12th - 17th March (further south)
The 22 hour bus journey to Coyhaique, was in a normal coach, not the super duper deluxe kind that I had before but it wasn´t as bad as I expected. There was a middle aged couple from dorset who I spoke to for quite a while, four movies back to back dubbed in Spanish, some beautiful scenery, mountains, lakes, the sea, trees and then a wild west landscape with an unusual lilac sky in the east as the sun set in the west. The journry crossed into Argentina and back into Chile so there was some time spent at border crossings. When we arrived I checked in to an hospedaje and walked around the nice little town surrounded by mountains, a pleasant atmosphere with locals and a few tourists strolling around - the only problem is the dogs. By the afternoon I felt like I was jet-lagged. I didn´t do much in my three days here and actually got quite bored. The second day was ok with a nice long walk around the forest reserve, from way up in the hills I could just about make out the sound of cars engines and barking dogs. The third day was too hot for the dogs and for once they were quiet.
I was looking forward to my 30,000 peso flight to Punto Arenas (further south) on Sky air because I was told the views over the moutains would be amazing and I had a window seat. The brief glimpses through holes in the cloud looked pretty good. In Punto Arenas I found a nice, virtually empty hostel (tourist season ends at the end of February). David, the chilean guy that runs it is very helpful and friendly. I spent a lot of time trying to work out a way to head further south into Tierre del Fuego and back but options are fairly limited at this time of year so I settled for a two hour boat trip across the channel into Porvenir, a run down town with nothing to see or do, luckily I had a Sudoku that I had tore from a newspaper and this filled my time as I sat by the sea. It was an extremely windy day and the return journey was put back by four hours but thankfully it ran as I really didn´t want to have to spend the night in this hole. The book describes it as picturesque with quaint houses, I think that took some imagination, the houses are delapidated tin huts painted in bright colours.