Not Punta Arenas, Again?

So just to reiterate, I flew from Australia to Santiago and then onto Punta Arenas. Caught a local bus, very modern and efficient to Ushuaia. It was in this village, where, destined to meet my backroads tour, The Saga of the Chilean Visa reared It’s ugly head again.

I arrived at the airport in Adelaide without processed Visa. I had applied for a transit Visa, but not hit the finish button. ( the wrong type anyway) Hence, when I arrived in Chile I was marched to the immigration department where they at last gave me, a single entry Visa valid for 90 days. You would think that I had successfully negotiated the system. You are wrong

Travelling by bus from Punta Arenas in Chile , I crossed the border into Ushuaia, Argentina. In other words, I had affectively left Chile having entered once. But the cruise starting in Argentina, obviously was going to disembark in Punta Arenas Chile for the Patagonia part of the tour. So in reality, what I actually needed was a multiple entry Visa for Chile. I was the only non-American on the trip, and citizens of the United States do not need a Visa to enter Chile. Please be reassured that this information will in no way make me consider applying for citizenship of the United States of America.

So, just as we are having lunch before boarding, our Cape Horn cruise ship, I am pulled aside and told that I cannot embark! To the huge credit of the backroads team, I’m driven into the village of Ushuaia where Patricio the local Backroads representative a delightful, intelligent young man, facilitates the issue of a visa from the local Chile embassy within 48 hours! As luck would have it, he apparently is close personal friend with the woman, who is the local consulate for Chile!

Patricio organises everything for me with eye watering efficiency. He booked a catamaran tour on the Beagle canal, and then finally booked a seat on a bus, returning back to Punta Arena – my second stay in this town! So I set up with the group at long last for the five days in Patagonia, which, as you will, hopefully see from the previous post, more than made up for my missed cruise.

So here I sit back in Punta Arenas for the third time, and hopefully the last , awaiting my flight to Santiago.

Tosca at 6 months! He will be 2 years old today 22nd March 2023. I will see him in 2 days

The Glacier Park Lodge

All of the amazing hotels of the National Parks in which we stayed, were built by the Great Northern Railway a century or so ago in an effort to open up the regions and hopefully lead to a huge influx of tourists and adventurers who it was hoped would obviously travel by train. Sadly great in principle but in practice it was a loss making investment. Almost all of the hotels were not financially successful.

The most exquisite was the Prince of Wales, refer previous blog. Last night stayed at the Glacier Park Lodge.

The more astute of you will notice that there is a day of cycling missing. The observation is correct, at least as far as I was concerned. It was a day of extreme wind, blustery and for a significant part of the planned route, uphill and into a headwind. Finally to convince me to stay in the support vehicle, a goodly part of the route involved cycling a major highway! I am too old to die!

I had more than sufficient exertion the day before on the trek to the Crypt Lake.

The. General Store of Glacier Park, which if you are short of Kodak 32mm. Slide film, is apparently still available

Thanks Backroads

Our last day of the trip and we leisurely meandered down the Snake River, floating on large inflatable rubber dinghies. A just reward after our previous days of hiking. It was a great group of like minded active adventurers ably led by Eilee, Mikey and Molly. Alas it seems I was the only one NOT to see any wildlife – neither on two legs or four, other than chipmunks of which there were hundreds.

Champagne on the last day at breakfast. Totally out of character for me

Day 1 Iceland 

A wonderful morning with the weather being bright, sunny and as crystal clear as the ice we were to suck at the end of day 1 after a dinghy ride through an iceberg lake. To help the reader follow the trip I shall begin each day’s blog with this map. It starts with a flight to the south east of the island at the edge  of the Vatnajökull Glacier – the largest in Europe


I had an incredible sense of déjà-Vue today as I walked up the ravine for it recreated the terrain and vista I experienced along the Khumbu Glacier on my Everest Base Camp trek as a medical student all those years ago, truely an eerie, exhilarating feeling 

My resistance training pays off! As my father would say “and the muscles in his arms stood out like knots in cotton”

This reminded me of the ride at the Iguazu falls in Brazil…. I think I need to repeat the Botox?