Now that was a fast sleep. We had arrived in Santiago about 21:00. By the time we arrived at our hotel which was reasonably near the airport and had a late dinner there wasn’t much time to sleep before we had to return to the airport for our 6:10 flight with local budget airline Sky. The three hour flight to Punta Arenas gave us time to catch a bit more sleep. After disembarking and grabbing our backpacks we waited impatiently for the first bus to arrive that would take us to Punta Arenas bus terminal. Finally it came. Once we arrived at the bus terminal we found our way to our next bus for the three hour trip into Torres del Paine. Once there we joined the throng of others at the national park office organising our entry passes. Having done that we were directed to another bus that took us into the Refugio Torre Central, a huge lodge, which would be our accommodation for the first night. Our beds were two bunks in a room housing eight, the bathrooms down the corridor. Dinner and breakfast were done in a number of sittings to cater for everyone. All very organised. This was what we had come to expect from Fantastico Sur who controlled all the accommodation on the east side of the W-track here on Torres del Paine National Park.
The same couldn’t be said for Vertice Patagonia who controlled the Grey and Paine Grande lodges on the west side. We had tried to make bookings with them but whether it was a website issue or our lack of Spanish we hadn’t managed it so at the end of doing the W-track we would need to make our way out on the same day elsewhere to recover. Not happy about that but that was now our reality. More about that in later posts.
Once we had checked into our room and been allocated meal times we went for a bit of an explore. The exciting bit was that we already had a view of the Torres.We also had our first experience of the Patagonian wind as we looked at some of the local flora.We did a big circle around the lodgings. Not sure who belonged to the dome but as we had booked accommodation in a dome later on it was interesting to see this one.The wind continued to move the clouds through the sky so one minute we had some sunshine, the next it was gloomy and forbidding. We were crossing our fingers and praying for as little rain as possible in the next few days. Time would tell if our prayers would be answered.Spotted this hare in amongst the grasses and daisies as we walked. He didn’t stick around long posing. Later on found out that it is an introduced species and probably not that welcome any more.This Southern Crested Caracara was also happy to be snapped.Our circuit completed we returned to our room for a rest, meeting and chatting with a couple of the others in the room. Dinner was a set menu of three course, soup, main and dessert. We sat on a long table with some Spanish, Canadians and Americans. It was an enjoyable time. After dinner we showered and headed to bed for a reasonably early night, ready for our next adventure to really begin in earnest.