hiking

Austria and The Town of Cats

Austria and The Town of Cats

In the fall of 2016 we went to Austria for a conference, and took the opportunity to travel across the country by train, on the way (in a way) tripping into an alternate reality of our own. It’s been almost two years and half a dozen dive trips in between, and as an interlude before the next batch of Bonaire posts, we figured it’s about time to finish those photos…

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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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Hitting our stride (sort of)

Hitting our stride (sort of)

Chewie says today is a day characterized by sounds. Rhythmic tapping of trekking poles. Raindrops falling on rocks. The whoosh of swaying trees and grasses, dead branches creaking and humming in the breeze. The wind howling over clearings. Waves breaking and water blown out of Lago Nordenskjöld. Whispering rivulets in the forest gathering into gushing rapids. Waterfall crashing from a mountain. The echoing thunder of avalanches and the terrifying silence before a storm. We could’ve been blind and heard the changing landscape of TdP through the sounds. 

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And so it begins

And so it begins

A short distance from the dock, Refugio Grey happened upon us as a somewhat of a surprise. Following the trails we found ourselves suddenly emerging from trees onto a massive field of haphazardly strewn, neon-colored tents. Ann stalked the refugee encampment for a good ten minutes, and found a relatively flat site sheltered from all sides by cypresses or some such scraggly tree. We pitched and ditched our heavy packs, and merrily went on our belated afternoon walk.

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Going home, via many layovers

Going home, via many layovers

From here, it was back-to-back flights home, the first leg of which involved an overnight layover in Paris. It's been a while since my last sleepwalking (after a hefty dose of Benadryl, at the height of allergy season) tour here... I'd forgotten how much history and grandeur are written into the layout of every city block, and was surprised by how nice and understanding the drivers were towards the masses of tourists.

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