posted on 2019-11-22 01:14:32 in Patagonia
The City of Punta Arenas certainly appears to have more wealth than the previous two places we stayed. The roads were much cleaner and wider, the houses tidier and in better shape plus not one broken down car in the street!
There is a lot of road building work going on at present and the footpaths had many signs of redevelopment eg new lamps, bicycle racks and many other things. Next year the city celebrates the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the region, I suspect the works are in preparation for the celebrations they are sure to have. Around the city graffiti was rife, words scrawled across buildings, especially banks and government offices, lots of smashed windows and several buildings burned out. I am not sure if the later are due to current protests but the former most definitely. We also encountered our first (and only) real protest since the riots started, luckily it was from the inside of a bus so we were relatively safe.
The tourism office advised us about 5 places of note we could walk to around the city. We covered 4 of them and 3 were very bland. The Fish market and arts and crafts centre (in the same building) only had a few stalls open with very little fish on offer and the handicrafts looked very commercially made. The old buildings around the plaza were ok and the mirador lacked any real sights, in fact the padlocks on the fence held more interest. The cemetery on the other hand was superb, one of the best cemeteries I have been to. It was extremely well kept with pathways lined by manicured cypress trees and many of the graves were a riot of colour with a mix of both real and fake flowers. Needless to say I had a field day with my camera.
Our original plan included a penguin trip from Punta Arenas, having already done one in Ushuaia the big question was fo we need another one? With little else to see in town and the museum on the original people of the land being closed we decided yes. A good choice it turned out to be. We went for small hike around an island and was able to get up close and personal to the penguins. Being the time for nesting, mating and even some early hatchings, this time we were lucky enough to see different behaviour patterns of the birds on the island. It was well worth the trip even got to see some more sea lions on rocks and swimming too.
After 7 weeks it is time to say “Goodbye” to Patagonia. The day was grey and overcast and by the time we checked our bags in at Punta Arenas airport it had started to rain. I felt like it was crying for our departure. We have been very lucky with the weather throughout our trip here allowing us to do pretty much everything we had planned and a few extra things too. Plenty of memories to look back on and experiences to share. Now it is time to head off to NZ and continue the adventure over there.
Before that though a few hours to kill in a warm and sunny Santiago airport and a last chance to practice my Spanish, my vocabulary has now doubled “adiós”