Chile & Antarctica, Day 6: Punta Arenas, the Southernmost City in the World

Our day began with a 6:00 AM stroll across the street to the airport to catch our 8:30 flight. We had a lay-over in Puerto Montt, Chile, but we didn't even leave the plane. Some passengers disembarked and some new ones boarded, and then we were off to our final destination of Punta Arenas, Chile.
There is no easier place to hail a taxi than at an airport as you're practically pushing through throngs of people calling out 'taxi?' to you. This was one of the few times we actually didn't straight up ignore these throngs. We signaled to one of the guys and headed to the Hotel Cabo de Hornos.
We got checked in to the room that would be our home for nearly a week.
Our first three nights at the hotel included lunch as that was part of the package we had booked. After having the vegetarian conversation with the waiter, he brought us a plate of mixed vegetables for an entree. We didn't have high hopes, but it was actually fairly tasty - and very filling!
After lunch, we walked to the beach, which was only a couple blocks away. It was a surprisingly warm day with temps in the 70s instead of the 50s like we'd anticipated.  When we got to the beach, I may or may not have exclaimed 'omg, penguins!' Once we got closer, I realized we were mistaken.
We thought they were Common Murres until we found a sign that gave us more information on the local birds.
Francisco took a walk into the Strait of Magellan.
We walked around the Plaza de Armas, which was directly in front of our hotel. There were tons of souvenir booths here.
We meandered back to the hotel for our scheduled 6:00 PM briefing at the Reading Room for our Antarctica trip.
After finding out that our meeting had been postponed until 7:00, I was feeling really sleepy, so we made a cookie run to a nearby place we had passed.
Finally, it was time for our briefing to find out if we were going to Antarctica in the morning! We weren't. :( When we finally connected with the tour agency representative from DAP, one of the first things Alejo told us was that the weather conditions didn't look good for tomorrow. We met our tour group mates, Aaron and Konrad, two friends from Seattle - Antarctica would be their 6th continent. Aaron was very knowledgeable about Antarctica, and we even ended up watching a documentary on Shackleton after hearing his comments and questions related to Elephant Island.

Another representative, Catalina, joined our group and ordered our drinks and plenty of appetizers. Delicious empanadas! She explained that it was actually quite rare for us to be meeting with Alejo as he spends much of his time on Antarctica. She went on to elaborate that he is actually an Antarctica legend.  Just type in Alejo Antarctica and see for yourself! He is a famous mountaineer and Antarctic explorer as well as the first Chilean to reach the South Pole on foot.
We were told to expect a phone call or email around noon the next day to see if the weather conditions looked better to fly out then.  


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