Early 2019, I won the Active Adventures photo contest, which allowed me and a friend to go on one of their trips 2 for the price of 1. I had been eying their Patagonia trip for awhile, but it was too cost prohibitive for me to sign up. Then I won! So I asked my friend Sam since she had planned to go last year before switching jobs/moving across the country and her being her, of course she was down.
On November 8th, the months of anticipation came to an end as I boarded my flight to Houston, then to Santiago, then finally to Punta Arenas. After a loooooooong 30ish hours of travel I arrived at the hotel. The first night, I decided to walk to dinner but once I saw protest were going on, I hustled back to the hotel. My plan to avoid trouble didn’t work as I was scared to see people take off running, hid from a tank coming down the street, and walked straight into tear gas once the tank had passed. I think I was more shocked versus hurt physically, since it’s hard to imagine the protests in the states getting broken up with tear gas as if it was normal course of business. As my mother said when I told her, “What an adventure already!” Needless to say, I was hoping my trip went up from there, but regardless would channel my mom’s fearlessness in the face of uncertain circumstances. (As a note, I think my mom is sensitive about what people would think of her parenting with that reaction since I told her Sam didn’t even tell her mom since she knew she would worry. I personally think it was the perfect thing to say!)
Sam arrived the next day, and we took off exploring Punta Arenas. The calm of the day Sunday was quite the contrast to the night before. We enjoyed exploring, particularly the cemetery and the piers/train tracks to nowhere, and the prepared to meet our group to officially start the trip/have dinner. We met the other 13 people we would be traveling with for the next two weeks, discovering that many of them knew each other through either a trip to Switzerland the night before and/or this mysterious woman named Penny. It’s always fun/scary to start a trip, but it set the goal for Sam and me to get on the invite list for future trips 🙂
I am going to hop over Magdalena Island (which will be covered in Part 2) and take us on the road to Puerto Natales, a town much more my style that would serve as a stopover before/after Torres Del Paine. It had a more laid back feeling, being much smaller.