Month 9 on the road was an eventful one for me but not in a good way!
It started off with an injury in Torres del Paine National Park, I wish I could say I twisted my ankle doing something really cool like hiking up a huge mountain but I literally just missed a step coming out of the bathroom early one morning and stepped into a ditch and boom my ankle was twice the size and I was in excruciating pain. So this month has been about trying to rest this ankle and try it get back to normal size so I can walk like a normal human again (and not like a zombie).
After leaving Torres del Paine we crossed the border from Chile into Argentina, the nice border staff actually came on to the bus because I couldn’t move to check my passport and stamp me in. The first stop after the injury was El Calafate in Argentina, luckily for me we were staying in a hostel and not a campsite so I had a bed, heating and a shower just a few steps from my bed. I went to the hospital straight away and was seen by a doctor instantly. They x-rayed my foot and discovered there were no broken bones. The doctor ordered bed rest and absolutely no hiking! El Calafate is a hiking hot spot in Argentina.
It was the best timing to have a bed in a hostel, I spent the next two days with my foot piled up on cushions with ice and anti inflammatory gel.
Perito Merino glacier
One of the highlights of Argentina was seeing this incredible glacier. We took a bus out to the national park and I was lucky enough to bag myself a wheelchair so I could actually go to the look out point. I didn’t get as close as the others because there was no access but I had a pretty great view and I was so happy that I got to see the glacier.
Perito Merino glacier is one of the worlds only advancing glaciers and if you stay for long enough you get to see huge chunks of ice break off and crash into the lake. The noise of this sounds like thunder and if you blink you’ll miss it.
Another stop in Argentina was El Chalten where again I checked myself into a hostel for two nights and spent two days in bed resting my poor foot. El Chalten is famous for the Mt Fitzroy hike which I was dying to do! Dan spent the day hiking and judging from the pictures it was amazing. I watched movies, edited some photos and caught up on my journal.
We spent three nights in Bariloche which is a small town situated on a lake in Argentina. It is famous for its chocolate and the town is full of chocolate shops. Our hostel (yipee another bed) was outside of town but it was right on the lake so it was a beautiful spot. Again (I know its dull) I didn’t do a hell of a lot because my foot just wasn’t right so I did lots of drinking at the hostel and walking around the campsite to the lake. I did however make it into town one day to sample the chocolate of course.
After leaving Argentina and crossing the border into Chile the scenery became very beautiful again, lots of mountains, volcanoes and loads of greenery. The town of Pucon was very quaint, it was geared up for tourism so there were plenty of shops, restaurants and places to book excursions. Dan did white water rafting and there is also a nearby volcano you can climb but due to weather conditions it was off. So I spent three days just chilling out again, going in to town, having coffee etc. A bit dull but obviously due to my ankle I couldn’t do much but the sun was shining for the first time in what felt like weeks so that was a bonus.
After leaving Pucon it took around 15 hours to reach Santiago due to it being easter weekend and there was an insane amount of traffic so we arrived late at night and checked in to our hotel. It was the last night of our tour and although it was sad saying goodbye to friends we had made we were definitely done with being on a tour and not having much control over where we were going. The last two weeks were a bit dull and we definitely felt we could’ve missed a couple of places so we were happy it was all over.
We checked in to our airbnb apartment the next day and began to explore Santiago. It’s hard not to compare it to the amazing Buenos Aires as they are very similar. We had 5 nights in Santiago and of course didn’t get to see and do it all during this time. We went up to St Cristobal Hill to get an amazing view over the city, enjoyed walking through the Bella Vista and Bella Artes neighbourhoods and enjoyed some down time after the tour.
We hopped on a bus for an hour and a half and headed to the port town of Valparaiso best known for its street art. We had an airbnb here with an epic view over the city and spent 5 nights here enjoying the sights, having the best coffee we’d had in South America and we also experienced our first earthquake here.
On day 2 we felt an earthquake one evening, it wasn’t big but it was enough to feel the house shaking. I immediately jumped on twitter to discover is was a 5.1 and just off the coast of Valpo. Then two days later we experienced a much bigger one, 7.1 and it was big enough for the tsunami warning to go out around the town and for everyone to get to higher ground. It’s hard to describe what an earthquake is like, it felt like the ground was bubbling underneath me, like everything was uneven and also like the ground was rumbling. I’ll admit I was frightened, being in a country where I don’t speak the language in a very rickety old house on a hill wasn’t ideal but our neighbour was comforting in the situation and our airbnb host checked in with us as well.
La Serena & Coquimbo
We took a 6 hour bus journey north along the coast to La Serena which is a town situated on the beach in northern Chile. We booked 5 nights here to just recharge, chill out and do nothing before going further north and hitting the ‘gringo trail’ where there is a lot to do and see.
We’ve done lots of walking along the beach, cooking, sightseeing in the old town and most importantly relaxing.
What I’ve been watching on Netflix:
The Ivory Game is an incredible documentary on netflix that I found so upsetting, its worth a watch if you are interested in Africa and the elephant population.
The Minimalists is a truly inspiring documentary about many people in America who are living with less. I really connected with this documentary because since travelling I’ve had to learn to live with less and it has been one of the things I have learnt about and found in joy in along the way. I found it really interesting and will buy their book on my return to London to learn how I can continue to live with less in my every day life. I’ve also downloaded their podcast and will get listening on the long drive days.
Girl Boss is an awesome new series on netlfix based on the book Girl Boss. I have listened to her podcast over the past couple of years and its so cool to see how she started her empire.
Having the option to download episodes on to my phone to watch offline is an absolute godsend! Such a great feature of netflix and it has kept me sane on many a long bus journey.
Plans for next month:
San Pedro de Atacama
Salt flats – Bolivia