Thursday, September 15th/ Friday, September 16th

We spent a full 24 hours traveling, and after 3 different flights we had arrived in Punta Arenas. From there we took a bus to Puerto Natales and a cab to Hostal Amerindia to drop off luggage. We went in search of hiking clothes and rented some gear to prepare us for the next few days. We didn't have room to pack all the hiking gear we would need, so we spent a good chunk of the day finding it.  Puerto Natales is a tiny town with lots of quirky shops and restaurants that I really enjoyed. To reward ourselves, we had white hot chocolates at our hostel as we met with our guide, Felipe, to discuss our next few days of trekking. Our next three days would be spent in a national park in Chile.

Saturday, September 17th

We used our better judgement and hired a guide for our time in the park because I was not in the mood to get lost in the wilderness of Chile. Maybe next time. Felipe picked us up in a van and of we went. We had a 2 hour drive into Torres Del Paine national park and headed to our first and most difficult hike. We were blessed with good weather on this difficult 12 mile hike and made it to a lake at the base of three beautiful granite towers by midday. Thanks Pinterest for sparking my interest in this park. It did not disappoint. It was literally freezing where we stopped to have lunch, so much so that it was painful to smile. We watched as the ice covering the lake thawed and shattered. The photos of this place will speak for themselves. Our hike took 8 hours round trip, and we were more than happy to make it to the cabin that would be our temporary home. Felipe cooked us a lovely dinner and we ate and got to know each other for several hours before crashing for the evening. I was more exhausted than I wanted to admit. 

Sunday, September 18th

Our second day of hiking was supposed to be much easier than the first, thankfully. We woke up to Felipe cooking us breakfast and Julie wasn't feeling well at all. We quickly adjusted our plans for the day so that Julie could stay in the cabin and rest while Felipe and I drove around to the most picturesque sites in the park. We did several really short hikes, one of which lead to the top of a waterfall. I really enjoyed spending the day getting to know him and I always find that you have more in common with everyone than you expect. After sightseeing for quite a while, we returned to the cabin to pick Julie up. From there, we trekked out to the Grey Glacier. That was our most strenuous activity for the day and afterwords, we headed in for the night and had a lovely salmon dinner.

Monday, September 19th

Our third day of hiking began with a walk through puma territory. We did walk through hundreds of guanacas....and hundreds of bones. We never saw any pumas, which was both disappointing and a relief. Our long walk through the guanaca lead us to the top of a hill with a monstrous rock sitting on it. Felipe took us under the edge of the rock to show us ancient cave drawings and handprints. We rewarded ourselves with a picnic by a waterfall after all the walking, and my clumsiness caused me to bite a hole through my tongue. In the grand scheme of things, we both came out rather unscathed for how active our last few days had been. I was sore and tired, but so so happy and content. Julie slept the whole car ride back while Felipe and I talked about life and our goals and plans for the future. He dropped us off at our hostal and I was sad to say goodbye. Julie and I wanted to take full advantage of the rest of our time in Puerto Natales, so we dropped off our gear and walked down to the edge of the lake that overlooked the most beautiful mountains I've ever seen. We found a restaurant with a view of the water for dinner. I don't think I've ever been so relaxed in my whole life.

Tuesday, September 20th

We woke up and spent our last morning walking around this tiny city catching Pokemon, snapping photos of all the wandering doggies, and buying rings! That's about all we had time for before grabbing our bus back to Punta Arenas and our flight to Santiago. We would eventually realize that Julie had left the only debit card we had in an ATM in Puerto Natales, which wuold complicate the money situation a little bit further for us the rest of the trip. We found our way to our hostel in Santiago and got a diner recommendation just a few blocks away. We had a long dinner at Amadeus and popped into a grocery store to pick up snacks and water for the next few days.

Wednesday, September 21st

We had breakfast in our hostel with some of the other travelers staying there and hurriedly caught an Uber to the cable cars at San Cristobal Hill. We tried to cram in as much of the city as we possibly could in the few hours we had. We had a lovely view of the (very smoggy) city from the top of the cable cars. There was a church atop the hill, so it was very quiet and peaceful. We walked a few streets of the Buenavista neighborhood where I would have spent my entire budget if the shops had been open. We also took an Uber to a mall called Plaza EgaƱa for Llamun frozen yogurt which I had been craving ever since I left Singapore - not worth it unfortunately, and now I owe Julie big time for that trip. That was our last stop before grabbing our bags and going back to the airport.


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