New Years Eve Chilean Style (Day 6 of Torres del Paine)

Our final day! We felt like we had run the gauntlet, hiked a thousand miles, ate enough carbohydrates to feed a small town, lucked out with weather, saw all the key sites along the hike, laughed too much (ok, not possible), and were ready to be done.

Ruth and I enjoying our last morning camping coffee:

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The cooking huts were the only place campers were allowed to use stoves, because of the 2010 fire:

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The hike down was easy, about four hours down to Hotel Torres near the park entrance. This was the only day that it rained on us while we hiked. Talk about perfect timing, we didn’t care since we were done! At the hotel we scored a comfy couch to settle into and our trusty Irish couple came through with a thermos of Irish Camping Coffee – instant coffee, whiskey, and cocoa powder. We all passed around the lid sharing a cup, relishing in the fact that we were DONE. Also, this was Ronan’s birthday so it was a double celebration!

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I was jealous of these guys, no shame:

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Any normal day I would’ve gone back to the hostel in Puerto Natales, taken a shower and slept til morning. But this was:

1) New Year’s Eve

2) Ronan’s birthday

…so there was no rest for the weary. Ruth and I dropped our things then headed to the Unimart for food, drink and some birthday cake. It was time for another Hostal Kaweskar group dinner! Omar had made his same amazing meat platters. Ruth and I contributed the biggest most awesomest salad ever known to man (we were all CRAVING fresh vegetables). There were uncountable bottles of wine and champagne on the tables. It was such a good dinner and night!

Time to get the 22 glasses of champagne ready:

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Ronan turned so old that his cake looked like a literal fire:

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In true Chilean style, we were just finishing up dinner around 11:30… did the customary midnight besos y abrazos at midnight…. then headed to the discoteca around 1am. Ruth, Ronan and I left around 3 and walked back towards our hostel. On the way we passed the local gym which had local Chileans hanging out at the door. A glance inside showed the gym packed with hundreds of locals dancing to a live band so we thought “What the heck” and joined!

We made friends with an older lady at our table, she was so sweet and made sure that Ruth and I tried the coffee cake she had brought for her family:

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We all took a few swings around the dance floor, so fun and felt like such a unique experience! I loved it, it was a New Years moment I will never forget.

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Here’s an official cheers to such a perfect end to a great year, I am so happy to be starting off 2014 the way that I am, traveling with no plans, in company of some new great friends, and with more fresh experiences in my future.

CHEERS*CLINK*SALUD

(Oh and this one just b/c of Ronan’s mask:)
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