Farewell Punta Arenas

It was good to have a more relaxed three days in one place as I move towards the halfway point of my trip.

imageYesterday evening I walked around the town and saw a few more of the old mansions one of which, Sara Braun’s home, is now a hotel and the Union Club. In its basement is a bar called La Taberna where I took a pre dinner margarita in solitude.

On the way to the restaurant La Marmita, which I had enjoyed on my first night, I passed the British School founded in 1904 and the Anglican church next door. Delightful little buildings and a reminder again of the links with Chile whose people today are so friendly and helpful.

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This morning I am at Punta Arenas airport waiting to fly to Puerto Montt and as I was checking in I saw another group on their way to Antarctica. I still forget how far south I am and that Punta Arenas remains a staging post for explorers, geographers and now tourists.

I am looking forward to some warmer and less windy weather in the Chilean and Argentine lake district.

Cemeterios Punta Arenas

After dropping off my laundry I took a walk several blocks away and found the cemetery. An odd tourist attraction you may think but, in its way, more attractive than Punta Arenas itself.

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Its manicured cypress tree avenues a contrast to the white and grey stone of the tombs, monuments and mausoleums. A considerable number of Scots, English and Croat are buried here as they form much of the early immigration.

The cemetery land was donated by wealthy sheep farming scion, Sara Braun, and when she died she stipulated that after she entered the door of the cemetery it should be locked and never again opened. Entrance is now through a side door!

Amongst the monuments is one to the memory of all those lost on HMS Doterel a Royal                                         Navy sloop that blew up, due to a coal dust explosion, whilst at anchor off of Punta Arenas. Another commemorates those British living in the Magallanes region who died in the two world wars.

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Finally, Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer, the anthropologist, is buried here. The guide translation says his death “surprised him”. Really !!