The most beautiful view is the one looking up.
Patagonia’s skies are true works of art. With the drama of a Renaissance painting and the bizarre UFO-like nature of lenticular clouds there is never a dull moment, as if the sky was nature’s form of entertainment. It all just gives way for the spectacular light show that happens this far south leaving you with the memories of the most beautiful saturation and contrasts of colors that can only be found in Patagonia.
“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”
– John Keats
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It’s hard to describe seeing a glacier for the first time: the seemingly unnatural color, how still it appears to be when in fact it is a moving river, the god-like size that reminds you of your fragile, ephemeral life… all I can say is that I couldn’t stop staring until I had become completely enchanted. And now, thanks to our Quasar tour guide, I can say I have eaten glacier ice straight off of an iceberg.
The might of Patagonia has to lie within its waters. From the spectacular green color of Lake Pehoé to Lake Grey with its floating icebergs and then to be hit with the rapid roaring waterfalls of Salto Grande and Cascada Rio Paine, and finally down comes rain out of clouds that redefine the word drama. Water is all around you, and never in a boring fashion.
“I climbed a path and from the top looked up-stream towards Chile. I could see the river, glinting and sliding through the bone-white cliffs with strips of emerald cultivation either side. Away from the cliffs was the desert. There was no sound but the wind, whirring through thorns and whistling through dead grass, and no other sign of life but a hawk, and a black beetle easing over white stones.”
― Bruce Chatwin
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As you drive up to the Tierra Patagonia Hotel, your first impression is unlike any other resort experience. The hotel looms, skeletal and prehistoric looking, like a fossil slowly coming back to life half buried into the curvature of the earth. As you draw closer, however, you realize how remarkable the building is – constructed almost entirely from native lenga wood, the curves of the building allow for seamless blending from one room to the next while providing extraordinary views of Torres del Paine National Park through floor-to-ceiling windows.
What a dream to be here amid the warmth and hospitality of the hotel and yet feel as though you are a part of the glorious natural landscape occurring just outside…a dream that can be found #onlyinsouthamerica…
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We headed out for adventure. Deep into Chilean Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park we rode horses for hours with gauchos, explored caves where giants used to live, stared in awe at Cleopatra’s Needles, stopped to take in the first sights of guanaco I have only read about in Charles Darwin’s descriptions and enjoyed endless fields of baby sheep. The first thing that struck me about Patagonia was how untouched it is by man. No red lights or bill boards, no gas stations or pavement and no cell service. It is truly a completely unpolluted environment. You stand in the center of Patagonia, so far from anything familiar, so alone, hours from other humans and as far as the eye can see there is infinite beauty, purity and vast wonderment.
“What on earth makes you choose such an outlandish part of the world to go to? What can be the attraction? These, and similar questions and exclamations I heard from the lips of my friends and acquaintances, when I told them of my intended trip to Patagonia, the land of the Giants. What was the attraction in going to an outlandish place so many miles away? The answer to the question was contained in its own words. Precisely because it was an outlandish place and so far away, I chose it. Palled for the moment with civilization and its surroundings, I wanted to escape somewhere where I could be as far removed from them as possible. There I would be able to penetrate into vast wilds, virgin as yet to the foot of man. Scenes of infinite beauty and grandeur might be lying hidden in the silent solitude of the mountains that bound the barren plains of the Pampas, into whose mysterious recesses no one as yet had ever ventured.”
–Lady Florence Dixie, 1880
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