Thursday, January 23, 2020

Chilean Patagonia: Days Two And Three - Patagonia

Day Two:  We arrive in Puerto Natales airport mid-afternoon.  Our hotel picked us up and drove us the five minutes to the Singular Patagonia hotel.  The hotel is in an old livestock slaughterhouse and cold storage facility once run by the British. It was the primary source of meat for the British soldiers during World War I.

The pier in front of our hotel with the sun setting behind the clouds.
To get to the check-in desk the Wife an I took the thirty to forty foot funicular ride from the concierge desk.  A picture I took of the Wife riding the funicular nearly broke her Twitter feed.  Apparently there is a funicular group hashtag on twitter.

A view of our hotel from the tour boat.
There were no activities scheduled on our first day so we had an afternoon to
familiarize ourselves with the hotel.  We spent some time in the comfortable bar/restaurant area and we met with people to set up the activities for the next few days.

The view from our bed.
The hotel is divided into two parts.  The lobby, gift shop, bar, and restaurants are in the original slaughterhouse building.  The rooms are in a newer section built where the cold storage building once stood.  The rooms are arranged along a long corridor in such a way that all rooms look out over the water (ocean waters that connect to the strait of magellan).  Each room has floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows looking out at the water and mountains.  I'm not sure I've ever stayed in a room with such a nice view.

Day Three: Our first excursion was an all day boat ride with stops at a glacier and a ranch. We got on our boat and went out on the choppy waters.  Patagonia is known for its windy conditions.  Our guide said that the wind we were experiencing was not as strong as normal but that the tide was causing most of the choppy water.  By the time we arrived to the area of the glacier we'd been bounced around and all shook up.

The glacier seen from the tour boat.
Our boat was supposed to dock near the base of the glacier and we were to hiked up to a view point where we could get a good look of the ice.  The Captain of our boat consulted with another tour boat and decided the choppy water made it too dangerous to dock so we saw the glacier from the boat and missed out on the hike.

A colony of cormorants.
The boat turned around and headed towards the ranch.  Along the way we visited waterfalls, colonies of Cormorants, and the earliest European settlement along the Patagonian fjords.

At the ranch we got off the boat and had a wonderful lunch.  We toured the ranch facilities and played with a local sheep herding dog.  After lunch the group divided into two groups.  The Wife went with one group for a horseback ride around the ranch.  I joined a smaller group who did a short hike up to the top of a ridge to enjoy the views.

The view from the top of the ridge.
We returned from our activities and enjoyed some drinks before we returned to the hotel.  It was, with the exception of the choppy water and the inability to dock near the glacier, a great first full day in Patagonia.  Tomorrow the Wife and I would go our separate ways on two different activities.

Pictures can be found in my 2019-2020 Chilean Patagonia Google Photos album.

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