Saturday-Sunday 24-25 March
This morning we wake up at 9:30 more or less and we pack our luggage. That is really the worst part for me. Then we take a car to go to the airport and I am super sad to leave this magnificent island. I really loved it and the moais impressed me so much. We arrive at the airport at 11 and our flight is at 3. I think that a bit exaggerated for the time we have to wait. I read the whole time. Then we go onto the flight and I watch 2 movies and I start one. I really liked that flight. Then we arrive at 9:30 at the other airport and we have to wait for the next flight that is at 5am. I tried to sleep but I can’t so I just stay awake and Ludivine and I talk. We can finally do the boarding so we go. We get onto the plane and I try to sleep but I am super uncomfortable. I still get some sleep. We arrive at the airport and we take a bus. The bus is actually really good. There is a usb charging thing and even a toilet. I really liked that bus. When we arrive at the bus station, mom takes a taxi with the luggage and the rest of us walks. We arrive at the hotel, we drop our stuff and then we go eat because we are really hungry. We eat at an Italian restaurant. We eat a pizza. And it feels really good. When we are done we go to the hotel and do a small nap because we are super tired. When it is time to wake up mom and dad come and they give us the list of the things we have to pack for 8 days. We do that for almost the whole afternoon and then we go eat again but this time we eat beef. It is delicious, I loved it so much. When we are done we go to the hotel and sleep again. I don’t really like these kind of days when we are jet lagged. Bye.
Saturday 24/03 (2/2)
We arrive in Santiago at 9:30pm (7:30pm Easter Island time). Our flight to Punta Arenas (Patagonia) is at 5am. We will spend the (short) night at the airport.
We eat sandwiches / salads in the airport (at ‘La Brioche Dorée’; not great). We ate our lunch sandwiches in the plane (except Isabelle), on top of the meal.
We find a place where we could find enough seats for each of us to be comfortable. The Wi-Fi of the airport is ok. Kids are not tired; they don’t fall asleep.
We now have 4 hours difference with Belgium (only for a couple of hours since they change hour this night -> 5 hours difference). It means that we are really on our way back… But we will still go west before (and have again 9 hours time difference when we’ll be in California this summer).
Sunday 25/03 (1/2)
We don’t sleep much before the check-in of our flight, which starts at 3am. Only Jules manages to sleep one hour (only because I forced him…). Tomorrow will be tough… After our 3-hour flight, we still have indeed another journey: a 3-hour bus ride to Puerto Natales! I wish we could be there already…
We are a bit hungry and we’re ready to take a McDonald’s before our flight (at 4am!) but it only opens at 5pm.
Like most of our flights so far, the flight is full. It’s not very comfortable to sleep but the kids and Isabelle manage to get some sleep.
We arrive at 8:15am in Punta Arenas, in Patagonia. It’s 10°C.
We are out of the airport 15′ after the landing of our plane. It enables us to catch the 8:30am bus to Puerto Natales (Isabelle had booked the 10:30am bus).
I forgot to mention: Isabelle is “in charge” of our trip in Chile. I organized NZ and I will take care of Peru (I hardly started…), and Isabelle will organize USA (I’ll help us for the cities though, as usual).
The bus takes 3h15 to Puerto Natales. I knew Chile (together with Argentina) was always the most developed country in South America but I’m impressed by the bus, which is very modern, quite comfortable (with a toilet inside) and fast. Where are the South American old bus, aged, overcrowded with locals and their hats (and sometimes their animals), with loud music…? To be honest, I miss them. I certainly sound old but journeys on the roofs of the local buses are definitely part of my best travel memories…
Sunday 25/03 (2/2) – Puerto Natales
From the bus terminal in Puerto Natales, Isabelle takes a taxi with all the suitcases and bags (the taxi is full) and I walk (20′) with the kids to the hotel. The weather is very nice, sunny (blue sky) and cold. The hotel is nice; very clean.
We go and eat. It’s Sunday; the town is quiet. The town is clearly “the” base to prepare the treks (mainly the Paine Circuit, or ‘W’, which we plan to do) in Torres Del Paine NP. There are plenty of accommodations, plenty of agencies organizing treks, gear shops… As mentioned in the Lonely Planet, “Puerto Natales has blossomed into a Gore-Tex Mecca”.
We eat a pizza in a nice restaurant (‘La Mesita Grande’) with a long convivial table.
We go back to the hotel to force the kids to do a nap (they hardly slept 4 hours last night), while we go to Erratic Rock, a tour operator holding information session every day at 3pm, giving advice on everything we need to know about the W trek, from trail condition, to food, equipment…
It’s indeed very informative. The German girl is very interesting and entertaining. She kind of scares us a bit: it’s definitely not an easy trek, mainly due to the weather conditions (a lot of wind and they’ve also already had days of snow – we’re late in the season). Fortunately Isabelle organized this 4-day trek with a “comfortable” approach: we won’t be camping – we’ll stay in ‘refugios’ (shelters) neither will we need to carry our stuff (except the last day, during 4 hours). After this 1h30 session, we go and buy some stuff: food (dried fruit and more chocolate: dark Toblerone) and bags to protect our clothes in our bags (bin bags and zip lock bags). She indeed said that the most important thing was to protect the clothes for the evening: since we will be wet the whole day (even if it doesn’t rain, the wind is so strong that it carries the water from the river and the lakes and makes us wet), it is essential that we have dry clothes for the evening.
We go back to the hotel around 5pm. Kids are asleep. We wake them up with difficulty. But it’s important that they don’t sleep too much to be able to sleep tonight (we need to avoid what happened when we arrived on Easter Island, where they couldn’t fall asleep the first night after our 3-hour nap).
We chill a bit and then start to prepare our bags for the trek. More than just for the trek even: we indeed leave tomorrow morning for 7 days. We first go to El Calafate (in Argentina) for a couple of days to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. So it’s a whole organization. Fortunately, Isabelle helps us a lot (she even sends us the list of what we need to take).
Around 8pm we go and eat to ‘Asador Patagonico’, an Argentine-style grill. The meat (beef, lamb and pork) is great.
We go back to the hotel around 10pm.
I work on the blog till 12:30am.