Wednesday, December 14, 2016

la ultima esperanza

aka "The last hope"

In a cave not far from Puerto Natales, discoverers found the bones of a creature they called the Milodón.

Milodons captured the public imagination. Were they as big as dinosaurs?

They are the local mascot, on all the street signs, and at first I thought they polar bears, dancing joyfully.
In fact they lived 10,000 years ago, and are related to sloths. More on Cueva del Miladon.

But enough of mythical creatures. How about some glacier?

You can take a container ship north through the fjords. The alternative is days of driving on the other side of the Andes in Argentine. One of these days I'll take the NaviMag ferry (4 nights).
Lots of colorful fishing boats in the fjords. And swans!

Dry dock

I was also intrigued by local architecture. At 51º latitude, it's very dark in the winter. Houses are squat and built of readily available materials. It reminds a little of Iceland, or of Southland, New Zealand.

This one is made of leftover wood and brick.

Some are made of old containers. This is the end of the world, as the road signs to Ruta Fin del Mundo remind you.

This is a restaurant! Probably a little chilly inside.
Here's the garden at the lovely guesthouse where I'm staying. Pamela named Guanaco Blanco after the rarely seen white guanaco, which is considered good luck. She assured me they do exist–she's seen them.

Tomorrow, off to the park.