Time to leave beautiful and sunny El Calafate and head to our 3rd country of the trip. Chile.
We are back on a bus, but a more reasonable 5 1/2 hours this time in the day light. The bus is not the fastest and we climb some long hills quite slowly. It’s a standard coach affair this time – so no “business class” beds.
Memorising my Passport number is not something that I ever thought would happen but as you have to write it down for everything (visas, bus tickets and even when using your credit card at times) you just kind of do. I worry that has a result another important number or password has fallen out of my head as a result 😦 but thankfully the important information such as the full Latics squad for the 1990 League Cup final is still there.
The Argentinian side of the border crossing is not the most impressive, a single chain link strung across the road and a hut with 2 men in and some stamps. The Chilean side by comparison is impressive in that there is a luggage scanner, a proper road barrier that lifts up and a decent flag pole.
Our first stop in Chile is Puerto Natales, a small town with less than 20,000 inhabitants and a lot of tourists. A little less ski resort in feel than El Calafate but a gateway to the famous Parque Nacional Torres Del Paine and other areas of outstanding natural beauty, so has a lot of hostels and hotels. We are staying in one of the former – but a recently opened one run by a lovely Swiss / Chilean couple that is perfect and great value (less than £30 a night).
Whilst small and significantly away from large centres of population. Niki takes me to a restaurant called Afrigonia – a fusion restaurant of African and Patagonian food – for the evening. Wow! Service, atmosphere and importantly the food are simply outstanding. I have a trio of king crab to start (any disappointment that the lamb sweetbread starter was off vanished), a lamb dish with prunes for main course and passion fruit ice cream with black bean panacotta to finish – with a delicious local favourite, Pisco Sour, to wash it down.
So impressed I had to learn the following phrase for the end of the meal….
“Es mi mejor comida de America del Sur”