South America, Day Seven: Patagonia, Chile

Wow, what a day. Granted, we spent nine hours of it on a minibus – but it was well worth it for the views and sights that will be forever etched in our memories.

Today began with a road-trip like no other…

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We got picked up at 7.30am. Actually, it was later than that because nothing in Patagonia runs on time. Then we spent the best part of four hours bearing witness to the clouds and their shadows playing chase across the valleys, as we raced towards the untouchable horizon, while our road meandered along in unison with rivers. We drove across the most breathtaking scenery; mountainous terrain, marine green lagoons, turquoise lakes and every facet of nature, animals a plenty, dotted the land.

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Half way there, we had an enforced pit-stop at a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere. We bought a hot chocolate each (it was bloody nippy) – but we had to make it ourselves. Then we had lunch (broth, followed by a weird Chilean version of Shepherd’s Pie, which included sultanas).

The tour guide was, in a word, shit. He didn’t speak English and the Spanish he did speak was limited, pointless and basically monotonous drivel. Saying that, the driver was fantastic. We hope he took the lion’s share of the money. And he didn’t nearly kill us even once.

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The highlights…? Well, of course, it was the marble caves themselves and the boat-trip on General Lake Carerra (the second largest lake in South America).

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Considering there are only one set of marble caves in the world… it was a breath-taking sight. I’m going to skip the commentary and proceed with the snaps (the majority of which are thanks to Vicki Brand):

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Magical… just magical. We actually planned our trip to Patagonia thanks to an article we read about ‘things to see before you die’. The marble caves were up there on that list and we can see why.

Tonight we had wine and dinner (I love the way ‘wine’ comes first) at Mamma Gaucha with Sandra… it was a lovely meal and we spent the walk back to the hostel planning our trip to Hamburg (that’s where Sandra’s from). We also spoke very loudly about things that should have been said quietly (I won’t elaborate)… but that’s pisco for you and we were a wee bit pisced so … meh.

Time for bed. Horses tomorrow!

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