Day 33: Puerto Natales to Torres Central (Torres del Paine, Chile)

Sunday, January 28th 2018

A night full of heavy rain and strong winds and I am gonna walk 5 days 75 kms in the andes and sleep in a tent in between. Weather forecasts see -3°C to +10 °C, lots of wind, rain, sometimes snowfall.

I have doubts, if doing the Torres del Paine W-Trek in rainy season was a soo great idea for us viennese city apaches.

Anyway, we enjoy breakfast in Noi Indigo Patagonia, repack our backbags and store spare things in the backbags transport covers in the hotels luggage locker. They are used to do this. It seems they have a lot of hiking guests, who leave some of their things temporary in the hotel.

We booked the Torres del Paine W Trek 5D/4N package with Bamba Experience. In the end they all book with Fantastico Sur. So I go and get the vouchers and hiking directions from Fantastico Surs counter at the bus station.

“You know, it is a self guided trip” means, you go, you carry, you navigate, … on your own. Happy boy scouts challenge. The girl from Fantastico Sur hands me over a map, approximately 67 vouchers (not tied together, mostly handwritten) and off I go.

Of course, she would like to give me a gift, a metal water bottle (after the G Expedition, the Ventus Australis this would be my third water bottle, which I will use twice and then not carry with me). I donot take it. Save the waste.

Back in the hotel we go for last supper in Noi Indigo Patagonia’s restaurant and then catch the bus at 02:15 pm to Torres Central Camp. The purée of peas and avocado below the lamb shank was excellent and unexpected.

Because we leave most of our luggage in the hotel, the backbags are unexpected light. We take a taxi to the bus station (1500 C$ = 2 Eur). At the bus station we give the guy in front of the bus our first voucher. Maverik = Tom Cruise (version 2.0 + 35 years + 50 kg, same glasses, same cap) seems to be happy. He hands us over a luggage slip for the backbags. Airport style. We get in the bus. Pole position: seat 1 and 2. Chucko Norrisalez, our buspilot, cuts every curve, ignores every speed limit and accelerates his 20 tons projectile every time the “road” surface changes from very bad to total desaster. Every smaller car coming towards us has to jump to survive, every towards coming bus’ driver is a dude to Chucko Norrisalez and gets a casual cowboy gesture.

We are not entertained by his latest technology multimedia device in 4k Dolby Vision:

On the way into Parque Nacional Torres del Paine it clears up and we can already see the torres:

We do the way to the park ranger station in record braking time. We left some tourists in rental cars shocked as collateral damage behind. The bus driver drops us satisfied at the rangers office. Of course we have to fill out a form. Then we have to pay (we hand over another one of our magic vouchers and don’t pay). Last we have watch a movie. Quintessence: make a fire in the park and we make you suffer; kill some animals and we make you suffer; litter and we make you suffer; … .

We get our luggage (nobody checks our super airplane luggage voucher) and go to the next bus. Blue voucher. Ranger Driver John Cartright smells like 120 cigarettes he smoked in the last 15 min. A guy tried to smuggle himself in the bus without a voucher. Big mistake. John is fast and makes him pay in front of me. 4 USD. I have a nicotin poisoning. We arrive at Torres Central.

We give the girl at the Campground checkin a voucher and fill out the form. We get a tent and … 4 new vouchers. Cool. Chile – Voucher – Wonderland.

  • Welcome drink pisco sour voucher
  • Breakfast voucher
  • Dinner Voucher
  • Lunchbox voucher

I cure my nicotine poisening with half a kilo sugar out of my Welcome drink pisco sour at the bar of the Camps restaurant. Christina smiles (the other 50 % aside the sugar from the pisco are alcohol. She has already finished hers half way).

Weather is fine now.

The tent is great. On a wooden platform. Clean Marmot 3 pax, new, clean. Foam mattresses inside, good warm not smelly sleeping bags. Also fresh towels. No pillow, good luck we have our own pillows with us. We go for dinner to the campground restaurants. We hand over our voucher. Carrotsoup, pork with quinoa, panna cotta, patagonia red ale (you have to pay). All fine. We sit on a table with 10 others.

Christina doesnot like the pork. Bad luck – this (veggie) is not written on the voucher. Anyway, the waiter is flexible – even if there is the wrong voucher.

Next time, you have to get the right voucher! A no pork voucher. Not everybody might be as flexible as he is. We make sure that the lunch box voucher is adapted. The girl in the kitchen writes with a pen “cereal bars instead of sandwich” on the voucher, gives it back. I like Chile. We go for a sleep. We are tired. I hide my vouchers to protect them from potential thiefs.

1. Days itinerary from fantastico sur:

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