Punto Arenas, Chile
At the foot of the Andes on the western side of the Strait of Magellan, Patagonia's most interesting city features many mansions and other impressive buildings dating from the wool boom of the 19th and 20th centuries. If you are interested in having a look around, the place can be dead on Sundays so you can quite easily march around with your back pack.
2 Dec 2001 - Punto Arenas, ChileWe arrived on Sunday and first bought a bus ticket to take us to Puerto Natales as the second step to our ultimate destination of the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. This gave us a few hours which we put to good use having a look around the city. The Lonely Planet travel guide lists a number of places possibly worth having a look at. While there are some interesting buildings and monuments the attraction is actually all around. Seeing how people go about their business in this most southern of cities and the general architectural style is eye-opening in itself.
After having a look around and buying some food for the trip to the Torres del Paine we made our way down to the Straits of Magellan. Discovered by Europeans in 1520 I tried to imagine how the sailors would have felt in this cold and windy place as they sailed though the straits. I felt far from home so how these explorers would have felt after weeks or months of travelling in this mysterious land was beyond what I could feel.
The Strait of Magellan is a navigable route immediately south of mainland South America. Located between the continent and Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Horn to the south, the strait is arguably the most important natural passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans.
Chile - Punto Arenas, The Plaza Munoz Gamero
Off photo is a monument to the 400th anniversay of Magellan's voyage, erected in 1920. The chap sitting in the background on the far right (blue jeans and pink jacket) spotted us and tried to befriend us. After chatting to us he started asking for money. Adam gave him a cigarette while I acted totally dumb and refused to understand him.
Chile - Punto Arenas and The Straits of Magellan
Overlooking Punto Arenas towards the edge of South America, the Straits of Magellan and with Tierra del Fuego clearly visible in the background. Beyond that is Antarctica!