Monday, 23 March 2009

"Fin del Mundo"

Yep. Here we are at the 'End of the World', in the town of the Ushuaia, which is the 'uttermost town in the world' and I am sorry to report that there is distinct lack of fire and brimstone and that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse have failed to show up. Quite the opposite, the 'End of the World' is actually a very tranquil place, whose silence is only broken by a few beavers (introduced only a few decades ago, and so, be definition 'exotic'. Exotic beaver, down here. Who wold have thought?) and the odd scarlet woodpecker.
For you faithful followers of our blog, we are also sorry to report that we have reached the official 'End of the Road' (you can't drive further south, anywhere in the world.) But never fear! Unlike everything else down here, this is not 'The End of' our blog, as we are about to turn around and head north again. As such, you will not be deprived of future installments. So, thanks for listening and tune in again next week for the next episode.

Nature walk

Ed waiting for "Beaver"

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Nowhere in the world could this be truer than Torres del Paine National Park. If you´ve never heard of the place, it´s all you would expect of World Heritage Site at the bottom of the world: mountains, streams, glaciers, lakes. You get the picture. But what is different from lots of the national parks in other places is that they really don´t make it easy for you. Sure, if you´re absolutely loaded, you can stay in one of the two luxury hotels within the park. But if you realy want to see all there is to see, you need to hike up the valleys and stay in the legendary refugios - hotals that cram 8 to a room in triple decker bunks. No fills. At all. Sheets? For woosses. Hot Water? if you´re lucky. Spiders in your bunk? Tout compris. But the pain is worth it. The Views are the best I have ever experienced - a crazy geography of jagged peaks encircled by condors - made all the more beautiful for having hiked up to 10 hours a day to enjoy them. Here are the stats for ye who need proof: 5 days, 96.5 km, 40 hours. The Paine really was worth it...

a new form of "dorm" living

The three towers of Torres (Torres Sur, Torres Central and Torres Norte)
An...are we there yet moment

Joe...are new walking buddy

the view from the top of the french valley, the picture doesn´t do justice!

here is one for you Vanessa :)

BRRRRRR...the view at the end of a very wet day

braving 60 mph winds

The boat ride out (for those with the dosh)... we had to swim (just kidding)


Well, we deserved a little pampering...

Saturday, 7 March 2009


even the camping


Apparently she is very Chile!

so we took a picture


Turns out you need to think ahead when wanting to go for a quick dip!

Friday, 6 March 2009


Ever heard of the 'selfish gene' theory? The idea that our genes will do anything to get themselves replicated, no matter the consequences? Well, I can tell you know that blisters are not just lesions, but actually parastitic entities with their own selfish DNA. On this trip we have discovered that blisters will spawn whenever they can, no matter what the cost to their hosts (i.e. us), and no matter how much care we take to prevent them from replicating. Only yesterday, we tried several sizes of moutain boots before climbing Volcan Villarica to make sure there was not a chance in hell we´d get them. And did we? Of course we did. Everything was conspiring to ensure we did. We got to the base, and the ski lift which is meant to take us up the first ascent was not working. Why? To ensure we got blisters. We started walking and we realised that our boots, despite careful selection, were too small. So what happened? We got blisters. Lu´s are particularly bad, and she has got one on each foot (pic below). We suspect they might be mating at night...

Ed enjoying his slide down
Slide number 1

a well earned glass of wine and "baby beef"

view of the volcano from town
view of the area from the base of the volcano

approaching slide number 1
Ed at the top of the volcano trying to avoid the toxic gas behind him
the joy of rented boots!
Lu enjoying her slide down - such style

The Villarica Volcano
The fetching outfit


Do we have designated drivers in England? I mean, do we actually call people who have to refrain from the tipple on account of them having to drive other people home 'designated drivers?' Sound like one of those fishy American terms that tries to obscure the true implications of something to me, like 'vertically challenged'. Whatever the correct nomenclature, this was the fate that befell me the day we decided to visit the wine country just south of Santiago. I suppose I volunteered to be the designated driver because I was feeling particularly gentlemanly that morning. Or maybe because I hadn't had the matutinal coffee I need to think straight on any given day, but it dawned on me pretty much from the moment I put a glass of award winning Viu Manent Malbec to my lips that I had made an appalling mistake. I was driving to VINEYARDS and had opted NOT to drink! What a calamity! What idiocy! Who was to be designated driver that day should have been decided by a particularly edgy game of backgammon or something. Oh well, at least Lu enjoyed several Cab Savs, a secret assemblage of Sauvignon Blanc with a mystery grape (again, award winning), and several other prize wines. And I learnt to spit into one of those wine spitoons. I will never be a designated driver ever again.

Thursday, 5 March 2009


As a child i had many attempts at keeping a "diary", sadly most entries started "dear diary, sorry i haven´t written in so long!". This being said, it appears this blog entry should start...
Dear Blog, I am sorry i haven´t written in so long!

Since leaving you last we have crossed into Chile (at 5,200 ft), to San Pedro de Atacama (thankfully at around 3,00 ft) where buildng regs require all structures to be 1 story and made out of Adobe, very beautiful and equally dusty. The town itself sits in a small oasis in the middle of the Atacama desert.

The main street is a hive of activity selling various tours in the area...finding it difficult to narrow it down we spent the next 7 days...

floating in logoons, which are 7x saltier than the sea , walking in the "valley of the moon" (running down the dunes), cycling through valley´s, visiting hot springs, horse back riding (down the same dunes we ran down) and visiting the gysers (a very cold morning at -10 celcius).