Patagonia days 12 to 13: punta arenas and penguins

We caught an afternoon bus to Punta Arenas, arriving after a pain free 3 hours. After all the thin walled, creaky floored horrors we’d experienced so far I didn’t have high hopes for our last place. Luckily we were pleasantly surprised! We stayed at hostal Torres del Paine and while it undoubtedly needs some maintenance (most of the affordable places here do!) the woman running it was the sweetest person I think I’ve ever met in a hotel. She went out of her way to chat to us and help arrange things. I’m 100% sure we would have learnt even more from her if my spanish was better! We also had comfy beds, cable tv (unexpected friends marathon yay!) and breakfast laid out every morning including yoghurt and cheese.

The town itself was nice. It’s a lot bigger than Puerto Natales but still had a pretty, small town feel. We spent the first day walking by the sea front and getting dinner at Cafe Almacen Tapiz. This was very good, we ordered a salad to share (they were huge) and they divided it into two bowls without being asked which was a nice touch.

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Like Puerto Natales there are so many animals here. I don’t know what they’re called but there were lots of birds and we even saw something like a dolphin on our last day while we were lounging in a cafe by the sea. I’ve also been impressed here by the amount of sports facilities. In both Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales there are miles of picturesque cycling track and what must be some if the best positioned outdoor gyms in the world.

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On day two we spent the morning checking out Sarah Braun’s house by the main square. It cost about £1 to go in and was well worth a look for the beautiful interiors

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Unfortunately I have no idea who Sarah Braun is or why the house is famous so that’s the limit of my knowedge on the subject.

In the evening we took a trip to the Magallenes penguin colony. I had few expectations about this – the two hour boat ride each way for only an hour spent on the island combined with my hate of spending a long time travelling didn’t make me massively excited. However, this turned out to be the highlight of my Patagonia trip. There were just so many penguins! When you get off the boat you can see then everywhere on the island, as far as the eye can see. Walking along the roped off path (you have to stay 1m away from them although the penguins themselves can and do break this rule!) the penguins are right there just being penguins. And being penguins is an amazing thing! They all seemed to have their own personalities, some hiding, some squaking for food, some passed out asleep. They just carry on as usual as you walk around and provide photo op after photo op. I don’t even know how many photos I took, I just couldn’t stop! Here are a few of favourites. So much cute!!!

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Hats off to you mum!

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