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Chile

Cruising Cattle Class (Moooooo)

Navimag Ferry, Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt, Chile

all seasons in one day 19 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

Luca and I arrived in Puerto Natales, found a hostel and checked in then went for lunch in a cosy little London vegetarian restaurant. Literally, it was like being in London but in the midle of Patagonia. Bizzare, but I loved it and it had really yummy food. Back at the hostel i got chatting to the owner, and I inquired about boarding the ferry the next day. This is where I found the ferry was boarding that evening and if I wanted to get on it [think one ferry per week] then id better buy a ticket pronto and check my bags in. Gulp. So, i checked out and bought a ferry ticket from the hostel [15 percent discount thank you], checked my bags onto the boat then went for dinner. Sadly I had to say farewell to Luca, a sad moment. He is a top bloke.

The Navimag check in was 9pm. I had met Melissa, an Irish girl in the veg cafe so we boarded the ship together. The ship had three decks, lower deck was where my cabin was which slept 4 people. The middle deck was where the lounge and cafeteria was as well as a viewing deck and then the upper deck housed the Captains quarters and computer room as well as viewing areas.
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After showering I headed to the lounge with my wine and Uno cards, a classic crowd pleaser. I joined a table and began Uno competition. I met a french couple, a South African guy married to a Mexican and their travel buddy 'G' [he was French but i could never pronounce his name]. I also learned how to play dice games from a lovely couple Ellie and Simon, who were British. Trying to describe life on board is difficult because it ended up a bit like Ground Hog day for those of you that have seen the film! Get up, eat, self entertainment, eat, look at views and more entertainment, eat then drink and games. I've outlined the days below:

Sea Schedule:
Day 1 at Sea - sailed, played Uno ate dinners according to the schedule. Nice food actually. Admired the cattle on board with us. Played games then bed.
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Day 2 at Sea - finished my book, played Uno again, watched a movie, did some puzzles [proud, Hel?] and then started feeling sea sick because we hit the open sea at about dinner time, great timing.
Day 3 at Sea - sunny day outside chatting wine dinner wine bingo wine bed
Day 4, Landing in Port - we arrived at Puerto Montt sometime during the night. Disembarkation [is that a word] and off to the bus terminal for a half hour bus journey to Puerto Veras.

In summary, and hindsight it just seemed like one long mealtime! I was forever eating or waiting to eat, the highlight of the journey? Actually i did see some pretty cool wildlife - seals swimming by the side of the boat, Whale breath (it didn't breach the water unfortunately) from a distance (twice) as well as dolphins, which did jump out of the water playfully for our cameras :)
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Puerto Veras
Mel and I checked into this tiny hostel on the main street, which had big wooden bunkbeds in the dorm room but for some reason was always
freezing. I def used an extra blanket there. After getting supplies from the supermarket and having the loveliest of chicken sandwiches, probably cos it was such a change from the boat food, I went for a walk down to the water front. And who was there but 3 of my fellow passengers, one who it turned out i had stayed in the same hostel with back in El Chalten- its a small world and neither of us noticed. Ups. After watching the horizon clear for a glimpse of the nearby volcano we went for tea n cake, fast becoming a necessity in this cold climate. P1170908.jpg9P1170913.jpg

Then we went for dinner with some more people from the boat, including Ellie and Simon. Pizza and wine later, i went to bed satisfied I had one more day to enjoy Puerto Veras, so I went for a walk round to explore, find the bus station [up the hill] after chilled out in the morning, doing puzzels and watching TV. Its a small but pretty place, and i quite liked the town, but before i knew it, must have been time flying as i watched Argentinas X Factor, it was time for the bus to Valparaiso.

Posted by RosiePony 06:49 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Empanadas, Pisco Sourz and Spanish!

Santiago, Chile

sunny 31 °C

After a long flight landing before I set off on the same day (timezones, grrr!) I arrived in Santiago, the capital of Chile. I got a taxi shuttle to my hostel, in providencia, a red painted building slightly faded, crumbled n run down looking. My heart sank n I recalled what it was to 'really' travel again. Oz n NZ had made me wet behind the ears as I worried they would. However, upon entering The hostel I was met by the nicest chillian guy behind the desk who showed me to my room. Trying not to instantly get in bed to sleep, I scoped out the hostel. Kitchen-small but functional, something I didn't care about since the main reason I booked the hostel was for the included breakfast and dinners - om! This lead onto a lounge area that was again functional but not overwhelmingly inviting- needed more lighting -so off I popped to the local supermarket to get supplies for a nice cup of tea! And I'm telling you, I needed it! Feeling slightly resorted I chatted to a few people in the lounge who then left to go on the next part of their travels - was it somethig I said?! So I had a nap until dinner time 9pm.

I had been wondering what food would be stereotypical of chile, particularly whether or not it would be spicy following it's namesake but reading my guidebook it is quite plain fair. I had chicken burger (no bun) with salad rice n tomatoes, lovely n refreshing. Then it was off to bed as I had to get up to town in the morning for half ten to meet laura, a Sheffield girl (yey) I'd sat next to on the plane.

I got the tube the next day (Weds) with Mano, a Dutch guy staying at our hostel, to lisas hostel - so much more western than mine (nice new clean feel) where we sorted out an action plan for the day. We went to the top of st marys hill via the fornicular (tram pulley system) which gave good views of the city and the famous Santiago smog. But I did get to see some if not all of the mountain range that surrounds the city. From the ground you tend to forget this! Then we headed through bellavisa (trendy sport for dinner and going out) towards the main city square that houses lots of beautiful government buildings. A bit parasian, there were artists selling their work and doing sketches next to tarrot readers and chess players. The fountain attracts crowds for some reason I can't comprehend yet and sprinkled within the busting crowds were students covered with eggs, flour and sardines since they were first years and head to 'earn' back their shoes by begging for money until they got 10,000pesos (£12) to bring back to the older students for a big night out!

Since empanadas are the fare of chile snacks we headed to a restaurantthat served them. They are like mini Cornish pasties, the pastry not as thick and very different fillings- mainly cheese and "insert meat/veg here". Three filled me up and I'm looking forward to trying more of them.

Back to my hostel in the hope of a shower only to find I'd be denied due to fumigation of my room- a common practice to keep out bugs. It would have been rather nice had they mentioned this when I set off that morning as I had a newly opened pack of crackers that I had to
throw out :( I got over it. Honest. Dinner was pesto pasta- big helping which was nicely washed down with some red wine. Their red wine is quite sweet so I'm looking forward to going to a vine yard (or two!) to do some real chilean wine tasting.

Thurs- I managed a lie in, scoffed brekky n had a quick shower n hopped onto the metro to meet Leandro at the Turbus ticket office since we had both decided to go to Mendoza to meet laura there, who had left this morning headed there. Mendoza is a 7 hr bus journey away across
the Andes mountain range, on the Argentinian boarder. Why so soon out of Chile I hear you ask, well why not?! The guide book inferred boarder crossings between the two countires are friendly n commonly used, it cost £15 one way and sounded fun ;) plus I had no actual route ready in my head for south America: just 2 months to get from Santiago to Buenos Aeries, a direct 22 hr bus journey away from one another!

After we got our tickets to leave the following day we headed to the art museum, free, to look at the statues, photos and other displays. Luckily for me Leandro is Brazillian so can speak Portuguese and therefore understand some Spanish, he can certainly hold a conversation here, so he did some translating otherwise I think it would have been a fairly short museum trip for me! After we climbed the smaller hill in the city, steps to the top via levels with trees and plants hiding views until you reached the summit to see (it was a gorgeous hot day) stunning city panoramas wih the mountains in the background as far as the eye could see. Santiago definatley made an impression on me that day.

Walking back to the hostel via a sunny leafty park I packed, chatted to other guests and got ready for dinner- quiche, rice n tomatoes - yum! Since it was St Paddys day we thought we should celebrate by going to the 'local' Irish pub in bellavista. Filled to the brim with ppl wearing green garmonts we ordered jugs of beer. I tried a pisco sours - lime egg and pisco (still not sure what that is) shaken n served in a wine glass. V alcoholic. But nice, it had a tarte aftertaste so I didn't have a whole glass but appreciated it nonetheless. Once we'd done rounds we decided hotdog time, something else chile has a big love for. Especially with advacado and tomatoes- yum! Off to sleep for my early start the next day, looking at my clock unrealised it's half 3 in the morning! Where did the evening go?!

Posted by RosiePony 13:44 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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