Hiking in Patagonia
in Torres del Paine, Chile on 14th March, 2013


The morning we were meant to take a bus from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales the clocks went ahead by an hour. Google didn't have the right time for Chile and nor did Apple's time-syncing servers. Wikipedia said that daylight savings was suspended till 2019 in Chile. We got to the bus station about 20 minutes after the bus had left. The bus company was kind enough to put us on another bus four hours later for free.

The bus ride was pretty nice. A smelly old man was sat next to us for ten minutes before a girl nearby complained about him to the bus driver. The man was swiftly moved to the back of the bus.

The drive along the Argentine border up to Puerto Natales was very scenic. We saw a hole herd of sheep being herded by Gauchos at one point. The weather also turned a lot more sunnier and the sky cleared up. Punta Arenas has one of the most un-scenic waterfronts I've ever come across but the lake next to Puerto Natales with the mountains in the backdrop is breathtaking.

We walked around in the evening taking in the town and walking past restaurants full of travelers eating and chatting away.

The next day we had to get up at 6:30am to be ready for a 7:30am pickup for our day trip. We were set to do an 11-hour journey around Torres del Paine. Triin got her first tour of a cave at our first stop, we got some breathtaking views of the mountains during the second, we saw some icebergs during our third stop and the fourth stop in the afternoon let us see our first South American waterfall. There weren't really any flies around either, something which I usually have to contend with around lakes in Canada and Northern Europe.

I along with another traveler climbed down the jagged rocks to get some close-up photos of the waterfall. The other traveler was using a Canon 5D Mark II, a camera I'd love to be using, and a 24-70mm lens. The lens probably did him well with most of the day's shots but being up close to a huge surrounding waterfall it would fail to take everything in. I handed him my 10mm lens. I did so partially to help him get the shots he'd probably want and also to see how my lens performed on his camera. He passed me back his 24-70mm in exchange. I've already used this lens extensively in Egypt and Jordan a few years back so I already knew what it could do.

During the bus ride back into town I looked at Triin sat next to the window with the rolling hills and blue skies in the background and really appreciated what a special moment it was.

The one weird thing about the other travelers I couldn't get my head around is the use of their iPads and blackberry phones for doing wildlife photography. They would try and creep up on large animals with these devices in their hands and the creatures themselves would make a b-line before they could get any real snaps in. They should try using a £600 camera and lens combo instead of a £400 tablet computing device.

In the evening I went to pickup our laundry from a Laundromat. On the way back a police officer halted traffic and motioned for about ten street dogs to cross the street. The dogs all came into the middle of the road, surrounded the cop and sat waiting for a treat. It was hilarious watching her trying to motion for them to move to the other side of the road. When they did move they ran in all directions through traffic. The dogs all look injury-free and very healthy. The restaurants must be feeding them.


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