Best moment: there are so many to chose from. Chile has been incredible. Having a tent has allowed us to see and experience so many wonderful places. If I have to chose, the best moment for me is climbing to the mirador Cerro Castillo – it was a beautiful day, the views were amazing and it was so much fun.
Best spontaneous thing / surprise: coming to Chile in the first place! When we first planned our trip we hadn’t even intended on coming to Chile (were we mad?!), and we’ve been here a month! Deciding to do the Carretera Austral, one of the iconic journeys to do in South America, feels like a big decision and one I’m so glad we did.
Worst moment: having a little cry in Concepcion airport (always a bit homesick after FaceTime calls), walking for two hours in the rain in Parque Pumalín to find there was nowhere to campsite so having to retrace our footsteps and falling down lots of times. Not fun.
Best thing eaten: dulce de leche croissant. No words. Steak and chips in Puerto Montt. Lamb ragu in Coyhaique. YUM.
Worst thing eaten: Moz was given uncooked chicken in San Pedro, and after lots of camping we’re a bit sick of instant noodles.
Favourite place: either ends of the Carretera Austral were cool – Puerto Varas was a great base to begin our Patagonian adventures and felt very Germanic and quaint; at the other end of the road Villa O’Higgins felt like the ends of the earth, a frontier village and a great place to relax before we began our border crossing.
Things we’ve learnt:
- how to sandboard (sort of!)
- a sense of humour when hostel owners give away your reservation; we just had to roll with it
- hitchhiking: stick your thumb out and smile sweetly 🙂
- hospedajes are bargain places to stay: owned by sweet old ladies renting out their spare rooms they offer comfy cosy beds for the night
- if something closed there’s a good reason for it (e.g. landslides)
- how to put up tent in record time
- supermarket ponchos can’t cut it in torrential downpours
- dulche de leche transforms campstove porridge into something magical
- Mariano, the helpful guy in Puerto Varas who helped us map out our route down the Carretera Austral
- Nancy who took us in when we were without a bed in Puerto Montt and welcomed us back a week later
- whoever invented dulce de leche
- Carolina, the lovely hostel owner in Puerto Varas who organised pizza night and gave me woolly socks for camping
- People who we hitchhiked with: Jill and Ian, Julio, Helmut and Grüne, Felipe, Javier, Raphael
- Jellis and Tess, our camper van, pisco sour and pizza pals
- Hernan: old man in Coyhaique who chatted to us on a bench and wished us a good journey and good weather as we went south