Travelling is very different when you haven’t booked things in advance…
Yesterday we woke up to the choice of a leisurely day (just returning with the car to Punta Arenas) or a busy day (getting ourselves to Puerto Natales). We went for the latter, and booked ourselves a room for the night via the internet before breakfast.
We thought there was only one road out of town, but after going down a very rough road for 45 minutes it ended at a locked gate into a field, so another 45 minutes later we were back where we started. The wind was so strong it was hard to stand up, the ferries were struggling with the wind. I stayed out front in the fresh air, which saved me from sea sickness, but not from a large wave, which broke against the far side of the ferry, flew over the vehicles, and gave me a good soaking! Fortunately I was dressed for that, and a couple of minutes in the gale force winds dried me out.
Next stop was another penguin colony, magellanic penguins this time. There are thousands in the colony, but only a handful in mid-afternoon it seems, but still worth the visit. Then a dash back to the car hire place. We had no onward transport booked, but we gambled on their being room on one of the regular buses to Puerto Natales. We wheeled our suitcases to the company office at 5.59, and were waved straight on to the 6pm bus, no time even to buy a ticket. Three and a half hours later we were in Puerto Natales (gateway to Torres del Paine national park)
Unfortunately we hadn’t had the time or the opportunity to eat since breakfast, but Rodrigo at the B&B pointed us in the direction of an excellent restaurant, and we were tucking into great steaks at 11pm.
In bed this morning, we checked some reviews on Tripadvisor, and booked two nights in the national park. Rodrigo phoned his mate at Avis who brought us round a hire car. We also arranged to go back to Rodrigo’s place for a night afterwards, and he’s getting us bus tickets for our onward journey to Argentina.
To be honest, having everything planned out in advance is much more my style. I don’t like making snap decisions. But it’s all worked out pretty well, and with Rodrigo’s help, we have the next three days and nights all sorted. And a little bit of a breather before worrying about what we do in Argentina.