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Pan-American Roadtrip

Pan-American Roadtrip

That very afternoon, Chewie plowed–in one six-hour-long breath­–a heroic 500km on the Pan-American Highway (Ruta 5) from Santiago to Vicuña. We arrived at Alfa Aldea, a sort of basic but charming hostel in the back of a vineyard, with… a giant telescope. And that’s part of the reason we came here: The Elqui Valley, mostly known for growing Pisco grapes, has for whatever reason also collected a critical mass of entrepreneurial stargazers. Having hardly dropped off our bags, we jumped into a guided, outdoor tour of the Southern Skies. The many, many photos (yet to be deciphered) on Chewie’s camera will be a testament to his newfound enthusiasm for stargazing.

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Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

It’s still light in the mid-afternoon, so we decided to go up to the Mirador to have a look. The trail, though steep, isn’t very tricky until the last leg. Here the path gave way to a field of enormous boulders that made the trail markers harder to spot, especially since it’s started to hail. (And in typical fashion people gave us very much underestimated traveling times.)

When we finally got over the giant rocky humps, a magnificent view opened before us. We arrived just in time for a small break in the clouds, as the Cordilleras del Paine so very briefly unveiled its famous facade.

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