Santiago to Puerto Montt

Hola!

How are you? Everything is going very well here…it was a bit tough for me to leave but life is good again. It has been quite an eventful couple of days (actually, only a day and a half, I suppose.) Anyhow, I’ll fill you in…

Flew to Atlanta on a packed flight next to a huge woman….rather uncomfortable. I met a girl named Lindsey in Atlanta also traveling to Patagonia for NOLS, not my group, but the trip out of Coyhaique. The flight was overnight and I slept a bit…it went pretty quickly. On arrival at Santiago Lindsey and I made it through immigration without incident and met a fellow named Chris at the baggage claim. He´s just traveling around down here, so the three of us took to the streets.
First,keep in mind that it is summer here. It is downright tropical…darn hot! I´m already getting a bit of a burn on my face and neck, just from walking around between bus terminals and hostels and such. The three of us dropped off our bags in the custodia at the bus station, perused ticket options, and bought tickets on the overnight to Puerto Montt, and headed out into the city.

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Not much interesting in Santiago. It is very similar to the US here in a lot of respects…street signs and construction and food and such are all similar. The language is rapid Spanish, but Chris speaks really well and I can get by. We cruised around for the day, hung out in a park, to the top of a hill, and back to the bus station.

Fourteen hours on the bus from Santiago to Puerto Montt went surprisingly quickly….guess the second night in a row without a bed was taking its toll. I slept most of the ride. We arrived in Puerto Montt at about 10:30am today.

Puerto Montt is amazing. It is (as the name implies) a port town, meaning it sits astride a beautiful blue bay, with a cool fresh seabreeze blowing in from the south. The water is peaked with whitecaps and across the bay the Andes create a jagged, snowcapped skyline. To the north, the volcano Osorno stands apart and looks massive and tempting. I can´t imagine what the south looks like….I am barely halfway to where I am going.

Lindsey headed off on her own this morning to catch a ferry south and meet her group. Chris and I trekked uphill to a local hostel, nothing more than a cozy local house with a friendly English speaking host. We met a friend of Chris´ here and have been wandering town since, discussing travel plans.

They will head north tomorrow to meet friends; my road leads to Argentina. I am not sure exactly how I will go, as the bus routes are not well documented, but where there is a road there is certainly a bus in South America. The road leads east through a pass in those aforementioned peaks to the town of Bariloche, where I´ll spend tomorrow night. After that, I will pick my way south. I´m not sure how far I´ll make it each day, but with luck I´ll be hiking under Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre by the end of the week. After that, it is a short bus ride to Puerto Natales and my NOLS group.

That´s the status as of now….I´ll try to get out another message or two before disappearing for a few months!!

Take care and don´t worry!

Phil

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