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.