Farewell Chile, back to The Big Smoke. We have some lovely memories of a fantastic holiday; the lovely Chilean people, the street graffiti, the food, the killer whales, humpbacks, seals, penguins, ice, snow, the beautiful icebergs, crossing the Antarctic Circle, the polar plunge, and of course sharing the fun, the laughter and the wow moments with my brilliant partner in crime and soul-mate Stuey.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
On the last leg of our trip, now we are back in Chile’s capital - Santiago.
The flight up here from Puerto Montt was bumpy as heck, but that aside, it is great to be back in our favourite South American city.
We even did a bit of greatest hits tour on our last night - took the funicular up our favourite hill (San Cristabol Hill), visited a restaurant to have our favourite Chilean food (the epic chorrillana), and went to our favourite local bar (Cafe 202).
Farewell Chile. Its been fun. Now time to head for the airport. (And go on a diet. Turns out those holiday calories might actually try following us home.)
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
As I had promised myself, and more importantly promised my darling Stuart, yesterday we had a rest day. A proper rest day. We went to a spa, pampered ourselves and everything. Swimming, sauna, steam-room, and... er... massage "treatments".
I know what you're thinking, but let me cut to quick, it wasn't one of those lie-face-up "happy ending" kind of massage treatments you may have heard your dodgy mates talk of. No, this was proper, dead posh, massages. Massages, which I like, but with stupidly expensive oils, mud, crystals and magic energy. No really.
Now, I don't know about you but I don't as much apply sunscreen on the hottest day of the year let alone moisturize so the idea of having mud and scented oils flung at me while half-undressed seemed a weird way to spend the day, but I was game. Besides, the "treatments" we're all part of the spa deal.
So I started off with a sports massage. I like those. My legs, neck, arms, and torso were dead achy from the kayaking the day before and the forceful kneeding and rubbing of my muscles really helped.
So far so good. It hurt, sure, but my neck, calves, and back felt great afterwards. I was beginning to like this.
I then took a rest. Had a swim and a laze in the Jaccuzi and studied the options for more treatment options to follow.
But as the options got a little harder to understand and somewhat weirder and as my Chilean therapist spoke no English and I no Spanish I used Google Translate on my phone to communicate with her.
We went to her massage room. She spoke. I looked at the screen. "I like to give you Reike Massage, and Emotional Massage, and Hot Stone Massage, and also Reflexology."
"OK", I said. No translation required.
"Lie face down," Google translated. I did.
(I told you this was a respectable establishment.)
First up was Reike. Which my Google Translate app further informed me thus, "I will harmonise and heal you based on universal vital energy through the imposition of my hands using quartz crystals, as a means of energetic channeling of mother earth, together with Reiki energy."
I asked if mother earth got a cut of the spa fee but Google Translate seemed to be missing a sarcasm setting and she just said, "No". That was me told.
I felt no different afterwards to be honest. Lots of mumbo jumbo, oil aplenty, and the quartz crystal fell off my leg onto the floor. We both stared at it. And moved on. Magic Energy 0 Reality 1.
Next came the Emotional Massage which my trusty app claimed would, "harmonise (that word again) and connect my three planes - physical, mental, and spiritual - through various holistic (oh dear) techniques such as shiatsu (isn't that a dog?), Chinese massage (she just changed the music to something more jarring), aromatherapy (she blew poppers in my face), and (best of all) gem therapy."
The gem therapy was similar to the quartz therapy but there were more of them. She stuck the little stones on my body with an oily glue (learning her lesson from the leg incident I suspect) and they came in a rather dull red colour. I asked if they also came in blue but she said, "blue doesn't work". Well, my lovely, neither does red. I felt like a tit.
She chanted a bit too. First abrasive, then smoothing and then loving. It felt weird. Like I'd just lost an argument I didn't know I was having. I was pleased when the emotions had abated to be honest. Overrated, emotions.
Next up was the Hot Stones Massage. Well, they were heated (reheated?) lava rocks to be precise. On my back and arms. All I can say is I now have an inkling of how the people of Pompeii might have felt. There were fucking scolding.
Sure, it heated up the skin and the muscles, but I think a good hot water bottle could have done the same without all that messing about with rocks. It sure helped my arm ache though.
Finally came the foot massage. The reflexology. Now, I knew what to expect here. A good foot rub. Nice.
Only I'm not sure she was doing it right. It kept tickling. And I kept giggling. And after a few involuntary choice kicks to the side of her head and her chin she really knuckled down (no pun intended) and broke all ten of my toes and had me screaming as she dug her fingers into my ankle and foot arches. Touche. Well played, good lady.
So reclothed and relieved I hobbled out of the spa, giggling, aching, and not really quite sure what had just happened.
Maybe I'll feel different in the morning. A good gem lasts a lifetime after all. Red or blue.
And despite my initial skepticism there might actually be something in this lark. I did enjoy it, and I did feel much better afterwards. Even if that might have been somewhat more due to the laughing than the actual massages.
None the less, a happy ending after all.
Monday, February 25, 2019
So we were up early on our first full “rest day” to try a couple of new things; kayaking (which we had never done before) and off-road downhill cycling (along the side of a volcano!)
The kayaking was lead by Thomas (Tommy) from the local town and we did it along with a French couple (who work for the Red Cross). We paddling along the nearby lagoon, up a river, through thick undergrowth, and then out through a narrow channel into the main lake. We wobbled and veered from left to right quite a bit at first but it was great fun - if exhausting.
Then after lunch we drove up the side of a volcano, mounted some bikes, and careered for 18km down one of the bumpiest and steepest “tracks” we had ever had the pleasure of skidding down.
It was basically a lava field. We sped down - bumping over rocks, jolting down holes, and snatching the odd photo of the volcano peak.
We were left with some sore wrists, some sore bums, and some great memories.
At the bottom we found a pretty little stream and took more snaps of the snow covered volcano behind us again.
Tomorrow is definitely, definitely, definitely going to be a rest day!
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Yesterday we left Patagonia to fly north for a couple of hours to the Chilean lake district for a few days of rest and relaxation after our icy adventure. Well, that was the plan.
The flight was fine and as we emerged from the domestic terminal a smiling driver was waiting for us. He turned out to be the manager of the hotel were we were staying - a beautiful place on the banks of Lake Llanquihue - a 45 drive away.
The place was enchanting. So was the scenery. So intoxicated were we that all thought of taking it easy went out the window.
By the afternoon we were hiking up a volcano! And now have kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking organised too!
So much for taking a rest!