From El Calafate we rode south to Puerto Natales. The ride itself was mostly boring: flat grasslands as far as you could see. We were lucky enough not to hit a road block of striking mine workers in Rio Turbio almost at the border to Chile. They took a day off and were relaxing and hanging out at the roadside near the mine. Arriving in Puerto Natales, Chile we already knew where to head to. Our friends Michael and Anja had told us their experience with Hostels already since they were ahead of us almost on their way back from Ushuaia. We were planning on meeting again and visiting the Park Torres del Paine together.
Puerto Natales is on the windswept shores of Sono Ulltima Esperanza. This once dreary fishing village now lives under assault by Gore-tex and Vibram soles as the well trodden hub for the Torres del Paine National Park. But the city maintains its charm of wilderness.
The “Loreto Belen” was a welcome change and luxury for us after days of camping: comfortable beds, clean shower with warm water!! Yeah!
But even though we have asked if we could stay another night early the next day, by the afternoon after coming back from town, they apologized but told us they had made a mistake and we had to move out of our room and had to leave because it was booked, which they failed to realize.
They had found a different Hostal for us around the corner, so we had no choice but to move. I had made it known, that we were pissed and sure enough after we moved into our new Hostal, the receptionist of the old one came in, brought a piece of clothes that I forgot and payed for our accommodation for that night as a “peace offer.” That was pretty nice, I thought!
The plan was to leave next day and meet up with Michael and Anja at the campground of Park Torres del Paine, but when we woke up the weather was miserable: thick clouds, rainy and cold. We decided to stay one more night instead and tried to let Michael and Anja know through the internet. They got our message and joined us in Puerto Natales.
Sure enough the next day the weather was great again, sunny, blue sky and cool so… off we all went to the famous Park. Heinz and I had a plan already, we knew where to camp and which trail we wanted to hike.
This National Park is very famous amongst backpackers, hikers and tourists in general, so it was very busy there. The park was created in 1959 and is the third most visited park in Chile. The main attraction is the Paine Massif which includes the the granite spires of the Torres Del Paine.
Yesterday we left after breakfast and all hiked up to the “Las Torres.” After 18-20km (roundtrip) which took us all day we all arrived (mighty exhausted!) back at the camp at 7:00pm. For Michael and Anja it was their first ever longer hiking up the mountains and they did excellent!! We enjoyed breathtaking vistas, had lots of laughs and fun together! Of course we had to celebrate with a good can of “Austral beer.”
Today we said our final good-byes to them both. It was a lot of fun to travel with them and we enjoyed each others company. We will miss them but I am sure we will meet again. They are heading north to their final destination Valparaiso, Chile to ship their bikes back to Germany by the end of the month. We will be heading first to Punta Arenas tomorrow and eventually we will make it to the “fin del mundo” Ushuaia in the next 2-3 days, I think.