It was time to leave the warmth of Santiago behind, for the next stage of the adventure had arrived, and a three hour flight brought me to Punta Arenas, the major town of Chilean Patagonia.
The vista was, in truth, a bit bleak and austere, as the mountains are running out by this point, and the endless wind tends to discourage anything taller than a shrub. But then, it's the furthest south that I've ever been, beating Invercargill, New Zealand, and remembering what Orkney is like, there is something of a similarity there too.
The hotel was an oddity, looking like a small piece of Las Vegas, casually dropped on the edge of the Straits of Magellan, all glass and steel, with a casino bolted on. It was very nice though, and the room was comfortable, looking out across the Straits. I had to go out though, as I was short on steps for the day. And, in a light drizzle, Punta Arenas on a Sunday afternoon was not a sight to warm the cockles.
The next day was dedicated to some light tourism, with a call into the Regional Museum. Set in a nineteenth century mansion, it's not a huge exhibit, but with some preserved rooms, it does give you an idea as to how the wealthy lived in such a remote place. In those days, Punta Arenas was only really accessible by ship, and given how volatile the oceans are around Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego, it wouldn't always have been easy to make the journey.
Dinner was taken at a restaurant called Los Ganaderos. A parrilla, the prime attraction is meat, and in particular beef and lamb - there are a lot of sheep in Chilean Patagonia. It was excellent, the only problem was that there was too much meat, and I couldn't even begin to contemplate the third course that completed the trio of lamb.
Replete, it was time to get some sleep, for tomorrow would see a very early start...