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December 24th
Again we wake up with beautiful weather. Today we will have the toughest hiking day of the W (see map), but also the most beautiful valley (Valle Francés). After 2 hours walking we arrive at Campemento Italiano where we leave our backpacks and then climb 600 meters to a viewpoint in the middle of the valley. While climbing we could even see a major avalanche of the Glaciar del Francés. We had lunch in one of the best places imaginable. After having picked up our backpacks we continue the walk to refugio Los Cuernos, where we have an excellent Christmas dinner / buffet, especially the salmon ceviche.

December 25th
It was yet another day with good weather. Decided to make it a more or less lazy day; walk from refugio Los Cuernos to refugio El Chileno and the next day to the 'torres'. It was a relaxed hike in the sun through open fields parallel to Lago Norderskjöld. After lying in the grass in the sun having lunch we climbed a 'mountain' to enter another beautiful valley where refugio El Chileno is situated.

December 26th
To reach the Torres 600 meters of quite steep rock climbing has to be performed, but the reward of the Torres del Paine is more than enough to endure the miseries of the climb. The Torres are rock formations once created by magma that forced its way through the surface. After having had lunch here, we hiked back to the refugio to pick up our backpacks and walk on to Hostería los Torres where we caught the bus back to Puerto Natales having had 4 days of the most excellent weather and views.

December 27th
We thought we deserved some rest after the five day hike that we decided to do practically nothing today, except for getting our clothes washed. We walked around the town a little bit, which is a nice laidback town situated at the Seno Ultima Esperanza (lake called 'Last Hope Sound'). And, yes, it took us half day just to book a flight on the plane for the next day to El Calafate.

December 28th
We flew with a really nice small plane to El Calafate and immediately booked a tour to go the spectacular glacier Perito Moreno. It is the only continental glacier that grows as much as it breaks. Not only the view of the glacier is spectacular but also the sound it produces: like constant fireworks in the distance. We were very lucky to see a piece of the glacier break into the water; the guide told us that the size of the piece was probably over 12 stories high, maybe up to 60 meters.


December 29th
This Wednesday we went on a tour on a boat to see several glaciers in the glacier district:
  • Glaciar Spegazzini: the highest continental glacier
  • Glaciar Uppsala: the largest continental glacier but withdrawing quite quickly. We could reach a waterfall near the glacier till about one meter, because the glacier lake is about 1000 meter deep (and only a couple of years old)
  • Lago Onelli, where three glaciers, namely Glaciar Onelli, Glaciar Bolado, and Glaciar Agassiz, all exit in this lake. The lake has no exits, however, resulting in the constant flowing around of small icebergs.
On the way back we say a lot of different lakes that all have a milky colour which is caused by the icebergs. At night we ate the best stake ever; 7 cm high but so tender that when you just lie your knife on top it slides through it. Oh, by the way on the first picture is also a boat that has a capacity of 150 people!

December 30th
Today we took an early bus to El Chalten, which took six hours to reach. It is a real small and very very windy village of only 400 inhabitants in the tourist season and only about 100 inhabitants in their winter. It was so windy that it was even impossible to go walking in the mountains to see attraction of the area: Mount Fitz Roy. Instead we ended up drinking some homemade beers in the cerveceria with the Irish ladies we met earlier in Torres del Paine.

December 31st
Again no Fitz Roy today, because there are too many clouds and unimaginable but the wind was even stronger then yesterday. In other words, another visit to the cerveceria was called for. We spent New Year's Eve in El Muro together with two Australian girls for dinner and drinks.

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