Our 15-hour flight from Sydney to Santiago, Chile (with a stopover in Auckland, NZ) was a bruiser of a flight. I barely slept an hour of that time, if that. And when we landed, the huge time differential (some 14 hours) made it difficult to re-establish our circadian rhythms. Five days after our arrival in South America, I was still wide awake at 3 am and looking to crash by 5 pm.
The fierce winds of Patagonia coming in off the Straits of Magellan make raindrops feel like tiny stones being hurled at your head.
The RTW team had a blast with picturesque hikes in Torres Del Paine National Park. But there was some slight disappointment when high winds forced cancellation of a boat ride to Balmaceda Glacier and up the Serrano Straits to Puerto Natales, Chile. Instead, we had to settle for a ride in a van straight through to Patagonia Camp. For those prone to sea sickness, however, the cancellation was viewed as a lucky break, I guess.
Once settled in to Patagonia Camp on the edge of the border of Torres del Paine National Park, we reveled in the viewpoints of the towers (Torres) and horns (Cuernos) massifs.
One thing that has clearly emerged from this RTW is that the journey has been instilling in all of us a greater degree of admiration, respect, and trust of nature. I think Anne and I and even the kids have felt a malaise or unease when we’ve been in most big cities on this trip, such as Rome, Sydney or London. We have felt more at home in smaller towns, like Queenstown, New Zealand, or in the national parks like the Grampians in Australia, Jokulsarlon in Iceland, Milford Sound in New Zealand, Sossussvlei in Namibia, Okavanga Delta in Botswana, Pai in northern Thailand, Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland and Patagonia in Chile and Argentina.
Patagonia hiking trails have put us face to face with some of the most astonishing landscapes on Earth. We’ve encountered more wildlife here than any other place outside of Africa. The “towers” and “horns” of Torres del Paine and the soaring granite monoliths of Mt. Fitzroy and wall of ice known as Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares definitely have a way of making you feel humble and blessed to live on such an astounding planet.
We departed Patagonia after a two-week stay there and had a brief stopover in Buenos Aires where we enjoyed a meal with our travel agent, Gabrielle Venturi of Vaya Adventures, before taking off to Iguassu Falls on the Argentina-Brazil border. Then comes a brief stopover in Lima, Cuzco, Macchu Picchu, Quito and the Galapagos. We depart South America after a visit to the Ecuadoran Amazon and Monte Verde Cloud Forest. We hope our Costa Rica plans are still a go after a recent volcanic eruption closed the San Jose airport. After Costa Rica, we end it all with a five-day visit to Turks & Caicos.
Should be back in the USA by mid-May to attend a wedding in California, and then finally home to Bend, Oregon just in time for the end of spring and summer.