End of the Americas
25 March 2013. We are at the end of our trip through the Americas, at the end of more than 50,000 km of road and 10 months of driving through North, Central and South America. In the beginning of April, Frida (our car) will go in a container to Japan from Santiago in Chile. We have therefore crossed over Argentina from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, up over the Andes and into Chile.
The last thing we did on the Atlantic coast was to visit Peninsular Valdes. Here a small magellanic penguin is very happy to see us.
There were a lot of sea lions and even a couple of enormous female elephant seals but they were very far away. Off the coast we saw 3 killer whales cruising by but they must have had their lunch already because they did not come to hunt the sea lion pups on the beach.
We crossed Argentina from Trelew in the east to Esquel in the west, through an area dominated by Welsh emigrants. The road took us through western movie canyon lands and we camped for the night by a quiet river.
In Esquel we visited good friends and the next day we drove up to Bariloche through Los Alerces National Park, an ancient stretch of forest at the foot of the Andes. Some of the trees are up to 4,000 years old.
From Bariloche we crossed into Chile over a beautiful mountain pass with blue lakes surrounded by moutains and forest. And in Chile, in Osorno, Frida got new shoes!!
And Frida’s parents got to spend the night at the Tolhuaca natural hot springs. Here Marco is enjoying a glass of late harvest white wine after the hot bath.
At night we were completely alone, surrounded by the sounds of the forest and with the moon reflected in the steaming hot pool.
Dinner is cooking and the wine is open! Every time we are cooking something we have to think to our friend Jorge from Medellin, Colombia, who gave us the gas bottle. Cheers to Jorge!
Very happy with Frida’s new shoes!
Now it is time for Frida to get clean! Here we have all our belongings outside on the grass in one of the COPEC petrol stations along the highway 5 to Santiago, Chile.
Marco is cleaning Frida and Freddie is watching that he is not forgetting some small spot!
27 March 2013. Today Frida got packed into the container, ready to go on the vessel for Japan. She will be on her way for about 5 weeks. A long time, especially for her parents, we will miss her a lot!
Frida can just squeeze herself into the small 20-foot container!
She gets strapped up really well.
All strapped up and ready to go: Frida, the Maggiolina tent on her left, the small ladder against the wall and the Zarges box on the floor. Frida will not be alone on her trip across the Pacific!
The truck rolls off the platform before closing the doors.
La Silla Observatory
Built in the 1960’s, La Silla was the first European Southern Observatory (ESO) site in Chile. It is located at an altitude of 2400 m in a very dry and very remote part of the world, more precisely in the southern part of the Atacama Desert in Chile. Here there are about 300 days of sunshine and about 350 nights of clear skies per year.
La Silla seen from the dome of the ESO 3.6 m Telescope. During the week, there is about 45 astronomers working at the observatory every night.
We got a 3-hour long tour of the facilities and saw two of the very large telescopes close-up. This the the NTT, the New Technology Telescope, which uses a very fancy system of “active optics” to correct the shape of the large 3.58-meter diameter main mirror so it is always in perfect shape. This gives a very high image quality.
Here it is, the perfect mirror, 3.58 meters in diameter. Made by a Russian subcontractor of Carl Zeiss!
And this is the camera SofI which takes the high quality photos of space that you can see on the ESO web site. What a camera!
Next we visited the ESO 3.6 m Telescope from 1977. Here seen on a hill top next to the radio telescope.
The ESO 3.6 m Telescope. In the early days, the astronomer would sit in a chair at the very top of the telescope, under the open dome and the clear night sky, and he would put photographic plates to take the high resolution photos of space. It must have been incredible!
The enormous building of the ESO 3.6 meter Telescope.
View over the Atacama Desert from the large dome.
March 27th, 2013 at 10:54 pm
[…] End of the Americas […]
March 30th, 2013 at 7:23 pm
I like Frida’s new shoes as much as you! Great that you will soon be over in Japan! Enjoy your time “waiting” for her.
We just reached our “Fin der Mundo” in Tierra del Fuego. Met great Argentinian and Swiss travelers and finally found an Internet in Ushuaia.
Wishing you a great time and thanks for the helping tips!
PS: The Alfajores at Ramos Generales were a hit and we now know the taste and art of drinking mate:-)
Regards Angelika and Simon
April 1st, 2013 at 12:00 am
Hi Duro!! Great to hear from you 🙂 Frida has been asking how you are doing!
Good that you enjoyed the alfajores. Now you are ready to try the double layered alfajores with banana, lemon zest and dulce de leche from Chiche Azucar La Leche in El Chalten……we are waiting to hear your judgement!!
Keep in touch!
Marco and Malene
March 31st, 2013 at 4:26 pm
Gianmarco. I envy you with all the ‘white’ envy i’ve got for all the right reasons man! : ))
April 8th, 2013 at 8:23 pm
Thanks Amir! I am sure you are living as well a beautiful experience with your family!!! And I am happy about that for you! Continue following us! :-)))
April 8th, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Oh you bet! Pity you won’t be in Italy when I plan to hit Dalmine 14-20 April and then again in middle of May–thanks to you by the way )) (+ another dear friend of ours).