Almost there!

Today we have reached Punta Arenas, in the very south of Chile. We are in a very small family campground with decent internet. Since my last post we have visited El Chalten in Argentina, a small town that attracts a fairly young crowd of trekkers, climbers, and backpackers. We liked the feel of the town, found some nice cafés and a very nice ice cream shop. There are no campgrounds to speak of, so we stayed in a rest area across the visitor centre with other RVs. We got a nice view of the Fitz Roy when we woke up for a while, but then the weather got cloudy again, misty, cold, etc. We managed nonetheless to do some hiking and really enjoyed our time around El Chalten. From there the road took us to the town of El Calafate and the glacier Perito Moreno. We liked El Calafate and took a day off to enjoy it. The Perito Moreno is the only advancing glacier in the world and for me was an impressive sight, on par with the Grand Canyon and other world famous natural wonders. The size of the glacier is hard to fathom, 5 kilometres wide and 360 km long, with a height of 70 metres at some points. I will post more photos later but the panoramic image below will give an idea. Then we drove south and re-entered Chile to Torres Del Paine. Some long sections of the road are very poor and can be driven only slowly even with a truck, some sections are paved but have sections with deep potholes, and some sections are extremely nice. I estimate that so far we must have driven about 40% at least of the total distance on dirt roads, and not always by choice. The roads are generally better on the Chilean side but there as well there are some long stretches of gravel. The weather in Torres Del Paine was perfect when we got there and I am glad I took some very nice photos because the next day was cloudy, misty and very windy. We did the planned hike just the same before continuing south. There again it was wild camping since the prices of the rare campgrounds was exorbitant. We stayed in front of one of the ranger stations that has washrooms open 24 hours a day. Then the road took us to Puerto Natales, gravel most of the way. The town is small but fairly nice with a few nice restaurants and coffee shops, but no campground there either for us, so we slept parked on the street in front of a hostel. In those situations we appreciate having our little toilet on board. Breakfast was taken parked along the beach, followed by an excellent cappuccino from the nearby coffee shop. The drive to Punta Arenas was very nice and we saw sheep, guanacos, lamas, pink flamingoes, and a number of nandús, the local ostriches. I will leave you for today with a couple of photos to show you a small sample of our life on the road.