We decided to go the easy way only once on our trip across Patagonia. That is, taking a flight to save about 30 hours of riding on a bus between Pucón and Puerto Natales in the very far South of Chile. And we didn’t regret it.

We took a pretty cheap Sky flight from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas, Chile’s southernmost airport. We booked the flight through the agency ContactChile, because the cheapest rates on the flight were only available to people with a Chilean bank account or credit card, while non-locals (who didn’t use the agency) were charged three times the price.

From Punta Arenas, we took the bus to the town of Puerto Natales, the basis for excursions to the Torres del Paine National Park. The moment we stepped into our hostel Yagan House, we fell in love with it. (Thanks for the tip, Along Dusty Roads!) Not only was there a wonderful scent in the air, it was also very cosy, had a large kitchen, an almost infinite number of super-clean bathrooms, two dogs and a no-shoes policy in the bedroom area—great idea.

On Easter Sunday, we did the strenuous hike to the emblematic Torres del Paine, the Chilean doppelgängers of Italy’s Drei Zinnen. It was four hours up, the last stretch on a very steep rocky slope with brutal wind. For most of the hike, the Torres del Paine towers were out of sight, so it was a great reward to suddenly see them appear majestically in front of us in the end.

Bam bam ba di bam.Bam bam ba di bam.

Keeping up traditions, we brought hard-boiled eggs to celebrate the battle of Ostereierpecken at the foot of the Torres. In case you wonder, Jan won. Of course.

Easter bunny didn’t forget us in Patagonia, by the way. He got not one, but two chocolate eggs for each of us!

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March 24–25, 2016

South America, Chile, Pucón

Pucón, in Chile’s Lake district, comes pretty close to what an Austrian ski resort looks like—just without winter sports facilities, and with a snow-topped volcano.

Our hostel host over-ambitiously gave us an enthusiastic pep talk about what to do in Pucón. His top recommendations: volcano hike, hydrospeed boating, horseback riding. Our choice: the “hangover” hike to a nearby waterfall, because (a) the volcano tours were fully booked (and later got cancelled anyway), (b) we preferred not get soaking wet in cold water, and (c) we’re not into horses. It seemed that our host was somewhat disappointed, but then again, we had nothing to prove. And feeling knocked out after a night bus ride counts as a hangover, so the waterfall hike was perfectly appropriate for us. On our way back, we got a ride by a local on his pick-up, which helped us get back to our hostel just before Happy Hour ended.

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Valparaíso—or just “Valpo”—totally lives up to its denomination: It’s a big jewel box made up of colorful small houses, a labyrinth of streets and street art everywhere you look. If you don’t want your house’s walls to be sprayed with tags or graffiti, your best option is to ask an artist to create a mural. That’s one of the things we learned on the excellent free walking tour offered by Tours for Tips that we did (twice).

We really fell in love with Valparaíso. We took the O-bus (recycled buses from Switzerland) and funiculars like the locals, climbed a lot of stairs, counted the containers that were loaded and unloaded from large freight ships from the balcony of our AirBnB (appropriately decorated in marine style through and through), and got to enjoy the first of many Pisco Sours, Chile’s delicious national drink.

Here, we were joined by Simone’s childhood friend/sister-in-mind Ulla (hola, Ulla!) who would travel with us for four weeks down to Patagonia and then back to BA.

One afternoon, we also checked out the beach of nearby Viña del Mar. #ChillingInChile

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Jan Pöschko, Simone Kaiser

That’s us!