Home' Travel News : June 2013 Contents 10 travel news June 2013
June 2013 travel news 11
I was sorry to see of the passing of
Margaret Hayes. I knew her in Kenya and
purchased a good part of Charles' library
from her in Canada.
Dealer in out-of-print books on East
Africa and publisher of the frst English
edition of the autobiography of General Paul
von Lettow Vorbeck, ‘My Life’.
Hello to the editor and those involved...
Wanted to tell Juliet Barnes that I am
enjoying her reporting (and those of others
too!). I met her briefy at Soysambu with a
mutual friend. Could you tell her for me,
please? I am in the States but a born-and-
bred Kenyan, and am thinking of returning.
Your magazine gives me much pleasure.
Janine, we shared your e-mail with her.
Reading Duncan Mitchell's article (Coastal
Currents, May 2013), one wonders why he
bothered. My wife and I had a marvelous
trip to both destinations at the end of 1998.
We few from Heathrow frst to Madrid. On
landing, the pilot said we would not be able
to leave until the fog cleared. This was
reassuring because at that time visibility
was so poor I couldn't see as far as the
Arriving at Santiago very late in
consequence, we had missed the
connection by Lan Chile but there was
another airline, Ladeco, which took us to
Punta Arenas, not Puerto Arenas as in the
article. Taxi to Hotel Savoy, comfortable,
not as posh as it's namesake.
Our objective was the Torres del Paine,
three rock towers on which serious
climbers cut their teeth. Anticipating that we
would use local buses, our kit was packed
in cargo bags, stout enough to survive
rough handling and roof rack travel. To
our delight, the Brothers Fernandes bus
turned out to be a huge Mercedes with
large under foor storage.
To reach the Torres del Paine viewpoint
you need to walk; the track reasonable,
though in places it had been eroded, but a
chain thoughtfully provided made progress
possible. No Health & Safety to spoil the
Being the snowmelt season, the rivers
were all in spate, the water cool and
refreshing. On the last section, up a
moraine, there were patches of red paint
to mark the route. It was very hard going,
huge boulders to climb over with never
a glimpse of the Torres. At the top of the
moraine a short scramble and there they
were, with two condors gliding into view
to add icing to the cake. Pack lunch and
back to the hotel, eleven hours hard work
and a great day.
At Punta Arenas, we had booked Air
Patagonia, to Puerto Williams. The aircraft
was a well-worn Cessna, eight passengers.
The pilot took his seat, started up, and off
we went, no warm-up or checks. Puerto
Williams is the most southern town in the
world, not Ushuaia. Argentina doesn't
recognize it, for good reason because
a maritime patrol aircraft from Puerto
Willliams spotted the General Belgrano,
noting course and speed, the information
giving Mrs. Thatcher the opportunity to
instruct, "Sink it".
Puerto Williams naval depot has the bow
section of the Chilean tug, Yelcho, as gate
The Yelcho was the ship loaned to
Shackleton in 1916, and successful in
rescuing all the members of the expedition
from Elephant Island.
From Puerto Williams we sailed through
the Beagle Channel, calm and no wind,
on the "Crux Australis", not a passenger
or cruise ship by any standards. The only
cabin was a tight ft for four, no en-suite.
In fact the suite was a real bum freezer in
the true sense of the word; little between
you and the sea. The scenery was a
magical glacier in full melt, snow capped
mountains, the bottom end of the Andes.
The boat wound through little channels
between small islands and peninsulas.
Dolphins played around us, black browed
albatross and giant petrels skimmed the
waves, whilst seals basked on the rocks.
PuntaArenas has several good restaurants:
our requirement, as it was New Year's
Eve, being quiet and no band. We had
already been introduced to the local tipple,
pisco sour, and were pleased to see the
barman lining them up. The meal at Jose
Neguira truly superb, punctuated at regular
intervals with a selection of wines. Warm
but slightly the worse for wear, we decided
it was a good time to pay our respects to
Ferdinand Magellan, who occupies a plinth
in the centre of town. It is said that if you
kiss his foot, you will return. I was able to
ensure return not only by kissing his foot,
but three air hostesses as well.
Lan Chile few to Mount Pleasant, the RAF
base in the Falklands, and the bus took
us to the door of the B&B where we were
We spent fve fabulous weeks in and
around the islands. Suffcient to say we
found the Falkland people helpful and
We saw many penguins, but no Emperor;
for those Duncan Mitchell would have had
to go much further south.
Different strokes for different folks, surely?
A pharmacist walked into his shop
to fnd a man leaning against the
wall. "What's wrong with him?", he
asked his assistant.
"He came in for cough syrup, but I
couldn't fnd any so I gave him an
entire box of laxatives." "You twit"
said the chemist, "You can't treat
a cough with laxatives."
"Of course you can" the assistant
replied, "Look at him... he daren't
Humour is the laxative for a
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