For a long time Sophie and I Ummmed and Ahhhed about the best way to go north from Puerto Natales. We had originally planned to go on the Navimag, a five day cruise through the islands along the coast. The website makes it sound like a tourist cruise with spectacular views the whole way, but the boat is actually primarily a transport ship, and after more research and the cheapest fare of US$420 seemed a bit steep to hitch a ride on potentially a ship full of cows. The other option at one quarter the price was a huge bus trip that would take at least 3 days and would require us to back track into Argentina. It was just then that Gloria came to our rescue and suggested we just fly. Just like that. The same price as the bus and only few hours travel. So we did.

At the airport we had a last minute crisis  when Sophie realised that we were missing a potential opportunity to see penguins in Puntas Arenas, but I managed to convince her that this wasn’t worth cancelling our flight for and that we would probably get another chance later. (Luckily we did…)

While the ferry would have had some awesome scenery, so did the flight, and with the clear weather we had, the views of the moutains and ice fields below were unbelieveable. For a “cheap” flight, the service on our our “SkyAerolines”  flight was great and we even got dinner and drinks. Not the most original name, but great service.

Our stay in Puerto Montt was something like our stay in Bahia Blanca. Its not a particularly pretty place and definiitly not on the list of tourist hotspots, however after all the very tourist-centric towns of the south it was actually quite refreshing. Simple things like buying yummy candied peanuts or chocolate marshmallows really cheap at the bus station, and shops that charge non-tourist prices were very exciting. Combine that with meeting up with some really awesome guys through CouchSurfing and you have a really great few days.

On the first night we met up with Christian through CouchSurfing and he took us for a drink and some cerviche (yummy seafood with lemon, coriander and chilly). The next day him and his friend Roosevelt borrowed a car and took us out on a road trip to the nearby lakes at Puerto Varas and the beautiful nearby National Park. Later on we met up with more of his friends and many beers were had, followed by some exceptional homemade sushi that we all put together. We were also taught how to make pisco sours, from the raw ingredients, which added to the fun.

We woke up a bit groggy the next day and made the biggest, baddest cooked breakkie for Christian and his sister. It was a real treat for us too as they don’t seem to know about huge, unhealthy cooked breakkies here. A roll and some coffee is the usual fare.

With very happy tummies we headed off to Chiloe island for (what became) a week. On our return from Chiloe, we had a great day helping Christian make an authentic PVC didgeridoo. I crafted a real wax mouthpiece for it and we all contributed to what in the end was a very cool, pseudo aboriginal paint job. Having travelled for so long, we found it really enjoyable to sit down for a while and make something crafty. You just don’t get usually get the chance to do stuff like that. Of course that was followed by another typical Austalian meal, stir-fry, along with lots more pisco sours.

So like Bahia Blanca, not such an attractive town, but the hospitality shown to us by our new friends there was just amazing and we had a really special time as a result.