a glacier calving off), but Patagonia does: I did some excellent hiking, horseback riding, rafting, biking, glacier hiking, and volcano climbing. But my 6-week vacation also offered plenty of opportunities to just relax and enjoy the backpacker life that I got used to during my year in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia.

By visiting both South America and Antarctica, this trip completed a life goal of mine: visiting all 7 continents. And that before my 30th birthday. Guess I have to start looking for a new life goal, although I usually only come up with one just before achieving it. That said, the New 7 Wonders of the World may be a nice new challenge, as I have only visited the Colosseum in Rome so far.

PatagoniaRelaxing Last Days

On 21 January 2008 from Santiago, Chile | comments closed

The last days of my trip my travel pace has slowed down considerably, starting with a visit to the thermal pools near Pucón on Thursday evening. The warm waters made sure I had a really good night’s sleep. Friday evening I had an overnight bus to Viña del Mar, but instead of making it a busy activity-filled day in Pucón I slept out and wandered around the town and on the beach a bit on Friday.

When I arrived in Viña del Mar on Saturday I visited a small museum with one of the moais from Easter Island outside. Afterwards I took the bus to Valparaíso and explored the city. Because most of the city is on a hill, small cablecars have been built to get up and down, and I made frequent use of those. In the evening I just relaxed in the really nice B&B in Viña del Mar.

At noon on Sunday I took my last Chilean long-distance bus to Santiago. Because almost every museum was closed on Sunday afternoon, the walking tour I did was pretty short. Luckily the smog also was not very heavy because there was not much traffic. But it was still very noticable from the viewpoints at Santa Lucia and San Christobal.

This pretty much ends my travel blog for my Patagonia trip. I am off to the airport now for my flight back home. Upon popular request and keeping with my tradition I will let you know when the photos are online 😉

PatagoniaVolcanos Everywhere

On 17 January 2008 from Pucón, Chile | comments closed

Tuesday I crossed over into Chile for the last time this trip, as I will be flying home from Santiago. In Osorno I was able get a connecting bus to Puerto Varas, leaving immediately, so that worked out very well. The weather was great in Puerto Varas, so it was perfect to make some photos of volcano Osorno, rising up behind the lake. Besides making photos, I did not do very much in Puerto Varas, as I was there too short to make any of the daytrips. But it was good to relax and update my e-mail.

Wednesday afternoon I took a bus to Pucón, best described as the Chilean Bariloche. Only difference is volcano Villarrica in the background. And for the first time since Buenos Aires the temperature is above 25 degrees again. So it feels like summer as well. Not that I am very keen on high temperatures, but visiting South America in the summer and wearing a polar fleece every day is a bit strange too. Guess I went too far South. But I just love the long daylight hours, for the most part of my trip the sun did not set before 22.00 hours.

But even with these long daylight hours, I had to get up in total darkness on Thursday morning, as we set off at 04.00 hours to climb volcano Villarrica. The first bit of the climb was in the dark, but it got light after we put on all our expedition gear (gaiters, crampons, axe) to cover the icy slope. The climb took over 5 hours at a pretty slow pace, although we had to cover 1400 altitude metres to get to the top at 2847m. From there the views were amazing. The entire Chilean Lake District is dotted with volcanos, hence volcanos everywhere. The way back was a lot of fun, as we basically slided down through the snow at sometimes pretty high speeds. Sliding for grown-ups, pretty cool.