It was yet another early morning with us waking up at 6 a.m., showering, packing up our stuff, and having breakfast laid out by our hostel host, Maria. It was the typical toast, but with the surprise addition of yogurt and Doug’s favorite, overly sweetened orange juice.
We were on our bus at 7 a.m. headed back to Punta Arenas where the plan would be to roam the city a bit and grab some lunch before we needed to check in for our flight at 3:15 p.m. The bus dropped us off at 10 a.m. conveniently smack in the middle of Punta Arenas and we made use of the bus’ handy luggage storage before heading out for our grand tour of the city.
Lynn had done some reading on the bus on what there was to do in the town and put together a plan. We sadly didn’t have enough time to visit the nearby penguin colony (5 hours round-trip, 4 of which were on a boat). Instead we walked towards the Sara Braun Palace to tour the old home that was now a museum. On our way we noticed that the city was quite adorable with its colonial architecture and tree lined streets, but, my goodness, if this is the heat of their summer we never would be able to live here. It was very cold, requiring us to sport all of our warm weather gear. The house featured nice tall ceilings, ornate woodwork, and a pretty spectacular conservatory. It also had what appeared to be a pool table but with only four tiny holes in each of the corners. We were a bit confused, because while it was ornate, the house was quite small and narrow. This was until the operator led us through a closed door to the hotel next door. Ohhh. We get it. The hotel was once the residence as well… We can be very dumb sometimes.
From here we roamed the nearby Plaza de Armas, picked up a tourist map, and made our way to the water to take in the sights surrounding the furthest south we have ever been. There wasn’t really much to see though besides a few barges, a ton of seagulls, and the giant glass casino they placed on the waterfront called Dreams. But, we did make a puppy friend that would continue to follow us throughout the city for the next hour and a half. We lovingly took to calling him first Wally which got changed to Oliver because of his street-urchinness which then got morphed into Walliver. Walliver very much likes rolling on the ground so that you can scratch his tummy and we obliged.
So Walliver joined us as we left the waterfront and made our way uphill to visit a look-out mentioned in our map. You would think this would have been delightful, having a puppy following us the whole way, but instead it was exhausting. We were very concerned for Walliver every time we crossed a street and he took his time and when other dogs approached. We couldn’t let anything happen to Walliver on our watch! After taking in the views from the top we agreed that it was time to part ways. Walliver, you were just too stressful. So, back downhill we went to grab a cup of hot cocoa from a cafe and warm up some. We were nice about it, walking Walliver through a crowd in Plaza de Armas, hoping that one of the many people would catch his attention. It worked a little too well because we crossed the park and suddenly he was gone. We weren’t even able to say goodbye!
After our nice cafe experience, we went back uphill to have lunch at a restaurant that overlooks the city. We got a bit more than we were expecting with the only choice being three courses for 5000 Pesos, $7 USD, but it was delicious. We each ordered differently so we could go halvsies on eat plate, but agreed that Doug had the better courses. Also we got to try calafate, a Patagonian berry with the look of a blueberry but the taste of a cranberry.
After lunch we hoofed it back to the bus station, collected our bags, and were soon on our way to the airport in a very fast taxi. I think this guy was more concerned than us that we would miss our flight.
We checked in and soon learned that we had not been seated together. Well damn! But we made it work. Doug spent the first half of his flight getting details from a San Antonian couple on their trip to Antarctica. Apparently you can fly there and skip the 2 days of rolling seas so we now know what we’ll be doing when we head there. Lynn spent the flight attempting to make the unaccompanied minor next to her a bit happier with smiles and passing pamphlets back and forth to the toddler in front of her. It was less productive.
We caught a bus from Santiago’s airport to Pajaritos station then took the metro from there to our hostel. It was now 9.30 p.m. and we were starving. Earlier over lunch ceviche, Lynn had stated that she needed to eat more ceviche before leaving Chile, so she recommended that they head to a nearby seafood restaurant. She was not disappointed with the tuna she was given. Doug, on the other hand, was less thrilled with his overcooked salmon. But, we did enjoy two really, really good craft beers and Doug got an ice cream to make it all better.
Daily Walking Mileage: 6.5
- We had a debate over hot cocoa on how Punta Arenas came to be. Lynn thought it might have been whaling or sealing. Doug thought it was to protect the waterways. Doug was mostly correct. It was started as a penal colony to defend the area but soon grew it’s economy with wool production from sheep.
- Sara Braun was the widow of pioneering Portuguese sheep raiser Jose Noguiera. When he died at age 48 from TB, she continued to build the home he commissioned 5 years prior.
- The table we saw in the palace was a carom billards table.
- Punta Arenas gets so windy that they have ropes that pedestrians must sometimes use to walk the streets. It was thankfully not that windy when we were there.