We left Puerto Natales and headed 100 kms up the road for the Serrano entrance to the national park. Once in the park we paid our entrance fee of CLP$42000 and got our waterproof map of the park and headed for the first viewpoint.
Spectacular, glorious, gorgeous and stunning are some of the words that come to mind when attempting describe the scenery in the park. This park has it all, craggy mountains covered in snow, endless glaciers, azure lakes, ponds, and various meandering rivers and that's just the landscape. Throw in some weird looking guanacos and mighty Andean condors and what more could we ask for. We had amazing weather while in the park which is a rare thing as the wind can be brutal through the various valleys and off the glaciers. One thing we did hear was the earie distant low thunder of cracking ice and avalances. We spent one night in the park at Hosteria Pehoe ($A363) which is on an island in Lake Pehoe with drop dead gorgeous views of the mountains. To get to the island you need to walk over a long narrow bridge, while our room was fairly basic the view from the island across the lake to the mountains more than made up for the very expensive price.
We visited various sights in the park and saw gaunacos (odd looking camelids with cute faces) and rheas (which look like ostrich) and an Andean Condor (which was soaring on the thermals overhead).
After one of our walks we got back to our Renault Duster and the front driver wheel was flat. Poor Grae had to get on the ground to get the spare wheel from a cradle under the car.
At dinner we had our first Pisco Sour which is an alcoholic cocktail of Peruvian origin made of pisco brandy, lemon juice and sugar. It was very drinkable and a nice change from beer.
The next morning we couldn't believe our luck, wall to wall blue skies and not a breath of wind.
We visited other sites in the park which included a walk to the Lago Grey view point and it got very windy with some rain along the way. We could see bergy bits (which are broken bits of ice which have broken off the glacier and drifted down the river) The wind was freezing and we decided to turn back.
This evening's accommodation is just outside the park in cabins (Cabanas Lago Tyndall $A211 - rather run down) with beautiful views of the Paine Massif and located on the banks of the Serrano River. It is a very rural setting with horses, cows, ducks, geese, cats and dogs. We had limited dining options and seem to have spent $AUD100 on pumpkin soup and ceasar salad plus one beer for Grae and one glass of wine for me. Oh well at least the view was free! On our way home from dinner we saw a calf walk up to the farm house front door and start bleating, a girl eventually came out and explained to us that it wanted milk. Later that evening back at our cabin we heard an odd noise outside and looked out the window to see a huge horse scratching itself on our front patio post. We turned on the outside light and there were about six horses eating grass outside our door. We seemed to have been very lucky (not) to share our cabin with some very friendly earwigs. I had one in the bed and Grae had one on him while enjoying his morning cuppa.